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Zambian Opposition Party Infighting Deepens Ahead of Election

  • James Butty

FILE - Then-acting President Edgar Lungu (l) talks to foreign affairs minister Harry Kalaba during a military exhibition march, Oct. 24, 2014 to mark Zambia's 50th Independence celebration.

FILE - Then-acting President Edgar Lungu (l) talks to foreign affairs minister Harry Kalaba during a military exhibition march, Oct. 24, 2014 to mark Zambia's 50th Independence celebration.

The former president of Zambia’s opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) party has won a court injunction reversing his suspension.

Nevers Mumba had asked the court to declare his ouster illegal, but MMD National Secretary Muhabi Lungu said the party is not threatened by Mumba’s court injunction.

Lungu reportedly said Nevers should forget about being chosen the MMD’s presidential candidate in next January’s special election because the party has already chosen its candidate.

The party’s national executive committee decided to remove Mumba and replace him with former President Rupiah Banda.

But Rafael Nakacinda, party presidential office spokesman, said the MMD constitution automatically recognizes the party president as its presidential candidate.

“He [Mumba] got an injunction in order to stop the national secretary of the party from interfering with his functions as party president. There has been an illegal process that the national secretary, in collaboration with the former president, engaged in to try and create a vacancy in the presidency as a way of wanting to bring Mr. Rupiah Banda back,” he said.

Nakacinda said both Lungu and Banda do not seem to believe in the rule of law.

“Unless both Mr. Lungu and Mr. Banda do not believe in the rule of law, which I would say at this particular time there are bad signs which the Zambian people and the world must watch out for because, if we cannot respect our courts, then they are already showing signs as a people that do not respect the rule of law. And, therefore, if they have the chance to get into government, we will end with a kind dictatorial leadership,” Nakacinda said.

Nakacinda said Banda would be the wrong candidate for the MMD because he lost the 2011 presidential elections to the Patriotic Front party.

He said the MMD constitution recognizes the party president is its candidate in any presidential elections.

“There is nowhere in our constitution where it says that, when an election comes, then they should begin to look for another candidate when there is a sitting president who is eligible to stand,” Nakacinda said.

Nakacinda accused Lungu and Banda of using tribalism and “illegal” means to get Zambians to rally around Banda.

“We should not just be doing things for political expedience. We should make sure that the foundation upon which every action is taken is legally correct, morally correct, and politically correct,” he said.

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