President Edgar Lungu has fired Works and Supply Minister Felix Mutati and has also revoked his nomination to Parliament with immediate effect.
The MMD faction leader has been replaced with Lunte PF member of parliament Mutotwe Kafwaya.
But the Mutati-led MMD faction’s national secretary Raphael Nakacinda says the party is not surprised, adding that it does not expect a smooth relationship with the PF going forward.
He however said the PF-MMD alliance continues because it was never anchored on an appointment of any party official into government.
“We are not shocked! We can never be surprised with such a development. First of all, when you are appointed, the only other thing that would happen is for that appointment to be revolved because the person who has appointed you has the right or prerogative to appoint and to disappoint even in the next day. But beyond that, from the political front, I am sure we are all living in the same environment that there has been a lot of pressure [and] calls from people, speculations, all kind of things that people may conclude could be the reason for the dismissal. But as the CEO of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy, I would want to stick with principal. And this thing has just happened now, I will be able to speak substantially as days go by because [in] every occurrence, the intent behind it can only be revealed with time,” Nakacinda said in an interview, Tuesday.
He, however, hastened to add that Mutati’s dismissal as Works and Supply Minister will not affect party activities.
“There is no activity of the party that will be affected by this development. We are an independent political party and that position we have reiterated. And we would want that people appreciate [that] alliances are normal in a democracy and, therefore, they (alliances) should never in any way compromise the system of governance. And the system of governance entails that the President who is elected enjoys all the courtesies and prerogatives of that office and one of them is to appoint and disappoint, but we were never naïve to anchor the survival of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy on appointments. We have always existed for contestation and elections are the ones that guarantee the future of our party,” Nakacinda explained.
He said the party does not expect a smooth run with its associates.
“In reality, even when two people are living in the same room or same environment, it doesn’t mean that they will be smiling all the time, there could be moments when you differ on what has been cooked or what has not been cooked, and all those differences. So, it is not only as a result of today’s development, but as we continue marching forward, we do not expect a smooth run with our colleagues, or indeed with any other entity that we may associate with,” Nakacinda said.
Meanwhile, Nakacinda said the alliance between PF and MMD continues because it was never anchored on appointments.
“The PF-MMD alliance was not anchored on an appointment for either Honourable Mutati or any individual; the consideration for the alliance was broader than an appointment. And I think it will be lack of maturity for us to anchor that relationship to an appointment. I think the reasons and the basis for which we went to do that alliance will be revealed at an appropriate time on whether to continue or not, but as far as we are concerned, this revocation of that appointment has not in any way shaken MMD or get us saddened. It is a development that is normal. Honourable Mutati is not the first minister to have been appointed and his appointment revoked,” said Nakacinda.
“For now, what would be important, I think it is also important for the country, is that we hold a principled position that the President enjoys the prerogative to appoint a Cabinet and he enjoys the same prerogative to reshuffle Cabinet, move ministers, as well as hire and revoke the appointment. And in this case, honorable Mutati obviously was appointed on merit as an individual but also picked from the alliance partner being the MMD, so the revocation of that appointment for us, we are seeing it in the eyes of the fact that that’s the right of the President and any other matter, I think they are matters that we will be able to speak to when we progress from there,” said Nakacinda.
Meanwhile, the newly appointed Works and Supply Minister, who is an accountant by profession and worked for Inyatsi Construction company which donated Land to President Lungu in Swaziland, said he would focus on building capacity at government printers to print the 2021 ballot papers.
“A lot has been discussed about building our own capacity to be able to produce election materials for 2021, so that’s an area we will be looking at to ensure that we can capacitate ourselves through Government Printers. I will also be looking at government infrastructure, as you know, the Ministry of Works and Supply looks at existing infrastructure so we will be making continuous assessments and we hope to do the right thing in terms of having our infrastructure in the position that it should be,” said Kafwaya.
“I will be able to work to the best of my abilities, in terms of ensuring that we work within the confines of the law to support government to deliver to the Zambian people because that’s the most important thing.”