THE Felix Mutati MMD faction chairman for North Western Province Danny Mikosa says it is wrong for Nevers Mumba to claim that he is the party president. In this case, acting MMD national secretary Winnie Zaloumis is challenging the legality of the convention which saw the election of Felix Mutati, Mwansa Mbulakulima, Raphael Nakacinda and George Kangwa as new leaders of MMD in 2016. Zaloumis is seeking an order of the High Court declaring the same convention null and void.
When the matter came up for continued defense before High Court judge Sharon Newa, Mikosa said the convention was in accordance with the party constitution, therefore, it was wrong for Mumba to claim that he is still the party president.
“If the court says the convention was not proper and that Dr Mumba is still president, I would be grieved. People have the right to choose their leader. After president Sata’s death, we wanted Rupiah Banda to contest the general elections but the court ruled that Nevers Mumba would be president. During the 2015 by-elections North Western Province had 4000 voters but Dr Mumba got less than 1000 votes,” Mikosa said.
“People used their powers vested in them by the Constitution to choose their leader.”
The 46-year-old farmer testified that he was a bona fide member of MMD since 1991 and held different positions. He told the court that MMD went for conventions after five years, not only at top leadership but at grassroots level. Mikosa said the first convention for MMD was in 1991 when the party constitution was being drafted.
“Among the issues enshrined in the constitution was the holding of the convention every five years. After the 1991 convention, the other one was in 1996 when we elected Frederick Chiluba as our party leader. There was a convention in 1993 which was not for electing leaders but for policy making,” he said.
“At the 2001 convention, we selected Levy Mwanawasa as our new party leader. In 2006, we had another convention and re-elected Mwanawasa as our leader. Following Mwanawasa’s death, we chose Rupiah Banda as our party leader. We wanted a leader to take over the party until the next convention.”
In 2011, MMD held another convention and re-elected Rupiah Banda as party leader and candidate in the general elections though they lost the presidential seat. The witness said in 2012, Banda decided to step down and issues arose over who was going to lead the party. Mikosa said the party had a provincial conference before the convention where Mumba was elected as party leader.
“Dr Mumba was elected at a provincial conference and not an extraordinary convention. He was chosen after Rupiah Banda left. We wanted him to run from 2012 to 2016 and then we would dissolved the NEC committee and elect new leaders,” Mikosa narrated.
Before the NEC meeting which was held on January 30, 2016 at Mika Convention Centre, Geoffrey Lungwangwa was beaten by some men and thrown out of the premises. The businessman said that the meeting had between 42 and 54 in attendance and the vice chairperson, Edgar Kembe, was not given chance to chair the meeting by Mumba. He explained that Mumba announced the meeting’s agenda on behalf of the national secretary, Mbulakulima, and ordered that only two issues would be discussed – the National convention and which was brought up due to the letters from the lower organs of the party – and the other one was how they would work with the PF. He told court that Mumba indicated that the issues were important and needed utmost attention.
Mikosa said Mumba directed NEC members not to comment on the matter but only allowed provincial chairmen to contribute and during deliberations, some provincial chairpersons supported him by saying his term would elapse in five years but he (Mikosa) objected saying he should only conclude Rupiah’s term and the party would proceed to a convention.
“There we only appointed Mbulakulima as national vice treasurer and the only NEC member and Dr Mumba who we chose as the president. From the 66 members, only two were elected and other NEC members were appointed by Dr Mumba,” he said.
“I said people from North Western Province continued calling for a convention in order to choose a party leader. And after I presented what people wanted, some members of the NEC were annoyed and the Copperbelt chairperson threatened to shoot me.”
Mikosa said Mumba suggested a vote for the convention but others refused. He added that those who voted against the convention were 37 and those who voted for the convention were five. After voting, Mumba called for tea break and during which he was castigated for not voting against the convention motion. When they resumed the meeting, he saw a man seated next to Mumba who introduced himself as Jeah Madaika. Mikosa said that Madaika was the only lawyer in the meeting and Mumba told them that the lawyer would explain how the party Constitution had given him powers to lead the party. The witness narrated that the following day, a briefing was held at the party secretariat and Mumba announced that the NEC during the meeting had resolved that he would continue leading the party for five years.
He also claimed that Mumba announced that provincial chairmen would be given vehicles. Mikosa narrated that whilst he was being handed his vehicle, Mumba warned him not to mislead people of North Western that a convention would be held failure to which he would crash his head. He said he went back to his province and briefed party members about the NEC meeting and members decided to petition NEC for a convention. The members drafted petitions and decided to send them to Mbulakulima. He said that before he could hand over the third petition after the ones sent via email in February and the post office in March, there was a circular that a convention would be held but later he watched Zaloumis on TV saying there would be no convention, an act that prompted him to take the petition personally.
He testified that the convention was called for by members of MMD and not the national secretary as the party constitution authorised them to call for a convention when two thirds of the party petition the NEC. He added that delegates were always chosen from all provinces before a convention. During cross-examination by Madaika, Mikosa apologised for telling court that Mwanawasa was elected as party president in 2001 as Chiluba was still leader of MMD when the third Republican president was chosen to represent the party during the general elections.
He clarified that Mwanawasa was elected as party president in 2005.
Mikosa also denied telling court that Mumba was elected at the same convention where Mbulakulima was the only appointed NEC member but after Madaika asked the court to guide the witness, Mikosa affirmed that Mumba was elected at the convention.