Every time when rival factions of the Movement for Multi Party Democracy (MMD) get on each other’s throat, a moral question arises. Whose interests are these people who are fighting for MMD trying to serve? Are they scrambling for a political party that is likely to form government in the foreseeable future, the answer is no. Are they jostling to lead millions or even thousands of stranded MMD members, again the answer is no.
In our view, this is a fight for begging rights. Those fighting for the MMD presidency want ownership to a vehicle which they have been using to solicit for their livelihoods. It is a self-interest struggle for survival.
Without suggesting who the legitimate president of the MMD should be, can say with confidence that both Mr Felix Mutati and Pastor Nevers Mumba are looking for value for their worth, rather than service.
Mr Mutati would like President Edgar Lungu and the Patriotic Front to treat him as a coalition partner because he brought the MMD on board. He wants to be treated with respect on the basis that if he separated from the PF, the ruling party would suffer the consequences because it’s the numbers he brought which helped form government. Because of this, Mr Mutati cannot afford to let go of the MMD. Without it, he won’t continue eating. Even if he has never held a press briefing to address his MMD supporters, because he supports PF himself, Mr Mutati still claims to be leading members of the former ruling party.
In the same vein, Pastor Nevers Mumba doesn’t want to be seen as a single defector to the opposition UPND. He would like president Hakainde Hichilema to treat him like he is an alliance partner. Even if those who surround Pastor Mumba when he is addressing press briefings are clearly UPND supporters, the faction leader would like to be identified as the president of the MMD. In fact, just recently when he was being politically persecuted through the courts, Pastor Mumba was flashing a UPND symbol at his ‘MMD supporters’ who went to give him solidarity.
We are not denouncing Mr Mutati and neither do we any malice against Pastor Mumba, but our question is; who are they serving? Which MMD members? As things stand, the four MMD members of parliament who ironically represent the party in the House, are capable of winning elections on their own or as independent candidates. If they lost, it would not be because they didn’t get an endorsement from Pastor Mumba or Mr Mutati.
We raise this issue because the dispute between these two leaders is a typical example of how our politicians serve their interest under the guise of providing a service to the people. In the process, they get youths at loggerheads and make them shed blood, just for their own sustenance.
Those who are benefiting from Mr Mutati’s presidency of the MMD are Mr Raphael Nakacinda and a couple of other officials in that faction. This is also the case with Pastor Mumba and the few who are in his camp. When the court finally settles their dispute, the one who will be declared the legitimate president will deliver the MMD to another political party that stands a real chance of winning the 2021 elections.
So it amused us last week when we saw youths going to attack Pastor Mumba at his residence where he was addressing the press. And Mr Nakacinda had the audacity of claiming the attack and saying his MMD cadres went to protect the interest of the party from a lair. Judging by his willingness to pay for their police bond after the so-called ‘MMD cadres’ were arrested, you could tell that he sent them to attack Pastor Mumba. So claiming that the youths went their on their own and out of their passion for the party is senseless.
The arrested youths themselves narrated, as they were being arrested that they were hired. They said their paymasters bought them alcohol and made them believe that they were going to a funeral. Indeed they were paid, because there are no MMD cadres who can waste money on hiring a bus to go and protect the party. There is no party to protect. Until someone with national interest comes to revive it, the MMD is nothing but a chalice for begging – no political party is worth bloodshed, especially not MMD which is up for sale.
While Mr Mutati is enjoying gudumilile in his marriage with the PF, he is hiring youths to go and break the law. For his continued enjoyment, Mr Mutati is willing to get youths beaten and arrested. What kind of leadership is this?
We urge Mr Mutati to find much more civilized ways of sustaining his relevance to the PF. He must not put the lives of innocent youths in danger like his faction did last week. In fact Mr Nakacinda, being a youth himself, must be ashamed of being at the centre of all this. He cannot be proud of sending youths to confront Dr Mumba at his private residence. What confrontation was he expecting rather than a violent clash?
It is not worth it. Mr Nakacinda and his Mutati must realise that this kind of politics always backfires. Those who live by the sword always succumb to the wrath of the sword. The violent seed that Mr Nakacinda is sowing will germinate and grow into a tree of calamity. Soon, the PF will completely toss them out and they will start running battles with the PF youths.
In fact, it is already happening. Doesn’t it surprise Mr Mutati that police can promptly go and arrest his hired cadres and protect Pastor Mumba? Like we said, President Lungu already gave him the ladder on which to climb down. So if this is the kind of confrontation he is sponsoring as a means of resolving disputes, let him wait for it.
Mr Nakacinda has told us that his MMD will field a presidential candidate in the 2021 elections. We can’t wait for a time when they will face real confrontation from the PF youths, so that they can get a test of their own medicine. If Mr Nakacinda is serious about challenging President Lungu in 2021, he better start losing weight already, because there will be running involved.