Reports that money has changed hands to frustrate the forthcoming National Executive Committee meeting of the Movement for Multi Party Democracy (MMD) are most disconcerting.
It is one thing for internal tensions to result in disagreements but another for external forces to invest so heavily in disrupting legitimate structures of an organization.
Equally it will be a very sad development for senior members of the party to resort to such extreme measures such as promoting violence to derail a legitimate gathering to which they can object by normal procedures.
Instead of violence a meeting can be stopped by canvassing and securing a majority representation that will create a quorum. Therefore those who do not wish to attend have the right to canvass people of like mind to stay away to ensure that a quorum is not achieved or indeed raise a motion in the meeting to seek a postponement.
It is wrong to resort to “extra-legal” measure including violence to either promote or derail a meeting. Such conduct does not belong to civilized organization premised on the strength of numbers to carry the day.
Democracy is about numbers. It is not about violence and coercing others by force. Such tactics are archaic and belong to the dustbin of history.
If the MMD, the mother of multi party democracy in Zambia cannot show tolerance to divergence what message will that convey to the rest of the country at a time when Zambians are searching for alternative leadership that exhibits maturity and respect for individual inalienable rights as enunciated by the constitution.
The truth is that all wars, however ferocious end on a round table.
There is no logical reason to believe that the MMD differences will be concluded through the furious public exchanges made through the media.
If institutional attrition is the aim of the exchanges then the protagonists can claim a measure of success because the party is most certainly losing allure and relevance.
There is absolutely nothing to be gained by sidelining governance structures unless the intention is to destroy the structure itself.
It is difficult to understand why a planned meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) should be postponed or set aside in preference for a Convention whose date, venue and actual; realization is still to be determined.
Many founding fathers of the MMD have been deeply pained by the public spat within the party which is succeeding in estranging many dedicated members and frightening away those who held some hope of the MMD as a possible alternative.
Nobody will take the MMD seriously if senior members of the organization cannot take the initiative to resolve internal conflicts in a civilized and purposeful manner.