Thursday, 13 December 2012

Nevers’ MMD Rebranding: Rushed, Awkward, And Uninspiring

As a result there are still MPs in the party who are available on the political slave market, offering themselves to serve in the Patriotic Front government at whatever price, including selling their birth right of being MMD

By Nyalubinge Ngwende
The problems of leadership and the financial woes that continue to haunt the former ruling party—Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) will not go out soon.
For long the MMD leadership including President Sata, who was secretary general of the former ruling party, was not forward looking. Maybe they thought they would remain in MMD forever and the party would not leave the reins of power.
This can be seen at how the party, which ran the affairs of government for 20years since1991, throughout its tenure failed to make returns and pay statutory fees to the registrar of societies. For 240 moons, 120 of which President Sata shares as part of the MMD, the now opposition party did not remit close to a billion Kwacha in returns to the registrar of societies.
After the MMD has paid this money through the nose, another revelation that the party owes Bank of Zambia K4.044 billion has emerged.  The money is debt the ruling party accrued from borrowings as an institution and through its now defunct MOPED Investments Limited. This money was borrowed from the now defunct Commerce Bank Zambia Limited and Meridien BIAO Bank Zambia Limited.

aThe MMD owed Meridien K2,801,150,684.93, while MOPED Investments Limited owed Meridien K98,348,493.15. The party also owed the liquidated Commerce Bank K444,550,242.37.

In a letter written by BOZ on October 11, 2011, the central bank wants prompt settlement of the debts and that the party could ask the bank to agree the terms of settlement.
That does not end there, the party still has to clear its name with the legal system over 300 vehicles and other materials it used during campaigns, but believed to have been acquired with stolen money.
To aggravate the problem, the party has internal problems with leadership wrangles making news headlines, as accusations and counter accusations increase over the mismanagement of party affairs.

First the secretary general of the MMD major Richard Kachingwe filed an injunction to stop his party president Nevers Mumba from performing his duties because he is not a member of the former ruling party. Apparently Mumba was expelled from MMD in 2005 and went to form Reform Party. When he came back to win the top post of the MMD after it was thumped out of power by the PF in the September 11 elections, Mumba did not renounce his presidency with the Reform Party.
This oversight by Mumba and the MMD has made them to come under the keen eye for breaking the rules that do not allow for a political party president to appear on two different political organizations, holding the same position, on the list of the registered societies. Mumba has been pleading with Clement Andeleki, the registrar, to be forgiven for the oversight.
This is not the end of the MMD problems, but marks the beginning of many woes that the former ruling party will have to weather.  

Upon taking over as leader of the opposition, Dr Mumba took the high spirited path of taking the MMD straight to the laundry, which he called a process of rebranding. His idea was to rid the opposition party of the bad tag of corruption. Two to three days hiding at a retreat, Nevers Mumba emerged declaring to the public that MMD had rebranded and all leaders with a tag of corruption would not be allowed to remain in its ranks. 

But only a few months from the branding, nothing inspiring has been coming out of the MMD. Squabbles and lack of ordered communication are part of proof for the disorganization.

In the process, the opposition lost a parliamentary seat in Mufumbwe to the Patriotic Front, after expelling its MP Stephen Masumba. Masumba was adopted by the Patriotic Front and retained his parliamentary seat in a by-election.

These are not familiar problems with an institution that undergoes rebranding. Such problems are just proof that MMD awkwardly approached its re-branding because it has not produced anything close to a new MMD that must inspire members. It only addressed one problem of corruption, ignoring other negative assets. 

The same old tag of using thugs to beat up members of the party who seek the truth is still stuck on the MMD like a proverbial tick that goes down to death with a cow.
Conflicting messages are still coming from different levels of the party, with disregard to any form of decorum. 

Further, the rebranding did nothing to bring order among the opposition party’s MPs so that they can be spirited and loyal representatives—holding true to the beliefs and aspirations of the party. As a result there are still MPs in the party who are available on the political slave market, offering themselves to serve in the Patriotic Front government at whatever price, including selling their birth right of being MMD. They are now plowing in the Patriotic Front national plantation of ministerial positions and loose Kwacha, accusing their own party to have failed the people. 

The other problem is that the messages, in terms of statements from the rank and file of the party across the country, do not exude the spirit of respect for the party leadership and it is doubted if the general membership shares the same aspirations of the rebranded MMD. 
On the other hand, there are more who are willing to leave the MMD today while nobody is keen to come and join the ranks. Old members have been left out in the future promise that MMD is offering as a brand. 

The lack of respect for leadership and the absence of belief in the new promise—if at all it is there—among the existing members of the party are not good assets that can attract new members aspiring to contribute their leadership abilities to the MMD. How can the new members be sure that they will join the former ruling party and seek leadership without being hounded out, crying and kicking and dragged like a dead dog in dirty by hoodlums hired by motoriuous members of the MMD. The images of Richard Kachingwe treated just like this by youths do not just inspire anyone to be proud of being MMD.

Here is a simile that fits the MMD situation adapted from the illustration of Oliver Wendell Holmes in his book the Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table:

The former ruling party is like a community of creeping animals—pupas, lizards, spiders, scorpions, millipedes and other small crawling insects that have been living under a flat rock lying in the middle of a garden and blinded from the truth. For many years the flat rock remained undisturbed, and it became business as usual. More insects joined in the dark ecology, finding their own comfort in the crevices of the underground and dark world. But one tap, the rock turned over, and everything is exposed, MMD together with its small ecosystem that bred wrong things has been exposed to daylight.

As a result the MMD members are still directionless, rushing unguided and butting each other and everything in their way like crawling creatures that are confused by that sudden light that comes upon them after the rock-cover under which they lived is suddenly removed. 

Only those who dare stand the light of day shall remain in MMD, but many more will seek a new flat rock like the Patriotic Front.
"The MMD’s dark world is exposed. But even this exposure gives an opportunity to some beautiful creatures that would rise out of the dust, take on divinity outlines and colour, to soar from the shell as butterflies that could have not shown their potential if they remained under the flat rock". 
But has Nevers Mumba’s rebranding approach done enough and the best to lead the way for this poor grub to fly like a beautiful butterfly in the azure to the admiration of the Zambia electorate after all this murky that is stuck to it continue to be exposed?

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