Though many people hold the opinion that the battle to lead the former ruling party is between former commerce minister Felix Mutati and former vice president Nevers Mumba, ‘intelligence’ information by the Watchdog indicate that Situmbeko Musokotwane is now the front runner.
Quietly, Musokotwane has done his ground work very well. We understand Musokotwane has the full backing of MMD party leaders in Eastern, Lusaka, Southern, Central and Western provinces.
It is important to note that Provincial and district leaders are the ones who will chose the party president at the convention.
Copperbelt and North-western provinces party leaders have not yet decided, from what we hear though there are strong indications that Copperbelt will rally behind Nevers Mumba.
As for Lusaka province, provincial chairman William Banda has publicly stated that he is supporting Musokotwane. Of course there are individuals within the structures who prefer the other candidates but the majority are backing Musokotwane.
Felix Mutati seems to have fallen out of favour due to his soft approach and accusations of being linked to the ruling PF.
Many MMD officials believe that Mutati is compromised especially that he has not performed to expectation as leader of the opposition in parliament.
MMD officials talked to say that before George Kunda died, he was seen and acting as if he was the leader of the opposition though he had no position in the party structure.
Mutati is accused of not being concerned when his party officials are targeted for harassment through arrests and house raids by the PF government.
Mutati has never said anything. When Kunda was alive, he would even accompany his members to police stations when they were being harassed by state police. Kunda had even complained to the UN.
The other problem Mutati is facing is that he has been hoodwinked by party National Secretary Richard Kachingwe that he is supporting him. Kachingwe is supporting Nevers Mumba.
But Never Mumba is also being viewed with suspicions within the party. Though he has been the most vocal and outspoken, most senior MMD officials believe that he is not the right person.
Of all the contenders, its only Nevers Mumba who has never been elected as MP.
Though Situmbeko Musokotwane denies it, the Watchdog knows for a fact that he has the backing of former president Rupiah Banda and other senior MMD officials except Richard Kachingwe.
Kabinga Pande seems to have dropped out of contention and is not visible in the picture. Maybe the death of his wife affected his plans.
We don’t know if Kapembwa Simbao is serious on his plan to contest but if he is, we are sure many MMD delegates will have problems remembering him.
The flip-flop Enock Kavindele is also nowhere near contention. Few people take Kavindele seriously despite claiming that he is rich.
Kavindele’s political fortunes stared crumbling some 21 years ago when he tried to challenge former dictator Kenneth Kaunda to the UNIP party presidency.
Kavindele withdrew his candidate after two or three women lifted their skirts in front of him.
But the political engineer late Fredrick Chiluba restored his credibility by honouring him vice president. Chiluba, despite the other weakness, was a true nationalist in the way he appointed people to office.
Later on, after Kavindele was fired from the position of vice president by Levy Mwanawasa, he went to parliament and made startling but true revelations on the corruption perpetuated by Mwanawasa.
A few months later, Kavindele retracted his statements and said he lied to parliament.