MMD president Nevers Mumba says the ruling PF has no capacity to sustain an iron grip on opposition political parties when ordinary Zambians are economically hurting now.
Meanwhile, Mumba believes there are Zambians who are disillusioned with the UPND and PF and that they feel the MMD is a third reasonable path to follow.
On Tuesday, Lusaka High Court judge Sharon Newa declared Mumba the rightful leader of the former ruling party.
On Hot FM radio’s Hot Seat programme yesterday, Mumba was asked how he would mobilise the MMD when there is a shrinking political and civic space in the country now.
He responded that: “it’s going to change now!”
“There is going to be a lot of pressure from the Zambian people. The Patriotic Front cannot sustain a stranglehold on the opposition for too long. My advice to them, and I hope they are listening, is that in times where even the economy is good, you can only push people so far,” Mumba said.
“But right now, Zambians are hurting; everything around them economically seems to be falling apart.”
He noted that it was going to take many years to re-build Zambia’s economy.
Mumba added that there was currently an angry population.
“When you look at the load-shedding, which we’ve never had before, where you have 15 hours load-shedding. They only give you electricity between midnight and 4:00 AM! All these things are impacting on the emotions of Zambians,” Mumba said.
“Jobs are shrinking because job-owners (employers) cannot continue to hire people when they cannot produce at the same levels because there is no energy. What’s going to happen is that if they continue to do that, they are creating a revolt now and emboldening those opposing them to say cibecibe umwenso nimfwa (come what, we shall not fear death). They (PF) don’t wanna go there!”
Mumba said the country was not in a shape that PF could continue to punish the opposition for speaking out.
He advised the PF government to: “let go and allow opposition parties to speak and campaign.”
“I have been in government before; the moment you hold an opposition leader away from the media or from addressing the people, they actually become more important and more popular than when you allow them to go on ZNBC, for instance,” Mumba said.
“So, my advice to the Patriotic Front [is that] it’s in their interest to stop opposing the freedoms of the opposition. It’s gonna hurt them more than it gonna help them.”
Earlier on the programme, Mumba explained that the MMD was not any alliance.
“[But] at the moment there is no alliance [and] if we have to forge any alliance at any point, it has to be this legitimate leadership of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy to make the move,” he said.
“We were working with the UPND in 2016 – we are no longer in any contract with the UPND [and] I’m not aware of any contract with the Patriotic Front. The decision we have made now is to concentrate on building our vehicle and make it a viable vehicle towards 2021. We are putting our energies, our prayer, our resources in ensuring that MMD recaptures its lost space and we are confident that’s going to happen.”
On the financial viability of the MMD to hold a convention, Mumba, a preacher-cum-politician, said it had a lot of goodwill.”
“In fact, the goodwill has multiplied ever since the judgment of November 5th. The people who want to stand with us, to support us, people who feel that the absence of MMD has been detrimental to many things in the country and they think that we need to create a third reasonable path for the Zambian people to follow,” Mumba explained.
“There are those who are disillusioned with the Patriotic Front and the UPND.”
Meanwhile, Mumba observed that there were Zambians who were seeking a common sense approach to politics.
“There are those people who say ‘MMD is an old party, it’s dead, it can’t come back.’ [But] we have renewed it, we call it the new hope and the reason we call it new hope MMD is because we have identified those things Zambians did not like about the old MMD. We have abandoned those things and embraced values that are consistent with the current generation of young Zambians,” explained Mumba.