FORMER MDC secretary general Lucky Mulusa says there is paralysis in the party because its leader, Felix Mutati, cannot mobilise while serving as minister under someone whom he is supposed to challenge in 2026.
And Mulusa says UPND doesn’t recognise the UPND-Alliance partners as evidenced by failure to be inclusive when making certain appointments.
But MDC vice-president Leonard Hikaumba says his party shall continue being in the alliance, arguing that it would be petty to leave just because party members were not being given jobs.
On Tuesday evening, Mulusa announced that he had resigned from MDC and in an interview, he said the whole party membership was confused at the moment.
“When you come to honorable Mutati, the members of the MDC want him to stand in 2026. But he is a cabinet minister. It creates a very tricky situation because at what time does he disengage himself in order to come and campaign to stand as President? He is leading a political party that was formed in order to contest elections. We couldn’t contest elections on our own because the PF frustrated our efforts and made sure we were late in registration but this time around with the background I have given, people are expecting that Mutati should be on the ballot. So if Mutati is going to be on the ballot, he should say now that I am not going to be on the ballot, I am happy being a Cabinet Minister,” he said.
“Because if he is going to be on the ballot, at what point is he going to use to stand? If he is part of the collective that is governing now? If he comes to stand and doesn’t disengage now, it means that he will be seen as having been disingenuous. Where you are serving, but you have a view to come and challenge the very person under whom you are serving. So, the whole arrangement is a little bit confusing. The whole membership of MDC at the moment is confused, because there is paralysis in the party and the paralysis is coming from the fact that their President is a part of government and therefore, he cannot mobilise the party.”
And Mulusa said UPND did not recognise the alliance.
“A political party is a mere platform where people come together and refine their ideas in order to offer a package to the people to say ‘look, put us in this position and we will serve you’. So, you start wondering whether you are really existing for a purpose as an existing political party. We are there as leaders on top and we convinced our people to go into an Alliance and then one alliance partner, the main alliance partner, that is the UPND, they don’t operate in a manner that seems to be a culture of inclusiveness. We have 116 District Commissioners positions in the country. Surely, couldn’t UPND have been magnanimous enough even to give an alliance partner, we are about 10 or 12 alliance partners, couldn’t they give the alliance partners even one seat?” Mulusa asked.
“But they decided to take everything and yet we made our people go round the country, campaigning for the UPND as a foremost partner in the partnership to take charge of government. We have seen appointments of Permanent Secretaries, not even one position has gone to the alliance partners. The problem with that is that the alliance partners went around the country explaining to the people how Bally was going to fix it, but then they are not involved in the exercise of achieving the Bally fixing of things. So, the next time when there is an election, what will they go and say to the people?”
Mulusa said those who went round campaigning were not the ones who were participating in running the country.
“What I see is that those that went around campaigning to achieve what was achieved are not the ones that are participating in the exercise achieving what was promised and therefore there is a detachment, that is why you see them very quiet. They don’t even come out to defend anything because they never promised people anything. The whole arrangement has become a little bit confusing to say where are we going? Is this a true partnership? And also when you look at who is using the world alliance, it is the other partners other than the UPND. There is no single minister, including the President who has ever used the word alliance after the elections,” he said.
“You read the Presidential speech and tell me how many times he pronounced the word alliance? Go to the Minister of Finance in his budget speech and search for the word alliance, so in short, from our colleagues the UPND, there is no alliance, it doesn’t exist. It is us who are forcing ourselves to pronounce the word alliance. We have a council of Secretary Generals as an alliance partnership, the main alliance partner doesn’t attend these meetings. So in short, there is no alliance. It ceased to make any sense at all. We need to be true to each other, why did we go into an alliance. We went into an alliance not for jobs but to cause a regime change.”
Asked if he resigned because he wasn’t given a job, Mulusa said that was not his motivation.
“If I wanted a job, I wouldn’t be making the pronouncements that I am making because I would really want to lay low in order to be rewarded. My number one priority is to serve the Zambian people and I see that the Zambian people are not being served to the best of the abilities of the leadership, we can do a lot better. So for me, it’s not about wanting a job. If I wanted a job, I would have kept my ministerial job under Lungu, I had a very prestigious job as Minister of National Development and Planning but when I saw that collective responsibility was drifting into collective irresponsibility, I spoke out. So, for me it’s not about a job,” said Mulusa.
But at a media briefing, Wednesday, Hikaumba said MDC had accepted Mulusa’s resignation.
“As a party we received a letter of resignation from our Secretary General Honorable Lucky Mulusa last evening and after receiving, there was consultation regarding the same. As a party, I would like to indicate that we have since accepted the resignation from our Secretary General. He didn’t indicate the reasons but he thanked us for having worked with him. Equally on our part, we extend our appreciation for the work he did for the party and we wish him well in whatever he will be doing, whether he is quitting politics or going to another political arrangement,” Hikaumba said.
He said moving away from the alliance because one wanted a job was petty.
“As MDC, we are saying, the promises that we made of revamping the economy, of uniting the country should be achieved. Because by us moving away from the alliance just because jobs have not been given to our members, I think its being petty. And even if jobs were to be given, how many of our members would get those jobs? And we have stated this before, even at the time of joining the alliance, we said we are not after jobs but we are after liberating the country and we are after creating opportunities for our people and this is being done. And as MDC, we shall see that this is being done. Because we have in UPND a partner who is ready to listen,” he said.
Hikaumba said if there was anything that threatened the operations of the alliance, people should speak out.
“If there is anything that is threatening the smooth operation of the alliance, you are at liberty to bring that information to your leadership. And for the leaders it doesn’t help us after receiving the information, then you keep it yourself. What is important is to use that information to see what solutions you can come up with. If we don’t go to UPND and tell them there is this problem, how will they know? As a party, we want to ensure that we have harmony among the alliance partners. This is the first time ever that an alliance has succeeded. So it’s something new, and people are learning from it. The unity that is being displayed by the top leadership is expected to radiate to go down all the structures at all levels. So it’s not going to be achieved in one day,” Hikaumba said.
“We shall continue being in the alliance and we shall continue supporting the alliance and to that effect, the by-election that is taking place in Mongu, we shall be there to support the alliance partner.”
Asked if Mutati would contest the 2026 elections, he said it was too early to respond to that question.
“For us 2026 is still quite far and the members you see here and the many whom they are representing will give us a direction when that time comes. If they are going to tell us this is what we have to do, we shall do that which will be demanded by the members. But for now, we think that that question is still too early,” said Hikaumba.