MMD spokesperson Raphael Nakachinda has defended the party’s decision to withdraw from the three by-elections saying it was aimed at strengthening the party ahead of the 2016 general elections.
The former ruling party decided not to participate in the Petauke Central, Malambo and Mulobezi by-elections at the last minute after it issued certificates of adoption to its candidates
But senior party officials say the party leadership was being economical with the truth over the sudden change of heart leading to withdrawal of the adoption certificates of their candidates in Petauke and Malambo Constituencies respectively.
The source said some MMD members of Parliament in Eastern Province had refused to campaign against Dora Siliya, the Patriotic Front’s candidate in the Petauke Central parliamentary by-election hence the former ruling party’s decision to withdraw from the June 30 by-elections.
In an interview, Mr. Nakachinda said the party decided to withdraw because it had observed that it had not completely healed and going into an election in that form was disastrous.
He said the focus for the party was to consolidate its existence ahead of the 2016 general election by helping it heal from the wounds it had suffered.
“We were not scared to lose the elections but we were looking at the bigger picture of the party ahead of the 2016 general election. It must be mentioned that the MMD will in the next few days roll out its programme to visit and restructure all party organs and structures throughout the country,” said Mr. Nakachinda.
He urged all party members across the country to remain calm and focused to the new MMD.
But MMD senior officials said the problem the party leadership faced in the adoption process was the fact some members of Parliament who were the main players in the by-elections were not willing to campaign for the adopted candidates.
“For instance in Petauke, we had MPs assigned to campaign for our candidate but they told us openly that they cannot do that because Dora was their friend.
And that was the same in these other areas. How do you go into an election like that when you have a divided house.
“We cannot continue putting money into an activity we know we cannot win. The leadership needs to recognise the party to bring back the depleted confidence and faith. No MP from Eastern Province was willing to campaign for the party candidates,” said the official.