Majority of Zambians do no want Edgar Lungu back into State House – Sean Tembo


By Sean Tembo – PeP President

1. When the United Kwacha Alliance (UKA) was first announced a few weeks ago, a number of media houses reached out to us and sought our position as Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) on whether we shall be joining the alliance in question. Our response was very brief, and purposefully so. We said that we support the formation of UKA and that in future we may consider joining them, but for now we shall only be with them in spirit.

2. However, about four weeks later, it has now become necessary that we state our detailed position regarding this alliance. Let me start by making it very clear that as PeP, we strongly believe that an alliance is the most sure way of unseating the UPND party from office in the upcoming 2026 general elections. Let there be no question about that. Also, there is no question that President Hakainde Hichilema and his UPND party have completely failed the Zambian people and there will be a huge appetite to remove them from office in the 2026 general elections. So as opposition, we are actually walking a slope.

3. Nonetheless, my considered view is that it is not just any form of opposition alliance that will unseat the UPND party from office. It has to be a sellable alliance that will appeal to the people. Mind you that the Zambian voter of today is much more sophisticated and awake and is not as naive or gullible as the Zambian voter of yesteryears. That means if we are going to unseat the UPND in 2026, we need to present a united opposition package that will make sense to voters. Of course if we do not unite as opposition ahead of the 2026 polls, what is likely to happen is that the votes will be split in 2026 and that will benefit the ruling party. However, even in the unfortunate event of split votes in 2026, one of us will definitely emerge as a clear favorite to the people, and that is the party that will most likely unseat the UPND in 2031. The point that l am trying to make here is that an alliance that does not make sense to the people is more detrimental to the opposition than no alliance at all.

4. So then, what is our detailed position regarding UKA? Well, let me start by saying that l have utmost respect for each of the individuals that currently make up UKA. In fact, a good number of them are my personal friends. However, l personally see the UKA project as a comedy of errors. That is largely because of the presence of former President Lungu in the alliance, as well as the model that has been adopted to create UKA whereby it is made up of leaders of individual political parties. It is a well known fact that Hon. Miles Sampa has stolen the PF party, of course with help from the ruling UPND. It is also common knowledge that the court wrangles in PF are unlikely to be resolved before the 2026 general elections, again with the help of the ruling UPND party. Therefore, by President Lungu being in UKA in his capacity as PF President, he is effectively transmitting the wrangles which are in PF into UKA. Therefore, instead of UKA providing an alternative platform to the hijacked PF, it is instead facing the same dilemma as the hijacked PF.

5. Coming to President Lungu himself, my considered view is that any alliance involving the PF has to be devoid of Former President Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, if it is going to be sellable to the people. I have no doubt in my mind that the majority of the Zambian people want President Hakainde Hichilema gone after 2021, but l also have no doubt in my mind that the majority of the Zambian people do not want Former President Lungu to go back to State House. Mr. Lungu had seven years to run the affairs of this nation, and he did what he could. Apart from diehard PF Supporters, l do not think the Former President can convince any reasonable Zambian that there is something that he omitted or forgot to achieve while in office, for which he needs to be elected back.

6. Of course it has become fashionable on the world scene for former leaders to seek re-election and to in fact be elected back into office. But our local circumstances here are quite different. For starters, the Former President currently does not have a political party. Hon. Miles Sampa is officially in charge, and l have no doubt in my mind that he is working day and night to ensure that he completely destroys the PF party, of course with the guidance, collaboration and support of the Government. I would not want to delve into how the Former President lost the party to Hon. Miles Sampa, that is a discussion for another day. Suffice to say that in African politics, opposition leaders are endangered species. The ruling party is constantly working to undermine and eliminate you. For you to survive, you need to constantly think and act one step ahead of the ruling party.

7. Although Mr. Hakainde Hichilema unfortunately turned out to be the worst President that Zambia has ever had, one thing that you cannot take away from him is the fact that he was a resilient and shrewd opposition leader. As an opposition leader in Africa, you are like an Impala in the jungle, and you need to act like one. Even when drinking water, an Impala will take one sip, then look right, look left, look behind, look up, then take another sip. If you are an Impala but you have the attitude and arrogance of a lion, then be rest assured that you cannot survive for long. Unfortunately, that is the tragedy that has befallen most PF leaders. They lost the power but they kept the arrogance.

8. The other aspect is that political support is something that heavily relies on sympathy. In fact there is no greater driver for political support than sympathy. But for people to sympathize with you, they need to see you as a victim. We have all been monitoring the updates from UKA leaders regarding their attempts to register the organization and how the Registrar of Societies and the Zambia Police have been sending them from pillar to post. Ideally, that is supposed to elicit strong condemnation from various stakeholders, except for the fact that barely 30 months ago, those were the exact schemes which one of the UKA members was exacting on others. So it becomes a problem for people to condemn when someone is given a taste of their own medicine.

9. The other prominent aspect of UKA in its current form, that is worth mentioning is the inherent hypocrisy. We have people who resigned from Former President Lungu’s Government on the basis that it was a corrupt Government, proceeded to form their own party and are today rallying behind Former President Lungu. The question is; what has changed? Also we have people who were fired from Former President Lungu’s Cabinet after referring to fire tenders as wheelbarrow’s, today telling us that they worked very well with their former boss, as they are unveiled as UKA Chief Executive Officer. Really? Then we have others who are complaining about the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act and yet the person who signed it into law is seated right next to them?

10. The bottom line is that as Patriots for Economic Progress, we have a very high appetite for collaboration with other opposition political parties. We strongly believe that in order to remove the UPND party from office in 2026, and deliver a better Zambia for the people, there is an inevitable need to create an alliance. But any such alliance must be one that creates synergy among the participating political parties. The total package must be one that is appealing and sellable to the people. There is no question that, as the immediate past ruling party, the PF is still very strong on the ground. Just like UNIP was still very strong on the ground in 1994 and MMD in 2014. The true value of the PF party to the political discourse of the nation will depend on how well it rebrands itself, if it rebrands itself at all. Anyway, the Future is SET ✌️✌️✌️


SET 15.03.2024

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