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 2011-04-06 04:59 pm Back to NEWS
We’re ready for polls — RB

MMD Convention 2011President Rupiah Banda has said the MMD is ready for the 2011 tripartite elections and challenged all members to ensure the party is strengthened ahead of the polls.

President Banda said in Kabwe yesterday that in conformity with the democracy which the MMD believed in, all the party members should prepare for the forthcoming elections by ensuring that all the structures were strengthened to ensure the party was functional.

He said this when he officially opened the second MMD extraordinary convention at Mulungushi Rock of Authority.

He urged all the members to rekindle the spirit of volunteerism and adopt a true spirit of putting service above self.

The president said the MMD had emerged stronger from its provincial conferences and should be even stronger after the convention.

Mr Banda, who called for discipline in the party as a way of strengthening it, advised the delegates to ensure they elected selfless and hardworking national executive committee (NEC) leaders who would enable the party to win with a landslide victory in this year’s elections.

“The NEC is the brain and runs the party. Therefore, the party must elect a strong NEC of hardworking men, women and youth who will effectively run the party. These should be people who can mobilise and organise the party,” he said.

Mr Banda, who reiterated the need for peaceful campaigns as the country heads for the polls, said the eyes of the whole country were focused on the MMD.

He urged the members to avoid embarrassing activities and demonising other candidates.

To win this year’s elections and progress the country’s economy further, President Banda said the party should be led by men and women of integrity.

The president said the MMD believed in democracy and should, therefore, ensure the holding of democratic elections which were free and fair where held.

In this regard, President Banda said the Government had extended an invitation to international observers to come and monitor the elections.

“The MMD must further take the lead and not initiate acts of violence during the coming elections. We must urge other political parties, too, to engage in peaceful campaigns to preserve peace in the country,” he said.

He said even as campaigns were being conducted, there was need to ensure that the country’s economic gains were not lost.

The president urged women and the youth, being the majority in the country, to vote en masse as the country’s destiny was dependent to a large extent on how they voted.

He said the MMD aimed to increase the number of women in leadership so that the challenges that they faced could be resolved.

Mr Banda said had the Constitutional Amendment Bill passed second reading in Parliament, it was going to mean the next Parliament having 30 per cent women parliamentarians.

He, however, urged Zambians not to worry because the Government would ensure the Bill was re-introduced after the elections.

He said the MMD Government had laid a strong foundation for more and better education facilities, and increased job and wealth creation.

“Vote to ensure that the gains the MMD has tirelessly worked for since 1991 are not lost. In a democracy, we must work to better things and not to make them worse. We cannot move from democracy to dictatorship and from decent behaviour to a culture of insults. It should not be change from sound economic management to voodoo economy, from bumper harvest to hunger,” he said.

He said it was this convention which would ensure that the dreams of the people in 1991 and today were achieved by choosing a leadership which was responsible and understood the people’s goals.

“When this convention ends, the battle to win the elections, the battle for a better future for our country, for our children, starts. We must not take this battle lightly. We must be prepared to walk, drive and cycle until we reach all voters and convince them that it is their future at stake. We must take nothing for granted,” he said.

The president said poverty levels in Zambia were currently at 51 per cent due to the determination and efforts of the MMD Government. He said poverty levels were more than 58 per cent in 1991 when the MMD assumed power.

He said the party was aware that there was still a big number of people in the country who had not yet received the full benefits from its services.

Mr Banda said there was no other organisation in Zambia today that was more democratic and had developmental credentials than the MMD to carry the programmes forward.

The president told a crowd of more than 1,000 MMD delegates to the convention that Zambia was today developing more rapidly than 20 years ago.

Mr Banda said the MMD had scored major successes and would continue doing so as it remained committed to serving the Zambian people.

He said the MMD has strengthened various governance institutions in Zambia such as the mechanism to fight corruption to sustain the economic achievements made so far.

The measures the MMD put in place had paid dividends as seen in the Mo-Ibrahim Index of Africa governance and the Millennium Challenge Cooperation Score Card, that had all shown notable improvements of Zambia’s ranking.

Other measures towards enhancing good governance include the parliamentary reforms through the establishment of parliamentary constituency offices throughout the country and the public and private bodies to strengthen the human rights campaign.

The president said Zambia’s sovereign rating status meant that it was destined for more investments and that was the only way that more meaningful jobs would be created.

Growth in both the mining and tourism sectors was equally unprecedented, with copper production going high.

In agriculture, the president said more progress had been recorded, resulting in the country being one of those in the region producing more than it required.

Meanwhile, MMD national chairperson Michael Mabenga commended MMD members for their hard work which led to the ushering in of President Banda in the 2008 presidential by-election.

Mr Mabenga urged the MMD members to emulate President Banda’s leadership qualities, which he described as humble.

He said yesterday it was the hard work and discipline that led the MMD members to ensure President Banda won the 2008 presidential by-election, which he described as challenging.

He said the ruling party had continued to grow from strength to strength because of Mr Banda’s leadership and urged all the MMD members to emerge as a strong force after the convention.

The ruling MMD, Mr Mabenga said, was the only party with a national character, making it the first party of choice.

He said just slightly more than two years in Government, President Banda had delivered to the expectation of the people, and the party in Government would continue to improve Zambia’s infrastructure beyond 2011.

Mr Mabenga commended the government’s electrification programme and the party’s impetus to continue transforming the country’s economy.

He said to win convincingly, the MMD needed to work even harder and ensure all the structures were strengthened.

Western Province party chairperson Simasiku Namakando urged all the provincial leaders to campaign hard and ensure President Banda was given 100 per cent votes.

Mr Namakando said in a vote of thanks after the president’s speech that only people who were not serious would vote for politicians advocating homosexuality, which he said should not be condoned because Zambia was a Christian nation.

He said it was only under Present Banda’s leadership that Zambia had managed to become a food basket in the Southern African region.

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