By CHARLES CHISALA and MARGARET SAMULELA
THE MMD has suspended Chongwe member of Parliament Sylvia Masebo with immediate effect and instituted investigations into allegations that she has been working against the party.
And Former Patriotic Front secretary general Edward Mumbi has said Mrs Masebo is practising ‘political prostitution’ and is ungrateful to the MMD that built her political career.
MMD national secretary Richard Kachingwe suspended Ms Masebo in a letter addressed to her dated June 16, 2011 and copied to President Banda, who is the MMD President, National Chairman Michael Mabenga, the security and legal affairs committees.
Ms Masebo was elected MMD chairperson for women’s affairs at the party’s national convention in Kabwe in April this year.
Major Kachingwe has slapped her with three charges ranging from misconduct to failure to honour her party obligations.
“I have received numerous reports of your dubious activities, which include, among others, (a) conduct likely to bring the name of the party into contempt, ridicule and disrepute (b) giving false information to a party organ or party officials with intent to deceive or mislead others and (c) failing to honour your obligations as a member as enshrined in article 10 of the MMD constitution,” the letter reads in part.
“In view of the seriousness of the allegations and in the exercise of the powers vested in me by article 52 (3) of the MMD constitution, I do hereby suspend you from the party with immediate effect pending investigations,” Ambassador Kachingwe said.
He directed Ms Masebo not to associate herself with any party activities during the period of her suspension and investigations.
“The party gave Ms Masebo all the respect that could be accorded her, including an opportunity to stand for a position in the national executive committee (NEC) where she even won the position of Chairperson for women’s affairs at the April convention, but she is not satisfied with all that,” Mr Mumbi said.
Mr Mumbi said if MsMasebo was genuine, she would point out all the development projects that the MMD under President Banda had brought to her constituency in Chongwe.
“Just today (yesterday) the newly constructed Agricultural Technology Demonstration Centre was being commissioned at the University of Zambia (UNZA) owned Liempe Farm in Chongwe, all that is development coming to her area but she has failed to acknowledge it,” he said.
“The MMD has built a hospital, a school, and put up street lights it the district, Those are the things MsMasebo should be talking about if she means well,” he said.
Mr Mumbi said Ms Masebo’s plans to defect to the Patriotic Front (PF) could only be described as political prostitution.
“The biggest question is why does she now want to defect to the PF? If she develops a tendency of moving from one party to another, she is involving herself in political prostitution,” he said.
Meanwhile, Forum for Leadership Search Zambia executive director Edwin Lifwekelo says his organisation has reliable information that Ms Masebo intends to defect to an unknown opposition party at a meeting expected to take place either today or tomorrow.
Mr Lifwekelo said in Lusaka yesterday that Ms Masebo is expected to denounce President Banda at the meeting, accusing him of telling MMD members not to vote for her at the party’s national convention.
“There will be a meeting at which Sylvia is expected to announce her defection and launch a verbal attack against President Banda.
“She also wants to accuse the President of asking her not to contest the position of MMD chairperson for women’s affairs at the convention, and that he promised to nominate her if she withdrew from the race,” Mr Lifwekelo said.
He said Ms Masebo has betrayed the women and men who rallied behind her and voted for her at the convention.
Mr Lifwekelo accused Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo of being behind Ms Masebo’s anti-party activities because both are still bitter that President Banda dropped the latter from her ministerial position.
He said it is unfair for the chieftainess and Ms Masebo to work against President Banda, who has done so much to develop Chongwe.
Meanwhile, MMD NEC member Maggie Musonda says she has information that Ms Masebo wants to contest the Munali parliamentary seat in the 2011 elections, which is why she has allegedly refused to apply for adoption.
“Ms Masebo is being selfish. She should humble herself and be considerate of others who want to serve the nation instead of frustrating them,” she said.
Recently, Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo questioned the wisdom of voting for the MMD, claiming that her chiefdom had not seen any development in a long time.
And some civil society organisations yesterday condemned Ms Masebo for plotting a fall-out with the ruling party, TEDDY KUYELA and REBECCA CHILESHE, report.
Committee of Citizens executive director Gregory Chifire said Ms Masebo has disappointed the people who voted for her at the convention to become MMD chairperson for women’s affairs.
Mr Chifire said it is sad that Ms Masebo has decided to ditch the party at such an important hour. He said the MP’s action is testimony that her interest is not to serve the people of Chongwe.
“We have always regarded Ms Masebo as a principled person. We are very disappointed that she has chosen to behave in such a manner. She has let down all the women who looked up to her as a role model and a seasoned politician,” Mr Chifire said.
He said politicians should maintain their principles and not waste the time of the people who put them in their positions.
Meanwhile, Leadership in Development has accused MMD Chongwe MP Masebo and Chieftainess Nkomeshya of conniving to incite people to vote against the MMD in this year’s elections.
Recently, Chieftainess Nkomeshya was quoted in The Post saying the people of Chongwe should not vote for the ruling party because it has done nothing to develop the area.
But Leadership In Development executive director Moses Kalonde said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday it is sad that the traditional leader has decided to attack Government when there are tangible development projects being implemented across the district.
Mr Kalonde also said it is ‘absurd’ that the MP has failed to defend Government over Chieftainess Nkomeshya’s story and that her silence over the matter is an indication that she is working with the traditional leader to discredit Government.
“The reports coming from Chongwe are too disturbing to MMD members. Why should Chieftainess Nkomeshya join the opposition in condemning the good works of this Government and why has the MP decided to keep quiet over this matter?
“What we have discovered is that the two are working together to support the opposition,” Mr Kalonde said.
“This is a betrayal on the part of Chieftainess Nkomeshya and Ms Masebo. The people of Chongwe can see how hard this Government is working,” he said.
Mr Kalonde advised the people of Chongwe not to listen to people alleging that the MMD has failed to develop the area but instead rally behind President Banda to foster development in the district.