Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) senior members who have been planning to contest the position of party president have been forced to go for lower ranks due to intimidation by president Rupiah Banda (in the picture).
Sources within the MMD say the party is now using UNIP error way of choosing leaders.
So far, according to sources, leaders like Felix Mutati have scaled down their ambitions and are now gunning for the position of vice-president.
Republican vice president George Kunda will contest the position but will announce his candidature last so that he can gauge who is challenging him, according to sources very close to him.
Others who have shown strong interest are Foreign affairs Minister Kabinga Pande and Businessman Bwalya Chiti who has always shown interest but never works on it.
Works and Supply minister Mike Mulongoti has already gone public with his interest. Mulongoti has always been a nominated MP:
The MMD will hold a convention from April 5 to 7, 2011 where about 1,372 carefully selected delegates will attend the convention at Mulungushi University in Kabwe.
The party leadership has already announced that no one will challenge president Banda.
Anyone who showed interest in challenging president Banda at the convention has been expelled or ignored as not being in good standing with the party. Those who have been expelled include former defence minister George Mpombo and former finance minister Ngandu Magande.
When he announced the date of the convention, MMD acting chief executive Chenge Nyangu also declared that another person who has shown interest in contesting the presidency Nathan Msoni will not be allowed to contest elections because he has been a dormant party member and is not in good standing with the party.
Insiders say it is only former republican president Enoch Kavindele who is still fighting to contest but that the party has already declared him unfit as he is not in good standing with the party.
President Rupiah Banda himself has never been elected to any position in the MMD at a convention. From the time he left UNIP for greener pastures in MMD, he has been holding positions in acting capacity.