PATRIOTIC Front secretary-general Davies Mwila must explain to the nation what he means when he says that the PF “want to own Finance Minister and MMD president Felix Mutati 100 per cent.”
Mr Mwila claims that the PF is not happy that Mr Mutati should hold a very influential position in Government while remaining president of MMD, an opposition party.
He said the secretariat has received petitions from the provinces demanding that Mr Mutati should choose whether to remain in government or return to MMD. He added that this is due to present these petitions to the President for ‘scrutiny and final decision.”
This statement comes against a background of last week’s “spontaneous” demonstrations in Lusaka and Solwezi in which PF members called for the resignation of the Finance Minister, that he should choose whether to join the ruling party or remain president of MMD.
In the Lusaka incident, cadres were ferried to Lusaka from the Eastern Province on an “all expenses paid for” outing, accommodated at a lodge in Chawama Township and the following day, they were on busy Cairo Road, disturbing the peace, as they marched brandishing their placards denouncing Mr Mutati.
And what was so strange about the Lusaka demonstration or petition was that none of the PF bigwigs, more so from the PF secretariat said anything in public to explain what was happening. We questioned their silence, that there was more to the demonstration than meets the eye.
But, we can safely say that our suspicions have been proved correct, that the demonstration in Lusaka, the movement of the cadres from the Eastern Province had the backing of some very “big fish” within the corridors of power. It was not an isolated incident.
Just what has changed all of a sudden that Mr Mwila and others like him have realised that Mr Mutati “is not one of their own?” That they have now realised that they have a “wolf in sheep’s skin” in their midst.
We find it very strange that Mr Mwila should issue such a statement when a man in his position ought to know better, or have a better understanding of the dynamics at play.
It is common knowledge that the PF and MMD under Mr Mutati formed an alliance prior to the August 2016 Presidential and general elections. The Mutati wing of the MMD had the backing of the influential former president Rupiah Banda.
It is folly for anyone to ignore the part the Mutati wing of the MMD with the endorsement of Mr Banda played for the PF to win the 2016 elections. MMD was and is strong in the Eastern Province. But even in other areas, the MMD vote helped the PF win.
It should be mentioned that there was also the Nevers Mumba MMD faction that chose to work with the United Party for National Development (UPND).
Moreover, the two factions have taken their fight to the courts of law to rule who the de facto president of the MMD is.
If Mr Mutati was to resign as MMD president, Never Mumba would be declared leader of the party automatically and PF would lose its support. Mind you, Mr Mumba is aligned to UPND.
What those cadres clamouring for Mr Mutati’s resignation must realise is that the PF-MMD alliance was based on principle and constructive engagement. President Lungu picked Mr Mutati as Finance Minister not to appease him, but that he was and still remains the best man for the job with international and local credentials.
Incidentally, has Mr Mutati tried to change the PF policies – pro poor, more money in the pockets? He speaks more PF language than those who claim to own the party.
It would have made sense if Mr Mwila and the so-called cadres he claims to represent had proof, for example, that Mr Mutati had failed to perform. But that is not the case. For lack of a better word, we think Mr Mwila and his cadres are being mischievous and just want to tarnish Mr Mutati’s reputation.
And to bring some “credibility” to their machinations, they are now trying to drag in President Edgar Lungu into the mud. This madness must end.
Let’s have a bridge builder at the PF secretariat and not someone who does not seem to have what it takes to run a country because of being narrow-minded.