MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Felix Mutati says politicians should not focus on outsiders’ opinions on who will carry the day on August 12 because the only position which matters is that of the Zambian people.

Commenting on the latest Economist Intelligence Unit report which predicted that President Edgar Lungu will remain in power during the period of 2021-26 when he appeared on Crown TV’s Truth Be Told programme, Wednesday, Mutati said the only opinion on Zambia’s election which mattered was that of the citizens.

“The key thing is obviously that there are going to be a number of assessments that will be done, whether it’s the economic intelligence report or indeed other reports which tell you different views. So it’s one perception amongst others. The only message that we have got to make is that we need to work hard as a party and not be obsessed by the opinions that are being expressed by the economists. Let’s be obsessed by the opinion that the people of Zambia are telling us and not somebody who is sitting outside and saying this is what they see,” Mutati said.

Asked whether his party could unseat PF, Mutati said the decision lies with the people, but added that his party needed to deliver the right message to attract the electorate.

“I think what we must say even as MDC, is that it is not about a political party unseating another. It’s not about the MDC unseating the Patriotic Front, that’s not the equation. The power to choose lies with the people, they are the ones who will say now we have chosen MDC and not PF. So first you have to understand, the power lies with the people. How then do you create the push? It’s in the messaging, the message that you deliver to the people,” Mutati said.

In response to a question on whether the party would join any alliance, Mutati said the party was in alliance with the Zambian people but would consider doing so if the proposing party shared common values.

“As MDC we are in an alliance with the people of Zambia because those are our partners but we remain open to engage with the likeminded. If UPND or indeed any other political party proposes, it will be based on whether we have got a meeting of mind, shared common values and a shared consensus on issues. When dealing with the critical challenges of the people of Zambia, it’s not about sharing positions… I think the key answer from MDC is that any policy decision that is taken must be taken by all of us, not the president alone. So if that time comes, it will be thrown to the membership saying, ‘You the membership decide what we want to do,’ but that time has not come yet,” said Mutati.

“Would I run as a running mate? The same way, would another run as a running mate to me? If they can run as a running mate to me, by all principle, so can I. Because I think the issue is not whether you can run as running mate or not, whether you can become minister of finance or not or whether you can become this or that, but that’s not even the issue, it’s not about the power that you want to get, it’s about answering to the challenges that the people of Zambia are facing, who has got the best formulation to deal with the challenges that the people of Zambia are facing. But if I look at myself and not the people, then I am not being honest enough. So the answer is, ‘Is there a formula that answers to our values and principles that I have articulated? If that is the answer then that is the route I go.”