A well orchestrated plan to replace Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) National Secretary Katele Kalumba with parliamentary chief whip Vernon Mwaanga is underway, the Watchdog has learnt.
Well placed sources have disclosed that very soon, calls to have Kalumba resign as national secretary and MP for Chiengi will begin by pro-MMD ‘NGOs’ and MMD lower branches.
Sources have mentioned that President Rupiah Banda and former president Fredrick Chiluba are backing Vernon Mwanga for the position but their reasons are different.
“Rupiah wants an old friend he can trust and that is VJ,’ said one of the sources. Chiluba, say sources, wants Mwanga in the seat as a way to control the party from outside. During the last MMD internal elections, Kalumba beat Mwanga soundly to the position.
But, according to sources, this time Kalumba may not fight as his recent conviction on corruption charges will be used as a weapon against him. He will not even be allowed to re-contest due to the criminal record and will be forced to resign before that, explained sources.
And Mwanga appears to have already started working as national secretary. Just about the same time when Kalumba was being handed down a five year jail sentence, Mwanga made announcements on behalf of the MMD. He claimed that the ‘United Party for National Development (UPND) members in 11 districts in Southern Province want an alliance between their party and the MMD’.
Chembe Nyangu is the current deputy MMD national secretary. He was brought in after Jeff Kaande, a close ally of Katele Kalumba was hounded out. But he has been ruled out as a potential successor. Nyangu himself is said to be comfortable as deputy national secretary,a full time job with conditions of a cabinet minister.
And Nyangu has been a long time standing member of the MMD serving all the former president of MMD, Chiluba, Mwanawasa and the current Banda.