16 January 2013

Zambia: MMD Withdraws Chilongo From Constitution Convention

CONFUSION over Nevers Mumba's position as leader of the MMD yesterday spilled to the Northern Province constitution convention where a delegate was ejected by irate cadres who thought he was a traitor.

Northern Province MMD chairperson Stephen Mukuka arrived at the convention centre with his secretary Cephus Bwalya and other cadres to deliver a letter to the provincial facilitator of the Technical Committee advising withdrawal of a party representative.

The letter demanded that MMD Kasama district chairperson Cosmas Chilongo be withdrawn immediately as the party's delegate because he was allegedly against Dr Mumba.

"Mr Chairperson, bear with us that we are struggling to instil discipline in MMD and hereby request that Mr Chilongo be replaced with Patrick Bwalya,

"This is due to the fact that Mr Chilongo together with other party officials were suspended from the party and subsequently prohibited from conducting any party activities and the matter is before our provincial disciplinary committee," the letter read in part.

Mr Chilongo and other cadres allegedly denounced Dr Mumba in the media recently.

Mr Mukuka in an interview accused Mr Chilongo of having defected to another party, adding that he could not be trusted to represent the interests of the party at the convention.

But Mr Chilongo insisted that he was a bona fide member of the MMD and that Mr Mukuka's actions were null and void.

A war of words then ensued as Mr Chilongo and Mr Bwalya both maintained that they were official delegates of the convention.

Mr Mukuka said the party had the authority to withdraw a representative while Mr Chilongo insisted his appointment was not transferrable.

Technical Committee leader for the Northern Province convention Rodger Chongwe said the party's internal problems had no bearing on the convention.

But Technical Committee conventions coordinator Reuben Lifuka said Mr Chilongo should leave because his constituency in this case the MMD had made the request.

Provincial facilitator Andrew Banda requested Mr Chilongo to leave and replaced him with Mr Bwalya.

Mr Chilongo who eventually left the convention vowed to unseat Mr Mukuka as provincial chairperson.

"I am declaring my interest now and I will thrash Mukuka at the next provincial elections. I will remain MMD as I have never defected," he said.

Meanwhile, the MMD has adopted Miniva Mutesa as the party candidate for Mpongwe constituency by-election, acting elections committee chairperson Kenneth Chipungu has announced.

Meanwhile, Die Hard national coordinator Bowman Lusambo has said the MMD would scoop Mpongwe constituency because it was not possible for former area Member of Parliament Gabriel Namulambe to retain the seat as he had proved to be a traitor.

Mr Lusambo, at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday, also chided MMD national women's chairperson Catherine Namugala.

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