CRACKS have deepened in the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), as the opposition party has suspended spokesperson Yotam Mtayachalo from all party activities.

In a letter dated September 16 written by party national secretary Nathan Mulonga, Mtayachalo was suspended for mobilising party leaders to hold an unauthorised meeting in an effort to expel embattled party president Edith Nawakwi.

“I have received a complaint letter from the provincial chairman Central Province alleging that you are interfering in the disciplinary matter involving Mr Jerry Simpemba. There are allegations that you are mobilising party leaders to hold an unauthorised meeting in which you intend to expel Miss Nawakwi as party president. The action you are being accused of are tantamount to: flouting the party constitution and the disciplinary regulations as per provisions of the party constitution article 54 (4), read in conjunction with disciplinary regulations five, which states as follows: contravention of the party constitution, including regulations, rules, orders or decisions made thereunder; conduct likely to bring the party into ridicule, contempt, disrepute or public domain; failure to obey lawful orders, instructions and directives of the party organ or leader authorised to give the same,” stated Mulonga.

“Therefore, with the foregoing above, you are hereby suspended from all party activities. Your matter will be reported to the national policy committee for ratification and further directives. You are, therefore, given 14 days to exculpate yourself of the allegations levelled against you.”

But in a statement issued by FDD Chama North constituency chairman Solomon Mbuzi and Chama South constituency chairman Fredson Lungu, the party in Chama District expressed disappointment with the decision to suspend Myatachalo over frivolous reasons.

“We party officials from Chama District in Muchinga Province are concerned and disappointed with the decision by the party to suspend Yotam Myatachalo, the party spokesperson and chairperson for labour, on the reasons advanced to suspend him, are frivolous and not legitimate. This is not the first time the party is taking such action as it is not long ago that Mr Myatachalo and Mr Chifumu Banda, the party vice president and several others, were suspended from the party for exercising their democratic rights ,but had to seek court intervention,” they stated.

“Further, we are disappointed with the decision to suspend Mr Simpemba, the provincial secretary for Central Province, for calling for the holding of the national policy committee to discuss the national convention and party mobilisation as the party is behind time, but nothing is happening on the ground as other serious parties are busy mobilising in readiness for the 2021 for general election. As such, FDD members are concerned about these happenings in the party as not even a single senior party leader has ever visited the district since 2016 to check on party activities.”

The party members warned that all party members in Chama District would resign if the decision was not reversed.

“Furthermore, if the party does not rescind the decision to suspend Mr Mtayacahlo, the party shall miss an opportunity to register its first MP in Muchinga because the people of Chama North have already decided. Mr Mtayachalo has mobilised the party single-handedly and any measures meant to frustrate him shall spell doom for the party in Chama District. We demand the immediate withdrawal of the suspension of the two suspension letters of the leaders. Failure to which, all members from Chama North, Chama South and ward officials, including other party officials, shall resign to join either the PF or the UPND,” read the statement.

And in an interview, Mtyachalo said no amount of intimidation would deter him from demanding what was enshrined in the party constitution.

“No amount of intimidation whatsoever shall deter myself and the members from demanding for what is enshrined in the party constitution. Further, I am happy with the support we are getting from nine provinces, which is extremely overwhelming and encouraging because whatever members are demanding for such as the holding of the long-awaited party convention, party mobilisation activities and holding of regular national policy committee meetings to plan and review party activities, is constitutional. Therefore, one wonders where they are drawing these powers from to suspend members, who are exercising their democratic and constitutional rights, which in itself is a gross violation of article 8 (5) of the party constitution and I quote, ‘Any member of the party who by his/her actions undermines the rights of members to freely express themselves shall be subject to disciplinary action…’ and as such, people must be mindful about some of these illegal, unconstitutional and desperate decisions they are making as there are most likely going to backfire!” cautioned Mtayachalo.

“Meanwhile, l want to appeal to the general membership and the leadership and the party countrywide to remain calm and united, but never allow themselves to be intimidated. The battle to liberate FDD from authoritarian type of leadership has just been born, and I want to assure them that victory is coming our way. Our struggle is not a selfish one, but a genuine cause, which is meant to protect the ideals and values the party was founded on.”