|The MMD Copperbelt Province conference which will be officially opened by President Rupiah Banda takes off in Kitwe today with no clear potential winner between the two officials slugging it out for the chairmanship.
After cadres caused havoc in Lusaka leading to the postponement of the Lusaka Province Conference, focus has now shifted to Kitwe for the Copperbelt conference.
It is a two-horse race for the Copperbelt MMD race between former chairman Terence Findlay, who is the last elected chairman for the position, and Joseph Chilambwe, the man who was appointed after Findlay was asked to step aside.
The two officials have their own weaknesses and MMD officials are worried that there are no other more credible people who have come forward to contest for the position.
Findlay fell out of favour in the Lamba region when he insulted them and that forced the MMD leadership of the late Levy Mwanawasa to dissolve his executive. Although Findlay has always put himself closer to the MMD, his comments are at odds with the leadership and they do not have trust in him.
Findlay may not be a favourite of the four Lamba districts – Masaiti, Mpongwe, Kafulafuta and Lufwanyama but he has pushed his popularity with the other districts using monetary advantage and could give his rival a tough time.
His rival, Chilambwe seems to be a lame duck because of his financial limitations and his lack of principles may cost him the positition. Since the dissolution of the Findlay executive, Chilambwe has been an interim chairman of the MMD on the Copperbelt. This is the turning point for him.
He was recently quoted as promoting the candidature of Vice President George Kunda and Foreign Affairs Minister Kabinga Pande for the position of the MMD Vice President at the National Convention.
MMD members were questioning as to which side he was because in his same breath, he would say Kunda is ideal for the position of the MMD Vice president while also campaigning for Pande. This is the man people want to lead the Copperbelt which is considered to be critical for the MMD.
There was a split among the MMD Kitwe members who did not accept that Chilambwe should contest as provincial chairman because it has been reported that he is busy arranging for the Copperbelt launch for Ng’andu Magande’s party on the Copperbelt.
For the position of Jerry Mukonkera of Chingola is up against losing Chifubu parliamentary candidate Frank Ng’ambi. A surprise package is Kephas Katongo who lost to Victor Konie as Ndola MMD district chaiman who wants to go for the position of treasurer.
Vocal former trade unionist Yotam Mtayachalo has come out in the open and will be contesting for the position of information publicity secretary.
A full list of contestants had not yet been released at the time of writing this story.