Myth that social media can’t make ‘Bally’ win elections

Myth that social media can’t make ‘Bally’ win elections


When Michael Sata spoke out rhetoric campaign messages targeted at the often considered ‘not so-educated, dirty and thuggish’ people commonly known as Kaponyas, the know-it all Uncle Tom critics said “Kaponya don’t vote”.

For an excellent politician Michael was, the fact that Kaponyas didn’t own National Registration Cards and Voter’s Cards presented an opportunity to persuade and influence a new cluster of voters to see him triumph in the election. Slowly, the wheels turned and the Kaponyas were initiated into the Sata infection.

Any straight thinking political tactician knows that with elections, every possible accumulation of numbers is imperative to victory, even if such numbers are found among a bunch that often don’t bother to vote. What is important is that they can vote.

It beats me, therefore, to note that some defective ‘know-it-all’ politically ill-informed analysists within the Patriotic Front (PF) downplay the invent of the now trending nickname of United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema “Bally”, on the premise that, a voter in rural areas knows nothing about it, and that, it is a name that appeal to Facebookers who do not vote anyway.

The sum effect of the nickname Bally on the political fortunes of Mr. Hichilema going into the 2021 election is a discussion for another day.

Herein, I want to look at an often overused notion that Facebookers don’t vote and cannot get the UPND leader elected.

Ten years or perhaps fifteen years ago – yes – Facebookers do not vote. Currently, you can’t safely say the same.

A mere chance that, Facebookers can vote is enough reason for anyone, wishing to seize political victory, to appeal to them.

If Sata could inspire the Kaponya who had no NRC and voter’s card to consider getting one and waking up on the voting day to vote for PF, why shouldn’t Mr. Hichilema attempt to inspire Facebookers who apparently don’t vote, to do so? After all, all what HH needs are few voters to win and they may possibly come from some reluctant Facebookers.

Some stats (ZICTA Statistics Portal 2020)

There are 17+ million mobile users in Zambia.

There are 9+ million people using mobile internet in Zambia.

This is where Bally may fish some numbers – whatever that figure is.

The mere fact that, social media, has now become a formal medium of information sharing and gathering, which more often filters through down to even people in the remotest areas of societies, is enough evidence that what happens on social media has an impact on what may happen on the grassroot. Otherwise, ZICTA wouldn’t be sending warning texts against misinformation, if social media doesn’t affect society.

What is also true is that the 2021 voter register, as per Central Stastistics Office’s prediction, will contain 65-70% youths. Where are these youths?

In 2011, some of these youths where 6 years old and in 2021 they will be 16 years old. Some, where 7, 8, 9 and perhaps 10 years old in 2011 but in 2021, they will be 17, 18, 19 and 20 years old. These are a cluster of voters who are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etcetera whom the Bally word intends to appeal to.

Contrariwise, where does the PF hope to get its votes in 2021?

From the same Kaponyas? From the street vendors? From the youths who Sata inspired? From the farmers? From the Church? From the youths on the new register? Just where?

The best way to answer is to consider if PF has impressed those who voted for them previously, to again feel inspired enough to vote for “More Money in people’s Pockets, Less Taxes, Zero Corruption, More Jobs etcetera”

Jeff Mbewe

Author I Lawyer I Digital Media Expert I Philanthropist

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