HH voting in January 2015
HH voting in January 2015

NEWS/AFRICA /

By: Emma Gatten

For decades Zambia has enjoyed a reputation as one of southern Africa’s most stable nations.

But now the leading opposition candidate in next month’s presidential election has delivered a stark warning about the danger posed by growing political repression.

There is a real risk, says Hakainde Hichilema, that the government’s tough line will lead to violence of the kind that has engulfed other countries in the region, including nearby Burundi.

Mr Hichilema, 53, a wealthy businessman who heads the opposition United Party for National Development, says he has been arrested for political reasons on 14 occasions since 2011.

“The world thinks of Zambia as a peaceful country. But the writing’s on the wall,” he told The Independent.

“Freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom of speech, are taken away.”
Outsiders have failed to spot what is really happening, he said.

“The world is saying Zambia is doing okay because the Democratic Republic of Congo is worse, because Burundi is worse,” he said.

“Until there is sufficient blood – that’s when you pay attention.”

Democracy must be respected, he added, to avoid scenarios like that in Burundi, where violence has broken out after the president extended his stay in power by winning a third term in office, contrary to the constitution.

That election was condemned by Western observers for harassment of the opposition.

Last month, the United Nations expressed concern over political violence in Zambia, after members of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party reportedly attacked Mr Hichilema during a rally in the Copperbelt region.

“Zambia is peaceful. At what price? How long will it remain this way?” Mr Hichilema added.

“If thugs roam with guns and attack opposition members, one day the opposition members will protect themselves. The issue is how much violence does the world want to see before it acts?”

Mr Hichilema – widely known as HH – has stood for, and lost, the presidency four times in Zambia, a country of 16 million with widespread poverty and one of the world’s lowest life expectancy rates.

The country has seen regular elections since the end of its single-party socialism in 1991.

In January this year, Mr Hichilema was beaten by PF leader Edgar Lungu in an interim election after the death of the previous president.

With just 1.66 percent difference in the votes cast between the two candidates, Mr Hichilema has suggested the vote may have been rigged.

Supporters of his own UPND party faced widespread violence throughout the campaign, he said.

He hopes votes will swing back in his direction in next month’s election.

He believes the electorate is fed up with economic mismanagement which he says has contributed to surging inflation rates.

“Prices change while you are in the queue,” he said.

“The price of bread has doubled in the last 10 months.”

Zambia, which became independent in 1964, has been considered a success story for the past 10 years.

It became Africa’s biggest copper producer following the privatisation of the industry in the late 1990s, drawing in vast investment from China.

But amid falling copper prices and China’s own economic slowdown, the World Bank last month said Zambia faces its toughest economic challenge in a decade.

“The voter now will tell you that they want somebody different, somebody who will fix the economy,” said Mr Hichilema.

“I think at some point people cut through lies and false hopes.”

Mr Hichilema believes he can be that somebody.

Born to a rural family, he didn’t set foot in a city until he attended the University of Zambia in the capital of Lusaka in the 1980s.

After he graduated, he had his first taste of business success, buying a plot of land in a nearby shanty town on which to build a property.

“My classmates were laughing at me, they were saying ‘How can you buy a house in the [shanty] compound?’“ he said.

“My response was, ‘But you have no house. I have something at least’.”

He later sold the plot, half-finished, at a profit of 200 percent.

“Simple as that. Crude, basic. That was the beginning of my property portfolio.”

He went on to study at the University of Birmingham, and has served as CEO of both Coopers and Lybrand and Grant Thornton in Zambia.

He wants to cut the red tape that he says stifles growth in Zambia, attract investment into industries other than copper and drastically cut government spending.

He is also keen to cut the number of cabinet ministers.

Despite being a perennial presidential candidate, Mr Hichilema rejects career politics and wants an end to the era of populist politics.

“What is charisma if it doesn’t create job opportunities? What is charisma if the cost of food is beyond the majority of people? We want to bring business ethics, values, and principles into public office,” he said.

The Independent

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43 COMMENTS

  1. Hh has once again rushed to the outside world to alarm them. This man is not a patriot not even a bit. does he know the consequences of his language. Clearly he paints Zambia like a country on fire which needs international intervention. Every country has challenges and it does not help to cry to the international community like a cry baby . What sort of a commander in chief can this man make.

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    • [email protected]….
      …the article may be abit complex for you to apprehend…..yes, Zambia may not be on fire visible to you and those who are in slumber…. the article is simply warning us of the impeding dangers, smouldering pockets. If you are in your house what would you do wen you don’t see a flame of fire but you can smell something burning…you immediately investigate and possibly avoid a fully fledged fire disaster. The fact that the electrical cables are smouldering means there is an impending dander of electrical fire which may turn out to something very disastrous…..what you are seeing or hearing…gun shots at political rallies, political gatherings tear-gassed, VP private house attacked, police harassment are all tell tale signs of a ‘smouldering fire’…which can only be…

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    • Fortunately the International community does not pay any attention to this cry baby. They are better things to do for example addressing real issues other than false alarms. He will one regret like the boy who cried wolf.

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    • cont’d…
      …which can only be seen by those who are wide awake. The fact that it has been tolerated for sometime now does not mean it will be tolerated for ever….someone will say enough is enough…BOOM!!…there you have it…scampering in all directions..

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    • At least read the article before commenting imwe PF f00ls. HH has been arrested at least 14 times since 2011? Even if you are dull do you really understand what that means? Mukose bane ba PF next year kuya bebele. No amount of hate will stop HH, his time has come.

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    • @reply HH you need also to prove that he has been arrested 14 times and the General elections are next month as stated in the article. People the hate HH have a good reason because of his lies, stealing, satanism and tribalism. 10 months ago bread was k5 and today bread is k7, is this double to you. You will meet heard on on the ballot next year, this is a promise.

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  2. Since the introduction of one-partyism we have confused a lot of concepts. We confuse timidity with humility. We confuse subservience with peace; sometimes we think parody and sycophancy equals praise and loyalty, respectively. We confuse cynicism with patience. We go on to confuse anger and protest with rebellion and disatisfaction. These are the matters we must address before we can decide whether or not Zambia has in fact known any peace.

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  3. Comment: please HH, can you grow up. Zambia will remain zambia even without being president. Whether you like it or not, there will be no bloodshed in zambia even if you lose elections next year. Mark my words. God knows your ill intentions.

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  4. HE IS NOT READY TO CONCEDE DEFEAT AND WE ALREADY THAT. PLEASE TAKE YOUR BITTERNESS TO YOUR FARMS. YOU INDIFFERENT TO ALL THE POLITICIANS WE HAVE IN THE COUNTRY. YOU HAVE THE STOLEN MONEY THATS WHY YOU HAVE EVEN FAILED TO SET A SERIOUS COMPANY LIKE DANGOTE. THATS HOW YOU SHOULD HAVE BEHAVED AND BY NOW ALL ZAMBIAN WOULD RESPECTED YOU. YOU WOULD PUT SERIOUS COMPANIES BEYOND ZAMBIAN BOARDERS BUT YOU KNOW FOR SURE THAT YOUR MONEY FAKE DEALS CANT BE TOLARATED IN OTHER COUNTRIES. SET UP SUGAR COMPANY IN SOUTHERN PROVINCE AND BRING DOWN THE PRICE OF SUGAR LIKE DANGOTE HAS DONE FOR CEMENT. DONT JUST RUN IN POLITICS AS IF BEING A PRESIDENT IS THE ONLY WAY TO EARN RESPECT. IF NOT WATCHED CAREFULLY, YOUR BITTERNESS CAN LEAD TO LIFE PRESIDENT LIKE YOUR FRIENDS IN BURUNDI, RWANDA,UGANDA, CONGO BRAZ,…

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    • Comment:Sori my dear,HH has a lot of busineses that he is operating outside Zambia.Jst 4 yo own imformation HH is the next president of Zambia i.e, next year,2016.

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  5. Has HH gone mad or something? Just where is he drawing the sense that Zambia is in turmoil? Its also very s1lly of the author of this article to write on things she cannot substantiate! This is utter rubbish, what these journalists with hidden agenda should have been asking this HH is how he now fairs with the 50%+1 clause in the new constitution.
    I now firmly believe that countries that have been fighting each other are a result of carelessness from few selfish individuals who realise that they cant win people’s hearts if they dont tell lies. HH and UPND is lying, Zambia is still a very peaceful place on the this planet to live on. HH must just accept that the 50%+1 and running mate clauses in the new constitution have unsettled and killed his hopes to ever rule Zambia beyond…

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  6. ARE you saying what i think you are?? Kibimba said it in 2011 in a different form, don’t disappoint me. educate the Zambians, let the intellectuals wake up and convince people to vote for them. As long as they are just in the offices wishing for the government to change its self we will still vote for masumba etc

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  7. Seems its one blogger changing names above. There is no message in the posting but one which points to hatred of HH. May God Help you.

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  8. HH is right. Peace does not just mean the absence of war! In fact there is no peace in Zambia, the majority of the people are extremely poor, hungry and angry. It is only the people in politics, their relatives, friends and a few citizens who are benefitting! Wait and see what will happen next year!

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  9. This is where most zambians fail to gasp what one is saying
    Hh is not advocating for war but putting it that zambians are like prisoners.

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  10. The biggest threat to Zambian peace is HH himself. This story is full of lies, the elections are not next month, he has lost five times, he neglects his coming in to power through tribalism and regionalism. He neglects to mention how he got rich but lies about it. People should just through this story were it belongs. The toilet. He is in the picture voting and not dodging bullets. The prices have gone up but definitely not double and all know why. What an assh.loe of a looser. Just win clean

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  11. Comment: my friend, you will wait and wait until you wait no more, peace will continue next year and beyond. President Micheal Sata mhsp, loved this great nation more than HH. For me my dear brother HH does not love Zambia genuinely but himself. I wish him long life so that he can see that Zambia can still and will prosper without necessarily Him being president of this great country. God bless you my lovely brother HH.

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  12. @Scrutinizer the point is Zambia is not on fire. Secondly Hh forgot to indicate the NEGA NEGA formula , which party s cadres attacked a private residence.

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    • …@munjali….
      …I know fire to you means that yellow and deep blue frame….you are right Zed in not yet on that kind of frame…but the smouldering and the smell of burning electrical cables can be seen and smelt very clearly….its time we switched off the from mains to extensively investigate and examine the circuit(system) before we have the whole building(country) on fire…..

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  13. Some Zambians on this blog are yet again burying their heads in the sand. Is it due to ignorance, lack of comprehension or blind support for a particular party (that they have probably corruptly benefited from and lost any aorta of human decency in the process)? History is replete with so-called ‘small matters’ that subsequently engulfed nations in human disasters. It begins with the denial of the basics, bullying, patronage and a total disdain of the suffering of others. But what HH is warning is that there may come a time when the threshold of tolerating abuse, is passed and all hell breaks loose. All this can be avoided with civilised politics. But then, do we have a party in power that can recognise the need to respect others and allow a level playing field? The above article should…

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  14. Voting for hon hyenn hh marabbishi. Dont Forget 50+1 is a rope that we shall use to hang hh once and for all.running mate will hang gbm/banda so that they know they are just chola boys. VJ the manager for a tonga must be a president campaign KNOWS molin will be a running mate to hh. Blood shade ukokwine iwe,abana,yo wife let blood back to the sender. No blood shed pazed in jesus ‘s name

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  15. WHAT EXACTLY IS HE SAYING? THE PEACE THAT ZAMBIA ENJOYS COMES FROM GOD AND NOTHING & NO ONE WILL TAKE AWAY THAT PEACE JUST SO THAT THAT ONE PERSON CAN BE IN STATEHOUSE. I CAN NEVER TRADE PEACE FOR POLITICS NEVER THOSE THAT ABUSE POLITICAL POWER FOR THEIR BENEFIT LET THEM CONTINUE THEY WILL STAND IN GODS JUDGMENT ONE DAY AND THE WHOLE WORLD WILL SEE THEIR DOWNFALL BUT PEACE CANNOT BE SUBSTITUTED FOR ANYTHING.

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  16. This report is a clear sign that the majority of those in the journalistic profession have become political prostitutes or rented mouths, the few who are clean can’t save the bad reputation of their profession. Both HH and the journalist interviewing him need reminding exactly who is responsible for pricing of Zambia’s minerals in the first place. To HH and other sale outs I will say this: Hyenas are smaller than lions but no one brings them on circus roads.

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  17. PF theives on this blog don’t like the truth, what do you call the rampaging and shooting in public of Chama, zulu and PF caders, what do you call the brutaliseing of opposition suppoters in full view of police??. what is wrong with publishing this brutality?? Let the world know, good, and apply sanctions on PF officials with confistication orders of properties abroad bought with stolen monies.

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    • If you have evidence that people have stolen, please pass that information to law enforcement agencies including Interpol. Any way back to the subject, your President HH seems to be the only man that doesn’t not know that slavery and colonialism were designed to destroy us. I’m not suggesting that we should become pessimistic. Zambia is a beautiful country with its fantastic weather and climate and rich soil. We have a very youthful population. We have mineral resources that others salivate over but HH wants to sell all our mines to his friends for a pittance. This will NOT happen.

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  18. HH just mentioned about selling his shanty house at an exorbitant price but didn’t mention the privatisation issue where he stole his fortunes. This guy is just a quack trying to draw attention . When did HH ever talked good of Zambia and just praising people in power of good deeds? He think being in opposition means opposing everything and giving false alarms. Who is he preparing to sacrifice as he is well known as a m of the freemasonry? Ever talking about bloodshed why? He should sacrifice his children and relatives and not Zambia as a whole .

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  19. HH just mentioned about selling his shanty house at an exorbitant price but didn’t mention the privatisation issue where he stole his fortunes. This guy is just a quack trying to draw attention . When did HH ever talked good of Zambia and just praising people in power of good deeds? He think being in opposition means opposing everything and giving false alarms. Who is he preparing to sacrifice as he is well known as a m of the freemasonry? Ever talking about bloodshed why? He should sacrifice his children and relatives and not Zambia as a whole . Please HH stop it

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  20. Zambians are big pretenders and crooks. You theives who are benfiting from the massive corruption and daylight stealing in the name of massive devlopment by the PF govt will always rush to attack others like HH. Are you not theives simple example the houses being constructed Chelston Police camp are costing US$110,000 each for a 3 bedroom when a 4 bedroom self contained is in the range of US$50,000. Today Patriotic Front cadres attacked Forum for Democracy and Development President Edith Nawakwi at Mtendere Mosque in Lusaka where she was holding a meeting with Muslim women. Is this peace when PF and Police attack anybody who is not PF. Most of you so called PF members are not even members but just crooks who are after eating. Shame.

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  21. What HH should also have told the outside world about is how his cadres burnt down Hon. Kaingu’s lodge in Southern Province, how Veep Inonge Wina’s family was beaten up by his cadres, how his intolerant cadres tried to knife Dandy Crazy in Mazabuka for differing with one of them on face book, how Pf taxi drivers in Lusaka are being threatened with being evicted from taxi ranks by UPND taxi drivers should UPND win, how Gary Nkombo goes to threaten employees at Parliament from other regions other than the Southern Province with job losses should UPND win. HH should not have presented a one-sided picture to the outside world. HH prides himself in being a successful businessman by selling a house in Kalingalinga and earning a 200% profit. Is this the kind of businessman who can overnight…

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  22. HH prides himself in being a successful businessman by selling a house in Kalingalinga and earning a 200% profit. Is this the kind of businessman who can overnight become a pro-poor politician?

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  23. The cadres did not get the high technical words from a technocrats.scrutinize is very right only the so called duller cadres who are kept but never kept any body in a proper rented house and foot the bill of any necessity can still argue to subtle writings. people are warning and you are still enjoying in Sodom, very soon the fire which someone was referring will find you.

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  24. I don’t support HH but in one regard he is right. We confuse being peaceful with docility. We see things going wrong but we never speak up. That is being docile. Docility brings its problems, standards deteriorate, those in charge do their own thing. We don’t like to ruffle feathers because people will say, “Ali namutima oyipa.” We need to change this mindset if this country is to change for the better. We treat those in charge as Demi gods! Their word is unquestionable! So we go down with them!

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  25. kabwa munyela HH musula no blood shed mu zambia,he is praying that war breaks out in zambia they sacrifice to their gods,you will never succed suntwe iwe,Jehovah is on you prepare to go to hell styopeti

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