Opposition MMD party president Nevers Mumba has reiterated that the MMD will form a pact with the ruling PF party. “Our position is to have a favourable alliance with the PF. That is what the [MMD’s National Executive Committee] NEC resolved (…). We mandated our national secretary to work out the modalities, but he has not done so,” Mumba told the Daily Mail, adding that national secretary Mwansa Mbulakulima had now been asked to exculpate himself.

However, not everyone in the MMD believes that the NEC could decide to form an alliance with the PF at its meeting on 30 January. A group of unnamed “MMD Honourable Members of Parliament” this week accused Mumba of ignoring the wishes of the party at large: “More than 90% of the current NEC of the MMD consist of nominated members. Out of 43 so-called NEC members, who attended the meeting on 30 January, only 3 were elected at the convection in 2011”, they stated.

The MPs are calling for a convention to elect new leaders, but MMD’s Deputy National Secretary Winnie Zaloumis, who is a Mumba supporter, explained that Mumba’s five-year tenure only would expire in 2017. Mumba was elected MMD’s fourth president in May 2012, beating his closest rival, Lunte MP Felix Mutati, by a large margin.

MMD splintered into factions in 2014 ahead of the 2015 presidential election, with one group supporting Mumba and another former Republican President Rupiah Banda. Mumba emerged victorious, resulting in Banda throwing his support behind President Lungu, without which he would not have won the election, while other MPs and VIP members of the MMD, including Felix Mutati, backed the UPND.

Presently, both Banda and Mumba are backing Lungu, but the allegiances of many MMD members are unclear. Some obviously don’t want to back the PF, but do they want to contest the election in August as MMD, or throw their support behind UPND?