Sunday, April 10, 2005

Mumba Suspension by MMD NEC Reeks of Foul Play

Dr. Mumba's suspension from the MMD NEC sends a very dangerous signal: do not challenge the status quo or you will be targeted. It also raises suspicions of what is really going on and why.

It is clear that the premise under which the MMD NEC has suspended Dr. Mumba is flawed and raises a lot of suspicions. Why? Dr. Mumba clearly followed MMD Party protocol when he submitted his letter on the allegations of corruption to the Party Secretary, Vernon Mwaanga. Someone in the MMD Secratariat has leaked the letter to the press. How can we determine this without much investigation? Read carefully the text of the article in The Post (April 8) regarding his suspension: "And when reached for comment, Pastor Mumba said he could not discuss in the media the contents of his letter because doing that would be against the party's procedure. He said if he had a complaint, procedure entailed that he complain through the national secretary. 'The national secretary has not replied, so I cannot say anything on that,' Pastor Mumba said. 'It is only when the national secretary responds that I will know whether or not I will be at liberty to discuss that issue.'

Key words: And when reached for comment. Dr. Mumba was approached by The Post about his letter meaning The Post had access to that letter prior to approaching Dr. Mumba for comment. So how did the MMD Party NEC come to the conclusion that Dr. Mumba leaked the letter to the Press? What proof do you have that it was Dr. Mumba who leaked the letter on which basis you have taken this action to suspend him from the NEC? We hold the MMD Party Leadership accountable to provide a truthful answer to this question.

The real issue now is who in Mr. Mwaanga's office leaked that letter to The Post? That is where the breach of confidentially has taken place. We call upon the MMD Party Secretary to launch a thorough investigation and identify who in his office leaked the letter to the press. Secondly, we demand that the suspension order be immediately rescinded. Dr. Mumba’s letter, which is now public due to the leak, contained highly confidential issues which he submitted, as per Party rules, to the MMD Party Secretary. How the letter was leaked to the press demands a thorough investigation and the truth revealed.

Our suspicions of the MMD’s attempts to squash and silence Dr. Mumba through threats and intimidation to force him to withdraw his candidacy has been confirmed by this latest action. The people of Zambia demand answers to the following questions:
1) Did the MMD Party President, Mr. Mwanawasa know about the leak and did he play a part in authorizing the leak to the press of his opponent’s CONFIDENTIAL letter to Party Secretary? In other words, what did the President know and when did he know about it?
2) When Dr. Mumba was dismissed in October 2004, he sent Mr. Mwanawasa a CONFIDENTIAL letter. Mr. Mwanawasa read that letter that was sent to him in CONFIDENCE to the press. As an attorney, Mr. Mwanawasa surely understands the issue of confidentiality. Then why did he deliberately read Dr. Mumba’s letter (that he sent to him in confidence) to the press? Mr. Mwanawasa also exposed confidential correspondence he had with former Vice-President Enoch Kavindele prior to his dismissal. Is there any reason to doubt that we have before us a repeat performance whereby another confidential letter from Dr. Mumba to the party leadership has been leaked to the press deliberately? The last time, it was the Party President. Who did it this time?
3) It is apparent to us that Dr. Mumba’s popularity has grown since his announcement. He demonstrated leadership and courage in coming out boldly to state to the nation that the current MMD Party President cannot win the 2006 elections. He laid before the nation why he was running for President ( He stated what many within the party have known for a long time but were afraid to state publicly: Mr. Mwanawasa was not a winning candidate for the MMD in 2006. Dr. Mumba exercised his democratic right to contest for a vacant position within the MMD Party. Is this yet another attempt to squash his candidacy at the Convention?
4) Is this latest suspension action by the MMD NEC a prelude to Dr. Mumba’s expulsion from the MMD party just before the May 4th. Convention in Kabwe?

We have noted that the suspension does not prevent him from contesting for any position in the Party. However, we are forced to conclude that his suspension from the National Executive Committee of the MMD is a sign of desperation by the party leadership to try to protect the incumbent at all cost. In so doing, those responsible for taking this action have violated all democratic values and principles. The people at the grassroots in Zambia will not stand for this.

We call on all MMD Party officials to immediately investigate the allegations brought out by Dr. Mumba of electoral corruption within the Party, thoroughly investigate and identify who leaked to the press Dr. Mumba’s confidential letter to the MMD Party Secretary, and immediately rescind the suspension order and continue Dr. Mumba’s membership in the NEC. Anything less would only increase the cloud of suspicion of foul play that now hangs over the MMD Party and the trust of the Zambian people in the ruling party would be lost.

And if the allegations of electoral corruption at the Presidential level prove to be true, the people of Zambia deserve to know about it NOW, not after the MMD convention in Kabwe on May 4th.

The world is watching.

Joshua Ngoma and Victor Chanda
Mumba for President Campaign Team

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