As if by premonition we asked yesterday: Who will deliver the MMD to the UPND? On cue the answer came when 12 MMD Members of Parliament defected to the UPND yesterday.
The defection explained part of the problem that afflicted the former ruling party.
In themselves the defection represents a grave tragedy in more ways than one for the MMD and cannot be written off as good riddance. It marks the passing of an era.
It is an even greater tragedy that the majority of those that have defected hail from the Bantu Botatwe. This is a very sad and painful development which the country must come to terms with. It is not a matter that should be patronized in whispered exchanges. It is a matter that must be faced squarely for what it is, unless it can be argued that regional interests are more important.
MMD was more than a party, it was a way of life and true embodiment of a vision and ethos of a people desirous of championing the cause of democratic idealism across all manner of cleavages, be they social, political, ethic or indeed tribal.
It is not a vision that should be allowed to die. Everything possible should be done to save the dream and ensure that it develops as the third force that continues to unite the Zambian people across the regional “chasms”.
Much as former President Rupiah Banda may feel slighted, we feel he has a duty and responsibility, with or without a convention, to bring together the two factions of the MMD to chart the way forward.
This is the time when all the founding fathers of the MMD should come together and strategise. Even if it means bruising the egos and crashing the heads of Dr. Mumba or Felix Mutati, let it be so for the sake of national interest. No single individual should be above the interest of the institution.
Many Zambians from the breadth and width of the country still hold faith with MMD because it was a party that united them after the fractious period of UNIP, it was a party that stood for principle, it still is a party that continues to inspire. Zambians have continued to show their support for the party even within the turbulence that the party has been subjected to.
Zambia now enters into the era of vacuous politics, lacking principle, morality let alone integrity.
For all the bluster, the political “quake” announced yesterday adds little to the substantive political culture of the country. Those who wish to champion their personal political agenda are having to fall on the tribal or ethnic origin for support than offer intellectual and well thought out policies which they wish to advance.
What Zambia needs are men and women with clear political, economic or indeed public policy stances which they advance.
Thus far the major policy announcement made yesterday sadly formalizes the very worrying defacto balkanization or our country as established by results from previous elections.
Add to the mix the influence and interest of cartel which sees salvation in regime change.