Eastern Province MMD chairman Jacob Mwanza has narrated in the Lusaka High Court how confusion started in the party when faction leader Nevers Mumba was left out of adoption as President Edgar Lungu’s running mate .
Testifying in the case in which the two MMD party leaders – Dr Mumba and Felix Mutati – are fighting for the party’s presidency, Mwanza has testified that members were elated by news that Dr. Mumba had discussed possibilities of being adopted as running mate, which, however, never happened as President Lungu opted to choose a woman.
He said this ignited confusion in Mumba’s camp.
“Before the January 30th NEC meeting, Dr. Mumba sent me a text saying he and Republican President Edgar Lungu had discussed the possibility of him (Nevers Mumba) being his running mate in the 2016 general elections. But sadly, President Lungu opted to choose a woman as his running mate and that my lady is when the drama started in our party,” Mr. Mwanza told the court.
He disclosed that he was among the 33 NEC members that voted against holding a party convention in 2016.
He explained that the NEC meeting held on January 30, 2016 whose main aim was to discuss issues around the 2016 convention, was held in hostility and that those perceived to be opposing Dr Mumba’s calls to postpone the convention found themselves in a hostile situation, making it hard for people to actually voice out their own opinions but instead adopt those being pushed by the latter.
Mwanza also told the court that the people of Eastern Province wanted a convention because most of the NEC members in the party structures that time were just handpicked and did not represent the interest of the people.
The witness said during the NEC meeting of January 30, Dr. Mumba, who was then leader of the party, brought cadres who physically abused and harassed senior NEC members namely Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwan and Mr. Bradford Machila.
He said this incident which he personally witnessed brought in fear among all delegates as the two senior NEC members were stern advocates of following the party constitution.
Hearing continues in the matter.