By Eros Ilunga
I would like to comment on the goings-on in Zambia’s biggest opposition political party and oldest political party in the Third Republic, the Movement of Multiparty Democracy (MMD). There are a number of factors that can lead one to conclude that the happenings in the MMD have outside influence. Before I discuss these factors I wish to say that I do not support violence regardless of the victims or perpetrators. Violence is violence and unfortunately it always breeds violence. On this score I sympathize with Major Richard Kachingwe over his hounding out of the MMD Secretariat. What we saw on ZNBC yesterday was regrettable and unacceptable in this dispensation.
However, I have reasons to believe that what Major Kachingwe did was not an innocent and well-intentioned act. First of all the act of nullifying a president’s election defies logic. Which political party the world over, would give its secretary general power to single-handedly nullify the election of its president? I know that the MMD chief executive can nullify elections at lower levels of the party but not of NEC members let alone the presidency. Therefore, Major Kachingwe’s action was over-zealous, obnoxious and ultravires.
If for argument’s sake Kachingwe had no ulterior motive, still his action showed that he is naïve and tactless. In this age of multipartism competition is the name of the game. Therefore, it was tactless on Kachingwe’s party to expose such a sensitive issue to all enemies of the party. Is Kachingwe telling us that as chief executive there are no internal mechanisms to deal with the matter rather than undress the party in public like that? Why didn’t he call an emergency NEC meeting to seek their wisdom? Kachingwe should know that if the issues he is raising are true then it is an indictment against the whole party. And as the one who received and endorsed Dr Nevers Mumba’s nomination papers the moral thing to do is resign for failing to provide leadership.
Now what factors can make us conclude that there is a dirty hand behind these MMD problems? First of all, the fact that Major Kachingwe could not confide in NEC over the matter but rushed to issue the statement to the press means he was getting encouragement from outside NEC and one is made to suspect the Patriotic Front. It is now an open secret that PF has been out to destroy MMD. Just look at the way the President has been appointing MMD MPs as deputy ministers. Are there no MPs from other political parties? Kachingwe is also on record as having visited State House. When he was asked about this during Sunday Interview, he was quite incoherent and sneaky about the matter.
The other pointer is the quick reaction from one Andeleki. He came to confirm that Dr Nevers Mumba was still president of the Reform Party the information Kachingwe was “revealing”. Now the questions one needs to ask are: Is it Andeleki who gave Kachingwe this information? When MMD submitted the names of its new leaders to the Registrar’s of Societies, why didn’t Andeleki inform the party that its new president was also RP president? Does RP really exist and has it been making annual returns? If so, who has been doing so? At some point Andeleki told us he was going to de-register political parties that just existed on paper, why didn’t he de-register the mystical RP?
Another pointer is the unprecedented 24 hour protection given to Kachingwe by the police. Since when did the police care about opposition leaders? This a bit surprising going by previous incidents where an opposition leader’s life is in danger but the police offer no protection. We know that when such protection is given then PF has an interest. Remember that the President offered protection to MMD ‘rebel’ MPs. He also offered protection to the Litunga who had disagreements with the pro-secession former Ngambela.
My advice to MMD is to look at this matter soberly and deal with it internally. The party has enemies who want it destroyed. MMD should remember Nevers Mumba did not impose himself on the party but was duly elected by its members and anyone trying to undo that mandate is an enemy of the party.