The PF Ndola Rally, Mega Rally or Not, That is the Question
We have heard contrasting stories about the success or failure of the PF Levy Mwanawasa Stadium mega rally. Those symphathetic with the PF have described it as a huge success and even showed us pictures of the crowd that “filled” every seat in the stadium. On the other hand, the opposers (calling themselves “ rational realists”) have described it as a flop on the basis of the “empty” seats that they captured in their pictures. Now I wasn’t there to confirm who is telling the truth because even those that were there are giving stories whose variety stretches from the North to the South pole.
It was only yesterday that the PF camp attempted to give us a more objective position on the matter. Frank Bwalya-the PF deputy spokesperson (who and where on earth is the PF Spokesperson?) described the rally as having been successful on the basis of the stadium filling up 35,000 seats agianst the capacity of 41, 000. Emmanuel Mwamba, the politically charged civil servant-diplomat couldn’t miss an opportunity to provide his side of analysis (is he a government or party official?). Mwamba, just like Frank described the rally as a success giving the same reasons. He also gave justification on why the stadium was not filled to capacity including variations in proximity to the stadia between Heroes and Levy, cumulative fatigue and depleted resources of the organisers considering they were coming from mobilising the nominations and that the Heroes rally was a national launch whereas the Levy one was a provincial launch. He further called on all of us to be issue-based and not make such a big deal of the numbers in attendance but focus on the issues addressed.
Well here is the reason why we have been focusing on the numbers and not the issues addressed:
1. The success of the Lusaka rally was measured on the numbers that attended, filling up all the seats including invading the pitch itself
2. In promoting the Ndola mega rally, we were promised larger numbers because Kopala is more of a PF stronghold than Lusaka
Therefore, on the measurement criteria set by the PF, we can only conclude that the Ndola rally was a flop. Forget about the contrasting reports about whether or not all the seats were all taken, we were all shown that the football pitch itself was not covered. So why did it flop? It was a flop because the organisers (or disorganisers) forgot to take into account the following before making the replica of the infamous 90 days promises;
1. Heroes stadium is surrounded by more high density locations than Levy Mwanawasa stadium. Heroes stadium is a walking distance (or of affordable bus fare) to Matero, George, Lilanda, Chunga, Chazanga, Chipata, Kabanana, Mandebvu, Marapodi and Chaisa compounds.
2. It was a rare opportunity for young Lusaka musical fans to see their copperbelt based artists for free. The artists who dominated the two rallies are copperbelt based and of little wow!! to the copperbelt fans who see them regulalry
3. Now that everyone who wanted to stand in the elections has filed in their nomination, they are more intrested in campaigning in their respective wards and constituencies than waste resources and energies on an event meant to attract numbers that will not even vote in their areas
4. Musical concerts involving contemporary artists will largely attract the young leaving out mature voters who are most intrested in the message by the key speakers. Now this is important: if the message we are going to hear is mostly about how bad or unsuitable one opposition party candidates are as opposed to telling me what else you will do beyond sontaling what you have achieved already, then I will not be intrested in your message and I will interpret your compulsive obsession with that particular party as fear of their potential to dislodge you from your comfortable seat.
If I was in the campaign team of the PF, I would now focus on targetting real voters and forget about these mega political musical rallies. Yes, they pull the crowd but there is no assurance that you have pulled the correct crowds and you just end up consoling yourselves in self-denial that you filled up the whole stadium. And if I was among the presidents handlers, I would advise him to focus on selling the PF manifesto and the PF candidates and not dwell on discussing the bad side of the opposition. Kaunda told us not to vote for the MMD because they were “Movement for Mandrax Dealers,” but we voted for them. Rupiah Banda told us not to vote for Sata because he supported homosexality, but we voted for him. That’s just how the human mind works. Children do more the things you tell them not to do than what you tell them to do. How else do think the devil has recruited more people than Jesus Christ?
I will end with this joke that has been running on social media. It involves Shaka of Straight Talk Africa and Rupiah Banda.
Shaka asked “Dr RB, I hear the PF filled the whole stadium during their campaign launch” and RB answered “Even you Shaka, you are home, broke, njala yakunyokola, milomo piyuuu and a Marcopolo bus stops at your house and they tell you that they will pay you to go and watch Chester, Dandy Crazy, Malembe Malembe, Macky 2 and Ephraim, ungakane? nati ungakane? Bushe ungakene wewo? Ungakane lini yayi.”