There comes a time when courage and faith must be given an opportunity to function. Since the demise of our beloved President Mr Michael Sata on October 28th, 2014, we have witnessed a major struggle for power across the board. We have witnessed how human ambition would rather choose expedience than the rule of law. Our Party MMD has reached yet another defining moment in our on-going process of renewing and rebranding ourselves. The events of the past two weeks have prompted me to face the nation today.
RUPIAH BANDA ISSUE
For many Zambians across the nation, the debate on the possible return of Mr Rupiah Banda, was considered as a rumor until yesterday when it is now in the open that Mr Banda has indeed declared his interest to contest the Presidency in the forthcoming by election. While we have no objection to President Banda’s democratic right to contest any election, we do have a position when the MMD is mentioned to be the platform he wishes to use.
We are deeply disappointed as a party at the unprecedented damage that this quest for power has done to the party. Instead of approaching the leadership of the party, he went into our structures and used unconventional means to destabilize our party by promoting divisions.
On 17th November 2014, our National Executive Committee mandated me to:
1. Explore the option of an alliance with another party
2. To meet President Banda and explore means we can engage him to see which role he could play in the forth-coming by election
Yesterday, I fulfilled the first obligation and met President Banda and discussed several options on how he can get involved in our campaign. It is however unfortunate that during this time some individuals have been working to destabilize and undermine the leadership of the party by sponsoring crowds that have both disrupted meetings and divided the party to such proportions that it will take the party many months to stabilize.
While I was meeting with President Banda, our opponents had started collecting signatures from unsuspecting NEC members to petition for my expulsion from the party because, there was a feeling that I am standing in the way of President Banda’s return. This petition is an illegality and founded on greed and a lack of understanding of our constitution. Brown envelopes are being used to extract these signatures.
I am fully aware of almost all schemes that have been employed to divide the party. Let me state here and now that MMD is not for sale. It is unfortunate that President Banda has tried to use the back door to usurp power in order to contest the presidency.
I wish to state that no one has endorsed Mr Rupiah Banda as the Candidate on the MMD ticket. MMD has one president and that President is myself. I was elected at the last convention with a five year mandate. Our constitution is clear that there is no provision to elect a presidential candidate outside the sitting president. Some have cited how the NEC chose presidential candidates, Levy Mwanawasa and Rupiah Banda, but in both these two cases there was no sitting president who automatically qualified to contest. In 2001, President Chiluba was in illegible to stand and in 2008, President Mwanawasa had died.
I wish therefore to declare my unwavering commitment to our constitution. As long as I remain President, the rule of law shall remain supreme. I therefore advise that those who have vowed to bend the provisions of our constitution shall not succeed but are free to start their own party and fulfill their aspirations.
It is unfortunate that this development has happened when the party desperately needs unity in order to face the by-election. I therefore wish to dispel the rumor that Mr Banda is our candidate. There is no vacuum in the Presidency of MMD.
We remain committed to exploring all options meant to further strengthen us including that of respectful alliances with other political parties and we have made great progress in this regard.
I wish to appeal to all members across the nation, whose commitment is to the party and not an individual to focus on this coming election.
I appeal to all Zambians, the Church, youth and women to stand with us in this critical hour.
Zambia shall be saved.