THE end of this electoral cycle marks the birth of new possibilities for the MMD and the people of Zambia in general, says party leader Nevers Mumba.
In a statement yesterday, Mumba said although the party did not win this year’s general elections, Zambians gained by successfully removing from power “the destructive and abusive government” of the Patriotic Front.
“We therefore mingle our personal tears of loss with the national tears of victory and joy. It is a bitter-sweet experience for our party,” he said.
Mumba said MMD and the UPND, the winners of the elections, had shared common values and dreams ahead of last elections as both wanted the PF out of government.
He added that both parties wanted to start the process of restoring order to the country.
“In all our presentations, I started off with our number one assignment which is to bring order to our country,” Mumba said. “To see order coming back to bus stops and markets even before the new President is sworn into office is an indication that Zambians know what they want and will not wait for the new government to bring order. The citizens themselves are leading the way.”
He said the MMD’s loss in the just ended elections provides for the party a platform to change everything that must be changed and to be honest about its state.
“To answer the question whether we want to become the leading party or just one of the many political parties meant to crowd the political stage of our country… In order to find a path to the eventual leadership of this country, we must look at the causes of the very poor showing in this last election. The shame and pain of losing an election is unavoidable. Neither shame nor loss define the values we carry in us,” he said. “Winning an election has to do with one’s readiness and positioning more than anything else. In this last election we were neither ready nor positioned.”
Mumba urged the membership to understand the status of the MMD and how Zambians view it.
“We must understand the challenges of raising money for an organisation that seemingly has yet not put its house in order. In contrast we must look at why the newer, even smaller parties performed better than us. This is an important exercise that must not be avoided,” he said. “The stubborn truth is that MMD is a former ruling party which falls in the column of parties like UNIP and now the PF has joined the ranks. How does this affect us? We cannot ignore the mantra that ‘… a former ruling party cannot return to power’. Secondly, to win an election, a party needs goodwill and money – millions of dollars in the case of a general election. We could not garner enough goodwill or money because investors were not sure that we were properly positioned to win the election. They feared to lose their investment.”
Mumba added that the infighting brought in by former president Rupiah Banda and several “old party members who wanted to stage an unconstitutional comeback in 2014” dismantled the structures of the party and created doubt in the minds of voters that it was a party under siege and therefore unstable to command the respect of the voting public.
He said the destabilisation by a group sponsored by the PF eroded the confidence from Zambians as they felt that a vote for the MMD was a wasted vote.
“It is because of this instability that we could not get many people to stand as MPs and councillors. This contributed to the poor showing at the presidential level as the ones who campaign for the president are the MPs and councillors. Fourthly, the culture of MMD as a former ruling party must be changed,” he said. “Many members today give nothing to the party in terms of financial support. Until each vocal member demonstrates an ability to support the party, their participation at high levels of leadership must be curtailed. Only our readiness to face reality will help us make right decisions for the future.”
Mumba said the image of the party is in tatters and the members’ effort to fix it had been constantly interrupted by the PF supported surrogates whose livelihoods depended on how much they destabilised it.
He noted that to stand a chance in any future election, the party must radically fix all the negatives.
Mumba said to do that the party must be brutal and decisive.
“Some of you may wish to take the route of gradualism but I stand with those who wish to fix these ills now. We cannot afford to proceed for another day under these circumstances. We cannot change the past but we can command the future. There are also those who believe that to change the current leadership of the party may solve the problems I have highlighted above. I wish to remind our leaders that for three years, our party was under a so-called new leadership of honourable Felix Mutati and others. Although it was an illegal leadership, they had taken over the levers of leadership from us until the courts reversed the illegality,” he said. “Our party under that leadership did not raise the fortunes of our party but diminished our footprint in the political space. On November 5, 2019, the courts finally ruled in our favour. We got back a fragmented party with party property looted. Vehicles had been shared amongst the illegal leadership and many others sold off and the money shared.”
Mumba said it was his opinion that only radical and well thought through decisions could reverse the party’s fortunes.
He said a team of seven to be led by MMD vice-president (political) Reuben Samboh would come up with researched options for the way forward.
Mumba said everything is on the table and the party shall look at all options that will finally be brought to the national executive committee for ratification within two weeks’ time.
“We have friends and partners both at home and abroad who are waiting for us to make the difficult decisions so that they lend their support. Until then, we continue to anticipate a winning outcome for us all. Thank you and God bless,” said Mumba.