I have cried and pleaded to Fourth Republican president Rupiah Banda to support me as MMD president, yet still not received from him, says Nevers Mumba.
And Dr Mumba says once Felix Mutati regularises his membership with the MMD, he is free to participate in the affairs of the party.
Meanwhile, Dr Mumba has warned government to stop preventing opposition parties in the country from speaking out or else there is likely to be a countrywide revolt.
Speaking on Hot FM’s Hot Seat programme, Thursday, Dr Mumba said he had done his part in trying to reach out to his friends in the former ruling party, including Banda, who he had begged for support.
“All I am asking for is that give me love back! How long will I continue to stretch out to show the commitment and love to them and what I get in return is continuous attacks and fights? When I came back from Canada, the first person I went to see was president Rupiah Banda to do two things: I went to his house and I said, ‘sir, I want to thank you for having appointed me High Commissioner to serve my nation, I was greatly honoured. Second of all, I want you to support me as I have been asked to run for the Presidency in this country and I need your guidance in doing that.’ When there were these problems between him and myself, the Church called us in front of bishops at EFZ (Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia) buildings. I knelt down before president Banda and asked for his forgiveness so that we could run the party together properly,” Mumba recalled.
“Again, when I realised nothing much changed in that scenario; not too long ago, I think a year and a half ago, I drove off to his house, together with my vice-president, again, I pleaded with him and asked for forgiveness if there is anything I had done. I continued to do this. One time we met in one of the lawyers’ offices and when I heard what he wanted to do, I cried in front of him and asked for his support and he told me, ‘no don’t cry, when a pastor cries, it is a bad omen!’ But I said, ‘sir, I want you to know that I have been seeking your support as my elder brother so that we re-build this party so I have done what I could in trying to reach out to my friends.”
And Mumba said he did not fear standing up against Mutati at the party’s convention, saying he had beaten him once before.
“This is not the first time honourable Felix Mutate has been expelled; this is his second expulsion! He knows how to get back to the party and all those that have left our party, they know how to get back. I cannot stand here and announce that, ‘yes, Felix and everybody, come back! You are now members.’ I have no powers like that, that came out in the court. Once he regularises his membership, and the National Executive Committee and the disciplinary committee bring him in, he becomes qualified to participate in the affairs of the party. And to me, I don’t want to be preoccupied with an individual; I have beaten Felix before and I cannot fear to stand with him or anybody else for that matter,” Mumba added.
He also warned that if the PF government continued to block opposition parties from mobilising their members, there would be a revolt.
“The Patriotic Front cannot sustain a stronghold in the opposition for too long. My advice to them is that, in times even when the economy is good, you can only push people so far. But right now, Zambians are hurting! Everything around them, economically, seems to be falling apart and it is going to take many years to re-build this economy. We are looking at an angry population! Jobs are declining and shrinking because job owners cannot continue to hire people when they cannot produce at the same level because there is no energy. So, the country is not in such a shape that PF can continue to punish the opposition for speaking out. What is going to happen if they continue to do that, they are creating a revolt and they don’t want to go there. The only thing that needs to happen is that the PF needs to let go and allow opposition parties to speak and campaign,” advised Mumba.
Meanwhile, speaking during his first press briefing following his court case victory in the MMD leadership dispute, Wednesday, Mumba, a former Republican vice-president, announced that his party had no position on nominated member of parliament Raphael Nakacinda because as far as he was concerned, his nomination remains the prerogative of President Edgar Lungu.
While he called on his party’s three existing members of parliament to state their position on their allegiance at his office, he maintained that Nakacinda’s fate remained in President Lungu’s hand as he was the appointing authority.
“We will not disturb our MPs, but they have the role to play to ensure that this national executive committee is comfortable with them because being the MP means what they say in Parliament is our thought and our position and our policy position. They have to be loyal to this team in order to represent us in the House. So, I expect that within two days for them to approach the office and make their position known. But there are two that I can’t say a thing about. There’s Hon. (Raphael) Nakacinda, who from the statement that was made when he was nominated, that he was nominated as a way of keeping the alliance between PF and MMD. There is also the Deputy Speaker, Madam Catherine Namugala and it was announced that she was being nominated because the new Constitution does not allow to have one party holding both the position of the Speaker and Deputy. So, we don’t have the position as a party because the decision and appointment came from the Republican President and that will remain in the hands of the President to make the decision on that,” said Mumba.
“We have just come into office we are going to go through all the files and documents and we don’t know what is in this office. Right now, we cannot make any comment about any alliances until we have some information that there is some arrangement that has been made in our name. Otherwise, I can say we have not seen any documents showing that
we are in any alliance with either PF or UPND.”