.According to a press release being distributed today by the Permanent Secretary of the opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) Richard Kachingwe, the presidency of Nevers Mumba has been invalidated on the grounds that he is not a member of the party, resulting his suspension from the party.
In response, Kachingwe has been physically hounded out of his office by MMD youth groups as Mumba reclaimed control of the party and announced Kachingwe’s suspension.
The events represent the culmination of weeks of growing tensions within the party over dissatisfaction among MPs with Kachingwe’s performance as national secretary, as well as widespread suspicion that Kachingwe had been compromised by the ruling Patriotic Front party.
According to Kachingwe’s press release, “It is important to announce to the press that from the time Dr. Mumba took over the presidency, the party has lost a lot of members to other political parties and has seen an increase in tension especially among MPs which resulted in a bye-eleciton in Mufumbwe, among others, and may result in other bye elections if the situation is not brought under control.”
The statement continues, “It has just become unbearable that the name of the party has been dragged through the mud. (…) I certainly find it disheartening, disappointing, and unacceptable that Dr. Mumba has chosen to sideline the party structures and neglect genuine party cadres in preference to a cabal of MPs that campaigned for his presidency; this has resulted in serious disunity in the party.”
Kachingwe’s claim to invalidate Mumba’s presidency is based on the technicality of his alleged membership of the Reform Party, which he says was not properly renounced or dissolved. He also stated in the letter that when bidding for presidency, Dr. Mumba did not disclose the fact that his re-admission had been rejected and believably presented to the elections committee credentials obtained fraudulently.
Major Kachingwe noted that following Dr. Mumba’s expulsion from the party in 2005, his application for re-admission in 2008 was rejected at a meeting chaired by then party president, late Patrick Mwanawasa and attended by Kabinga Pande, Ronnie Shikapwasha and Mutale Nalumango among others.
The matter of the legality of Mumba’s presidency and the suspension of Maj. Kachingwe from the party will go before the national executive committee. Sources say it is unlikely that the committee will uphold the suspension claimed by the national secretary. If Mumba were to be suspended, Vice President for Political Affairs Michael Kaingu would take over as president of the party.