Governance Elections, Advocacy Research Services (GEARS) Initiative Zambia says it is concerned with the recently organised protests by some patriotic Front cadres and party structures demanding for the dismissal or resignation of Minister of Finance, Mr. Felix Mutati.
McDonald Chipenzi who is Executive Director of GEARS Initiative said his organisation is of the view that the stage-managed protests are very unfortunate, retrogressive and unproductive.
The former FODEP Executive Director was quick to note that the protests are seemingly being done with the blessings of the top ruling party leadership.
“We find the allegations, that Mr. Mutati who is leading another faction of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) has been mobilising membership for his party using his government portfolio, can be best described as baseless and against the spirit and letter of interparty co-existence and tolerance and against their political working relationship fostered into during the 2016 General Elections.
“Surprisingly, there has been some deliberate silence from the top leadership of the ruling party, in the likes of the Party President, Vice-President and the National Chairperson, who could probably be very privy to the signed Memorandum of partnership with Mr. Mutati and his group and its terms which the protesting cadres and structures may not be in the know,”
He said the ignorance of the hired cadres was a danger to the partnership of the two parties.
“Not knowing the contents of the political partnership entered into between Mr. Mutati and the PF, it would be wrong to expect that Mr. Mutati surrendered his political rights to the PF.
“GEARS Initiative feels that the calls by some PF structures should not have been entertained by the PF top leadership because it is an act of dishonest and betrayal and consequently might have a far-reaching negative consequences to the formation of credible and trusted future political alliances and partnership in the country and further have national ramifications economically, “he said.
He urged the look at what the positive contribution since his appointment as opposed to politicking.
“Before asking for his resignation or dismissal, PF should have reflected on the positive performances of Mr. Mutati as Finance Minister. Based on the stabilisation of the national economy since Mr. Mutati was appointed finance minister and from a layman’s viewpoint, Mr. Mutati is trying to make the country’s economic performance display signs of recovery and would be erroneously wrong to dismiss him now.
“Reflectively, at the time Mr. Mutati was appointed minister, there existed slow economic expansion, skyrocketing inflation rate at 21% with the national budget deficit at 10%. This was coupled by poor international credit ratings and a weakened Kwacha.
“However, Mr. Mutati seems to have reversed the economic downturn as can be seen by reduced inflation rates to a single digit, stabilised Kwacha, improved credit ratings, retention of investor confidence and projected positive economic outlook among other positives.,” he said.
He adds “in this regard, it will be against the interest of the common and greater good of the Zambian populace for PF top leadership to entertain political hooliganism, bullying and harassment of Mr. Mutati. President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has a political and national duty to exercise transparent and accountable leadership towards his alliance partners and to the nation than displaying pretentious attitude towards the goings-on.
“GEARS Initiative finds it politically unfair for President Lungu, as a result of pressure from his party cadres and structures, to decide to recall Mr. Mutati or make him resign, instead, President Lungu must be firm and tell off the bullies within his party that he cherishes national interest as opposed to sectional, party and personal interests.”