Admittedly, it makes us unease to write critically about individuals close to us. In this case we have National Restoration Party leader (NAREP) Elias Chipimo Junior in mind.
But we have a responsibility to reflect reality and shall not shy away from airing our opinion, based on observation.
There is this seemingly failure by Chipimo and his colleagues to roll out their political activities.
On March 2 this year, Chipimo excited many Zambians by launching a party he named NAREP. He promised to introduce value based leadership and politics.
But eight months later and less than 14 months to the presidential elections, Chipimo doesn’t seem to be making any serious in-roads into the political environment.
It looks like the launch was an end in itself.
But why is there this apparent failure on the part of a man who arguably has all the necessary tools to upset the political landscape in Zambia?
He is well educated and is a brilliant corporate lawyer. He has a respected family name which needs no introduction. He is youthful enough and therefore energetic enough for strenuous work. He is not new to societal responsibilities as he is one of the key founders of important organisations like Zambia Civic education. Who does not remember Chipimo Junior and his work at Cavmont?
But how come these strengths are not helping build NAREP?
Does Chipino know and has he carefully considered the negative legacy that will forever be attached to his name if NAREP fails to tick?
Why should a brilliant young lawyer like Chipimo allow his name to be mentioned alongside political jokers like Ken Ngondo, Chama Chakomboka and young morons in the political arena like Cosmo Mumba and that Silupwa thing?
At leats Daunte Saunders, a political failure, has succesfull managed to label himself a political analyst.
Does he know that the failure of NAREP would have a serious and negative impact on him and his generation of would-be politicians?
Does Chipimo understand that the failure of a party like his which is run by a youthful professional justifies the continued dominion of old men in Zambian politics?
Does he know that the failure by him and his party leaves the stage for dinosaurs like Rupiah Banda and Michael Sata to compete for power next year?
This is especially true when one realises that another person of Chipimo’s generation Hakainde Hichilema has sold his candidature to Sata, even though he has a good and revivable party. If only he was intelligent.
And does Chipimo realise that if a relic like Sata chances into state house, he will appoint Elias Chipimo senior as minister of education?
Is that not what the other old person in state house doing by appointing fellow antediluvians like Munkombwe, Mkonde Lungu?
When Chipimo launched his party, he said “our politicians seem to have no long term vision or plan to take us to new heights as a nation.”
But after eight months on the political scene, this statement applies more to him than anyone he had in mind.
We don’t think that Chipimo has failed to read the political reality. He is too intelligent to fail to understand the political dynamics and trends. There must be something else which is holding him back.
Distributing flyers and brochures across the country should be left to organisers of beauty pageants not political parties. It just doesn’t work. People need to see the person who espouses to lead them. Door-to-door campaign can work if it is really implemented and not just pronounced from the comforts of Kabulonga mansions.
And in this mass media driven generation, one simply needs to be heard not just rumoured about.
Would-be followers need to follow what their leader is saying. They need to hear what his/her position is on any matter which comes into the public domain. How else can they build confidence in a leader when they don’t know what he has to say on unemployment for example?
When the MMD is busy plundering the economy and selling strategic national assets to their Asian business partners, can a person desiring to save Zambia afford to keep quiet? Will voters trust a silent ‘messiah’?
How much time is remaining before Zambians decide who leads them for the next five years? Is there enough time for NAREP to explain their value based leadership to electorates?
Why does Chippimo think that demagogues like Sata seem to understand the principle that ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’?
A look at Chipimo’s team on the NAREP is very disappointing. We don’t mean to underrate or insult anyone but Chipimo’s team is weak, uninspiring and is not fit for this type of assignment. Where did he even pick those people from? It is true that in national liberation, everyone can and should play a role; but people should play the roles they are suited for.
Wrestling power from a corrupt party like the MMD is not a joke and Chipimo should start re-thinking his strategy, assuming his desire is to be president of Zambia next year. We could be wrong. In Zambia, there are a lot of surprises.
People’s attention span in such matters is limited and before long, they start looking to other ‘saviours’. Even money should not be a block to a serious and well planed political movement.