By Sunday Chilufya Chanda
Zambians across social spectra and strata in different parts of the country and beyond our borders continue to join the Patriotic Front en masse.
The natural question to ask then is; “why does the Patriotic Front (PF) continue to be the number one (01) choice to the majority of Zambians across ethnicity and across other demographics– home and abroad?”
The following paragraphs will give a few reasons to answer the above question.
1.PF IS PEOPLE CENTRED (NOT A ONE-MAN SHOW OR CULT OF PERSONALITY)
The Patriotic Front (PF) is a grassroots movement of revolutionary peasants, workers and intellectuals. We are a movement of the “people” to attain inclusive and sustainable development for all people – without leaving anyone behind.
Unlike certain political parties which exalt cult of personality by designing their relevance and motivations around one man (personality), PF from its genesis under its patriarch the late Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata (MHRIP), has been people-centered. This ethos is at the core of the PF Constitution which states:
“The main task of the Party and the working people of the Republic of Zambia is to accomplish a transition from self-centeredness”.
In contrast to PF, most opposition parties cannot distinguish themselves from their leader.
They have succumbed to the cult of personality, and the party has become a personal pet project of their leader. They thus exist for and are wrapped around the elitist finger of a particular self-serving “I-know-it-all” individual, who has no stomach for advice and constructive criticism.
Their personal interest inevitably over rides national.
In contrast, the PF is led by people-centeredness; putting the good of society and the nation first; and humility, where the citizen is the boss.
2. PF HAS A NATIONAL CHARACTER
The Patriotic Front has structures on the ground across Zambia. Our Central Committee, the guiding organ of the Party, comprises members from every region of our nation – making it the most representative party structurally as well as in terms of its ordinary members.
Evidently, the leadership of PF is not exclusive to a particular tribe or region, neither is its membership.
As *His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu* emphasized at the opening of the PF Copperbelt Provincial Conference recently:
_“Even when the darkest cloud hovered over Patriotic Front after the death of our colossus, President Michael Chilufya Sata, it was intra-party democracy which birthed his successor in the name of Edgar Chagwa Lungu._ *_In other Political Parties, just my name which comes from a different part of Zambia as that of our founding leader could have prevented me from standing here today as your President.*_
It was not tribal or material consideration that got us to be here today, it was the values we have held on to as a Party since inception: Oneness beyond tribe, religion, gender or colour…
*_”If Edgar Chagwa Lungu, with an Eastern heritage could contest in intraparty elections and succeed Michael Chilufya Sata, a northerner; then every Zambian from every tribe can be assured that Patriotic Front has a place for them to aspire and contest too.”_*
There is no political party which comes close to matching the PF. Unlike other political parties the PF is national; it is not ethnic and myopic like the others,
3.PF PRACTICES INTRA-PARTY DEMOCRACY
While some opposition political parties have institutionalised dictatorship by allowing one individual to manipulate his party’s constitution to enable him to rule unopposed indefinitely; PF’s thriving intra-party democracy means that we continue to renew our mandate with the people – the general membership on whose behalf we lead. In PF, the clarion call for continuous renewal and re-energizing of party structures across the country is non-negotiable.
That is why PF continues to be a vibrant national movement of the people themselves. Even those who join the PF are both wholeheartedly embraced and at liberty to enjoy the benefits of membership which include aspiring and contesting by any member, within the provision of the PF party constitution.
4. GENDER EQUALITY – PF VALUES WOMEN’S PARTICIPATION IN DECISION MAKING
The Patriotic Front (PF) understands that developing or empowering only one part of the population (men) while neglecting the other part (women) is not development, but inequality. True to this belief, the PF continues to spearhead women’s empowerment, and shall not relent in its mission of achieving gender equity and gender equality in line with national, continental and universal strategic goals.
The PF values women and the girl child so much so that the Party has pioneered the mainstreaming of gender equality through Policy and Legislation.
Under PF, Zambian women are increasingly participating and flourishing in decision-making positions including on important national matters.
Our record speaks for itself; it is unparalleled.
5. PF IS YOUTH DRIVEN
Unlike a certain opposition political party that only has a few shadowy and elitist “mayadi” youths whose presence is mainly on Facebook for the purpose of insulting, disparaging every good deed by PF and fabricating/spreading fake news; the majority of Patriotic Front members are youths drawn from across Zambia’s socio-economic landscape.
As stated in its Manifesto the Patriotic Front is pro-youth. We believe that Youth Entrepreneurship is the present and future of Zambia’s inclusive and sustainable development.
The PF believes in youths and matches this with actions by formulating and implementing Youth Empowerment Programmes for Zambia’s industrialization through manufacturing including agro-processing and others.
Unlike other political parties with “muyayaya” mentality, the Patriotic Front has a well-articulated leadership progression programme which allows the Youth to progressively take up more key leadership positions.
6. PF HAS EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU – THE SUPER LEADER: “LEADING OTHERS TO LEAD” ZAMBIA TOWARDS VISION 2030 AND AU AGENDA 2063
The masterpiece and the icing on the cake is the character and quality of our leadership.
Since His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu took over leadership of the Patriotic Front, from our founding father the late President Michael Chilufya Sata (MHRIP), he has continued to emulate our Patriarch and has thus demonstrated a leadership style that has been about more than just a title or a designation.
President Lungu has rolled up his sleeves and has socialised with us, as one of us – which he is. He works with us, he laughs with us, he cries with us and hopes with us. Therein lies one of his key strengths; strong yet personable, humble, accommodating, a statesman, a visionary with qualities needed for a super leader.
He has continued to oversee the Patriotic Front’s unprecedented infrastructural development in terms of roads, primary schools, universities, hospitals, airports, dams and so on.
This infrastructural development has been so unprecedented since the 1960s and 1970s, that United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), African Union (AU), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Development Bank (ADB) have jointly recognised President Edgar Chagwa Lungu as a Champion of the Third Industrial Decade for Africa (IDDA3).
Shockingly, certain opposition parties and some negative forces with their fits of envy have banded together to disparage this infrastructure development by labeling it as “corruption and underdevelopment”.
However, the majority of Zambians ask themselves this question:
_“If the widespread infrastructural development, which the opposition are also enjoying, is called corruption and underdevelopment; then what development could this same opposition party hope to bring Zambia?”_
_Would they stop and uproot all infrastructure development?_
The majority people at the grassroots all across former opposition strongholds have seen through the deceit of the opposition and they are flocking en mass to PF.
The momentum is unstoppable…
The Author is Patriotic Front Media Director At the Patriotic Front Secretariat Lusaka