NEVERS Mumba’s MMD declined the invitation to attend yesterday’s eighth Frederick Chiluba memorial lecture by Rupiah Banda to avoid confusion and hypocrisy. Party spokesperson Dr Cephas Mukuka said they found the arrangement very difficult to go along with especially that former Republican president Banda had not stayed clear of the current confusion in MMD.
“FTJ’s party of which we remain legitimate leaders has suffered from within. Its influence has been affected by vices, schemes and cartels,” Dr Mukuka said.
He said the party had not been enjoying peace for a good part of its life out of government.
Dr Mukuka said elected leaders have constantly been harassed resulting in failure to comfortably reorganise the party and move forward.
He said the general membership have not participated in the political activities of the country for the last three years.
Dr Mukuka said the membership remained confused by being subjected to self-styled imposed leadership when the party constitution was very clear on who are supposed to be leaders.
He noted that for the 8th memorial since the passing on of the MMD founding president, Chiluba, two events have been planned – a public lecture and a memorial service at the presidential burial site.
“The events have been organised by a committee of people that worked with our founding president in conjunction with some of his family members. We have been invited to the events, albeit at the late hour, since the events take place on Sunday the 16th of June, 2019 for the public lecture and Tuesday the 18th for the memorial service,” Dr Mukuka said.
“We have declined the invitation and communicated our decision to the organising committee. Our refusal to participate in these activities is based on our desire to avoid confusion and hypocrisy. We do not want to lie to ourselves and others that all is well. We do not want to be guilty of lying to our departed leader. We are in court. The MMD is in court against a clique of its former leaders who have remained resolved in their destabilisation activities and have shown no signs of slowing down. FTJ’s party of which we remain legitimate leaders has suffered from within. Its influence has been affected by vices, schemes and cartels.”
He said a perusal of the programme revealed that the overarching theme chosen for the event was “Reconciliation, Forgiveness and Peace.”
Dr Mukuka said Chiluba, the unsung hero and father of democracy would be eulogised.
“The lecture is to be delivered by His Excellency Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda. The memorial service will be presided over by the state. We find this arrangement very difficult to go along with. Firstly, the party has not been enjoying peace for a good part of its life out of government. Elected leaders have constantly been harassed, resulting in failure to comfortably reorganise the party and move forward,” he said.
Dr Mukuka said former president Banda had not stayed clear of the confusion.
“He has taken sides and rejected the elected and legitmate leaders. He has openly preferred [Felix] Mutati and group, people that he personally anointed at an illegal convention. These are the people that have confused our party and created the current impasse. These are the people we have sued in court for their role is bringing so much confusion in the MMD,” he said. “The former president bears a fair share of blame in our view, in the problems of our party. His hands are not clean enough in this regard.”
Dr Mukuka said the organisers knew too well and therefore could have done better than “this if they wished to keep the event free from the present conflict.”
“We are not in any way suggesting that president Banda should be excluded from the event or that he should not be the one to deliver the lecture or indeed that he should not be honoured with his place. We recognise him as our fourth president and indeed as a very highly esteemed statesman,” he said. “However, we are conflicted because the impediment to which he was party to remains unresolved to date. Further, we are not assured of the neutrality and innocence in relation to the events as regards the conflict that has paralysed our party.” Dr Mukuka also noted that the organisers had given the same status to both party president Nevers Mumba and Mutati, the faction leader.
“Therein lies the problem. How can confusion be avoided under these circumstances? Simply impossible,” he said. “They plan to host the two conflicting groups at the same event and elevate the godfather of the one group, then look away and say, there is nothing suspicious? We are not amused.”
Meanwhile, Dr Mukuka said this year the MMD particularly honour Chiluba for his commitment to democratic ideals which in part allowed for holding of different opinions without degenerating into chaos.
“The ideals Dr Chiluba believed in. May the Lord bless the memory of our great and fearless leader Dr FTJ Chiluba and may God bless our party the Movement for Multiparty Democracy,” said Dr Mukuka.