EMBATTLED Democratic Party (DP) president Harry Kalaba says the party will not be deterred by people who may be hired to cause internal wrangles.
And DP national secretary Jewis Chabi says party vice president Judith Kabemba and two others who ‘expelled’ Kalaba have been suspended until further notice.
But Kabemba and party national secretary Justine Nkonge have dragged Kalaba to court, seeking an injunction to restrain him from holding himself out as party president.
Addressing the media, Wednesday, Kalaba said DP was one of the most organised political parties and would handle its internal challenges smoothly.
“The DNC of our party has reaffirmed its commitment in the leadership that we started and this journey has not been without drama. We have had to be stopped in so many years by surrogates and by people who fall along the line for money. I walked out of the Patriotic Front in 2017 on the 17th of December on account of corruption. I said the PF was corrupt and never will I ever return to the PF. So when you hear ‘ba kabudo’ who are trying to make a noun out of my name, you will realise that things are not easy. I can tell you that I am delighted and very confident that our party, which is one of the most organised political parties, is going to handle its own internal challenges very smoothly. We have a team of men and women who are equal to the task,” Kalaba said.
“My job is easy and I will just watch and move on. We will continue to mobilise as a party and we will not be deterred like when the PF cancelled our certificates. The DP is the party people are counting on. Those who think they can come in between and stand in the way of this aspiration, they have drawn a blank because the DP will still emerge triumphant. You can be hired in whatever sought or you can have all the special relations but the DP will still emerge victorious. I left the PF because of corruption and indiscipline. Even if you think you are my best friend or you might think you are close to me if it is indiscipline, we shall part company. We will continue on that path as a party.”
Kalaba said the party would overcome all challenges ahead because it was growing.
“When we began the race for presidency, I told you that even if we do not win as a party in 2026, 2031, 2036 or 2041, that will not be the end of the journey but we will continue until the Lord decides. We have seen challenges and I can tell you this is nothing. We are going to overcome many challenges ahead of us because we are growing as a party. As your leader chosen at the defining moment of our country, I can tell you with certainty that I carry the cross with no reservations,” said Kalaba.
Meanwhile, DP national secretary Jewis Chabi said DP needed good people from the 1.8 million Zambians who voted for PF to join the party in order for it to become stronger.
“It is not everybody who was in PF who was bad, that is not true. PF was voted by 1.8 million people and are you telling me that all those people were bad heads? No. We need the good heads from the 1.8 million people to join us so that we become stronger than we were. So whatever they want to do, I can assure those three colleagues that we are equal to the task and we will take them on and they will be sorry,” he said.
Chabi said the party vice president Judith Kabemba and two others had been suspended until further notice.
“The assertions from the three colleagues that they sponsored president Kalaba to stand and only invited him are null and void. The constitution of the country does not allow to invite a president but demands that one goes to a convention to qualify as a presidential candidate. Going by the behaviour our three colleagues have exhibited of gross indiscipline all in the name of trying to please their pay masters, the emergency DNC meeting has decided that they be put on suspension immediately. Whilst they claim to have expelled president Kalaba, we are still going to write them exculpatory letters of which they will have to respond to in 14 days,” said Chabi.
“Failure to which or depending on their response then the DNC will make a final decision. So for now, Justine Nkonge, Judith Kabemba and Evans Chilabwe are suspended by the national committee of the DP. I want to ask all members of the DP across the country that we are the new hope. I want to ask them to remain calm and just know that we are in control of this patty. A party can never be governed by three individuals. All our members must continue mobilising because very soon we will start reconstituting our structures from the wards, constituency, district and provincial level.”
But Kabemba and Nkonge dragged Kalaba to court seeking an injunction to restrain him from holding himself out as party president.
Kabemba and Nkonge are suing as registered office bearers of the party while Kalaba has been sued as the party’s presidential candidate in the 2021 general elections.
According to a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, Kabemba and Nkonge stated that on November 10, 2018, the national executive committee resolved to invite and sponsor/adopt Kalaba as its presidential candidate in the 2021 general elections following the stepping aside of its party president, Gift Kalumba.
They stated that it was further resolved that the presidency would remain vacant until it was filled at a special democratic national committee meeting to be convened by the national secretary.
Kabemba and Nkonge stated that despite having been invited and sponsored as a presidential candidate in the 2021 general elections, Kalaba was not a registered office bearer for DP nor had he been elected as party president.
They stated that on September 25, 2021, Kalaba unilaterally relieved or dissolved all chairpersons of the party’s national committee contrary to Article 10 of the party constitution which requires positions of the democratic national committee to be elective.
The plaintiffs further claimed that there was lack of financial transparency and accountability on the part of Kalaba as he did not disclose the source of funds donated to the party as well as the amounts, which was contrary to Articles 23 and 27 of the DP constitution.
“The plaintiffs have noted that the defendant has embarked on steps to supplant the DP with the PF as he has already unilaterally appointed one Javis Chabi as national secretary even though the position of national secretary is elective under the party constitution. The defendant also unilaterally dissolved all party structures countrywide in the quest to replace the same with the Patriotic Front structures,” the duo stated.
Kabemba and Nkonge argued that unless Kalaba was restrained by way of an interim injunction until the matter was determined to its finality, he would continue masquerading or holding himself out as the party president and continue with the financial indiscipline as well as unilateral decisions intended to supplant the DP with PF.
They are therefore seeking a declaration that all unilateral decisions made by Kalaba are null and void.