FORMER finance minister Felix Mutati yesterday unveiled his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, with a list of notable politicians like Lucky Mulusa joining him as his secretary general.
The following is the rest of the interim executive committee of the newly launched MDC; economist Trevor Simumba is chairperson for economics, chairperson for the youths is Venon Kasonde, Ambassador Joyce Musenge is the deputy secretary general, vice-president in charge for administration is Shelly Thole and former ZCTU president Leonard Hikaumba is vice-president in charge of politics.
Meanwhile, former Minister of Labor Fackson Shamenda is also a member of MDC.
Speaking at the colourful launch, which was also attended by PF 2021 presidential aspirant Kelvin Bwalya Fube and Zambians for Empowerment and Development (ZED) leader Fred Mtesa, Mutati said his party would shake others.
“As we consulted on issues to do with the conditions of living, we also were told that the current political climate, the way we are carrying on, we are a divided country. We are divided along tribal lines, we are divided along regional lines. So we are at a cross road as a country. And what is more is that we have a dilemma of making a choice between the lesser of the worst. Which party should the people of Zambia choose, it is always the lesser of the worst. So we are here as MDC to give an alternative,” Mutati said.
“As MDC, our shared values, we believe as a country we have had a rich history of unity, of togetherness and we believe this can truly come back to Zambia. MDC is a party created for the people of Zambia to bring prosperity to the people of Zambia. With MDC, for next year’s election, it provides the people of Zambia the option, the alternative, the chance not to choose the lesser of the worst. And because you are choosing the lesser for the worst, many Zambians have said that it is better not to go and vote. Our role is to motivate those Zambians that now there is an option, now you have a choice. A choice which is not colored by tribe, region, gender but driven by the fuel of unity, peace and prosperity for the people of Zambia. We are not just a party, we are ‘The Party’ that will shake baja benangu (others).”
He said the surge of corruption in higher offices affected the cost of service.
“…we are seeing a surge of corruption not only in high offices but also in corporate boardrooms which is making the cost of service go up. If you want a job, you have to pay something. If you want a favor you have to pay something. Sometimes even to get a place in school, you have to bribe somebody,” Mutati said.
He said debt was Zambia’s number one problem.
“We have many challenges as a country and in particular, issues around COVID-19, we have issues around debt, we have issues around the economic fundamentals. All we are saying as MDC is that we have to create new solutions to deal with old problems. We must remain alive to the disruptive effect of COVID-19 and the effect that debt is pumping which we are seeing in the form of the exchange rate, inflation, and the cost of basic items. And as MDC, we have a singular philosophy that you will never spend money that you don’t have, neither should you borrow beyond your capacity to pay. We believe that in a situation where we are, we have to re-imagine that yes infrastructure is crucial but it is mode of financing that infrastructure that now matters,” Mutati said.
“So as MDC, we are saying we are going to create a private sector drive infrastructure fund. And this will have the effect of ensuring that we slow down and go towards halting debt accumulation. And debt today is our number one problem, we must tackle it. The Minister of Finance was saying in his budget that when I pay debt, I pay salaries I have no money. How do you grow the economy? It is not his problem, the problem is the excess debt. And you say ‘Mutati you were part of it, you were Minister of Finance’ yes, I accept collective responsibility. I will not be the first one to apportion and point blame of who did and did not do. I played my part in the team, when the team wins, everyone celebrates, when you lose, please don’t point fingers. That is not team spirit.”
He said he had learnt something from each of the presidents he served.
“I have worked with three presidents, the one who appointed me first Levy Patrick Mwanawasa and what I remember of him is the issue of discipline, the issue of rule of law and the determination to push you to work hard. He had no limits. Rupiah Banda gave us space and said ‘go and make mistakes but provided you deliver on your role.’ President Lungu I learnt one thing, humanity, very humble. So from each president there was something that I have grabbed onto me and I salute the three presidents,” said Mutati, adding that the party would soon go for a convention.
And Mulusa said as finance minister, Mutati resisted PF’s culture of reckless spending.
“We bring you a pair of hands that comes with proof of ability to perform. A pair of hands that has belonged to a very good government that handed over to the PF the kind of economy that the PF will never achieve. He also served as Minister of Finance and as Minister of Finance he was so stable and so disciplined in the way he ran the economy and refused to perpetuate the culture of the PF of spending when you don’t have money. He brings with him to the table, competence, good character, a good history, a good performance results and highly respected internationally. And he is able to sit across the able with any other leader globally and be able to make the right impressions for mother Zambia. We are very proud to have him as our leader,” said Mulusa.
Meanwhile, in his remarks, Shamenda urged the opposition to unite in order to bring about change.
“The children are crying, the women are crying, the men are crying. Zambia is for the Zambians. Zambia is not for the leaders. We provide the way those who follow are the ones who are more important. Let us have a third republic after 2021. Political parties you should unite so that you clear the folks, so that you can be able to share the chicken properly. Things are tough, brothers and sisters some of us are not looking for jobs, what we are looking for are jobs for our grandchildren. At the moment, the future is bleak, I think it is time as Shakespeare said at one time ‘the world is like a stage, those who have played a part, those who have messed up, please leave the stage. Let other people also try.’ Dear friends I wish you well, we need change, proper change,” said Shamenda.
KBF said Mutati was not alone.
“Nachisafye mukumi posha. Ndefwaya bonse elo twalafuma muno mwimona kwati ba president balibeka iyo. Natotela mukwayi pamunchinshi mwatupela. (I came to greet you. As you leave this place, I want you to know that the president (Mutati) is not alone. I am grateful for welcoming us),” said KBF.