Former President Rupiah Banda should find other political platforms to contest elections because the need for a presidential candidate has not arisen in MMD, party president Nevers Mumba has said.
Dr Mumba said the MMD can’t present itself to Zambians in the same manner the former ruling party was rejected in 2011.
He also directed that operations at the party secretariat be suspended with immediate effect until the MMD becomes a viable force.
Dr Mumba also confirmed that MMD was in serious discussions with the UPND aimed at fielding a single candidate in the forthcoming presidential election.
Addressing a media briefing at his Kabulonga house in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Mumba said the MMD would not be held captive by anybody or interested groups.
“I shall remain faithful to the mandate given to me until 2016. We have no objection to Mr Rupiah Banda’s democratic right to contest elections but there is no vacancy in the MMD presidency and Mr Banda should use other political platforms,” he said.
Mr Banda could not be reached for comment as his administrative assistant Kennedy Limwanya said he was in a meeting.
He advised people not to be misled that the MMD has endorsed Mr Banda.
“We only have one president [Nevers Mumba], whose mandate ends in 2016.
“When President Mwanawasa died in 2008, there was no candidate, hence the Vice-President then [Mr Banda] was subjected to a selection process in NEC [National Executive Committee] but we can’t go that route because it will be illegal and unconstitutional,” Dr Mumba said.
“We are deeply disappointed that RB wants to lose whatever he has gained. When I met him, no deal was brokered and I was surprised that some NEC members were collecting signatures with a view to petition and expel me but we shall not allow entry through the back door,” he said.
He said operations at the party secretariat would remain suspended because the offices were allegedly being used to undermine elected officials.
Dr Mumba said the NEC on Sunday mandated him to start talking to the UPND.
“We are in serious talks with the UPND, hopefully these discussions end up successful,” he said.
Meanwhile, UPND deputy national spokesperson Edwin Lifwekelo says the party is open to work with any other political party that will share its ideals and vision.
“There are no official talks premised on having an alliance but how to galvanise a strong and united opposition that should not just aim to remove PF from power but to share our ideals and visions such as having a windfall tax, putting in place a good constitution and generally implementing good governance policies, among other things,” he said.
And MMD NEC member Felix Mutati says Mr Banda and Dr Mumba should stop the infighting and agree on who should contest the forthcoming presidential election.
Mr Mutati, who is also Lunte member of parliament (MP), says opposition parties should pursue electoral alliances because, he contends, there is no political party, including the ruling PF, that can win over 40 percent in any given election at the moment.
In an interview yesterday in Lusaka, Mr Mutati said on Sunday night the NEC averted a crisis that could have split the MMD.
Zambia Daily Mail