Guy Scott says August elections beginning of new era

Guy Scott says August elections beginning of new era

Zambia’s August 2021 elections – a new era beckons
July 14, 2021

By Guy Scott

The UPND Alliance, led by Hakainde Hichilema (HH), has much to offer Zambia. HH has surrounded himself with a dedicated team of experts committed to rooting out corruption, delivering opportunity and restoring Zambia’s natural wealth back into the hands of the people.

The general elections scheduled for 12 August are set to be a decisive moment for Zambia.

Almost 60 years since independence and 30 years since the reintroduction of multiparty elections, Zambians are once again demanding change and leadership that will meet their aspirations, redress the balance of power, and restore opportunity in the country.

In recent years Zambia has lost its way. The ruling Patriotic Front (PF) government has decimated the economy and severed its connection with the people. As a result, hunger and unemployment are on the rise even as prices of copper, our major export, have reached new highs.

Just as worrying are the attempts by those currently in power to cling to their positions using the politics of division and tribalism to gain political points and cynically divide Zambians. This threatens the very foundations of our peaceful nation and the treasured legacy of unity that was bestowed by our recently departed first president, Dr Kenneth Kaunda.

Ahead of next month’s elections the opposition is offering a stark departure from this track record of failure. The UPND Alliance, led by Hakainde Hichilema (HH), has much to offer the country. Their economic platform is informed by HH’s strong business track record, as well as his personal journey as a farmer.

As a leader, HH is open to advice and counsel; humble enough to seek guidance from those with more experience, yet confident in his ability to turn around the country with the support of his team and plenty of hard work.

Having been arrested 15 times and spent over four months in prison following the 2016 elections, HH also has a resolute commitment to delivering a better and brighter future for Zambians which encompasses a strong protection of human rights.

Like so many of us, he has a strong sense of compassion, patriotism, and duty; a desire to see Zambians thrive. He has no time for those who enter politics simply to enrich themselves.

The people of Zambia are calling out for change. They will not be hoodwinked by the PF’s distribution of campaign material. I spoke to a young woman recently from Eastern province who explained that she and her fellow youth “will not be blinded by the simple distribution of chitenges [garments] and small packets of salt that the PF are dishing out”.

People have seen that such handouts are unsustainable. Instead, they want leadership that will strengthen their capacity to farm and sustainably produce food. They are looking for a government that will prioritise job creation for our youth so they can be uplifted out of poverty. To achieve this, HH has surrounded himself with a dedicated team of experts, hailing from all 10 of the country’s provinces. This diverse and experienced coalition is committed to rooting out corruption, delivering opportunity and restoring Zambia’s natural wealth back into the hands of the people. No longer will the government be weighed down by ineptitude and graft, but will instead be lifted up to properly serve those who place their trust in it.

In response to the opposition’s growing strength the incumbent government has attempted to block our progress at every turn, denying voters the chance to hear our message wherever possible. Even before rallies and roadshows were banned on public health grounds the police were routinely deployed to block our passage, recently firing tear gas canisters at HH as he simply attempted to travel to church. Meanwhile, the president and his vice-president were touring the country, officiating at various non-essential events, suggesting they think only the opposition can spread Covid-19.

Restrictions on physical campaigns mean media access has never been more important. However, under President Edgar Lungu’s government media restrictions and shutdowns have become commonplace. It is no wonder that Zambia is one of the fastest autocratising countries in the world, according to the Varieties of Democracy Index.

Not content with shutting down the largest independent print publication ahead of the 2016 polls – The Post – Prime TV, Muvi TV and Komboni Radio have all since had their licences revoked or cancelled on either a permanent or temporary basis. In May Muvi TV was threatened with closure by the Independent Broadcasting Authority after hosting opposition politicians in a move criticised by domestic and international civil society groups alike. Meanwhile, governing party cadres are deployed to attack radio stations hosting opposition figures and have been caught on camera burning UPND materials.

Rather than facing its problems head-on, the government is becoming more and more oppressive by the day. It has run out of ideas and it has no positive track record upon which to run a credible campaign. When the PF lost its founding leader, President Michael Sata, in 2014, division and infighting took hold of the party. Those that came out on top are now seeking to use similarly thuggish tactics to maintain control and run roughshod over the country with little regard for Zambia’s hard-won freedoms, peace and unity. Taken together, this will have grave implications for the credibility of the upcoming poll.

Yet it remains the case that there is more that unites than divides us as a nation. Today Zambians are united in wanting opportunities to earn a good living; an end to the ever-rising cost of living; and access to the most basic services like education and healthcare.

On 12 August, our hope as the opposition is that Zambians will reject the politics of division and once again vote for democracy and embrace change. A new era beckons.

Daily Maverick

The author is former Vice President of the Republic of Zambia

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  • comment-avatar
    Observer 2 weeks ago

    Zambia has one choice and one choice only, vote for HH or follow Zimbabwe into the abyss !

  • comment-avatar
    Nyambe the Hero 3 weeks ago

    The Bible says there is nothing new under the sun. 

    It’s not about arresting HH or shutting down private media.

    KK, who was more charismatic than Edgar Lungu, also failed to read the writing on the wall concerning the economy. The same thing happened to RB who was cheated by people like Dora Siliya and Muhabi Lungu.

    This version of PF keeps boasting about roads and buildings yet people on the ground especially in high density areas are failing to eat three meals. Those in the middle class have also been squeezed. 

    People running businesses are seeing fewer clients because of a hostile economic environment plus the exchange rate has pushed up the cost of goods for resale.

    Edgar Lungu had 6 years to sort this issue out but instead contracted more external debts which further messed up the kwacha and fuelled more inflation. He also listened to people like James Chirwa and lies about solar milling plants and cheap mealie meal.

    Despite their flaws KK and RB didn’t resort to rigging in 1991 and 2011, respectively. KK cut short his term which was supposed to end in 1993 while Edgar Lungu wants a third term because of greed.

    The danger for the opposition alliance is falling into the same pitfall of arrogance.

  • comment-avatar
    Muwerewere Musemakweri 3 weeks ago

    This article is a must for every Zambia and must be printed in hard copy for redistribution to Zambian voters. Its content has brought so many things which some people did not know. Thank you Bwana Guy Scott.

  • comment-avatar
    jordan chulu 3 weeks ago

    Love guy scott. well written and straight to the point. Thank you sir. We are winning. its game over sir,Be assured, this in coming government will take care of you.for the surcrifice you did in zambia

    • comment-avatar
      Julie Mudenda 3 weeks ago

      Well written Mr Jordan (sic). I have forgotten the self-serving surcrifc he has made for Zambia.

      I will say this; his piece is brave and deserves respect…I am sure he is just very misunderstood…(sic)

  • comment-avatar
    Julie Mudenda 3 weeks ago

    OK! Wow…what a read… Guy Scott is reading from a new script.

    Is this a “mea culpa”? IS this an apology on behalf of the co-founder of PF? It sounds like it.

    Well, let’s see. Will he also apologise for that time he sent two of his body guards over to my table and literally tried to drag him to meet him? I don’t like it when old men think they can use guys with guns to talk to girls.

    But that said, boys. this is as good as it gets..

  • comment-avatar
    Julie Mudenda 3 weeks ago

    This is a serious comment from Guy Scott. I am bursting to make a flippant comment, but will restrain as I want to read this again…Julie xx

  • comment-avatar
    Mwanza Maurice 3 weeks ago

    Telecommute is not good meaning working at home as opposed to working at a work place . There’s a lot of risk because there’s no close contact with the public