Copperbelt MMD provincial chairman Denson Chisunka has told the Lusaka High Court that the 2016 convention which elected Felix Mutati and others into office remains an illegality because it was convened by a team of “illegal men who were in bad standing with the party”.
Chisunka has, however, told the court that the term of office for the MMD National Executive Committee (NEC) where he’s currently serving was supposed to expire two years ago.
This is the matter in which Winnie Zaloumis in her capacity as MMD acting national secretary for the Nevers Mumba led-MMD has sued Felix Mutati, Mwansa Mbulakulima, Raphael Nakacinda and George Kangwa in the Lusaka High Court, challenging the legality of the convention that was held in Kabwe that elected Mutati and others into office.
When the matter came up before High Court judge Sharon Newa for continued trial, Monday, Chisunka, 63, who is also a peasant farmer in Luanshya, told the court that he had been a member of MMD for 28 years.
“I’m one of the founder members of this party. I had the privilege to serve in various capacities at party level. I was appointed as member of NEC in September 25, 2014. That’s when I also became provincial chairman for Copperbelt Province,” Chisunka said.
He further told the court that only the NEC had powers to convene a national convention and that the people who summoned the 2016 convention, who were the defendants in the matter, had no authority because they were in bad standing with the party.
“The people who convened this convention had no authority. First defendant, Felix Mutati was expelled in February, 2016. He contested the expulsion in the High Court. And justice Mwamba Chanda confirmed the expulsion. So, Mr Mutati was not a member of MMD,” he narrated.
Chisunka added that the 2016 convention, therefore, remained an illegality.
“Second defendant, Mwansa Mbulakulima was suspended in February, 2016, so he was also a member in bad standing and had no authority. Raphael Nakachinda was also expelled in February, 2016, and was also in bad standing. Forth defendant was expelled in 2014, therefore, when you consider the team, which summoned the convention, it’s a team of illegal men, and illegality whether coated with sugar, will remain an illegality. So, what my brothers did was illegal and it remains an illegality,” he insisted.
“I would not attend something, which is illegal. I consider what happened not as a national convention, but just a gathering.”
Meanwhile, Chisunka said the term of office for NEC members, as well as provincial, district, constituency and branch committee members, was five years.
He added no conventions were held every five years as they were either held before or after five years.
“So, when a term expires, it’s for all party organs. When the term of office ends after five years, the incumbent leadership starting from the branch is the outgoing leadership that will organise the elections. The same happens at all organs. If the term of office ends and then the leadership runs away and it becomes free for all, that is anarchy, total confusion and it’s not allowed anywhere!” he said.
“We have never as a party held conventions every five years, never. The first was in 1991 where Dr [Fredrick] Chiluba was elected; 1993 we had an extraordinary convention where we looked at the performance of the party; 1995 we had the national convention. The next was 2001; then 2005; 2011 and the last one was in 2012.”
Chisunka, therefore, asked the court to nullify all the decisions, directives and resolutions, which were made at the ‘illegal’ convention.
He further asked the court to restore the original names of MMD officials headed by Nevers Mumba.
After he was asked by a lawyer representing the Mutati-led MMD Jonas Zimba in cross-examination whether it was his position that the four defendants summoned the 2016 convention, Chisunka changed his earlier position and said it was Mbulakulima who convened it while the rest only participated.
“These defendants participated in the convention, but the convener was Mbulakulima. So, they became part of the act,” he said.
Chisunka further said that the term of office for the National Executive Committee where he was currently serving was supposed to expire two years ago, in 2017.