Lunte constituency MP Felix Mutati is on the list of MMD members who shall either be expelled or ‘neutralized’ before the party convention.
The Watchdog has been reliably informed that president Rupiah Banda’ son, James, and some State House staff have advised the president to curtail Mutati’s presidential ambitions.
They have advised him to fire Mutati from cabinet before the convention. Sources also say the party convention will be held either in November or December this year after removing all possible threats to the presidency.
“They have now agreed on the convention date after getting rid of Magande (Chilanga MP) who was the threat. But now they have to be sure about Mutati as well,’ said one senior MMD official.
Mutati, who is also the minister of Commerce is said to be aware of the machinations and has since scaled down his ambitions from contesting the party presidency to try the vice presidency.
But the parallel MMD structure run by president Banda’ sons and some select state house staff don’t want Mutati to contest any senior party position. They are worried that he can change his mind at the last minute and challenge President Banda.
Sources claim that president Banda would have fired Mutati last month but he was advised by the intelligence that Mutati is a vital and acceptable link between the government and the donor community.
He is one of the few ministers in which the donor community has confidence in and removing him would further sour the relationship between donors and government.
But that is exactly one of the reasons the parallel MMD wants Mutati out. He is a credible threat to the old men from UNIP currently running the MMD.
And Mutati has no UNIP record and therefore stands as a natural candidate should the pure MMD movement gain ground.