By Austin Mbozi
1. Stop any more useless alliances (or whatever one may call them) with MMD or any party.
2. Only support a fellow opposition candidate ONLY in cases where for some technical reasons they cannot field one (not in a fixed alliance),
3. Field candidates in each and every parliamentary and local government by-election,
4. Hold elections for branch, ward and constituency party officials by the end of next year 2013,
5. Compel NEC members to come up with detailed written development programmes (mining, agriculture, education etc, offer clear solutions not ending at merely attacking PF) and
6. Hold primaries for local government and parliamentary candidates by January 2015 as well as adopt all candidates for 2016 general elections by December 2015.
The nonsense of UPND leadership of making alliances and dillydallying with decisions is demotivating and a waste of time and resources for their followers.
It makes UPND appear directionless. In leadership one must first think clearly of all the moral implications of what one wants to pursue (social considerations) before doing anything, then write a clear roadmap based on scientific data on how to get there (rational element) and then form a resolute passion (spirited element) to move forward regardless of the consequences.
This is what leadership is about; not dilly darling like a chilingalinga, a beast with two heads each facing opposite directions. Which follower would want to climb on a chilingalinga?
I am not necessarily saying that it is party president Hakainde Hichilema causing all this. If fact it appears Mr Hichilema is being over-worked by other UPND leaders, who say nothing and do nothing. All they do is personally flatter him just to win adoptions and personal favours.
Why is the UPND National Secretary not as aggressive as Winter Kabimba (who is actually supporting wrong PF things) in outlining UPND party policies and programmes?
If he can’t perform put a more aggressive guy like Edward Mumbi. We don’t know whether these alliances are collective party positions since UPND is largely democratic. But this must be corrected. Some of us want to vote for UPND in 2016 for the first time because they are the best around and have improved in many areas. But we are not like PF mediocre cadres and newspaper petty-minded charlatans who support chi-sapote sapote every irrational move by Sata. We support sanity. And we want UPND to run a serious government.
Mufumbwe: Consequences of not standing
By not fielding in Mufumbwe the following are the consequences.
Firstly, demotivation of members. Many UPND supporters in Mufumbwe will be justifiably demotivated. Why should they have all along gone about mobilizing people with a hope of standing, only to be stopped by Lusaka-based men who are not even resident on Mufumbwe? After these elections these committed members will not have the passion to go about and campaign for UPND and Mr. Hichilema for 2016!
Secondly, UPND contradicting messages. UPND campaigned that MMD was corrupt in previous elections. Now by letting MMD to stand in Mufumbwe as an alliance or whatever, UPND members must now go to Mufumbwe and tell people to vote for MMD ‘because it’s a good party’! Then in 2016, MMD and UPND will each stand alone. So what message will UPND tell the people of Mufumbwe?
They should swallow their own words and go and tell people not to vote for an MMD candidate (the same one whom they are backing now!) because he is bad? Is this rational? Can’t UPND learn? During the PF-UPND alliances, I and the likes of Major Chizyuka vehemently opposed and supported a UPND-MMD alliance with clear terms.
But the UPND leadership went about praising Sata and even daily attacking President Rupiah Banda. In fact, some of them went to the extent of saying that Rupiah Banda was victimizing the Mmembe-Nchito duo over their Zambia Airways debts. Later after breaking up from a PF alliance they again began attacking the PF and attacking the same Mmembe-Nchito duo.
We know that even PF and Mr. Mmembe change positions like chameleons without shame. But UPND have not reached these irrational levels. If UPND argue that they are dealing with a new, corrupt-free MMD then they will open a new pandora’s box of questions. Why are they getting the same MMD members like Liato whom in MMD is seen (either factually or not) as corrupt? It is time UPND put their house in order to avoid ending up looking like PF hooligans.
Thirdly, losing of UPND members. Evidence is all there. Once you join an alliance, you lose some members opposing it. Ironically also, if you quit the alliance you leave some of your members to your former alliance partner. Major Richard Chizyuka, that gallant and frank mulombwana wa Namwala opposed the PF-UPND alliance. He and others left UPND and gave their votes and those of their followers to MMD.
(UPND must just apologize to Major Chizyuka and bring him back into UPND). Yet, again after you quit the alliance some members will remain with your alliance partner. The likes of Panji Kaunda and many of the Western province leaders now serving Sata remained in PF after the 2011 PF-UPND alliance failed.
Sakwiba Sikota’s party ULP went into an alliance with Sata’s PF in 2006. Result? When it withdrew he left the diligent Given Lubinda in PF. This is only a natural reaction of humanity (metaphysics). Once people interact in an intra-party arrangement they develop humane interpersonal emotions towards each other. If you marry a mainini junior wife and she come in with her children from her ex-husband, can you expect her children and the your children from your maiguru senior wife to stop interacting when you divorce her? Yet UPND expects to back Stafford Mulusa in Mufumbwe, then in 2016 expect that their members who will eat and dine with Honorable after he wins will suddenly abandon him!
Fourth, UPND appearing to be hypocrites by receiving members from MMD. If UPND really believes in an alliance with MMD then why are they receiving MMD members like William Banda, Austin Liato etc? Why don’t they say ‘ah, there is no need for you to join UPND because we are still going to form a government with MMD’? Did UPND not complain when PF kept on recruiting UPND members when they were in an alliance?
Fifth, UPND risks reinforcing the tribal tag. By not fielding in some regions like Eastern, Northern , Luapula etc and backing their MMD alliance partners, UPND is simply playing into the mouth of tribalists who accuse UPND as a tribal party. Imagine that you are a Bemba-speaking diehard UPND supporter based in Mporokoso. In a bye-election there you want to stand on UPND. Then your party tells you not to stand but the same party allows your fellow party supporter in Livingstone to stand. How would you feel? You would feel your party does not care about you. UPND might argue that what is the point of standing if you know you would lose? Well if this is your reasoning then why can’t you just openly close those branches in those regions rather than wasting people’s time?
Just the mere act of standing there makes the point that you care for the region. By-elections are the best opportunity to have party leaders, especially Mr. Hichilema to interact with ordinary people while sleeping and eating chikanda with them in tents. Sata developed die hard personal affections by direct interactions not only by radio or TV presentations. Let’s learn some of Sata’s campaign tactics but throw away his failed ruling abilities.
Sixth, UPND is giving away potential 2016 Presidential votes. Imulonga uhula bu nkumu nkumu (the great river fills throw tiny ran drops). A bye-election gives an opportunity to recruit members who will add to the presidential vote national elections. Even a mere 1000 votes from Mporokoso is needed by UPND to win the national elections. Once you win, you can give some jobs to losing but qualified UPND members from Mporokoso. PF has given jobs to the likes Eugene Munyama because even if PF lost in Southern province the votes from Munyama and his followers added to PF’s national vote. By not participating UPND is losing these scattered countrywide votes.
UPND’s weak arguments
The argument by some UPND members including Choma MP Cornelius Mweetwa that UPND must field candidates because ‘dynamics have changed’ has no basis. It may or may not be true that UPND is now more popular in Mufumbwe than MMD. But this is mere speculation since no survey or opinion poll has been made to ascertain this. The reasonable thing is simply to work on the basis of past election results to assume, quite reasonably, that MMD may still be more popular. Who determines the voter opinion effects of changing political dynamics?
Can UPND accept it if NAREP were to say it is now more popular than UPND because ‘dynamics have changed’ after the last elections? The truth must be accepted, no mater how painful it may be. Does UPND ever learn?
They argued that they should lead the PF-UPND alliance because ‘dynamics have changed against the PF’ instead of relying on PF’s authentic data from the Electoral Commission! Result? The next elections again showed PF were still more popular (though merely because of their president having a larger tribe).
But this is what happened when you join alliances without breaking it down to details. The correct argument by UPND should not be about imaginary ‘dynamics’ in their favor. They should simply not enter into binding alliances in the first place!
The other argument given is that by allowing MMD in Mufumbwe the public will be sympathetic to UPND as a good party. Which public” Eh!
So you are saying PF or MMD cadres will abandon their parties to vote for UPND just because you let MMD stand in a bye election? It’s like saying that the family of Mr. Habasimbi will love you because you have let him sleep with your wife! You become unpopular with families, yours and his!
UPND must just stop dilly darling and go forward alone. PF won alone! Why can’t you?
THE ASSERTIONS IN THIS WRITE-UP BELONG TO THE AUTHOR AUSTIN MBOZI WHOSE EMAIL IS BELOW: