Surest way to defeat PF in 2016

By a Correspondent

MMD Copperbelt Province Publicity and Information Secretary Yotam Mtayachalo recently observed that it is time opposition leaders stopped being selfish and seriously consider forming a strong political merger to unseat the Patriotic front in 2016.

Mtayachalo further stated that the merger should not only attract the presence of MMD and UPND but even individuals such as Edith Nawakwi, Elias Chipimo, Sakwiba Sikota, Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda, Charles Milupi, Mike Mulongoti, Fr. Frank Bwalya, George Mpombo and Ng’andu Magande etc because they also command some level of influence in the nation in one way or the other.

In concurring with Mtayachalo, this writer seeks to demonstrate why this candid observation deserves serious consideration by every well meaning citizen – the politicians especially.

Michael Sata managed to wrestle power from MMD after two decades in office on the premise of grand promises to the expectant electorates – more jobs, more money in people’s pockets and lower tax! Sata literally promised heaven on earth! However today, some of these promises have actually come to haunt him as reality sets in – the President may not be able to fulfill some, if not most of his promises.

In two month’s time, PF would have clocked two years in office. Let’s now take a microscopic view of President Sata’s performance during the period in question: Has he delivered jobs to the youth as promised? What about the pledge to restore the Barotse Agreement; has he proved to the nation that he’s a man of his words? Like every good parent, is the President sharing the national cake in equal proportions?

Some people, notably Hon. Lucky Mulusa have complained that resources are being stolen from North Western province to develop newly created Muchinga province where the President hails from. What about the appointment of people to his government? It’s clear even to a dumbest person that key government portfolios have been apportioned to people from one particular region of the country – this has only served to further polarize the nation.

If the Shushushus or indeed people close to the presidency haven’t yet briefed him, then they aren’t doing a good job.

Let’s now get back to 2011; just after President Rupiah Banda assumed power.
Barely before the campaign-dust had settled down, President Sata was already in Zingalume, Matero kicking-off his national-wide campaign. And as time elapsed, he utilized every opportunity to take his message to the people.

While the MMD was seemingly in deep slumber or enjoying the trappings of power, Sata was busy at work worming his way deep into the hearts of the people.

File: Michael Sata as an opposition leader at the filing station during fuel shortage shortage. Photo: Post

File: Michael Sata as an opposition leader at the filing station during fuel shortage shortage. Photo: Post

One time when shortage of fuel hit the nation, he turned up at a filling station with an empty container to the amusement of other motorists! KK used to say Zambians have a short memory; in case some people have forgotten, this is the same man who was pictured on a bus to Eastern province. Asked why he had taken a bus, he asserted that as a leader he had to suffer with the people.

If the outcome of 2011 elections is anything to go, we would safely conclude that this tactic perfectly worked to the advantage of the veteran politician. People were obviously fed up of two decades of MMD in power and wanted to hear from a Messiah who was going to sort-out their problems overnight. And this Messiah turned out to be no other than Michael Chilufya Sata.

The question now arises; why isn’t President Sata allowing the opposition to hold rallies? Being a skillful politician that he is, is he probably afraid that by allowing opposition party leaders to freely interact with the people, he would be giving them a leeway to start reminding the masses of government’s failed promises as was the case when MMD was in power?

Since the re-introduction of multi party politics in Zambia, there’s been one newspaper that has consistently and resolutely exposed corruption in government or given space to the opposition to articulate alternative solutions to our socio-economic woes, but alas this newspaper has abdicated its role as mirror of society. In one of his books, Chinua Achebe refers to crying more than the owners of the funeral.

This is what this newspaper stands guilty of today – they want to appear to be more pro-government than the two government owned and controlled newspapers, combined. This paper no longer writes anything negative about government but would rather play the role of a vuvuzela by singing praises about the good things the President is trying to do for this nation.

It’s even unbelievable…….nay actually annoying that some leaders of the opposition can blindly walk into the trap of this newspaper and willingly swallow the bait. What are we implying? Each time an opposition leader makes disparaging remarks against their colleagues, it is front page screaming headlines!

For reasons best known to himself, the editor of this newspaper isn’t interested in a stronger opposition in the nation – for him, it’s a matter of survival. His main interest is to ensure the opposition engages in endless vicious dog fights to weaken themselves further.

It’s a pity that even individuals that are considered to be clever politicians have fallen for this silly ploy. With probably the exception of Brigadier General Miyanda, all the other opposition leaders have been quick to‘dinda’ their colleagues through the said publication at one time or the other. Stop the rot, please!

Don’t leaders of the opposition simply understand that this is a calculated strategy by the evil cartel to deplete the opposition while Mr. Sata consolidates his hold on power?

Our hard earned democracy is clearly under serious threat! We don’t need a rocket scientist to interpret that what is obtaining in the nation at the moment qualifies us to be ranked as one of the fastest upcoming autocratic states in Southern Africa! What do we make of the following:

Preventing the opposition from holding rallies or protests – both UPND and MMD have had their applications to hold rallies or protests denied on flimsy grounds in the past.

Blocking opposition leaders from going to radio stations to give interviews; this happened to Nevers Mumba and Elias Chipimo when they went to Radio Mano in Kasama, recently.

Clamp-down on journalists and gagging of the independent press – some journalists suspected to be writing for an online publication, the Zambian Watchdog, have been hurled before the courts while the publication has been blocked in Zambia.

Disregarding court orders by preventing former President Rupiah Banda from traveling out of the country.

Favouritism when appointing people to key government positions – government is now dominated by people from the Northern part of the country.

Beating up perceived opponents in places of worship or baptizing them with beer – some people who were gathered at BIGOCA in Matero for prayers not so long ago were clobbered by hooligans while Father Bwalya had chibuku beer poured on him in a studio by hired thugs.

Arresting leaders of the opposition for merely going to the market, visiting traditional rulers or addressing press briefings and charging them with illegal assembly – this has happened to Hakainde Hichilema, Nevers Mumba and Elias Chipimo Jr.

Dressing-down of Ministers and Traditional leaders in public – this has happened to Foreign Affairs Minister Effron Lungu and many other government officials as well as Chief Jumbe.

Can the editor of this newspaper surely dismiss this catalogue of gross violation of people’s rights as nothing but sheer imagination by bitter, frustrated and jealous citizens? Should people honestly fail to openly condemn Sata’s government unless a newspaper editor gives a green light?

Enough is enough! When the country was fed up of Kenneth Kaunda’s brutal and diabolical regime early 1990s, Zambians put their egos and differences aside and joined hands to dismantle KK’s growing tyranny.

Students, labour leaders, Intellectuals, prominent business people, the clergy and veteran politicians joined hands to fight a common goal. This culminated in the formation of MMD at Garden House Motel. And when MMD finally went for the convention, everybody thought either Arthur Wina or Humphrey Mulemba who had been long on the political scene would emerge victorious and face KK during the polls but surprisingly it was Frederick Chiluba that went on to defeat Kaunda and formed government.

Why can’t our politicians, especially those in opposition, learn from this episode? Better still, they can pick a leaf from their colleagues in the west where we imported this so called democracy from and save the country from further degeneration?

In the UK for instance, William Hague the current Foreign Secretary was once leader of the Conservative party but he has accepted to serve under David Cameron – a fairly new entrant to politics. And in the United States of America, Hilary Clinton swallowed her pride and served under Obama as Secretary of State despite putting up a formidable challenge against him during the Democratic Party nominations.

Why do our politicians all want to be addressed as Presidents even if in their wildest imaginations know that they can’t make it to State House?

Unless they want to face another embarrassing defeat in three years’ time, the opposition has no choice but to come up with a meaningful grand alliance. This grand alliance must truly represent a national character – no one single tribe or region must be dominant over others as is the case with PF.

The torch bearer for this alliance must preferably be a bold, courageous and articulate person with few skeletons in the cupboard.  The writer further suggests that this should be a titular President to perform ceremonial functions. The business of running government must be left to a Prime Minister.

Responding to complaints on why he was only giving jobs to his relatives or tribes-mates, the President retorted that he balances brains not tribes. Well Mr. President, this writer has a totally different perspective; in a nation with so many tribes you ought to balance tribes and not people to prevent tribalism from rearing its ugly head.

It’s my prayer that the opposition shall seriously heed to this call. Here’s a picture of how a balanced‘Dream team 2016’ might look like:

Ceremonial President – Amusa Mwanamwambwa or Godfrey Miyanda?
Special Advisers
Prof. Oliver Saasa – Finance & Economic Affairs
Dr. Francis Manda – Health & Social Services
Prof. Patrick Mvunga – Legal Affairs
Enock Kavindele – Public & Political Affairs
Love Mtesa – International Relations
Dr. Martin Malama – Defence & Security

Dream team 2016 provisional cabinet

Hakainde Hichilema – Prime Minister
Nevers Mumba – Deputy Prime Minister
Ng’andu Magande – Finance & National Planning
Godfrey Miyanda – Defence
Charles Milupi – Commerce & Industry
Elias Chipimo – Youth & Sport
Fred Mtesa – Education
Frank Bwalya – Social Welfare & Cultural Affairs
Brian Chituwo – Health
Kabinga Pande – Agriculture, Food & Fisheries
Muhabi Lungu – Information
Dora Siliya – Transport & Communications
Sakwiba Sikota – Legal Affairs
Michael Kaingu – Tourism
Richard Kapita – Mines & Minerals Development
Canisius Banda – Science & Technology
Mike Mulongoti – Foreign Affairs
Edith Nawakwi – Labour & Social Security
Jack Mwimbu – Home Affairs
Chifumu Banda – Speaker of the National Assembly
Victoria Kalima – Premier, Eastern Province
Lucky Mulusa – Premier, N/western Province
Jonas Shakafuswa – Premier, Lusaka Province
George Mpombo – Premier, Copperbelt Province
Besa Chimbaka – Premier, Luapula Province
William Harrington – Premier, Western Province
Mbita Chitala – Premier, Muchinga Province
George Kunda – Premier, Central Province
Gary Nkombo – Premier, Southern Province
Mutale Nalumango – Premier, Northern Province

This writer has no doubt that ‘Dream team 2016’ would send shivers in the PF regime and definitely cause the President to have sleepless nights.

What do you think of this suggestion? If you love your country, please add your voice to this discourse.

The Philosopher