ALVIN CHIINGA, Lusaka
LUNTE member of Parliament (MP) Felix Mutati has instructed his lawyer to commence legal action against the United Party for National Development (UPND) for allegedly using his image on the party calendar without his consent.
Speaking during a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Mutati said the publication of his picture on the UPND calendar has caused a lot of damage to him.
â€œI never consented that my image be used on a UPND calendar and as such, I have instructed my lawyer Sakwiba Sikota so that he deals with this issue with the publisher and the UPND,â€ he said.
Mr Mutati said his image, which is appearing on a UPND calendar, is one of the reasons why the MMD national executive committee (NEC) expelled him from the party.
He, however, said that he is still an MMD member and Lunte MP because his expulsion from the party is illegal.
Mr Mutati also said NEC did not follow procedure before expelling him because he was not given an opportunity to exculpate himself.
He said 90 percent of the NEC members who sat to expel him are appointed members and were not elected.
Mr Mutati said the fundamental provisions of the MMD constitution have allegedly been abrogated because the party did not even officially write to him over the NECâ€™s decision to expel him.
He insisted that the MMD should hold a national convention to elect new leaders in accordance with the party constitution.
Mr Mutati said he wants a national convention to be held because the only way those aspiring for leadership can prove their popularity is through competition.
He said his call for a national convention is allegedly another reason why he was expelled from the party but that he would work hard to make the party formidable.
Mr Mutati also reiterated that at no time has he been a UPND member but that he just worked with the opposition party during the 2015 presidential election.
Mr Mutati also said he holds no grudge against Dr Mumba and denied allegations that he wants to â€œhijackâ€ the MMD.
Mr Mutati reiterated that the MMD is not dead and will certainly not be for sale to anyone.
And Mr Nakachinda has described his suspension from the party as a sham because procedure was not followed.
Mr Nakachinda said in an interview that the MMD used â€œguerillaâ€ tactics to expel Mr Mutati and suspend him.
â€œIt was guerilla tactics. I was not written to and the meeting was held at a secret place along Mumbwa road but I managed to trace them and challenged them to show me the allegations levelled against me for my suspension,â€ he said.
Mr Nakachinda said that there is an allegation that he received money from Mr Mutati to destabilise the party, which is not true.
MMD acting spokesperson Reuben Sambo said Mr Mutatiâ€™s expulsion is final and nothing can save him.
Reverend Sambo said this is because the decision was made at a legally constituted extra-ordinary NEC meeting, which is the highest party organ between conventions.
â€œNEC has powers according to the MMD constitution to deal with any disciplinary case, including that of NEC members as per articles 19(l), 19(n) and in the Disciplinary Regulations in the Appendix in sections 3, 4, 6 and 7,â€ he said in a statement.
Rev. Sambo asked why Mr Mutati has taken four weeks to respond to the issues of double-dealing that were earlier raised by national treasurer Elizabeth Chitika when she revealed that Mr Mutati features on an official 2016 UPND calendar as a party official.
He wondered whether Mr Mutati is only responding now because he has been expelled.
On the issue of the recent statement by suspended spokesperson Raphael Nakachinda that the action to suspend him by the NEC is a â€œshamâ€, Rev Sambo said Mr Nakachinda actually attended the NEC meeting and even spoke until he was suspended.
Meanwhile, UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma has distanced his party from the publication of the calendar and has advised Mr Mutati to sue the publisher.
Mr Kakoma said the UPND has never produced such kind of a calendar.
â€œWe have not produced any calendar of that type. Perhaps some enterprising people decided to do so to make money. Honourable Mutati can sue the publisher because the contacts and addresses are on the calendar,â€ he said in an interview.
ALVIN CHIINGA, Lusaka