Nevers Mumba named as MMD president
Former diplomat and preacher Nevers Mumba has been elected president of Zambia's opposition, Movement for Multi-Party Democracy.
FORMER diplomat and preacher Nevers Mumba has been elected president of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD), Zambia’s largest opposition party.
He won by a landslide on the second ballot on May 25 when he polled 870 votes. The runner-up garnered only 422. Mumba was also the runaway winner of the first round. He polled 548 votes, or 41.7% of the vote. His closest rival, leader of the opposition in parliament and former commerce minister, Felix Mutati, was on 366, or 27.8% of the vote.
Former finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane was third with 280 votes, or 21%.
Former foreign affairs minister Kabinga Pande polled 89 votes. Three other candidates completed the field.
The first round was inconclusive, as none of the candidates attained the 50+1 votes threshold. There had to be a second ballot to pick the winner from the top two.
The MMD interim leader, Michael Mabenga, said the people had spoken and the results reflected the will of the general party membership.
Outwardly at least, the matter seemed settled, yet there was a sense that the party had elected an outsider — the 57-year old has no real pedigree in the MMD.
Mumba was Zambia’s pioneer televangelist, an American-style television preacher, and his Victory Ministries operated out of the mining city of Kitwe.
He was a presidential candidate in 2006. He subsequently served briefly as vice-president and his last post was as High Commissioner to Canada.
He then entered politics as the leader of his own party, the National Citizens Coalition (NCC), on whose ticket he contested the presidential election.
He was trounced and it was not until he was appointed vicepresident in a surprise move by the late president Levy Mwanawasa that his political star seemed to rise.
At that stage he integrated what remained of his party into the MMD.
But his appointment was short-lived and was abruptly terminated by the volatile Mwanawasa. Mumba reappeared on the national stage after president Rupiah Banda named him to the Canadian post.
He was never really an MMD insider. Many believe that the dramatic circumstances of his recall from Canada and his response made the day for him, as he was among the first leaders from the vanquished MMD to boldly stand up to President Michael Sata.
They clashed head-on, with Sata firing the first salvo. He publicly berated Mumba for resisting the recall from Canada and said he was aware of financial irregularities at the mission.
On arrival, his luggage was searched at the airport, and a few days later, he was summoned to police headquarters for questioning. However, no charges have so far been laid against him.
The rank and file saw in him the most appropriate leader for the MMD at this time.
The feeling was that the MMD needed a leader who could go head to head with Sata and the former Kitwe pastor fitted the bill and was willing.
The PF has said that he lacks political experience but what the MMD needs is a vigorous leader to keep it alive in the public memory.