The ridiculous, cheap, and archaic methods applied by the UPND to win Thursday’s deputy mayoral elections in Kitwe and Ndola serve as a template for the 2026 general elections.

A blatant and gigantic electoral fraud took place on Thursday when the Zambia Police, clearly working in collaboration with the UPND and the Copperbelt provincial administration moved in to detain the Ndola mayor and two councillors in Kitwe in order to reduce the PF numbers in the two council chambers.

As expected, the UPND won the elections in both councils by a single vote. If they can be this brazen and desperate now, what will prevent them from arresting and detaining parliamentary and presidential candidates in the 2026 general elections on nomination day?

In Mkushi, the UPND unleashed its cadres to beat up their own councillors whom they accused of voting with the PF, which resulted in them losing the Mkushi council elections. The Mkushi defeat was too embarrassing to stomach because it is believed that some of their own councillors, including three traditional leaders that sit in the council, voted against the UPND candidate hence the violence.

But what is even more shocking about the UPND is the level of self-deception and lack of shame or restraint in whatever they do. They’re an extremely primitive, shameless clique and are brutal in their desperate pursuit of power and control. So, after applying ridiculous, cheap, and archaic methods to win Thursday’s council elections in Kitwe and Ndola, you will see them even congratulating themselves and celebrating the victory, a fraudulent victory for that matter. The UPND are very abnormal in the way they do things!

Evidently, these elections are testing Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s commitment to upholding democratic standards and decent political contests. But we have said it before that Mr Hichilema is a coward. He can never subject himself to a free and fair election contest. That is why he has coopted the Zambia Police, which is currently under the worst high command in the history of this country to manipulate elections with him.

They have disastrously failed to deliver on their campaign promises as well as marshal sufficient political support to guarantee their re-election in 2026. So, they’ve formed the UPND/Zambia Police Alliance to boost their chances of returning power, but it won’t work. With or without the UPND/Zambia Police Alliance, Mr Hichilema is leaving office in 2026.

As for the Zambian people, we would like to caution them to brace themselves for the worst elections ever in 2026 because of the shameless and undemocratic nature of Mr Hichilema and the UPND. These people are determined maim, injure, and if possible, even kill just for votes! To them, an election mean war.

But Mr Hichilema must not cheat himself that he will thrust himself on the people by abusing the police, judiciary, and the Electoral Commission of Zambia because that will be fearlessly resisted. They will be confronted and defeated with unseen before courage and determination together with the state institutions they’ve compromised and recruited in their scheme for 2026.

As the Socialist Party, we sincerely believe that the best way to choose leaders is definitely through elections. However, we would like to remind Mr Hichilema and all the state institutions that have hired themselves to ruling elite, lost credibility, and are now being used to destroy our democracy that history has shown that once elections become less and less credible, people turn to themselves for redemption because elections are not the only way of choosing leaders. People can choose leaders in many other ways if elections completely lose credibility.

The rapid shrinking democratic space and wanton abuse of the police and other state institutions by Mr Hichilema is nothing but a recipe for disaster. For instance, Mr Hichilema has been holding meetings and rallies from the time he ascended to power in 2021, while no opposition leaders are allowed to do the same. You cannot have a situation where opposition political parties cannot even hold the smallest of meetings. And you want them to participate in an election? Even in cases where they participate in elections, you unleash violence, the police and state machinery on them. What type of democracy is this? What type of desperation is this?

This dangerous path Zambia, under Mr Hichilema, has taken will lead to serious problems in the 2026 general elections. Mr Hichilema is already campaigning for 2026, but we are not allowed to do the same. The UPND, with the help of the police has been perpetrating violence against the opposition political parties, but the opposition parties are not allowed to defend themselves.

Again, when all state institutions that exist to protect our democracy and people fail, people turn to themselves and look at what they can do for themselves. That is certainly not a recipe for good governance and stability. It’s a recipe for instability and anarchy.

Mr Hichilema and his corrupt tribal puppet regime must tone down and allow democracy to flourish. They found this democracy and they shall definitely leave it.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

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