Unless there is a change and renewed leadership in the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), the former ruling party risks dying a slow, painful and agonizing death, the Party’s vice-president Brian Chituwo has observed.
But MMD director of communications Muhabi Lungu has described calls for an extraordinary convention meant to oust its president Nevers Mumba as maneuvers to destroy the former ruling party.
Lungu said the motive by those calling for the convention was to stop the NEC meeting that would soon be coming to elect a new national secretary.
Lungu disclosed that the differences in the party were purely about him (Lungu) whose name has been floated as a candidate for the position of national secretary adding that he was ready to abandon his ambitions if that was going to save the former ruling party from crambling.
He said it was not good for senior members to start schemes of wanting to remove a democratically elected party leader warning that the proponents of such plans risked the danger of suffering the same consequences if elected.
But Dr Chituwo who was speaking at a media briefing attended his counterpart in-charge of political affairs Michael Kaingu, Senga Hills Member of Parliament Kapembwa Simbao, former Petauke MP Dora Siliya and her former Solwezi Central counterpart Lucky Mulusa and Eustarckio Kazonga called for an extraordinary convention to elect a new president and leadership for the party.
The former ruling party has admitted that it has failed to lead itself since losing elections to the Patriotic Front (PF) and has called for a total overhaul of its leadership it had to survive the changed trend political environment.
Dr Chituwo speaking on behalf of other senior party officials said the recent performance of the MMD in mobilization, electoral achievements in both local and parliamentary by-elections had made the retention of the former ruling party on the Zambia’s political scene irrelevant.
Dr Chituwo said the retention of the MMD on the changed political landscape had been below par and that it was threatening the continued existence of the party that governed the country for two decades.
He said since the last general elections, the MMD had continued to lose membership to other political parties and that it had reached a stage where it would be irresponsible for the leadership to continue pretending that there was nothing wrong.
Dr Chituwo said the call for an extraordinary convention would save the MMD from total extinction adding his group had decided to lead the calls to take necessary steps meant to salvage the party from falling into the political doldrums.
He revealed that several provincial executive committees were in the process of petitioning the MMD chairman Kabinga Pande with the view of reinvigorating the party leadership in order to re-organise the party’s structures.
“Failure to admit that our party is dying a slow and painful death will be a gross injustice to many Zambians who regard the MMD as their only political hope to participate in the governance of our country. The performance of our party in mobilization, electoral achievements in local and parliamentary by-elections and retention of the relevance has been below par and threatens the continued existence of our party ,” Dr Chituwo said.
Dr Chituwo has denied assertions that a well-financed scheme targeted at some selected NEC members had been hatched to distabilise the MMD stating that at no time did any of the members calling for a renewed leadership in the party have links with State House and the Post Newspaper.
He said the senior members calling for the change of leadership in the MMD did not revolt against Dr Nevers Mumba adding that all the members were equal and should therefore be treated as such.
And Dr Kaingu said calls for new leadership in the MMD were not based on tribalism adding Dr Mumba got the highest votes from Western Province when he was voted as the party president.
And Siliya has vowed that members shall never shy away from telling the leaders in the MMD that the former ruling party was headed for extinction because of the failed leadership.
“I am not scared to tell Dr Mumba, Dr Chituwo or Dr Kaingu that the MMD is dying and that is why we need to have new leadership through a convention. Our demand for a renewed leadership in the MMD is meant to save the party and the general membership is demanding for a convention. Bad politics have led to the increase in mealie meal prices and fuel prices and have left many Zambians suffering,” Siliya said.