MOVEMENT for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) president Nevers Mumba has no authority to expel and compel Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini to declare the seats of the Members of Parliament campaigning either for Patriotic Front (PF) president Edgar Lungu or the United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema, Bradford Machila has charged.
But MMD national secretary Mwansa Mbulakulima said the former ruling party has commenced disciplinary proceedings against all the MPs and national executive committee members who have rebelled against their leader.
Mr Machila, who is MMD chairperson for legal affairs, said in a statement yesterday that the MPs were free to campaign for any candidates of their choice in the presidential race this month because Dr Mumba had no powers to cause his parliamentarians lose their seats.
He said in a statement obtained by the Daily Nation that it was not possible for Dr Mumba to declare the seats of the MMD MPs vacant without going through a disciplinary process which would be preceded by a resolution of the national executive committee.
Mr Machila said Dr Mumba’s threats were “nothing but empty jokes” because the MMD leader did not have sufficient support of the national executive committee members to convene a meeting that would resolve to take disciplinary action against the MPs.
Mr Machila has assured all the MPs campaigning for Mr Lungu and Mr Hichilema that their seats were safe, stating that Zambians should not be afraid of cross-party support where there was consensus.
“Following the warning issued by Dr Mumba that the MPs supporting other presidential candidates other than him (Mumba) may lose their seats, I wish to make it clear that Dr Mumba has no authority to write to the Speaker of the National Assembly to declare the seats vacant. As things stand, Dr Mumba does not have sufficient support of NEC members to convene a meeting and take disciplinary action against the MPs.
“I therefore wish to urge the MPs to continue campaigning for who they believe to be the best candidate for their constituencies.
As Zambians, we should not be scared of cross-party support where we agree on certain values,” Mr Machila said.
But Mr Mbulakulima said the MMD has already written letters to the affected MPs asking them to exculpate themselves within 10 days failure to which disciplinary action would be taken against them.