STATEMENT BY HON.FELIX C.MUTATI, MP
November 29th 2011
Today, I make a statement about the choices that we face as a country and specifically about how best we as a party in the MMDcan move forward in this new political dispensation. I want to share my thoughts on how best we can take all the pain that resulted from our loss endured on 20th September 2011, and channel all those negative vibes into a productive force that will energize our party; to make it much stronger and resolute in performing our current core mandate as a governance partner and eventually to reclaim governance in2016. In this regard, I wish to first congratulate the Patriotic Front (PF) for emerging victorious in the last election and wish them well in delivering on their mandate and promises made to the Zambian People. In the same vain, I would also like to extend my profound gratitude and thanks to all our members in the MMD, for making a resolve that our loss was just a temporal setback. On their behalf, let me send out this clear message to the nation that we will be back! MMD will be back and govern again.
Resulting from our changed set of circumstance, our party is currently presented with a number of hard decisions to make. We either migrate, adapt or become extinct. I am certain that the first and last options do not inspire any committed member of the MMD, such as myself. The only viable option that we must take is that of adaptation. Today, MMD’s survival plan lies in taking and sequencing the following three steps; re-grouping, re-organizing and finally re-launching. In a time of change, we must be honest with ourselves in accepting that we have drifted away from what made us relevant to the vast majority of Zambia people. That we may have lost sight of our vision as framed in the years 1990-1991. It is for this reason that the electorate rewarded us with a seat as an opposition party. However, there is nothing strange about being in the opposition because we were birthed in the opposition and the MMD existed as an opposition for more than one year before it could form Government in November 1991. Equally, we will rise to the challenge and govern again.
II. EXTRA-ORDINARY CONVENTION
I am aware that many MMD members countrywide want a consensus President and an Extra-Ordinary Convention is their demand in order to legitimize and mandate their leadership. We have an obligation and subsequently a great task to listen to all our members. This should form part of the bigger picture of reforming and carrying an in-depth introspection on the way forward. In this regard, a compressive post-mortem of an election might not be the most significant thing for the survival of the party in the long-term. It should be regarded as only a part of the overall rebuilding process required. In the same vain, electing a new leader in order to replace our past President, who has indicted willingness to step aside, is also not the most significant task to be rushed into either. Let us take stock of other political parties who once held power in our country and refused to adapt to the changing circumstance. Their refusal to accept these changing circumstance led them into inadvisable strategic thinking, resulting in their becoming irrelevant to the Zambia electorate.
The MMD as a whole must avoid the rush towards having a transitional leader. Whoever is elected by the National Executive Committee(NEC), as is currently being suggested, may be seen as a transitional leader and may not be able to command the type of authority needed to restructure the Party nor will she or he be seen as an alternative leader by the general public. Others may argue that this was done successfully both in transiting from President Fredrick T.J Chiluba to President Levy P. Mwanawasa and subsequently from President Mwanawasa to President Rupiah B. Banda. However, the difference is that the MMD was in office during both of these NEC led transitions as opposed to doing the same in the current situation when the MMD is out of Office. These are two radically different situations that require two different strategies.
The challenge before us now is to re-group and immediately come up with a time-table for a Convention or a Mini-Convention in order for us to begin the serious work of reorganizing our party. After this is done, then we can all collectively get involved in having the party re-launched. The time-table towards Convention should be known and communicated to all party members and salient millstones communicated to the general public. We have to seriously re-look at the consequences of going the way of a fully-fledged position being filled by the NEC. It is my opinion that the choice of a Convention is by far a better option in our current set of circumstances and it is when this option is exercised that I will make myself available as a candidate for the Presidency of the MMD.
III. What does the Felix Mutati Candidature OFFER?
I am entering the race for the MMD Presidency because I believe in the MMD and its founding principles which transformed Zambia from a one party state into a multi-party democracy that it is today. A democratic dispensation which entails the exercise of power by the majority of its people both within party structures as well as in the nation as a whole. In the same vain, I am fully committed to the general economic principals as contained in our party Manifesto. Economic principles which were able to take an economy on its knees when the MMD took office in 1991 to a strong growth economy on the verge of take off by the time we were leaving office in 2011. Building on our strong foundation, I am ready to raise the standard of our party to the extent that those who have doubted MMD’s resolve to arise from the dust of defeat to the laurels of victory shall wake up to a shock when they witness a renewed MMD as a strong and effective opposition Party.
I am ready, together with my colleagues in the party, to courageously spearhead its re-organization and prove to the nation that the MMD is ready to lead, first, as an opposition party and subsequently setting the stage for it to once again be the governing party. To be able to lead the party from an angle where it serves as a proposition of new ideas, offering change, hope and economic freedom. I am ready to transform the MMD Secretariat into a nerve centre for the most people-centred political campaign. I am also making a pledge to work for a future with accelerated and sustained economic growth that provides employment for its people and an improved standard of leaving for the vast majority of our citizens. I pledge equal opportunity for all, commitment to the rule of law and order and above all a healthy, disciplined, well-educated and caring Zambian society. I also promise strong and courageous leadership which will focus on repositioning the party and consolidating all its structures.
In my many years of public life, I have made both personal and public choices and decisions of which some were right and others were wrong. I genuinely believe that a vast majority of my decisions have benefited my country, community and my family. In those moments for which I have made decisions that are regrettable, these moments have been a time of reflection and personal growth. Through these moments and experiences, it is my belief that I am a better man and would make for a far better leader. I will still make mistakes in the years ahead, but I am confident and assured of fulfilling the vision I have for Zambia because of my Christian values and the support of the people. To those who might have been hurt by personal choices and my leadership in the past, I can only ask for your forgiveness. At the same time, let me invite you to join me in supporting my candidature for the leadership for our party and provide Zambia with a leadership it deserves. I ask the party membership and Zambians in general to judge me based on my capacity to deliver and on my vision both for the party and for the nation. It is my firm belief that I have the necessary knowledge and skills to take MMD forward and to give the members hope and dignity.
To the majority youth across this great nation; I wish to state that, while many people say you are the future leaders; I say Your Future is Now! However, in order to realize the Zambia dream, we must build on the foundations which have been laid by the older generation. In going forward, Zambia needs to prepare for a change of guard in the years that lie ahead. The youth of Zambia deserve a leader who can articulate and translate their dreams into reality through advocating for the creation of an environment where jobs and wealth can be created and a better life assured for all Zambians. My life is directly connected to the rural realities of Zambia, where I also happen to serve as Area Member of Parliament. I am alive to the challenges of our youths and mothers in both rural and urban Zambia. Indeed, as my commitment is to become their mouth-piece in realizing their dreams, I am set and will provide such leadership. My candidature is therefore dedicated to the youth of Zambia to whom I extend an invitation that we walk together.
In conclusion, as MMD, we have differed with each other and at times have called each other names. In some circles, we have at times become laughing stocks of those who seek our extinction. I stand here today to bring comfort to our general membership that as in the words of scriptures, weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning! To the MMD I say, weep no more, wipe away your tears, and take off your black clothing which symbolized mourning. Summed up in one sentence, It’s about healing our past wounds, pulling our energies together, getting back to work and building a strong bridge to the future. Zambians desire to get to the Promised Land as is summed up in our national anthem- “a land of work and joy in unity, all one, strong and free”. Indeed we owe it to them to create a bridge to the future.
My catholic teachings remind me of a time when God had to dig into His reservoir to get His people that He had spared for a critical time. And this is that critical time. The next few years will usher in a generational hand-over of leadership. I am glad to make myself available when the Convention is called. I have now arrived at a decision that I am available to serve the people of Zambia as MMD President and provide leadership. It is important for all progressive Zambians to demand from our political institutions that Zambia deserves better; that Zambia must get better; and that Zambia shall get better! So I call on all our members across the country that let us all arise, return to work and help rebuild the party. I believe that by accepting and making me president of our great party, we shall be making a determination to work and set a pattern which will be our pride and our satisfaction in the years to come.
I THANK YOU.