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Ruling MMD Mulls Chilubas Expulsion From Party

In Zambia, the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) says it will expel members who supported opponents in the just ended tripartite elections. Sources say the order is directed at former president Fredrick Chiluba who urged Zambians to vote for opposition presidential candidate Michael Sata.

Benny Tetamashimba is spokesman for the MMD. He spoke with VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about the party’s move to expel some members of the party, including former president Chiluba.

“Former president Chiluba, when he came back from South Africa where he had gone for medical review told the nation that, he was not supporting president Mwanawasa this time round. Because he had suffered very much under president Mwanawasa and said the people should support patriotic front president Mr. Michael Sata, who had promised that he was going to forgive president Chiluba and all the other people who were involved in on court proceedings and corruption and plunder. So that’s what happened and I was reacting that, since president Chiluba did not support president Mwanawasa in the previous elections and campaigned vigorously for another political party, it means that, he has left the MMD. And if he has not resigned, then we are going to sit down and consider whether he can continue enjoying the fruits of the membership of the MMD or not,” he said.

Tetamashimba said the party’s constitution is specific on how members of the party should comport themselves.

“ The MMD constitution is very clear, its states that, a member of the MMD his membership must be in good standing. Now if you are a member of the MMD and can stand on a platform and…campaign against the presidential candidate of MMD, how can such a person claim to be a member of the MMD? But if a member of the MMD, decides to vote for another presidential candidate without openly campaigning against president Mwanawasa, that would be that person’s democratic right. Because you only win governance or elections by your members and their friends now if your own member can de-campaign your presidential candidate, your own member can discredit his own party, then that person is not a member of your party, then that is an imposter,” Tetamashimba noted.

He said though former president Chiluba has his constitutional right; president Mwanawasa could strip him of his monthly allowance.

“… According to our constitution, there is no former president who is supposed to be involved in politics. They are supposed to be retired politicians. In the normal (circumstances), the president can say I’m stopping the payment of your allowances. And that is what president Chiluba did to Dr. Kaunda when president Chiluba was president. But president Mwanawasa has no intentions of refusing to give these former presidents what belongs to them,” Tetamashimba said.

Meanwhile, President Mwanawasa met with all newly elected MMD parliamentary members Thursday to discuss ways to implement the party’s plans during his second term in office.

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