LUNDAZI district MMD chairman Godfrey Mapili told the Lusaka High Court that Nevers Mumba cannot claim to be the party’s president because he was only elected to complete Rupiah Banda’s term of office in 2012.
This is in a matter where MMD acting national secretary Winnie Zaloumis is challenging the 2016 convention which ushered in Felix Mutati, Raphael Nakacinda, Mwansa Mbulakulima and George Kangwa as new party leaders.
Zaloumis wants the High Court to declare the convention null and void.
Mapili told High Court judge Sharon Newa that he had been a member of the MMD since 1994 and he does not know some of the members who parade themselves as leaders of the party.
He said Mumba moves around with people the MMD does not know such as Winnie Zaloumis and Reuben Sambo, who were only seen for the first time under his reign.
He charged that he wondered how they became national secretary and party vice-president respectively when they had never been elected.
“Why are we here in court? Why are you, the court, entertaining this man (Dr Mumba) because even the people who have brought us here, this woman Winnie Zaloumis, is not MMD. We don’t know her and we have never elected her at any convention but she was just hand-picked by Dr Mumba from the streets,” Mapili said.
The witness told the court that he advised Mumba to call for a convention for people to elect their leaders as it was already clear that he could not work with the party’s elected leaders as he had aligned himself with total strangers whom he opted to work with through appointments, contrary to the party constitution.
Mapili said Mumba was the only elected member in 2012 as the entire NEC had already been elected in 2011 at the general convention in Kabwe.
“We demanded for a convention because the mandate of NEC members elected in 2012 expired in 2016. We received a notice that we were going for a convention authored by Mwansa Mbulakulima which was confirmation that we would go for a convention,” he said.
“Whilst in Kabwe, we were of the view that Mumba would attend the convention and the party would confer him with more powers and elect new leaders who would work with him.”
Mapili told the court that Mutati was chosen as party leader and a new NEC executive committee was selected but to everyone’s surprise the matter was taken to court.
He indicated that MMD was the only party that brought about democracy in Zambia and should be emulated by other political parties.
Mapili also expressed displeasure that there was tension within the party.
“We are not happy that there are wrangles within the party because when two elephants fight, the grass suffers the most. The party is neither for Mutati nor Mumba but the people,” he said.
“In 2020 we are going for a convention. If Mutati and the NEC have failed to work, we will remove them from office at the next convention.”
The witness further told the court that he knew that Mumba was concluding Banda’s term because of what they were told by party leaders.
In cross-examination by Mumba’s lawyer Jeah Madaika, Mapili was asked why the party does not always rely on the constitution.
He responded that regarding the constitution, he would not know, as he was an illiterate person who always follows what leaders say because he had never read the constitution.
Asked why he charged that Mumba was only taking over from Rupiah Banda, Mapili said even in his illiterate position, he knew that since Banda resigned, they had to go to a by-election.
Mapili said he did not know what happens during the NEC meetings but the court should believe him because NEC was formed by the people and the people can demand a convention.