No respite as dragnet tightens around MMD

04 March 2012 - 02:19 By ARTHUR SIMUCHOBA

The Movement for Multi-Party Democracy in Zambia has been served with a $78000 (K390-million) bill for outstanding statutory fees.

The bill was presented to the former governing party by the Registrar of Societies, whose department in the Ministry of Home Affairs registers political parties.

The bill was served on February 21 and if not settled the party risks being struck off the register.

The anguish of the MMD seems far from over as it continues to walk a tightrope with the Patriotic Front (PF) government. Nearly 48 hours after the registrar notice was served, the security team investigating the MMD administration served the party with a seizure notice for 39 of its vehicles. Police impounded the vehicles despite a hearing pending in the Lusaka High Court.

Charity Munganga-Chanda, of the "Joint Team" of investigators, said the seizure was "a process of dealing with suspected stolen property".

And on February 22, the investigators recorded a statement preliminary to the prosecution of former works and supply minister Gabriel Namulambe in connection with 20 bicycles that are said to have been meant for small-scale miners but that he allegedly diverted to his election campaign.

Namulambe is the MMD chairman for elections and was active in the recent by-election in the Eastern Province, which was won by the PF.

Shortly after the same team took a statement from former minister of finance and national planning Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane in connection with about 1000 bicycles which were confiscated from his farm.

And Boniface Nkhata, the former deputy minister in the Mines Ministry, has been arrested and charged with diverting 20 bicycles, again meant for small-scale miners to his election campaign.

There seems no respite and the dragnet appears to be tightening.