Zambia: MMD Wrangles Deepen

THE differences in the MMD have reached a boiling point with national secretary Richard Kachingwe vowing that no 'rogue elements' will hound him out of the former ruling party.

Major Kachingwe has also disclosed that there was a clique in the party which was targeting to destabilise the secretariat.

He said during a media briefing at the MMD secretariat in Lusaka yesterday that he would continue to be loyal to the party and that he had never been compromised.

"I am MMD and I love this party which is why I have stuck to it at its lowest ebb. I have stuck to it and I know I will be judged for keeping it afloat. Let others also tell us what effort they have contributed to keep it alive.

"I have kept this party afloat with my deputy (Chembe Nyangu) here and we believe this party is strong and can weather the storm all we need is to put good programmes in place and move on," he said in a highly-charged voice.

The meeting was attended by Mr Nyangu.

Maj Kachingwe and Mr Nyangu have in the recent past come under attack from within the party that they had been compromised and were allegedly working with the PF.

Party president Nevers Mumba is reportedly not happy that Maj Kachingwe had been to State House to discuss, among other issues, appointment of MMD Members of Parliament (MPs) as deputy ministers in the Patriotic Front (PF) Government.

But Maj Kachingwe said it was not his style of politics to insult the Republican President as promulgated by some people in the MMD.

He said some people had been accusing him of not issuing strong statements against the PF and President Michael Sata in particular.

"They think when you wake up and insult the President that is when you are a national secretary. Then they are looking for a wrong national secretary and I want to put this thing to rest. If you want a national secretary who is going to insult President Sata, then it's not me, look for another person.

"First of all President Sata is my elder where we come from. I am supposed to call him shikulu (grand father). How do I wake up and insult him. Secondly, he is President of the Republic elected by the people, I can't insult him. Three, he is commander-in-chief of armed forces and I am an officer, I can't insult him. These are strong reasons and don't force me. When I say no, it's no. I will not insult President Sata," he said.

He said he would differ with President Sata on principle and not for political expedience. He rebuffed media reports that he had been frequenting State House to get a job.

Maj Kachingwe who displayed correspondence between himself and President Sata said he only met the Head of State once on January 24, this year to discuss the appointment of MMD MPs in Government as deputy ministers.

Efforts to get a comment from Dr Mumba proved futile as his mobile phone went unanswered on several occasions.

He said the MMD was the root cause of this problem as it did the same when it poached MPs from the opposition to serve as ministers.

Major Kachingwe said his meeting with Mr Sata was sanctioned by the then MMD president Rupiah Banda and that he met Mr Sata in the presence of Mafinga MP Catherine Namugala.

"But I also know that where as I went to save the party and to save the country a lot of unnecessary costs, there are other colleagues who have also gone there and let them say what they have gone there for. For me, I went there to deal with this issue, Maj Kachingwe said.

On allegations of frustrating Dr Mumba's programmes, Maj Kachingwe said at no time had he done so.

Maj Kachingwe said there was no harm in him thanking President Sata and the Government for taking over the health bill of his wife while admitted to Milpark Hospital in South Africa this year.

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