HH and GBM during a news conference at the UPND secretariat on Thursday, April 4th 2019
HH and GBM during a news conference at the UPND secretariat on Thursday, April 4th 2019

By Dickson Jere

The ongoing cracks in the top leadership of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) brings to the fore the practicality of Article 110 of our Republican Constitution – the clause that introduced the Vice President as running mate. Just imagine if UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema won the 2016 presidential vote and Godfrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) as his running mate was his Vice President. The current differences, even though internal party squabbles, would have presented a constitutional crisis for the country! As President, you cannot fire your running mate or Vice President. I have always thought we need to re-think about that running mate clause! It can be very problematic!

Let’s take a look at our next door neighbor Malawi.
It has a similar running mate clause. But the experience there calls for re-think. All the three running mates who became Vice Presidents of Malawi ended up differing with the President. And the President could not fire them thereby creating a constitutional crisis. For example, President Bingu Wa Mutharika had to send his running mate and Vice President Cassim Chilumpha to prison for treason! But he remained Veep while in remand prison. In his second term, Mutharika differed with his new Vice President Joyce Banda. He kicked her out of the ruling party but she remained constitutionally a Vice President of Malawi even after she formed her own party. When Mutharika died, she assumed the Presidency even though she was an opposition leader! Currently, President Peter Wa Mutharika (younger brother) has differed with his Vice President Saulos Chilima. And so you have the Vice President, who formed his own party and now standing against his boss in the coming elections but he remains Vice President of the Republic! Classic right?

As for the current arrangement in Zambia, it appears to be working largely because Vice President Mama Inonge Wina appears to be elderly, mature and reserved. She is not power hungry as was the case with Malawi Vice Presidents. She keeps to her lane. Imagine having a Vice President with naked presidential ambitions? Friction will be the order of the day!

You see, Zambian political parties have had problems with Vice Presidents. The then ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) had to freeze the veep post, twice, at the convention. This was under President Levy Mwanawasa and Rupiah Banda, respectively. The freezing was aimed at bringing harmony in the party and therefore the party operated without one. Even the PF in opposition, operated for very long time without Vice President. So the troubles in UPND are not new when it comes to Vice President. Since it’s formation, it has had eight Vice Presidents but only two Presidents. These are; John Mulwila, SC, Patrick Chisanga, Bob Sichinga, Sakwiba Sikota, SC, Canicius Banda, Richard Kapita, Francis Simenda and GBM. Off course the high number could also be attributed to the fact that it has two Vice Presidents at a go…

So as the National Dialogue starts deliberations on the Constitution next week, the running mate clause must be re-looked given the lessons and circumstances highlighted above. What happens when the Vice President goes wayward? Or decides to challenge the boss while holding the office? Or if he is fired from the ruling party? These must be fine-tuned! Yes, it has worked well in the US but it hasn’t in Malawi!
Have a peaceful and holy Easter!

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36 COMMENTS

  1. Heeeee,yeeeee so if this tribal party were to form Government, Zambia would have two veeps? Tufyakwa!
    Mmmmmmh!
    Copy and paste clauses of the constitution.

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    • HAHA is so politically dull. He has powers to lift the suspension but look at him, wining and dining with his next target.

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    • Enough circus LT…..start ignoring these people….PF bandits are finding time to loot while we all concentrate on UPND, NDC nonsense
      All politicians have bad intentions for seeking high office and thats the reason for all this nonsense

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    • I like the way Zambian watchdog is ignoring the UPND melt down……they know its over for HH and now they’re busy writing about Kambwili

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    • This is how PF begins to take apart the constitution in the name of national dialogue for their own short sighted and selfish gains.

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    • Then there is no better provision I now think is as good as the VP one. We can all now see that only in Malawi has the VP position been put to good use. A VP should check this corruption, if he himself has to stand a chance to be president. Nice provision this one.

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  2. HH has overstayed as UPND chairman and he can’t let go! Now his party faces the blink of oblivion.

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    • With all these parties there is no democracy or good governance at party level….GBM himself was simply hand-picked for his wallet, look at the circumstances Lazy Lungu was chosen…the troubles brewing in NDC its all down to governance.

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    • Registrar, please guide me on the constitutionality of pesident Trib.al Hacks given that he has not attended a upnd convention since 2006. Oh sorry you cannot guide me as I am not a member of trib.al upnd I have no locus standing as the lawyers would say… Ok, fair enough …. GBM will seek the guidance .. before he is expelled otherwise no locus standing if he is. . Kikikiki … and Jack Mwimbu is at a loss for words!!!!

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  3. I totally agree with the article above. The vice president running mate close must be fine tuned to put in safe guards for the office holder to behave. Yes he must still remain a running mate only if he abides by the conduct befitting a vice president. For example total loyalty to the president of the republic by making sure that while in office he may seas to be vice president if:-
    1. He forms his own political party 2. He resigns from the political party that brought him into office 3. Exhibits stubbornness and arrogance to the appointing president 4. The party in power feels he is not operating according to the rules of the game. The President should still be given powers to fire him subject to parliamentary approval of 2/3 majority vote. The way they recall presidents in…

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    • @3D.M,There is no reason to allow a President to fire the vice since they are both elected directly,non is an appointee.If anything we must be looking at preventing repeative by – elections at parliamentary level which are contributing to intra-party dictatorship and waste of public resource(both financial and time)!!

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    • Just remove the running late issue. We just copied and pasted from American..we didn’t think through it. That’s common in Zambian

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  4. We written, I have enjoyed reading the history part of it but Ajere this running mate thing is not about to change.

    We cannot change the entire constitution just because HH and GBM are not getting alone.

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  5. Dickson, are you then saying that it is better to have a Vice-President appointed by the President than one who is a running mate and is likely to be his own person? How is it that the idea of a Vice-President who is a running mate seems to have worked better in the US than in Malawi? Could it also not be best explained by the choice of who is your running mate? I guess a running mate you have a long good personal and working relationship with should not be able to undermine you. You should have asked yourself, Dickson, how long HH knew GBM before drawing the hasty conclusion you wish to about the suitability of the running mate clause and what HH’s choice of GBM as running mate was based on. It is also important to bear in mind that whereas in Western democracy, a failure to win the…

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  6. Powerful analysis and so lets take advantage of the National Dialogue Forum so that we can correct this lacuna. We have had so many ambitious characters for presidency in this country. A quick example is Kambwili (presidential candidate) and Musenge (running mate) if they were to form Government as NDC. Imagine what would happen! Or Kalaba (presidential candidate) and GBM (running mate) or HH ((presidential candidate) and Garry Nkombo (running mate) or ECL (presidential candidate) and Kampyongo (running mate) or ECL (presidential candidate) and Nevers Mumba or Mutati (running mates).
    All these are total disasters for Mother Zambia! Let’s wake up and correct this nonsense as some people are foolishly filled with personal aggrandizement.

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  7. You can’t start to run before you learn to walk. We are trying to do what the Americans have been perfecting for some two centuries. As result we keep on tumbling.

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  8. Oh no for got other classic examples of the total disaster combinations :
    #ECL (presidential candidate) and Lusambo (running mate)
    #HH (presidential candidate) and Chishimba Kambwili (running mate)
    #Chishimba Kambwili (presidential candidate) and HH (running mate)
    Don’t just comment also think of other combinations if you were a party president. We are blessed as a country because ECL and Mama Inonge combination has worked well so far (i.e. no constitutional crisis).
    So please as ZAMBIANS let us rectify this rather than dreaming or scheming on how you can avoid the forth coming National Dialogue Forum. Remember to put ZAMBIA first than listening to selfish political leaders instructing their party MPs to stay away. And remember it is now LAW that all MPs should attend and…

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  9. My appeal to other political parties that have indicated they will not be attending the National dialogue conference. Perhaps give it a benefit of a doubt. Yes we may not fully agree in the way PF has schemed the whole process but may be it may work after all. In life sometimes things may not go exactly the way you want them to go, even a person who grabs someone’s wife people will complain and talk on how bad he is but a few months later take that to be a marriage and call the lady Mrs. so and so. May be get involved under protest and voice out your grievances at the Indaba itself. We will get to hear and know your contributions which we shall expect to be taken on board. Should we see that certain closes are presented otherwise then we shall hold PF to account. Give it a try you…

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  10. @mankambwili..! “and remember it’s now LAW for all MPs to attend bla bla bla…”. This dull pf cadre should know that there is a difference between attending & participating. Kikikikiki no skopodonono

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  11. This is serious food for thought, the president needs to work with someone who is royal, he needs to be able to fire his or her running mate under certain circumstances.. When they are fired from the party etc

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  12. HH is to blame! His time has come to pack and go!
    I can never vote for a wamuyaya! If UPND wants my vote, get rid of that liability of yours! Any political party that is not equal to the original MMD we had is not worthy to rule this country. Even CK with his NDC are far from democratic! Good that CK is not NDC president yet because he is not a product of a free and fair convention!
    What we do as Zambians is to forget about all the current tuntemba parties and come up with a third movement to take this country out of the current malaise! Enough of this circus! No running mates please!

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  13. My takeaway on this is that the problem of a running mate comes about because we have a presidential candidate who picks a running mate without any long personal or working relationship with him/her that does not allow one to know the running mate too well. In addition, the focus on picking a running mate should not be the short-term electoral benefit of winning the natural constituency of the running mate. Thirdly, in Africa, presidential candidates are not ready to step aside even once when they lose a presidential election making a running mate wait for ever. This is in contrast to what you find in Western democracies that allow for political renewal by ensuring losing presidential candidates step aside for others.

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  14. The last reason given may be responsible for the disaffection that slowly develops between a running mate and a losing or wannabe presidential candidate who wants to keep on trying to be elected as candidate even when he proves to be unelectable.

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    • Try Gary Nkombo or Jack Mwimbu for running mate Mr Trib.al Hacks, anything wrong with that? The names?

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  15. The problem is not the running mate clause. The way political parties elect a presidential candidate (or as they claim) they should equally elect a running mate. A hand picked running mate is and will always be potential for a disaster. Hand picking a running mate as was the case with UPND meant GBM acted as a ticket to plot 1, nothing more.

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    • @ Dokowe

      Good point. The problem is not with the running mate clause, lest we throw the baby with the bath water. It is the actual practice of picking a running mate. In the US, this has seemed to work because the way a running mate is picked is institutionalised and supported by the party. It is not personalised as is the case in our situation on the African continent.

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  16. UPND acting in character and GBM, sowing what he sowed by joining them out if PF. GBM left in anger to join UPND and hoped to alter PF’s chances in the elections. They won and are still popular enough to win 2021.

    Why do all PF defectors to UPND, put themselves into a political desert, from which they can achieve nothing in the long run? Just spite themselves uh.

    To be fair, in the matter of contempt should the Youths that insulted him during a meeting not be dismissed as party members too? That was a ride way to deal with a senior party member.

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    • Now that I’ve read the long article……

      The running mate is not the problem. It’s African people in politics. They need to understand they are representatives of the people and must conduct themselves in service for the people and not their naked ambition. That’s whynit works in USA . Politicians are educated to function within the system. Some African politicians are renegades.

      A small change should be made to divorce running mates if they feel it’s not working well together. The votes for the running mate merely transfer to a party elected replacement without need for new elections.

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  17. The biggest problem in Africa is political parties have no idealogy ,conservatives believe in ancient setup,and it takes time to change,whilst progressives believe in perpetual change of believes ,with each generation strong beliefs ,so progressive are adaptives.Running is good as s/he help keep checks and balances.Running mate should not be royal to the president but s/he uphold the constitution as demanded by the framers.

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  18. Dickson we will not go back to that, whether it has happened in Malawi or not. Next will be appointment of Cabinet from outside of Parliament. We want to bring sanity to governance

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  19. Levy Mwanawasa dropped the post of vice president of the party because of Hon. Bwalya Chiti and Captain Chewe who are bembas and he was not ready to work with them.

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  20. Mr Jere is right and something ought to be done.Surprisingly, the online site which is always very critical of other political parties and organisations is not commenting on the UPND squables.Why ???
    Undoubtedly, it is very clear as to who owns and sponsors it.

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