Banda ready for next elections
Lusaka - Zambia’s President Rupiah Banda said on Saturday he was ready to contest the 2011 elections and challenged members of his party to contest his candidature at the party’s convention.
Banda told hundreds of supporters during a party membership card renewal exercise in Lusaka that he was ready to contest the presidency and he would put himself forward at the national convention where the presidential candidate would be elected.
"I am ready to stand and have never told anybody that I am not standing. The convention will be held and people are ready to challenge me and contest for any other position," Banda said.
The country’s ruling party, the MMD, has been engulfed in leadership wrangles on who should be the presidential election standard-bearer after the National Executive Committee (NEC) endorsed Banda as the sole candidate.
Banda’s ex-defence minister George Mpombo has declared that he would challenge Banda’s candidature while former finance minister Ng’andu Magande has condemned the NEC for endorsing Banda.
Magande has accused the party of been undemocratic by endorsing Banda as the sole candidate without even subjecting his candidature to an election at party level.
Banda told the members that the national convention would be held soon saying the leadership would decide.
"People should not panic that there will be no convention, the convention will be held and the leadership will decide," Banda said.