Lucky Mulusa whom President Edgar Lungu dropped from the position of National Development Minister yesterday, says the dismissal is one of the best things that ever happened in his life, and he is happy to leave government.
In an exclusive interview with News Diggers! Mulusa who also served as State House Special Assistant for Project Monitoring and Implementation in 2015/2016 said he was grateful to President Lungu for giving him an opportunity to serve in the PF government.
He however said he has never been a PF member and since his role in government has come to an end, he will endeavour to serve the people of Zambia through the MMD platform, which he said he was a proud member of.
Mulusa further said he does not regret any remarks he made while in government, adding that the people of Zambia are too intelligent to be dictated by the power of incumbency, hence his decision to always speak the truth.
Below is the verbatim of the interview with Lucky Mulusa:
Question: We have seen a posting from State House that you have been dropped from your position, is this true?
Answer: Yes it is true my appointment has been revoked, so I am no longer member of parliament or Cabinet minister. In fact there is a letter to that effect so right now I am just rushing to the office to pick up the letter and say good bye to the staff, we’ve been a great team.
Q: Is there any reason you think might have caused this?
A: The President usually wouldn’t give any reasons why he revokes an appointment. He is at liberty to either give reasons or not to give reasons, especially that if at the time he was appointing you he didn’t give any reasons and you didn’t ask for reasons why you were appointed, it would be disputatious for you to ask for reasons why your contract is being terminated. So for me, my response to the new development is to actually; sincerely from the bottom of my heart, thank the President for having given me an opportunity to finish off the understanding of governing from having been an observer outside Parliament and government and then having been participating in the discourses in Parliament. It helped my understanding of way the nation has to be governed. And then having been given an opportunity to actually serve him as Special Assistant to the President for Project Monitoring and monitoring and working closely with him for about one year and six months, 18 months everyday working with him; it was a great honour. I really want to thank him for giving me an opportunity to have that insight understanding of how the President operates. It has given me a very, very good understanding, I am always a student so it made me observe how the President operates and I have my views on how a President should operate.
Q: How was your relationship with President Lungu?
A: It was great. I really thank him and I thank him that during those first 18 months, the President asked me to walk the talk and indeed I walked the talk and we won elections together. We combined efforts and I would like to thank him for having elevated me to the position of Cabinet minister. Once again, giving me an opportunity to see how Cabinet operates and being a student I have my own views of how cabinet must operate; and eventually how government must be run. I do respect his decision because as a leader, you should always create a team with members whom your minds meet and, if you see that there is no minds meeting then there is no need to keep anybody around. I respect that.
Q: How do you feel about being fired?
A: It has not affected me in any way because I am a believer that everything happens for the good of the Lord and to all my supporters and my sympathisers, and all those that feel that I have something to offer on the political landscape, I would like to inform them that in life, there are two things that you must always posses and never lose. That is sanity and health discussions and everything else with Jesus on your side the Lord will provide for you. So this doesn’t affect me at all, it doesn’t affect me at all and I wish to thank the President and wish him well with his team and I will contribute to the welfare of the Zambians in whatever way because that doesn’t stop me in the way. So my ability to participate in the political landscape still exists and I will ensure that the programme we started with the President, I still take it forward in the best way I know how.
Q: What are some of the highlights of your time serving in the PF government?
A: My key highlight was to ensure that there was no change of government in 2015 because I feel that disruptions in government, changes from one political party in government to another is very costly, my participation as the person who was in charge of the media centre during the the time we combined with the PF is that during the 2016 elections between 2015 and 2016, I pushed for projects completions, projects that had basically been stalled before I was appointed as Special Assistant to the President for Project Implementation and Monitoring. When I went to Muchinga, I found that 44 out of 50 projects had been stalled and only six projects had contractors on site, we didn’t have money and we owed contractors, we were not paying them but I managed to actually bring contractors back on site through out the country. The next trick I made to work with contractors was 100 per cent attendance of contractors on site whether we paid them or not and also managed to link contractors to banks because that was the time that we were not paying and the banks were able to step in. So we worked very well, that’s just some highlights.
And when the PF came out with the ‘Sonta epo wabomba’ slogan, they were not showing any project but I had shown the project to the nation myself and the PF were now able to coin the slogan ‘Sonta epo wabomba’. I had showN the PF projects and demonstrated to the nation that the PF indeed was working in terms of project implementation. The other highlight was to sell Zambia to the international community so that we could access the funding that we needed for our projects. That was very big success. For instance, we have been an out charge in the international capital and financial capacity and my face is well known there in terms of telling the Zambian story. That was another highlight. And also just in terms of discourse in terms of preparation in Cabinet on which way the country could go, I tried my best. Obviously, I can not tell you exactly what goes on in Cabinet but I must say that I value my contributions to Cabinet, together we debated and managed to make certain decisions that are actually taking the country forward.
Above all, the biggest highlight is actually superintending over the casting of the Seventh National Development Plan and the subsidiary supplication that led to the successful implementation of the 7NDP and also just the recognition that the plan was a very good piece of work. So really in terms of successes, I have a lot to talk about. I was very, very happy with my stay in Cabinet and also my interaction with President Lungu in many ways, he’s my elder brother and I am still highly indebted to him for the opportunity he gave me, for me to grow from where I was. I am a person whose seat was nullified so to where I have ended up today, I am so so happy and highly indebted to him and I want to assure him that I will continue working for the good of the Zambian people.
Q: Are you disappointed with the development?
A: In fact I must state that this is the second best development in my political career that has ever happened, the first one was to have my seat nullified, that was a very good development, this one is an excellent development. I am very happy that it has happened and I wish to assure all those that support me, all those that follow the developments on the Zambian political scene that my name is Lucky Mulusa and Lucky Mulusa is not your one-day politician.
Q: I understand you are saying you are actually happy that you have been relived of your duties but one the things that a lot of us out here keep in mind when it comes to your performance in government is that you are one of the people who were not afraid to speak, you were quite frank and truthful. If there was a technocrat who was wrong in government, you pointed out that this technocrat in our government was wrong and we needed to do this differently. On the issue of fire tenders again you came out and said ‘I think we should have done an appraisal on this procurement and give a little bit more clearer explanations when people are asking, do you think that some of those remarks you made have cost your job? Do you regret saying some of those things?
A: No no no! I don’t regret anything at all. Let me tell you, the graves we see are full of people who thought the world wouldn’t go on without them. When you are in a leadership position, it is a service, you are not entitled to it. It is a service and if it is a service, you must respect the people you are serving and you respect them through your pronouncements, through the way you answer to their questions, through the way you interact in decision making. So there was absolutely no other thing I could have done other than respect people’s intelligence and wisdom by speaking the truth. You can not start insulting people, showing arrogance of incumbency just because you are in government when you report to your office, that’s not how you handle things. When you are in a public office you must ask yourself how many people occupied the office you occupy. They are all gone and some of them have no influence at all in society. So why should you think that your influence is permanent? And you use your influence to entice people, no! It is actually the people who put us in those offices, we don’t put ourselves in those offices. That is the realisation that never escaped my mind and if anyone realises that the power lies with the people, then one would constantly respect the people. There was absolutely no way I was going to disrespect the people by insulting their intelligence. The Zambian people are very very intelligent and I just have to respect that intelligence and that’s why I told them the truth, if I didn’t tell them the truth they were going to analyse and find the truth, so I don’t regret at all.
Q: Finally, I want to know. You mentioned that your activities on the political arena are still available, that hasn’t been taken away from you. How long are you remaining with the ruling party PF? Are you available to any other opposition ideas that you feel might advance what you espouse? What’s your way forward going ahead, now that you are out of government?
A: I was never a member of the PF, I was never a member of the Patriotic Front. We only formed an alliance when the PF was still in power because without the MMD, the PF would have gone in 2015, without the MMD and their alliance with MMD, the PF wouldn’t have won in 2016. I have never stood at any podium and presented myself as a member of the PF, never at all. I have never ever subscribed to the membership of the PF while we were in an alliance. We understood the dynamics of the political landscape and we felt that maybe the PF was the better devil to continue in government, that was all, but and I am still a proud member of the MMD.
Q: Thank you very much Honourable, and we are available as media platform to you in future, should you wish to share your views with the Zambian people.
A: Thank you very much, I am grateful.