The leader of Zambia’s main opposition has denied the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) is in crisis following recent disputes between rank and file members of the group.
Nevers Mumba, who is a former vice president, says the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), is to blame for the opposition party’s problems.
Police briefly arrested Mumba and accused him of conduct likely to cause breach of peace after he accused the Patriotic Front of undermining the MMD.
The opposition leader in turn accused the ruling party of allocating about [$500,000] to destabilize the MMD. The police contend that the accusation could potentially destabilize the country.
“I was not accusing the government. I was accusing another political party and we do have empirical evidence,” said Mumba.
“Over the past two months the PF party [has] left the fulfillment of their promises and has concentrated on finding ways of destroying democracy by destabilizing political parties in the opposition,” Mumba said. “What we are saying is we are tired of this, and they need to allow democracy to thrive by allowing political parties to provide the necessary checks and balances.”
Officials of the ruling party have rejected the allegations. Patriotic Front supporters accuse the opposition of trying to score cheap points in an attempt to thwart the ruling party’s efforts to improve the lives of Zambians.
“It is our right that once we identify a threat by government that is detrimental to democracy that we highlight that point, and I think we will continue to do that,” said Mumba.
Some members of the opposition party have demanded Mumba’s resignation after accusing him of being unable to resolve infighting within the group, which they said, is tearing the MMD apart.
Mumba has faced stiff opposition within his own party since his election as leader of the group.
Several opposition leaders have quit the MMD and joined the Patriotic Front recently, including party executives in Luapula Province.
Mumba says the ruling party is to blame for the negative media coverage the opposition party currently faces.
“The PF is feeling the pressure of the MMD under our leadership and that is why they are trying to do whatever they can, to destroy the opposition including, myself,” concluded Mumba.
Clottey interview with Dr. Nevers Mumba, MMD party president