THREE factions have emerged in the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) over whether the former ruling party should forge an alliance with the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) or the United Party for National Development (UPND).
One faction which is openly aligning itself to the opposition UPND does not want anything to do with the PF.
The third faction wants to oust MMD president Never Mumba because they believe he is arm-twisting President Edgar Lungu into an alliance on condition that he is appointed as a running mate.
But a national executive committee member Malama Sokoni rubbished the ‘running mate’ assertion because no talks had been held with the PF to discuss the nature of the alliance.
Earlier in the week, MMD national secretary Mwansa Mbulakulima announced that the former ruling party at its national executive meeting had resolved to accept President Lungu’s offer to form an alliance following the inclusion of the 50 percent plus 1 clause in the amended Constitution and mandated Dr Mumba to negotiate and report back the terms and conditions.
But embattled MMD national chairman Edgar Keembe, claimed that there was no resolution to form an alliance with the PF.
A statement by the MMD media team dismissed as false Mr Keembe’s assertions whom they accused of wanting the MMD to form an alliance with a different political party.
It was unfortunate they said that a senior member of the party such as Mr Keembe could allow himself to be misguided to attempt to cast doubt on the credibility of the NEC meeting and its resolutions.
The statement accused Mr Keembe of attempting to cause confusion in the MMD on a matter it said was above board, transparent and without blemish.
“To start with, Mr Keembe did not co-chair the NEC meeting as it was singularly chaired by MMD president Never Mumba. It is unfortunate that a senior party member of Mr Keembe’s stature could allow himself to be so misguided and attempt to cast doubt on the credibility of the NEC meeting and attempt to cause confusion on a matter that is above board and transparent,” the statement read in part.
Mr Keembe, however, insisted that he had co-chaired the NEC meeting at which the matter of forming an alliance with the PF was tabled and because of a number of issues that were raised it was decided that it was not appropriate to give an express response to President Lungu’s offer.
He said it was resolved that the MMD remained committed to engaging any other serious political party on grounds of sincerity, mutual respect and fairness.
Mr Keembe said it was his personal view that it was the PF that paralysed the MMD by unlawfully grabbing its vehicles soon after the 2011 general elections, adding that it was unimaginable for the former ruling party to forge an alliance with the ruling party.
“My belief and that of many other members opposed to working with the PF are based on a firm foundation that requires a big hammer to break. How can any normal and party-loving MMD member go to bed with the PF, the party that literally destroyed the MMD?
‘‘Those calling for an alliance with the PF can only be enemies of our party and are peddling personal interest. President Lungu has only sent an SMS to Dr Mumba and has given a condition that Dr Mumba should reconcile with former president Rupiah Banda,” Mr Keembe said.
He explained that it was the PF after winning the 2011 general elections that petitioned all the MMD parliamentary seats with the aim of obliterating the party.