Nine MPs suspended for opposing Chiluba's third term bid

Lusaka- Zambia (PANA) -- Nine MPs from Zambia's ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) have been suspended for opposing a resolution passed by the party's northern provincial conference to endorse plans to allow President Frederick Chiluba to seek for a third term of office.
The MMD suspended eight MPs from Northern province as well as the Southern province chairman, Edgar Keembe, for various offences.
Northern province chairman Daniel Kapapa named those suspended as deputy ministers for Education, Mathias Mpande, Local Government and Housing Dominic Musonda and Celestino Chibamba of Commerce, Trade and Industry.
Others are Paul Bupe, Chisala Mponda, Charity Mwansa, Aston Kakungu and Griever Sikasote.
Kapapa said that recommendations have also been submitted to the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) to take action against three other MPs, Labour minister Edith Nawakwi, Finance deputy minister Newton Ng'uni and Lands deputy minister Ackim Nkole who are NEC members.
He accused the suspended MPs and four other MMD officials of acting contrary to provincial resolutions passed in February to support calls within the party to allow Chiluba seek a third term of office.
Kapapa said the suspended MPs have been given 10 days to exculpate themselves for violating article "7" of the party disciplinary regulations and article "10" of the party constitution.
On the other hand, Southern province chairman, Keembe was suspended for his conduct likely to bring the name of the party into contempt, ridicule or disrepute.
He was also sanctioned for disobedience and insubordination.
At the recent MMD Southern provincial conference, which rejected calls to allow Chiluba's third term bid, Keembe had campaigned against the envisaged amendment of the party constitution to accommodate the move.
So far, 12 MPs have been suspended from the ruling party for opposing the move to allow Chiluba hold the presidency for more than two terms, as stipulated in the constitution.
The others who were recently suspended are Commerce deputy minister Jazzman Chikwakwa, Anthony Mwila and Landislus Kamata.
It is likely the 12 suspended MPs would miss next week's MMD national convention scheduled for 27-30 April.
They could only attend the convention if their cases are cleared.
Meanwhile, the Lusaka High Court has granted three MMD members of parliament an injunction restraining the party from going ahead with the forthcoming convention.
In their application filed on Thursday, the legislators charged that the party had not complied with the party constitution.
The MPs - Griver Sikasote, Paul Bupe and Major Francis Kamanga - claimed that the MMD had failed to garner the requisite number of petitions as required by Article 15 of the party constitution.
According to this article, the NEC could only convene an extraordinary convention if it is requested by at least one third of the provincial executive committees.
The three MPs argued that the MMD national secretary Michael Sata who is the defendant, purported that he had obtained petitions from seven provincial executive committees.
However, only the Copperbelt province was found to have called for such a meeting.
The matter comes up for hearing on April 24.
The extraordinary national convention would discuss the amendment of the party constitution to pave the way for Chiluba's bid for a third term of office.
It would also elect the party president as well as other members of the executive committee.

20 Abril 2001 08:22:00

xhtml CSS