THE dismissal of Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) faction president Felix Mutati from the Patriotic Front (PF) regime has raised questions as to whether he will still a “darling” of former President Rupiah Bwezani Banda who is a perceived godfather of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, Republican Progressive Party(RPP) vice president Leslie Chikuse has questioned.
And Former International Media Peace Association president Francis Kope says Mr Mutati could have stayed away from the PF administration for good when he was reshuffled from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Works and Supply which in itself was a demotion and indication that he was no longer wanted.
Mr Kope who covered Mr Mutati extensively when he served as Assignments Editor at CBC TV said Mr Mutati is by nature a workaholic hence it was difficult for him to blend with people who are not work oriented.
“Mr Mutati is a workaholic, so it is difficult for people who are not work oriented to work with him because all they think of is how to manipulate things, how to make things work in their favour and how to be careless in public expenditure and all those things. ,” he said.
Mr Kope said Mr Mutati has shown maturity in the manner he has handed over the Ministry of Works and Supply to his successor Mr Mutotwe Kafwaya.
“One thing that we have to learn from veteran politicians like Felix Mutati is, we need to see maturity in whatever they are doing because it will inspire us as youths to put to perspective the right norms of politics because politics have been redefined under the Patriotic Front Government. Under the PF, politics is about name calling, under the PF politics is about enmity and all those things. I think there is a lot we can learn from few leaders like Felix Mutati on how he has behaved after being dismissed,” Mr Kope said.
He added: “Coming to the other portfolio I hold in the UPPZ, our party President, Charles Chanda is embracing youthful leadership. Most of our candidates that have participated in by-elections are 99 percent youths. As youth, in as much as we are participating in the politics of our country, we need to see inspiration from different types of leaders in as much as we are shaped by President Charles Chanda. I think we would appreciate such kind of gesture. It is telling us that at the end of the day, we shouldn’t be personal. If it is work, let us see to it that we do that which will benefit the Zambians out there. We have a slogan and this slogan that we have come up with is encouraging youths in the UPPZ that when they win, they are not winning it for themselves or the party but they are winning it for the people of Zambia. That gesture is aimed at winning for the Zambians at the end of day because there is nothing personal. When you are working for the Zambians, you don’t need to be personal.”
Mr Kope said now that Mr Mutati is President of MMD (despite the case being in court), the UPPZ will meet him in the political battle field.
“Mr Mutati is a person we respect so we hope to meet him in the field so that at least, we can have a blend of politics. Charles Chanda offering alternative leadership and perhaps Mutati can also be offering checks and balances,” he said.
Asked whether he sees Mutati bouncing back stronger after being fired from the PF administration, Mr Kope said it will not be easy for him to rise again.
“It is not an easy thing to be trusted when you have worked with the ruling party. It will not be as easy as he thinks. The advice we are giving him is maybe he needs to reflect and keep quiet and try to first of all play some reserve kind of moves as opposed to getting deep in politics and start talking this and that. Otherwise, it is not easy, you have seen those who were Ministers; they would just talk for a short period of time because people have lost confidence in them. I don’t want to mention names but I think it is clear that there were people in the MMD and formed their own political parties, they didn’t do anything. Others were in the PF, they formed their own political parties and now they are back in the PF while others have gone in hibernation, they started very well, others even had a councilor. It will not be easy, 2021 will not be easy for any experienced politician. 2021 will give us a new President. Rising, he (Mutati) may rise but not with much impact,” Mr Kope observed.
President Lungu on Tuesday 6th November 6, 2018, relieved Mr. Mutati off his duties as Works and Supply Minister and replaced him with Lunte area Member of Parliament (MP) Mutotwe Kafwaya.
The President also revoked Mr. Mutati’ nomination as Member of Parliament.
The former Lunte Member of Parliament became MMD faction leader at a controversial convention that was held at Mulungushi Rock of Authority in Kabwe, the gathering that had full blessings from Mr Banda.
On the influence of Mr Banda, Mr Mutati was elected MMD faction leader to mark the beginning of serious divisions in the former ruling party as two factions emerged. One faction was spearheaded by Dr Nevers Mumba and the other by Mr Mutati.
Dr Mumba called the convention that ushered in Mutati illegal and the matter is being challenged in the courts of law.
The 2015 MMD Convention coincided with President Lungu’s 2016 Constitution signing Ceremony and appointing the PF General Election Running Mate at the Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.
After the Convention, Mr Mutati and Mr Banda travelled to the Heroes Stadium in a supersonic speed but only to find that President Lungu had already named Inonge Wina as his Running Mate. There was speculation prior to the appointment of madam Wina that Mr Mutati could be named Running Mate.
After winning the 2016 elections, President Lungu appointed Mr Mutati as Finance Minister, the move that was described as an insult to late President Michael Sata who fought tooth and nail to remove the MMD from Government.
Mr Mutati’s stay in the PF Government was characterized by innuendos and protests.
Matters got worse when the MMD leader announced that the party had started the card renewal exercise, starting with Eastern Province where Mr Banda was supposed to be guest of honour but chickened out at the last minute.
Asked whether Mr Banda could stick to Mutati ahead of the 2021 General Elections, Republican Progressive Party (RPP) vice president Leslie Chikuse had his only doubts.
He said knowing Mr Banda very well; he is a man who likes to be where Bread is buttered.
Mr Chikuse said in this case, butter is being buttered at the PF which is in charge of national affairs.
He said there could be a strong possibility that Mr Lungu and Mr Banda connived to kick Mr Mutati out of Government.
“I don’t think President Rupiah Banda can side with Mutati. The old man likes comfort and siding where bread is being buttered. He wouldn’t make a mistake of fighting Mr Lungu over Mr Mutati because he knows things are happening in the PF. If you do a thorough investigation, you will be amazed to find that the two gentlemen (Mr Banda and Mr Lungu) connived to kick Mutati out of Government,” said Mr Chikuse.
However, Mr Lungu and Mr Banda have not been seen together in public for a very long time.
And Mr Chikuse says Mr Mutati and Dr Mumba should come together on a round table and agree who takes over the MMD.
He said the MMD stand to lose out if Mutati goes into political oblivion because he is the financial muscle of the former ruling party.
Mr Chikuse said Mr Mutati was appointed Cabinet Minister because of the pact that was entered into between MMD and the ruling Patriotic Front (PF).
“Dr Nevers Mumba and Mr Mutati should agree who becomes President because the party will stand to lose out should Mutati go into retirement after being fired as Minister. I have no doubt in my mind that Mutati made a lot of money during his stay as Minister in the PF regime and knowing how the PF manage national resources, it is possible the man made money, money that should now be used on party mobilisation. Dr Mumba should also bring on the table what he made from the UPND pact and like that the MMD will survive,” he said.
Mr Chikuse said Mr Mutati is a valuable asset in the MMD because he is the one that has keys to the party assets, including vehicles.
And the Movement for Multiparty Democracy Mutati Faction in Eastern Province has hailed President Edgar Lungu’s Move to fire their leader Felix Mutati as Works and Supply Minister.
“We are very happy with the action that the head of state has taken. I say so because the alliance was not working very well especially with lower organs of the party,” said Felix Mutati Faction Eastern Province chairperson Jacob Mwanza.
Mr. Mwanza, has however, stated the relationship between the Patriotic Front and the Movement for Multiparty Democracy MMD, will crumble following the sucking of Mr. Mutati.
And Mr. Mwanza has stated that the Head of State had done them a big favour to relieve Mr. Mutati off his duties.
“You know the Head of State has done us a huge favour of relieving Mr. Mutati off his duties, this will allow him to channel all his energies to organizing our party and the party carry to out its activities without any hindrances. The perceived alliance between the two parties was not even working well with our members especially in the lower organs of the party,” Mr. Mwanza stated.
Meanwhile the Patriotic Front in Eastern Province has celebrated Mr. Mutati’s firing, saying this was long overdue.
Eastern Province acting Provincial Chairman William Phiri commended President Lungu for making the decision to fire Mr. Mutati.
“We commend the President for taking this step. This has been long over -due. The leadership in the province which has been calling for the firing of Mr. Mutati now feels that their calls have been answered,” Mr. Phiri said.
Meanwhile Mr. Phiri has warned Cabinet Ministers who have not been sacked but were secretly dealing with Mr. Mutati to be careful and exhibit true loyalty to the President.
PF Lufwanyama district Party structures on the Copperbelt have warned Mr. Mutati against waging any negative attacks on the Party and the President.
Victor Kalesha who represented the structures in Lufwanyama warned that they will not take kindly any negative statement coming from Mr. Mutati after his firing.
Mr. Kalesha explained that they have warned Mr. Mutati against issuing negative statements to the PF and the President as it has become common knowledge in Zambia that when one loses favour they go on a rampage tearing the very finger that fed them.
“It is common knowledge now in Zambia that when anyone loses favour from having bread and butter, they go on a rampage tearing the very finger that fed them. And it is painful to see how people only want to see wrong things when they are out of the system. It is just appropriate to send this warning to our fired former Minister (Felix Mutati) to put his act together and know that the lion share he was eating belonged to us and he was using it to raise his banner in trying to get back to the Movement for Multiparty Democracy MMD,” Mr. Kalesha warned.
He added that any negative speech against the Party and its leadership will trigger hash repercussions towards Mr. Mutati.
Mr. Kalesha added that Mr. Mutati should just sit back and appreciate the gesture rendered to him by President Edgar Lungu to serve in his Government as Minister when he was not adding any value to the growth of the PF party.
“…..So we just felt we should sound this warning so that he knows ati tapabula nalikwebele,” Mr. Kalesha explained.
- Source: Kwacha Newspaper