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MMD unshaken by defections, says Mumba

MMD president Nevers Mumba says he is not moved by the endorsement of United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema by 11 of his members of Parliament (MP) because they already did so in 2014.
And MMD parliamentary whip Mtolo Phiri says he is not surprised by the decision of the 11 MPs because the party saw it coming.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, Dr Mumba said figuratively: “Tell them (11 MPs) you can only hold one funeral at a time. They cannot create another funeral now because they did so in 2014.”
Dr Mumba said the political space is very limited and the 11 MPs’ move will create opportunities for new blood and younger people to contest on the MMD ticket.
“In Bemba, we say ‘pafwa abantu, pashala abantu.’ This means other people will fill their space,” he said.
Dr Mumba wished the MPs well saying he had already surrendered them to God in 2014.
And Mr Phiri, who is Chipata Central MP and MMD parliamentary whip,  said the party saw the 11 MPs’ move coming a long time ago.
“We have known their inclination for a long time. It was merely a matter of time.
“As whip, I am saddened that the MPs that made me whip have decided to break away. I am a troubled whip because they are eminent politicians,” Mr Phiri said.
He, however, said the MMD respects the MPs’ decision because they exercised their democratic right.
“In a democracy, one has a right to decide who to support,” Mr Phiri said.
On Monday, 11 MMD MPs announced that they would support Mr Hichilema in the August 11 elections.
These are Sinda’s Levy Ngoma, Mumbwa’s Brian Chituwo, Nalikwanda’s Geoffrey Lungwangwa , Liuwa’s Situmbeko Musokotwane and Keembe’s Ronnie Shikapwasha.
Others are Sarah Sayifwanda of Zambezi East, Elijah Muchima from Ikeleng’i and Ndalamei Mundia from Sikongo.
Meanwhile, MMD national secretary Mwansa Mbulakulima has said Dr Mumba was wrong to remove the Luapula Province party chairman.
But Dr Mumba declined to state his position saying he prefers that Mr Mbulakulima faces him in person.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, Mr Mbulakulima wondered how Dr Mumba removed a democratically elected provincial leader for allegedly demanding that a convention be held.
“Dr Mumba has removed the chairman of Luapula province, Gershom Tanga, for standing up for the truth,” Mr Mbulakulima said.
Mr Mbulakulima said he has since overturned Dr Mumba’s decision.
He also questioned why Dr Mumba rushed to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) to see UPND cadres who were injured in a fracas on Youth Day but he did not visit MMD national youth chairperson Howard Kunda, who had been admitted to the same hospital for three days.
But Dr Mumba has challenged Mr Mbulakulima to face him rather than engaging him through the media.
“I am unable to comment on that matter. These are my colleagues. Let them talk to me. Mr Mbulakulima has my number and so he can call me any time,” Dr Mumba said.