FILE: The five presidential candidates during the live radio and television debate at Mulungushi International Conference centre
FILE: The five presidential candidates during the live radio and television debate at Mulungushi International Conference centre

By Kalima Nkonde

In all my previous articles, I have focused on analyzing the economy; criticizing the ruling PF and giving them solutions and I have just mentioned Opposition Parties in passing. I have , however, noticed to my great disappointment that even in the light of the economic crisis, most of the leaders of the Opposition Parties have been quiet and not providing proper checks and balances to the ruling Party. The majority of the Opposition parties have not been making comments or analyzing the economy apart from the UPND and to some extent the FDD in order to provide necessary checks and balances to the ruling Party!

The ruling PF has been criticized left, right and centre by commentators, analysts and the Post Newspaper but Opposition Parties have been the holy grail of Zambian politics. I would like to depart from this and criticize the opposition as a collective so that I give them a nudge to provide better, more aggressive and effective checks and balances to the ruling Party. It is only Opposition pressure that will ensure that the ruling party is kept on its toes and is prevented from making such reckless and outrageous expenditure decisions like Chartering an aircraft for seven days to New York with the alleged 256 people on board!

Zambia has so many Opposition parties to such an extent that I have lost count but the top twelve off the cuff are: UPND led by Hakainde Hichilema, FDD led by Edith Nawaki, MMD led by Nevers Mumba, Rainbow Party led by Winter Kabimba, National Restoration Party (NAREP) of Elias Chipimo jnr,Heritage Party by Brigadier General Miyanda, National Movement for Progress (NMP) led by Ng’andu Magande,National Revolutionary party(NRP) of Charles Milupi, Green party of Peter Sinkamba and 4th Revolution (4R) led by Eric Chanda, Liberal party of Sakwiba Sikota and Dr Ludwig Sondashi led Forum for Democratic Alternatives (FDA).

The majority of the above parties have neither a single Councilor nor a Member of Parliament and you never hear them say anything and only appear during the general election! The question one asks is what is their motivation for forming these parties and continuing with them when they have no chance of winning and they are hardly contributing to the political discourse? What comes to mind are words like ego, selfishness, delusion, pride, eccentricity, publicity but certainly not public service? My guess is that they get a kick out of being called Presidents! The Donor grants such as the European Union’s grants (money) for successfully filling in for the Presidency during the general election could also be another major motivation.

Zambia has been going through the largely self inflicted economic problems brought about by the PF administration and one would have expected that all the Opposition Parties would be falling over themselves to tear the ruling Party apart! The only parties that have been consistent on exposing the economic mess are the UPND, Rainbow and the FDD! When did you last hear about General Miyanda, Eric Chanda, Nevers Mumba, Elias Chipimo , Dr Sondashi or their advisors and others talking or writing about the economy? It is very rare indeed. One can conclude that these parties lack depth to such an extent that the majority of the Opposition Party leaders do not understand the basics of the economy and are scared to expose their ignorance!

How do they expect to run the country if they took over? They are more comfortable talking about politics like the PF. In the age of social media, they could have been posting articles giving their positions and pressurizing the Government in the process. As a commentator, I have written more and criticized the PF economic management more than the majority of the Opposition parties!

One of the major weaknesses of the PF government is the reckless expenditure and waste which has led to a huge budget deficit and an astronomical public debt. If I was the opposition strategist, I would have been researching to obtain the facts and figures and exposing to the public for example the Constitutional holders salaries and benefits, personal to holder vehicles for ministers and their wives, the costs of each trip the President takes, air time allowances, petrol allowances, the daily per diem of Government Officers so on and so forth to sensitise the public about the gravy train that has made Zambian politics an industry with sub sectors of per diem, corruption and tenders. This will be providing proper checks and balances and act as a deterrent to wasteful expenditure but at the same time promote the Opposition’s brand as an alternative government.

The other issue of concern to the public is that the Opposition Parties are so divided that they hardly talk to each other and they fail to share notes or cooperate even on common ground issues. The latest case in point is the Charter of the plane by the President to New York. One would have expected that they could have jointly agreed to hold a press conference and insist on getting the total cost of the trip.

This would have put pressure on the Executive and acted as a deterrent for the future. The other missed opportunities for showing a united front include the Kaizer Zulu shooting incident, the creation of new ministries when we have huge budget and the purchase of 156 vehicles for District commissioners. They could be many more public interest recklessness in expenditure which would expose the ruling party to the electorate who are hurting with the prices of commodities having doubled recently!

Another issue that they could have seized upon as opportunity to show unity, caring about the economy and project themselves as more responsible is the opportunity the President provided them by refusing to hold an economic Indaba amidst economic crisis. They could have organized an economic conference themselves, sourced sponsorship from the corporate world or from the Donors and scored immense political goals. I have mentioned in some of my articles that Opposition parties do not have strategists and are not innovative . My suspicions is that there is no intra party democracy in most of these parties and there are no thinkers apart from their “ great leaders” who are considered omnipotent and the rest of members are passengers and merely follow the leader without contributing constructive ideas.

There is also another problem about Zambian opposition political parties. They do not carry out research to find out the actual needs and concerns of voters on the ground and using the same findings to carve out campaign messages that will resonate with the voters so as to win hearts and minds. In addition, they are allergic to big data!

In 21st Century Politics, in order to have a competitive advantage you have to carry out research, collect data and make use of technological tools to analyse the date as a basis to formulate a winning campaign strategy. This would include doing in house scientific opinion polls. The UPND’s recent Business survey is the way to go. As a result of lack of research, the Opposition campaign messages are superficial and are based on their perception of what is important for voters not targeted on issues important to voters and therefore ineffective resulting in voter apathy as the electorate is not fired up to vote.

I would like to challenge some Opposition Party leaders to rethink why they are in politics. Are they there for public service or for selfish personal reasons? If they are in politics for public service and they figure out that they are not making any impact, there is no need for them to reconsider their Parties’ existence and think of merging with the bigger ones so that they can contribute to the country more meaningfully.

The Zambian opposition landscape is so fragmented that they are unlikely to win any election in the near future, divided as they are. The smaller parties, some of them with leaders who are among the best brains in Zambia should think seriously about their future. Some of their leaders have so much economic, legal and political experience that Zambia needs and they should seriously consider merging with the bigger parties and contribute more positively to the nation if indeed they love this country.

In the event they do not, for egoistic and selfish reasons, posterity will not be kind to them. In politics, there are no permanent enemies ; politics is all about compromise. In my previous articles for the past nine months, I have provided the ruling PF administration enormous free of charge, well researched economic advice which they have largely ignored. In order to be even handed, I will write a few articles advising the Opposition on various issues and this article is the first in the series.

In my next article, I will advice how the Opposition can increase their chances of winning the 2016 election exponentially!

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46 COMMENTS

  1. Couldn’t agree more with you Kalima, they are a useless bunch of time wasters. Even the the ones you might have exonerated aren’t doing enough, they have left the burden to Edith Nawakwi to fight an almost impossible battle with her limited resources. Can you imagine the amount of noise the late Sata would have subjected this useless government to if he was in opposition at this moment? Personally, I would like to hear more from HH, he’s spokespersons are letting him down massively so shouldn’t rely on them, Mwiitwa and Lifwekelo are tired to be honest they have got absolutely no energy.

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    • HH is busy on the ground where it matters not in the biased media where they twist his intentions. Actually Kalima Nkonde is a disgrace.

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    • People (me included ) want to hear alternative policies from the opposition especially the UPND on a regular basis, the silence we getting is starting to send very worrying signs. I’m starting to wonder if they are also as clueless as the pin-heads currently in government.
      We all know President Lungu is stealing a living at the moment, he’s out of his depths but we don’t want to waste another 5 years so please HH and your team start talking to us, keep this useless incompetent party in Government on its toes. Being the biggest opposition party comes with responsibilities, remember that.

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    • @Msana Wanzili
      Bury you head even deeper in PF ‘s mess for you are a staunch supporter of PF.

      UPND is on record for consistently giving the PF ideas and solutions for free. HH has warned the PF time and again to listen and implement sensible solutions to solve the economic calamity it has created. But you know what, the whole PF see tribe in HH instead of his ideas that made the man a successful business man and business consultant he is.

      The solutions which UPND and HH give PF, are what HH would be paid millions by international companies.

      PF is full of thieves who are totally nothing without being in politics.

      Only UPND will save Zambia from this economic calamity created by PF.
      2016 please vote UPND.

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    • Kalima you are just bias to the PF, only that they have disappointed you too. I am sure you were a believer of the 90days theory. Chances are that you too danced to the Dochi Kubeba song. Do not hide in the shade of trying to look smart at the expense of the truth.

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    • Kalima, you have said it all. Thumbs up!! The Opposition parties must form alliances. At the most, we need only 5 political parties, even 5 is too much.

      How about HH, Edith, Milupi, Chipimo and Kabimba forming an alliance? Forget about MMD.
      Then PF can be kicked out and sanity can return to Zambia.

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    • The author is also correct in saying that UPND is probably the only party that is very consistent in offering checks and balances. Its the biggest opposition party, too. Meaning, the other smaller parties must join HH’s UPND so that this reckless spending by PF is done away with next year; when PF is kicked out.

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    • @Msana Wanzili

      Welcome to the party of hard workers. Its always good to see people realise what a bunch of thieves PF politicians are.

      Please keep it up and recruit more so that we can defeat this PF monster that has destroyed our lovely nation.

      UPND forward.

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    • @msana It is you who is useless. Have you seen what this government has done in Zambia? Forget about the foreign exchange rates as it affects almost all countries in the world. I was in SA last week and the rate is now at R14 from R7 during my previous visit and prices of all commodities including hotel accommodation has shot up. Try Australia and Canada where I send cash to school children the scenario is the same. I have heard ba pushi saying we should not compare but is Zambia an island and why is it that our currency is being judged by the dollar like any other country.

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  2. This Kalima guy is trying to portray himself like a real political analyst, just like Tayali. These tins are so empty that their writings, full of grammatical errors, are based on their emotions. No proper data or researched information to support their claims. Would H.H have lost by just over One percent had his party not given the PF a good run for their money? Watch the 2016 scoreline.

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  3. Let us simply set the bar very high in order to have a political party. One must have 100 supporters from each of the 10/11 Provinces. Along with the usual requirements. One must have no criminal history, or engange in illegal drugs. One must pay ECZ or elections commission $100, 000. One must have a college degree etc. A lot of them will simply drop off.

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  4. Can someone who finished reading this article summarize it for me…i got bored reading it half way through…this Kalima Nkonde guy has no brain and I don’t know what he will say when HH and UPND takes over next year

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  5. I live in Malawi and listened to Arthur Peter Mutharika’s press address. The one who wrote about the 256 deligations to UNGA lied. Mutharika only mentioned of some SADC countries chartering jets, and the mention of Edgar Lungu and the 256 are both lies. Unfortunately someone chose to post that article with no name. If all presidents would waste their time responding to nameless articles there would be no time to look at matters of national interest. When one refers to speech given somewhere, please, use internet to search for verification. We are using smartphones and PCs, yet we live like we’re not in the ICT age.

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  6. DEAR writter.
    Please be informed that most of the Opposition Political Parties are PF sponored are are just there to speak for the PF. In Zambia we only have two three opposition parties namely; The Mighty UPND, FDD, and MMD including the Post/Rainbow Party.

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  7. There is no opposition in Zambia and every one knows that PF will win with a landslide victory in 2016 especially with the countrywide infrastructure development.

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  8. FIRST AND FOREMOST YOUR TITLE IS MISLEADING MY FRIEND, BUT AM GLAD THAT YOU SPECIFIED IN THE BODY OF YOUR CONTENTS THAT IT IS SOME OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTIES, NOT ALL, THAT ARE A DISGRACE! I AM GLAD THAT YOU HAVE MADE IT CLEAR THAT UPND PARTY HAS BEEN VERY VIGILANT IN PROVIDING CHECKS AND BALANCES TO THE RULING AND THE LOOTING PF GOVERNMENT. I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT THE UPND, THRU THE ABLE LEADERSHIP OF HAKAINDE HICHILEMA(HH), WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP THE RULING PF ON ITS TOES UNTIL NEXT YEAR’S ELECTIONS WHEN ZAMBIANS WILL PUT INTO POWER A NEW UPND GOVERNMENT THAT WILL HAVE INTERESTS OF PEOPLE AT HEART. NEXT YEAR PEOPLE WILL INVEST THEIR VOTE INTO HH AND UPND FOR A BETTER ZAMBIA. AVOID THROWING YOUR VALUABLE VOTE INTO THE LUNGU BIN. FLIGHT HH 2016. VIVA HH VIVA! VIVA UPND VIVA!

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  9. Kalima if your future advice is as unresearched as this article, then don’t waste your time. You don’t even know that Milupi’s party is called ADD. Some of your past articles on the economy make sense but this one is a huge zero. If your intention is to be relevant your articles should help your readers to identify the top (say) two OPs instead of talking about Miyanda & Sondashi.

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  10. THERE IS NO OPPOSITION IN THIS NATION. ALL THESE ARE JUST JOKERS. I MEAN I CAN SEE THE MESS WE ARE IN AND I WANT AN ALTERNATIVE PARTY TO VOTE FOR BUT TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH THERE IS NONE. I WOULD RATHER VOTE FOR THE DEVIL I KNOW THAN ANGELS I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT THEY ARE.

    I STRONGLY FEEL PARTIES LIKE UPND ARE ALSO CLUELESS ON THE ECONOMY NO WONDER THEY ARE SO QUIET AND NOT DOING ENOUGH TO TERRORISE THE RULING PARTY. THEY MAY JUST PLUNGE US IN MORE TROUBLE

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  11. SUNTWE WA SUNTWE HH LOST BY 1 PERCENT COZ PF WENT IN TO CAMPAIGN 2 MONTHS LATE SO DO NOT CHEAT YOURSELF. LOOK AT ALL THE 9 BY-ELECTION HELD THIS YEAR HH GOT ONLY 1 OUT OF 9 AND 2016 WILL BE WORSE AND IF YOU ARE PRAYING THAT THERE WILL BE CONFUSION IN PF FORGET IT AND BE READY FOR A SHOCK OF YOUR LIFE.

    HH IS A LOSER AND HE WILL REMAIN ONE. THE ECONOMIC CHALLENGES CURRENTLY BEING EXPERIENCED WILL BE A THING OF THE PAST BY THE TIME WE SHALL BE VOTING AND HH WILL AND HAS NO CAMPAIGN MESSAGES MARK MY WORDS.

    PF IS AWARE OF THESE PROBLEMS AND IS WORKING HARD TO ENSURE THAT THe OPPOSITION HAVE NO MESSAGES FOR VOTERS. PF IS WORKING ALL THAT HH HAS ARE PROMISSORY NOTES WHICH A NORMAL ZAMBIAN AND VOTER KNOW THEY ARE USELESS

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  12. Nice article. Truth be told, in our country everything hinges on the leaders in power. There is very little one can do without their influence. This is the more reason why some politicians dream of only weilding those powers, and others of winning favours from those in power. Only a few are in politics to help the country and its people.

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  13. Sounds like he is about to launch a political party organized the way he proposes. I say so because, unlike academic disciplines, political activity in any setup adjusts to the reality of its population. Zambia has a population that has long been deprived and cheated and impoverished. We have too many everyday challenges to really stop to pick up a tortuous piece strewn with data, graphs and windy think-tank statements. We are still finding our way, Kalima, in our own unique way.

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  14. @Kalima, this is the problem of posting statements only basing on stale outdated information. Are you even in Zambia? Perhaps you don’t even know that most of these opposition leaders have been hounded by PF, selective abusing of Draconian laws like with the so called Public Order Act to shut them up. What makes you think after being thrown in jail once for merely holding a meeting with their people, they’d just go out and do it again? Would you? Think before you post. Go on the MMD website and see the analytical review of the economy under PF that Nevers Mumba wrote. You so behind boi!

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  15. If the opposition party want to form gvt next year they should consider forming a pact and field miles sampa as their presidetial candidate by doing so even us in pf ll consda votin the opposition.

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  16. “The solutions which UPND and HH give PF, are what HH would be paid millions by international companies”. If indeed the rantings of the Under 5 were something international companies would run to, whay havent they still consulted him because all the rubbish he says in posted in the media. Dont cheat yourselves, there is no opposition in Zambia and please just come to terms with it.
    HH WILL NEVER BE PRESIDENT OF ZAMBIA BECAUSE ZAMBIA IS NOT SOUTHERN PROVINCE chapwa!
    Its ECL come 2016, all our children will vote massively for PF.

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  17. Below is the answer for you Mr Nkonde

    Bamboo Lungu has Destroyed the Country
    It is now clear for all to see that the PF have destroyed our economy. This is despite well-intentioned advice that we, along with various other responsible citizens, have been giving since they took office in 2011.

    The negative impact of a series of inconsistent policies, arbitrary decisions and many other statutory instruments, chief among them SI33 and 55, were all cautioned against. Our warnings were rejected and met with insults and name-calling. Instead of returning to the drawing board and considering this advice, the PF chose to ignore the slide towards crisis, from the fall in water levels at our dams to the crumbling of business confidence as a result of Government interference and inconsistent…

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  18. Bambo Lungu has Destroyed the Country

    It is now clear for all to see that the PF have destroyed our economy. This is despite well-intentioned advice that we, along with various other responsible citizens, have been giving since they took office in 2011.

    The negative impact of a series of inconsistent policies, arbitrary decisions and many other statutory instruments, chief among them SI33 and 55, were all cautioned against. Our warnings were rejected and met with insults and name-calling. Instead of returning to the drawing board and considering this advice, the PF chose to ignore the slide towards crisis, from the fall in water levels at our dams to the crumbling of business confidence as a result of Government interference and inconsistent fiscal policy.

    As…

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  19. Bambo Lungu has Destroyed the Country

    As the PF continues to hide from the blame it is worth setting out exactly how the PF has destroyed the economy. Firstly, the PF have borrowed, and borrowed expensively. Cheaper options were not sought through bilateral and multilateral means, or even by generating funds locally. When we suggested measures such as broadening the tax base and diversifying the economy they labeled us lunatics. Yet if they had started on such interventions in 2011 our position would have been substantially better. As we have said before we truly mean well for this country and such economic degradation affects us all.

    Secondly, the PF has mismanaged the money they have borrowed. They have now been in office for more than 4 years and have borrowed close to US$6…

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  20. US$6 billion in this time. Yet because of their lack of vision and mismanagement, they have been slow to spend this money in priority areas such as electricity generation. We were amongst the first to raise the alarm on the impending power cuts due to poor maintenance at Kariba North Bank Power Station. They would not listen and we are now suffering as a result.
    on mining, the PF missed a great opportunity to take advantage of the high prices of base metals, to build up reserves that could be used later when prices are low. This is good practice in such a natural resource dependent economy as ours, while at the same time moves are made to diversify the economy. Had they acted we would by now have been cushioning the mining sector with incentives that help keep mines remain operational…

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  21. Thirdly on mining, the PF missed a great opportunity to take advantage of the high prices of base metals, to build up reserves that could be used later when prices are low. This is good practice in such a natural resource dependent economy as ours, while at the same time moves are made to diversify the economy. Had they acted we would by now have been cushioning the mining sector with incentives that help keep mines remain operational and maintain jobs when prices are low. We all know our colleagues in the PF kept changing policy on mining, one time introducing a royalty tax of 20% on mines, the next time reducing them, and then the very next day they wanted to restore the tax. The impact of this turmoil is what we are seeing today. Have we stopped to consider that Zambia will produce…

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  22. The fourth point concerns the much talked about diversification. As we issue this statement, farmers are struggling to purchase inputs for this season using the e-voucher system. The reason is simple, the vouchers were issued in July when the dollar was at 7 kwacha. The dollar is now almost 15 kwacha meaning fertilizer prices have doubled. What are the consequences? There will be no food next year because farmers will not be able to produce. This is what PF will say: they will say there was a drought. As a farmer I know that maize can grow with only 450mm of rainfall, let us take this PF to task now before this country goes hungry.

    The Way Forward

    First on discipline and control, the PF Government must get its own house in order and cut out the waste. Let me be direct here. Can…

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  23. Second, although they may deny responsibility for causing the current situation the PF are responsible for addressing it regardless and must take action. For example, the idea of evading responsibility on load shedding and hiding behind the weather will not do any good. If the PF is telling us if we experience a drought we will have no power completely, then let us not accept this status quo but embark with vigor on promoting alternative energy production.

    Thirdly, the PF must support our businesses to navigate the current economic difficulties in order to avoid job losses and to help us find our way back to strong economic growth. Funds may be low for investing in these companies but the Government can take low cost measures such as easing the regulatory burden, and pushing ZESCO to…

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  24. ZESCO to provide reliable load shedding schedules.

    Fourthly, the PF Government must start investing in the Zambian people. Let them take all the money saved by halving international trips and cutting back the size of Cabinet and invest this money in skills training initiatives for youths, including, in target sectors, value addition and diversification, as well as in services such as healthcare, where training of community health workers can have multiple positive knock on effects. They must be willing and ready to learn from what Government’s have done elsewhere, notably investing in entrepreneurship schemes that can deliver as many as 10 new jobs for each one entrepreneur supported.

    These are some of the measures that should be taken in order to get us moving in the right…

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  25. These are some of the measures that should be taken in order to get us moving in the right direction once again and to give our colleagues in the PF a dignified exit next year.

    Hakainde Hichilema

    UPND President

    Together we can.

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  26. I agree with the author (Kalima) that there is a big problem with the opposition in Zambia. I also agree that the current government has struggled to get a handle on the economy. The general issues raised in this article are true whether some few names of parties have been misspelled or missed, the fact still remain that we need a stronger and strategic opposition that uses all the weaknesses of the currently government to position itself as a winning team come 2016. This is what the people want to know: Who has a better vision and strategy?Zambia is bigger than one person, so if we want a strong Zambia, we must insist that we raise our game plan and strategy. Having good political and economic advisors is one ingredient we are missing in our politics.As we debate we must also…

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    • @ Mutale

      You lot are just in denial that UPND can not win an election because its headed by a Tonga right? Its that mentality which will destroy Zambia beyond redemption.

      2015 presidential by election, UPND 46.2% while PF got 46.4%. Who does not know that 0.4% which PF got was added last minute to enable PF to win. This time around UPND just needs 25% from all PF strong holds to win decisively.

      Lungu will cry and wish for 50+1 % in 2016.

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  27. I like your article Kalima,having said that I would like to take you back to the example of the late Sata,MMD gave room to him to talk and move around but what we have now is different,cowards that can detain a woman who is visiting relatives in Kitwe.HH forward and viva 2016.

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  28. Edith Nawakwi is the only political leader with a sound plan for our Nation. The Others, namely MMD, UPND, Milupi’s party, the weed party etc. are all useless.

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  29. This is great progress to have them discuss issues and debate to hear who has a really the vision for Zambia.

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  30. I have challenged HH to increase the price of Zambian copper on the international market, or better still buy it himself at say $6500 per ton in order to improve our kwacha. But I have not received a response. I reiterate my challenge here because I want to compare the clout of HH with that of Edgar in solving the kwacha and the economy before I decide whom i shall vote for in 2016. Come on HH, I have seen Edgar’s capabilities since he is in power and I can see it in practice, what about you? We cannot see your work in government since you have never been there, but that will not matter if you can take up my challenge and buy our copper at good prices.

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  31. The only credible opposition is Madam Nawakwi; unfortunately she indulges copiously in Personal Politics rather than use her sharp intellect to prod the gov’t into defence.

    Her party need to rethink their strategy and to try harder to better their Voter share.

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