By MOFFAT CHAZINGWA-
MMD Copperbelt executive members have said the former ruling party risks not participating in the forthcoming presidential by-election if plans to field former president Rupiah Banda are not dropped.
MMD Copperbelt Information and Publicity Secretary Peter Phiri said in line with the party constitution and democratic tenancies, Mr Banda had no legitimacy to contest the presidential by-election on the MMD ticket.
Mr Phiri said this in an interview in Kitwe over the weekend shortly after scores of Copperbelt University (CBU) students, thronged MMD Copperbelt women chairperson Edith Mataka’s residence in Parklands residential area to denounce Mr Banda’s return to active politics.
Mr Phiri who was flanked by Ms Mataka said the Copperbelt party executive would not recognise any other candidate apart from its legitimately and constitutionally elected Nevers Mumba.
“It is illegal for some Members of Parliament and the party national secretary Muhabi Lungu to impose Rupiah Banda when the MMD has a constitutionally and democratically elected president. We on the Copperbelt have refused to support that illegality,” Mr Phiri said.
He took a swipe at Mr Lungu for his alleged conduct to produce a disciplinary letter written to Dr Mumba in a tabloid newspaper.
Mr Phiri said he was aware of a plot by Mr Lungu to reconstitute the Copperbelt party executive following the stance to refuse to accept Mr Banda’s candidature for the presidential by-election.
“We don’t hate Mr Rupiah Banda, we love him but we are saying he ran his time in politics and it’s now time for others. The best thing for him to do is to step aside but if he wants to dare us, we are ready to take him,” Mr Phiri said.
He said personally, he was ready to do anything within his means to block Mr Banda from contesting the forthcoming by-elections.