By Bwalya Mambepa
“It’s Anybody’s Chimpombwa”
After recent comments from President Edgar C. Lungu in which he badly back peddled and stumbled – giving different answers on why Zambia should not have a people’s driven constitution – my colleagues in Zambia and in the Diaspora made an important point: There will be NO presidential frontrunner in the 2016 race. It is wide open. “Edgar Lungu has fallen from the man to defeat to the visionless president of our time. All those PF presidential candidates who challenged his nomination have gone underground. And the PF establishment (founding members with Sata) are growing increasingly nervous that the party is facing an obvious identity crisis that has allowed Rupiah Banda to control Edgar Lungu and the country. A colleague, a once PF (Sata’s inner circle) wrote to me via email, conversations and casual discussions since Rupiah Banda joined PF unofficially reveal PF Sata’s operatives have largely reached the same conclusion about the state of the party: “It’s anybody’s chimpombwa,”’ as they put it bluntly. And it’s not just Lungu’s stumble over the constitution; it’s also the absence of anyone to stand up against Lungu the way Sata used to stand up against the opposition. Now this is the time HH should have been fighting Lungu, the way Sata was fighting incumbent presidents Banda. Right now a country without a formidable opposition within PF and outside (UPND) is the right strategy for Lungu, but it’s not a good situation for the country.
Lungu has made Mistakes
When the details of the $193 million were leaked by the Post, Lungu like a wounded dog vowed to bite anyone he perceived to be behind the leakage. As a matter of fact, Mmembe was summoned and questioned by the police. What Lungu has forgotten is that he is only 1 of 14 million Zambians, and the country’s future is way beyond Lungu, considering this is the same man who is sickly and can check out of this earth anytime. Government doesn’t create revenue. It’s us had working Zambians who pay taxes and pay Zambia’s debts. So why are you hiding loans from us? When you get in to this kind of power as a president, more is required of you, and has to remember that you are working for us. Lungu you are now showing your true colors. First you were not even openly nominated in Kabwe. You never attended a single national debate. I knew you like to do things in secret, after all isn’t that what the disease of the bottle (alcoholic anonymous) does? You won the PF nomination through muddy means and now you want to run our country with secret deals like someone hiding a drug or alcoholic problem? I blame myself and the rest of the 14 million Zambians for allowing you dishonorable politicians to destroy our country and resources.
The Country’s leadership conundrum
Now that almost EVERY PF/MMD who voted for Lungu have said that — knowing what they know now — they wouldn’t have voted for Lungu. I asked my PF and UPND friends, Can you be a strong country and prosper, by electing politicians who don’t have a plan to change the country, except get in politics for the families and girlfriends? In a country where almost 80% of the poor Zambians live in rural areas, shouldn’t the job of the government be channeling loans to the poor people who need the help most? What good is it to have a president who is also a minister of defense (to project toughness), but is completely out of touch with how to develop the country? I know HH has faced a similar conundrum: he doesn’t want to be perceived as an angry opposition leader lest they cast him as a tribalist, but how can you be in opposition and fail to take Lungu head on? People loved Sata because he was fierce with his tongue and was not afraid to expose the incumbent government. I will be the first to acknowledge that Sata’s presidency was not the same as his opposition leadership. When he was in opposition, Sata knew how to get secret information about what was going on during Rupiah Banda’s government and was not afraid to tell the nation with what he knew. But my appeal to you HH is that you are equally absent. You are allowing PF harlots (Mumba Phiri) to define you as ‘kachema’ instead of unleashing hell on PF. This is politics and not boardroom. If you keep allowing PF to define you, trust me someone else other than you and Lungu will be crowned king in 2016. How should we deal with the country’s leadership conundrum?
Even better questions to ask about 2016
Indeed, there are much better questions about 2016 in general. “For instance, why should we re-elect Lungu if he doesn’t care about what we need-the constitution? Isn’t the main reason why CIVICS is taught in our schools, it to educate the younger people on the importance of participating in civic life? There is absolutely no evidence anywhere in the world, where a country that denies its citizens the rights and full participation in the constitution can attain democracy. Do you agree? So why do we waste millions of money on by-elections and presidential elections electing people who don’t have the will and the guts to give us what we want-which is to have a say in how we should govern ourselves? Like As Alexis de Toqueville pointed out, “each new generation is a new people that must acquire the knowledge, learn the skills, and develop the dispositions or traits of private and public character that undergird a constitutional democracy. Those dispositions must be fostered and nurtured by word and study and by the power of example. Democracy is not a “machine that would go of itself,” but must be consciously reproduced, one generation after another”. Tell me why should we even have 2016 elections, electing people who don’t care?
Why watching Lungu’s mouth is so important in the 2016 race
My good friend, a daughter of a former UNIP cabinet minister made this important point at matebeto we attended: So much hinges on the CURRENT occupant of the State House, President Edgar Lungu. “Every presidential election is a response to the current president, even when the current president is busy breaking promises. If voters don’t like the guy in the State House, it’s almost impossible for him to be re-elected or a member of his PF party to be elected to succeed him. Even when voters are happy with Lungu now, it’s not always a guarantee of success for his 2016. Kaunda tasted defeat. R-Banda tasted defeat. If Lungu doesn’t’ give us the constitution and if he continues to pall with Banda, and continues to hide loans from us who actually pay the country’s debt, it will be hard for Lungu or any PF presidential candidate to gain entry to State House in 2016. Now this doesn’t mean HH will automatically win. If HH and people of good will don’t fight to have the voting system modernized, 2016 elections will be rigged like they did this year.
Look at that – modernizing the election system
Remember when I said to you not to believe the results of the Lungu vs. HH elections? As it turned out, the key players in the elections weren’t the voters and election monitors, but rather the election commission judge who crowned Lungu as king. The only reason why Jonathan Goodluck of Nigeria didn’t rig the elections is because the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) enacted the controversial Electronic Voting System (EVS) which transmitted the results in real time. Even in rural areas elections were electronically transmitted the same time after counting when everyone was looking. The idea is for election observers to call their friends with instant results thus keeping the middle men like Mwamba and Kambwili from fudging the numbers. This time Nigerians decided they were not going to be a laughing nation that goes to the polls to elect a winner but the loser end up winning the elections. The question is does Zambia have the guts to do the right thing by 2016? HH and you other opposition leaders, aren’t you tired of seeing election results changing significantly at night when everyone is sleeping? Wouldn’t you want to know the results the same day you cast the votes? Why should my tax money continue to fund Lungu’s drinking habits when all I want is a pierce of documents called-constitution? To you my fellow Zambians, don’t be surprised if 2016 elections look like this year’s.
Please for the love of the country in 2016 let’s vote-out everybody (PF and UPND) who hasn’t given us the constitution. Lungu is not the only culprit. All current MPs should go for not doing what they were elected to do which is to give us the constitution. Let’s vote-in new people who are going to do what is right-which is to give us the constitution to decide our future.
2016 Elections Without a Presidential Frontrunner
By Bwalya Mambepa