March 15, 2012

Defeated president quits as party leader

Former Republican president Rupiah Banda has loosened his grip on the MMD after facing incessant internal pressure and also to insulate himself against losing his entitlements as a retired head of State. His resignation follows demands from members for him to step aside so that the party, which he led out of power, could preserve its credibility.
Mr Banda could have lost out on his benefits had he continued to cling to the MMD presidency, as provided for under the Benefits of Former Presidents Act Cap 15 of the Laws of Zambia as amended by Act No. 21 of 1998. MMD chairperson for information and publicity Dora Siliya announced that the former president had relinquished his position with immediate effect. This was during the MMD national executive committee (NEC) meeting that was held to discuss the party's presidency in light of an impending suspension of payment of his entitlements, which include a salary at 80 per cent of the incumbent Head of State.

Ms Siliya said national chairperson Michael Mabenga would act as president until the national convention was called. She explained that Mr Banda had pledged to remain loyal to the MMD and that the party had appreciated the role he played in bringing development to the country.

President Michael Sata's Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations George Chellah announced recently that Mr Banda was in breach of the law relating to the pension and other benefits conferred on a former head of State for holding a political position. Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini ruled that Mr Banda had been abrogating the law by continuing to engage in active politics and told Parliament that the onus of forfeiting his emoluments and other benefits was on the Executive. (Times of Zambia)

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