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Movement for Multi-Party Democracy

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Movement for Multi-Party Democracy
LeaderNevers Mumba[1]
FoundedJuly 1990 (1990-07)
IdeologySocial democracy
Third Way
Political positionCentre to centre-left
Colours  Blue
SloganThe Hour for New Hope
National Assembly
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Pan African Parliament
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The Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) also known as New Hope MMD[2][3] is a political party in Zambia. Originally formed to oust the previous government, MMD controlled an absolute majority in parliament between 1991 and 2001, when its past leader, Frederick Chiluba was President of Zambia. Its election into power in 1991 ended the 27-year rule of President Kenneth Kaunda and his United National Independence Party (UNIP). It remained the dominant party within Zambian politics until the general elections of September 2011.


Formation and government[edit]

Growing opposition to UNIP's monopoly on power, due in part to economic problems and corruption, led to the formation of the MMD in July 1990, led by Frederick Chiluba, the head of the country's trade unions.[4] During that same year, pushed by internal and international pressure, Kaunda agreed to a referendum on the one-party state, but in the face of continued opposition, dropped the referendum and signed a constitutional amendment that relinquished UNIP's guaranteed right to rule.

Multi-party general elections were held on 31 October 1991, and saw the MMD sweep to power in a massive landslide. Chiluba was elected president with 76% of the vote to Kaunda's 24%, whilst the MMD won 125 of the 150 elected seats in the National Assembly. However, by the end of Chiluba's first five-year term as president, the MMD's commitment to political reform had faded in the face of re-election demands and several prominent members left to establish other parties.

Relying on the MMD's overwhelming majority in parliament, President Chiluba in May 1996 pushed through constitutional amendments that effectively eliminated former President Kaunda and other prominent opposition leaders from the 1996 general elections. As a result, UNIP boycotted the elections, allowing Chiluba to be easily re-elected with 73% of the vote, whilst the MMD won 131 of the 150 seats in the National Assembly. Afterward, however, several opposition parties and non-governmental organisations declared the elections neither free nor fair.

Early in 2001, supporters of President Chiluba mounted a campaign to amend the constitution to enable Chiluba to seek a third term of office; the campaign led to further breakaways from the MMD, including the Forum for Democracy and Development and the Heritage Party. Eventually civil society, opposition parties, and other MMD members exerted sufficient pressure on Chiluba to force him to back away from any attempt at a third term.

Levy Mwanawasa was selected as the MMD presidential candidate for the 2001 elections, winning with just 28% of the vote. Although the MMD remained the largest party in the National Assembly, it lost its majority after being reduced to 69 seats. Three parties submitted petitions to the High Court, challenging the election results. The petition remained under consideration by the courts in February 2003 when it was ruled that while there had been irregularities these had not been large enough to affect the outcome; thus the result was upheld. Opposition parties won a majority of parliamentary seats in the December, 2001 election, but subsequent by-elections and liberal use of government patronage to secure the support of opposition MPs gave the ruling MMD a slim majority in Parliament.

Mwanawasa was re-elected in the 2006 general elections with 43% of the vote, with the MMD winning 72 seats in the National Assembly.

Following the sudden death of Mwanawasa in August 2008, a presidential by-election was held. Rupiah Banda was chosen as the MMD candidate, and was elected with 40% of the national vote, narrowly defeating Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front (PF) by a margin of around 2%.


However, the 2011 general elections saw Sata defeat Banda by a margin of 42%–35%, whilst the MMD won only 55 seats in the National Assembly to the PF's 60. The following year Nevers Mumba was elected as MMD president, defeating rival Felix Mutati and several other candidates.

2015 presidential by-elections[edit]

In the 2015 presidential by-election Former Party President Mr. Rupiah Banda returned from political retirement and claimed that he would be the candidate of the Party in that by election, whilst the Party through the National Executive Committee (NEC) backed its Party President Dr. Mumba. The Issue went to the Supreme Court and the Court ruled that Dr. Mumba as Party President had the right to run for President on the Party ticket.

The judgement was passed two weeks before the election date and partially due to that the MMD with Dr. Mumba as its candidate received just about 0.9%.

2016 illegal MMD convention[edit]

In May 2016, a group of former and expelled MMD members[5] elected former Lunte MP Felix Mutati as party president at a convention at the Mulungushi Rock of Authority in Kabwe, whilst the Party continued supporting Nevers Mumba.[6]

2019 Judge Newa Judgement[edit]

On the 9th of November 2019, High Court Judge Sharon Newa sitting in Lusaka ruled that the Convention that elected Felix Mutati as Party President was illegal and all decisions made between then and that date was declared null and vold. It further ruled that Dr. Nevers Mumba was the MMD President and that Felix Mutati and Raphael Nakachinda remained expelled members of the MMD.[citation needed]

Electoral history[edit]

Presidential elections[edit]

Election Party candidate Votes % Result
1991 Frederick Chiluba 972,212 75.76% Elected Green tickY
1996 913,770 72.59% Elected Green tickY
2001 Levy Mwanawasa 506,694 29.15% Elected Green tickY
2006 1,177,846 42.98% Elected Green tickY
2008 Rupiah Banda 718,359 40.09% Elected Green tickY
2011 987,866 35.42% Lost Red XN
2015 Nevers Mumba 14,609 0.87% Lost Red XN
2016 Did not take part
2021 Nevers Mumba 4,968 0.10% Lost Red XN

National Assembly elections[edit]

Election Votes % Seats +/– Position Outcome
1991 931,945 74.01%
125 / 159
Increase 125 Increase 1st Supermajority government
1996 778,989 60.88%
131 / 159
Increase 6 Steady 1st Supermajority government
2001 490,680 28.02%
69 / 159
Decrease 62 Steady 1st Minority government
2006 1,059,526 39.05%
72 / 159
Increase 3 Steady 1st Minority government
2011 902,619 33.44%
55 / 159
Decrease 17 Decrease 2nd Opposition
2016 99,356 2.71%
3 / 156
Decrease 52 Decrease 3rd Opposition
2021 3,665 0.08%
0 / 167
Decrease 3 Decrease 10th Extra-parliamentary


  1. ^ "Zambian Opposition Leader Nevers Mumba wins MMD presidency". Lusaka Times. November 5, 2019.
  2. ^ "Judge Bowa to hear contempt proceedings against Nevers, 5 others on June 10 – The Mast Online". Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  3. ^ "MMD back on feet: Sylvia Nawa talks agriculture, empowerment – Zambia Daily Mail". www.daily-mail.co.zm. Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  4. ^ Martin Lindhardt (2014). Pentecostalism in Africa: Presence and Impact of Pneumatic Christianity in Postcolonial Societies. BRILL. pp. 302–303.
  5. ^ "Nevers Mumba Declared MMD President". 20 March 2021.
  6. ^ "Mutati is new MMD leader". ZNBC. May 21, 2016. Archived from the original on May 10, 2017. Retrieved December 1, 2016.