Raphael Nakacinda says his nomination to the National Assembly as member of parliament by President Edgar Lungu was such a shocker because he never imagined he could have that privilege.

Nakacinda, who is Felix Mutati’s MMD national secretary has, however, vowed to continue organising his party in readiness for the 2021 general election, saying it is his responsibility to coordinate the party as chief executive officer.

President Lungu fired recently fired Mutati and revoked his nomination to Parliament, before replacing him with Nakacinda.

Speaking when he featured on Diamond Television’s Costa show, Sunday, Nakacinda thanked President Lungu for the boldness he had expressed in identifying him for the task ahead.

“First of all, I never ever imagined, it never even crossed my mind that this privilege would be accorded to me. Those who have worked with me do know that I have a philosophy that I operate with, and that is a philosophy of value addition. I never pursue positions, I believe that positions are just a means to the end, and to that effect, wherever you are, you can use your gifts, talents and be able to add value and impact the lives of those that you seek to save. So, it was really a surprise, if not a shocker, that there was such a consideration,” Nakacinda narrated.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the President of the Republic of Zambia for the boldness he has expressed in his desire to identify talent in me, it was a surprise! It came speedily, but we are able to manage ourselves in terms of considering this responsibility and what it would do to the country and what it would do to the party. Going on all options, we felt there is a time for which we can put subordinate, either partisan or individual interest, to national interest.”

Nakacinda, however, conceded that forming an alliance with a ruling party as the opposition was not easy.

“To have two political parties come together in national interest is not an easy fit, especially that it’s the first time we are having a situation where a former ruling party coming to work with a party that beat them in an election because there is always that competitive attitude between the two political parties and it requires a lot of patience, a lot of skill and very focused leadership. If the principles that you are basing this relationship are fundamental, you have to work around the feeling and attitude of members, who may not fully understand and see the bigger picture in terms of this working relationship. It’s not just the Patriotic Front, for your own information, MMD members have also expressed discomfort in many ways,” Nakacinda lamented.

Asked why the MMD was still in the relationship if they were not very comfortable, he said the alliance was inevitable.

“Every development that brings about the paradigm shift in the way things are done from the traditional mode will always create some kind of resistance, but it is inevitable. With the 50+1 threshold for political parties to work together, for us as MMD, we try to communicate the importance of this alliance and the fact that it is inevitable for us to work with other political parties and when we look at the options that we have, Patriotic Front, even when we competed in 2011, I think were favoured by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy because most of the people that are in the Patriotic Front, including their first president, Michael Sata are products of the MMD,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Nakachinda said there was no ulterior motive behind his appointment, and as such, he would continue mobilising his party ahead of 2021.

“MMD is an independent political party, just like the Patriotic Front are an independent political party. Our relevance lies in our programmes of mobilising ourselves and the numbers, as it is usually said that politics is about numbers. It is my responsibility as national secretary to continue organising our party. At the time when President Lungu was indicating that he had decided to nominate me, he said: ‘we do not want to compromise your position as national secretary of the MMD. We are an alliance partner and we would want that the Patriotic Front is strong, the MMD is strong and the spirit of this alliance would want that we also have some kind of a voice in Parliament and we think that you can help and serve the Zambian people in that particular role’. So, it’s not a nomination that comes with ulterior [motives], at least I didn’t sense that ulterior motive,” he added.

Asked how the party had received his appointment after the dismissal of Felix Mutati, Nakacinda declined to comment.

“I will not be able to answer to speculations because the reasons for which the President revoked the appointment of honourable Mutati as Minister (as Works and Supply) have not been given. So, I will not be able to speak authoritatively around that issue. As for how the party will treat this appointment, we need to sit as a party and discuss because we have not met since honourable Mutati was dismissed from his position,” replied Nakacinda.