Felix Mutati MMD faction national secretary Rapheal Nakacinda says the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) would not have won both the 2015 and 2016 presidential elections if his party did not throw its weight on PF.

And Nakacinda says MMD will review its alliance with the PF at the 2021 convention.

But the Nevers Mumba-led MMD faction spokesperson Cephas Mukuka says it is sad to note how Mutati and his group are panicking when there is still an active case in court regarding the party leadership.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka, Monday, Nakacinda explained that his party decided to enter into an alliance with PF in 2015 after realising that the MMD candidate was not going to make it.

“We had an open invitation from the Patriotic Front [in 2016] that they would want to work with MMD and we discussed that invitation, also in relation with our own internal issues that we were dealing with, we felt that if we were going to…at that particular point feature a candidate, it was very clear that our candidate was not going to make it because we had taken so long fighting in court about the convention and by the time we were going to the convention, even the time for filing in nomination for a presidential candidate had passed,” Nakacinda said.

“So because of also our own internal considerations, we felt we shouldn’t be disruptive in the interest of the nation. We knew that if we were going to participate, the only thing that we were going to achieve was to force for a re-run. So we saved the Zambians a lot of money by putting our weight on Patriotic Front so that they can pass in 50 percent plus one without difficult. And that is how come they won. And I can tell you that if MMD didn’t do that, PF would not have won, both in 2015 and in 2016.”

Nakacinda also said that his party would hold another convention in 2021.

“And I want to take this opportunity to inform you that there is going to be a convention possibly in 2021 as we undertake elections. I want to state openly here that Dr Mumba will be invited for as long as he is associating himself with MMD. He will be invited to come to that convention. If he still has a political ambition to lead the party and he feels he is popular in the party, that opportunity will be accorded to him in the next convention the same way we accorded him an opportunity in the last convention,” he said.

He also asked Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo to end the drama of opening and closing institutions of higher learning.

“For over 50 years now, this business of public universities closing should have been by now a thing of the past. Why have we failed in the last 55 years to find a system that works? I think as a people, we have been lazy to find a solution. What I can just say is that Professor Nkandu Luo, one of the reasons we believe she was appointed as a Minister of Higher Education is because she is a professor. And you can only be a professor by going through higher learning institution and you are supposed to have experience. Why is she finding it difficult to put her hands in finding a solution? I think we can only place a demand on her that the drama of opening and closing universities particularly public universities should come to an end,” Nakacinda said.

And Nakacinda said it was unfair for Zambians to rubbish all NDF resolutions when some of them were for their good.

“I want to call upon all Zambians to carefully study the resolutions. The document is addressing very pertinent issues and some of the resolutions may be revisited obviously in the interest of the nation. We call upon all meaning stakeholders not to rubbish all resolutions but remain responsible, objective and not play politics. Some of the resolutions are good and require consensus. I must state here that deliberately, out of the so many resolutions that were made at the NDF, people have chosen two that they are trotting around the country to try and discredit the entire dialogue forum. And those two, even if they don’t have merited arguments, just that those two resolutions are easier to incite the citizens because of the economic situation that we are facing as a country. As citizens, we must be careful around those who play to the gallery. I think it is important that we see things that will benefit the country,” he said.

Nakacinda said MMD was available for consultations with government on the need to revamp the economy because the party had vast experience after serving the nation for 20 years.

“One of the issues that as a people we need to face is the fact that the country is going through economic challenges. The past two-three years, government through the presentation of budget have stated that the economy is facing challenges and they have proposed an economic recovery package or plan which was announced in 2017, later on we are talking about austerity measures. As MMD, having been in government for 20 years, our proposal is that we should continue to undertake consultation. We want to urge our colleagues in government that don’t be shy, when you are faced with a situation like you are faced, to call upon other stakeholders to consult. And MMD which is your friend, and has vast experience in dealing with similar situation [is open for consultation],” he said.

But reacting to Nakacinda’s briefing in a statement, Mukuka stated that the rival faction was panicking.

“It’s very sad indeed to note that Hon Felix Mutati and his group are in a mood of panic. Our statement is in response to a press conference Raphael Nakacinda had making a suggestion to hold the Intra Party elections which eventually will lead to a national convention probably in 2020. This is uncalled for and a way to pass time and avoid by all means to stand trial which unfortunately for Mutati and his cohorts time has but come for them to be tried. They need to be brave and stand trial without fail. Our friends have tried very hard to resort to barbaric methods of trying to prolong the case,” stated Mukuka.