Divisions have emerged in the MMD in Western Province forcing President Rupiah Banda to dispatch national executive committee (NEC) members to the area to resolve the crisis.
And the MMD’s campaign in the Western Province has turned problematic and violent following repeated clashes between supporters of the current Mongu Central member of parliament Joseph Mulyata and a Lusaka-based contender in Mongu on Tuesday.
The MMD NEC delegation led by its chairman for security and protocol Lt Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha is on a crisis visit to Mongu to resolve the confusion that has erupted over the MMD’s parliamentary adoption process.
Lt Gen Shikapwasha, who is also information and broadcasting minister, arrived in Mongu on Tuesday afternoon, together with defence minister Dr Kalombo Mwansa and Moses Muteteka, who is the MMD’s national youth chairman to resolve the intra-party problems.
Lt Gen Shikapwasha said NEC was interested to know why there were still problems in the province even after President Banda’s advice.
“We are not here to criticise anybody but we are here to resolve this as a family,” Lt Gen Shikapwasha told a heated meeting of some MMD provincial executive committee (PEC) members held in a restaurant at Mongu’s Country Lodge yesterday morning.
The proceedings of the meeting that was attended by Dr Mwansa, Muteteka, Western Province minister Richard Mwapela, provincial vice-chairman Katongo Kameya, provincial secretary Fines Likando, provincial chairlady Namukolo Mupo and provincial youth secretary Njamba Musangu was heated and at times tempers flared up.
During the meeting, Kameya told Likando not to give fake and untruthful information to NEC officials, before Lt Gen Shikapwasha advised him against doing what he was doing.
Kameya said despite being the provincial secretary, Likando could not vouch on the party’s adoption process in Mongu but that he could only authoritatively speak on the adoptions in Senanga where he lives.
However, Likando said whilst trying to defend himself that during the consideration of parliamentary candidates recommended by the lower organs, the PEC members were never given an opportunity to vote.
“There was no voting, it was just a discussion,” Likando said.
Lt Gen Shikapwasha then asked Likando who was popular in Mongu Central between Mulyata and Dr Mwilola Imakando. He also wanted to know how many meetings each of them had held towards their parliamentary campaign bid.
Lt Gen Shikapwasha said it was important that NEC was privy to the situation on the ground in Mongu Central. Likando replied that according to his opinion, Dr Imakando was more popular among the community.
During the discussion which was now centred on the possibility of the MMD performing the way it did in 2006, Lt Gen.
Shikapwasha also asked about Linyungandambo, a Barotse activist movement that has now merged with the Barotse Freedom Movement (BFM) to form one movement called BFM/Linyungandambo..
“Is Linyungandambo a political party?” Lt Gen Shikapwasha asked.
Likando responded that Linyungandambo was not a political party but an activist group.
The meeting that was joined by provincial chairman Simasiku Namakando ended at around 10:00 hours but the bitter exchanges between Kameya and Likando continued.
An emotional Kameya was heard asking Likando outside the restaurant to be respectful to him because he was a senior party official. But Likando said it was Kameya who was a green horn.
The heated meeting drew attention from onlookers who were at the lodge and by 11:00 hours Mulyata was seen driving into Country Lodge to meet the other party officials within the premises.
Meanwhile, MMD sources told The Post yesterday that the Simasiku Namakando-led provincial executive made changes on the names of individuals that emerged as the preferred candidates at both constituency and district levels in Senanga and Luena constituencies, among other constituencies.
“For example, this provincial minister Richard Mwapela, who is re-contesting the Kalabo Central seat, got all the votes at the province. Former Ambassador to Japan Godfrey Simasiku got zero votes and even Chinyama Konga got zero,” the source said.
“In Mongu Central deputy defence minister and incumbent Joseph Mulyata almost got all the votes at the provincial adoption. Dr Mwilola Imakando got zero.”
The sources said while former diplomat, Kelly Walubita had edged his competitors at constituency and district levels, he tumbled at the province where Senanga businessman Charles Mututwa was adopted.
Incumbent Senanga MP Clement Sinyinda has opted not to recontest his seat.
The sources said in Nalikwanda, Prof Geoffrey Lungwangwa again went unopposed just like Mundia Ndalamei in Sikongo Constituency.
The sources also disclosed that the province had settled for a former Bank of Zambia employee identified only as Kufakwandi to be the party candidate in Sesheke Central.
“But the family for the incumbent, Adonis Mufalali, said they will not take that kindly,” the source said.
The sources said community development minister Michael Kaingu again went unopposed in Mwandi and that the province had decided to contest the Mulobezi seat with MMD chairman Michael Mabenga, who lost the adoption at district level.
According to the sources in Nalolo, the province got a woman named Christine Akayombokwa.
“You see in Liuwa, finance minister and the incumbent, Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane and Lubinda Imasiku, respectively, got 11 votes each at district level but Dr Musokotwane has defeated Imasiku at provincial level,” the source said.
The sources said labour minister Austin Liato also went unopposed for the Kaoma Central seat during the provincial adoption process.
“In Mangango, the province went for the incumbent Mwendoi Akakandelwa despite coming number two at constituency level,” the source said.
“In Luena, this guy from Radio Lyambai, Mukeya Liwena, came out number one at both constituency and district stages but the province opted for Mwangala Maopu. They felt that Mukeya was a mole for ADD leader Charles Milupi.”
The sources said the provincial executive decided to go with health deputy minister Dr Christopher Kalila as their man in Lukulu East and a Lukulu airtime dealer identified only as Mutelo was named as the executive’s choice in Lukulu West.
And MMD sources told The Post yesterday that supporters of Mulyata and another contender, former Economics Association of Zambia EAZ president Dr Mwilola Imakando, clashed at Mongu Central Market over a campaign issue on Tuesday afternoon.
MMD sources said the scuffle erupted after Dr Imakando went round three markets in Mongu telling people that he, and not Mulyata, was President Rupiah Banda’s favourite to contest the parliamentary seat on the ruling party’s ticket.
“And that should he Dr Imakando win, he would be appointed finance minister with the incumbent, Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane being appointed Republican Vice-President,” eyewitness sources said.
The sources said when Mulyata’s cadres heard what Dr Imakando was telling them, they got into Kambule MMD ward councillor Yowano Chisambwe’s light truck to go and stop him.
“Because they know that Mulyata is the one who is popular they went to stop Dr Imakando and that is how the scuffle started,” the source said.
Police had to be called in to break up the intra-party scuffle and in the process some people were detained over the incident.
Among those that were picked up in connection with the violent clash was Chisambwe, who is seen as Mulyata’s key cadre, among others.
Police sources said yesterday morning that Chisambwe had been released from detention but that a list of names of MMD cadres suspected to have sparked the clash had been submitted to Mongu Central Police.
“They have been asked to go and give their statements today,” the source said.
Other party sources close to Dr Imakando said he was the popular candidate and that is why Mulyata was trying to cause confusion.