Raphael Nakacinda says the Felix Mutati led MMD is still an independent political party even though it is in an alliance with the ruling Patriotic Front (PF).

In an interview, Nakacinda, who is MMD national secretary, claimed his party was providing checks and balances to the PF despite its president Mutati being Minister of Finance.

“First of all, we have a responsibility to advise and provide checks and balances to the Patriotic Front especially that we are in a working relationship with them. MMD continues to be an independent political party, what happened in 2016 prior to the general elections was basically us endorsing the candidature of Edgar Lungu and going into a working relationship or alliance for that election which has culminated in having our party president Felix Mutati taking up a position as Minister of Finance in this government. We think that his participation in government will also help in dealing with some of the challenges that the country has been facing,” Nakachinda said.

“I think you would appreciate that for the past couple of months that Mr Mutati has been Minster of Finance, we have seen some economic gain that you can point to. For example you can see that the Kwacha is beginning to gain and the inflation is improving. You may have also noticed that when it comes to the economic recovery forum that was pronounced through the 2017 budget has generated an excitement and good will from local circles because of this approach to engage different stakeholders and get their input in the economic recovery programme which is dabbed ‘Zambia plus’.”

Nakacinda charged that Nevers Mumba was only clinging to the presidency for political relevance.

“Obviously you know that the president for MMD is honorable Felix Mutati and you can check for yourself at the registrar of societies or indeed any legal body that recognises the leadership of political parties and I can confirm to you that Dr Mumba hasn’t got anybody following him. He may be a loud mouth but that doesn’t mean that he has a following. At the moment he is advancing an agenda with UPND but he has been to using and clinging on to the MMD name basically for political relevance. What we know now is that he is orchestrating a plan to try and see if he can also be part of the leadership if not top of the UPND while HH is incarcerated,” Nakacinda said.

“Actually the message that Nevers is grieving over HH is hypocritical [because] some of the discussions behind the scenes that we are preview to suggest that there is a plan of hoping that if HH can be incarcerated or convicted even if it’s for a lesser charge and disqualified, maybe he can be a part of the formula for 2021 under UPND. So you see that there is no genuineness in all the activities, the only thing that as MMD we have taken a position that we will not waste time on Nevers Mumba because he is not a factor and as evidenced in the 2015 general elections…the gentleman stood as Presidential candidate and he got less than 15,000 votes. Surely I don’t think that such a person who can be beaten even at ward level is somebody that we have to pay attention to. He may be an irritating noise in our ears but I think we choose to look at the bigger picture and focus ourselves on what we need to achieve.”

Nakacinda also observed that politicians were quick in creating problems but very reluctant in solving them.

“Of course for us we encourage every effort to bring peace, to initiate dialogue and every effort to bring unity, you will find MMD endorsing such a message. World over, most of the conflicts that have been made in countries or nations are political in nature because as politicians we seem to be quick in creating problems but very reluctant in solving them. So politicians should be the first ones to initiate a process of changing a situation that is seemingly bringing tension in this country and those who are in government have even a greater responsibility because they are in government and have the entire system to their disposal. It doesn’t reduce or take away from you as a leader to sit down and seek dialogue,” said Nakacinda.

“It doesn’t make you weak actually it makes you stronger if you can rise above your emotions and some of the feelings you may have against those who are insulting or speaking ill of you and be able to reach out in a greater interest of the nation to engage into dialogue, so for us as MMD owing to our experience of 20 years in government and 7 years in opposition we think we can advise both our partners in government and also fellow opposition political parties, we are in a unique position in that we are both opposition and also associated with those who are in government so both parts we can reach.”