1. As Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) we have noted with sadness the decision by Honorable Chishimba Kambwili to abandon his National Democratic Congress (NDC) party and rejoin the ruling Patriotic Front party. There is no doubt that the collective strength of the opposition in Zambia has reduced, with the departure of Honorable Kambwili.
2. As Patriots for Economic Progress, there is not a question in our minds that Honorable Kambwili was a passionate opposition leader who was committed to providing an alternative voice to the Zambian people. His decision to rejoin the ruling PF party is not something that he did out of his own volition but was compelled to do so using varying amounts of duress and blackmail by the PF and its Government. On one hand, Honorable Kambwili was inundated with countless and often baseless criminal charges, and on the other hand, his business enterprises were curtailed so that he remained with a very limited source of livelihood.
3. As Patriots for Economic Progress it is our considered view that we as the collective opposition political parties in Zambia are partially to blame for the PF’s defeat of Honorable Kambwili which resulted into subsequently beating him into submission and making him to rejoin them. This is premised on the fact that when Honorable Kambwili was at his lowest ebb due to victimization from the PF and its Government, we as fellow opposition failed to offer him the moral, financial and legal support that he needed to survive his incessant harassment by the PF. In fact, at the peak of Honorable Kambwili’s legal woes, instead of his brothers in the main opposition UPND offering him hope and help, the UPND aligned lawyers who represented him ensured that they milked him dry with unreasonably high legal fees. They saw him as a cash cow and not a harassed fellow opposition leader who needed help.
4. To a large extent, it can be argued that not only did the ruling PF party want Honorable Kambwili and his NDC project to fail and for him to return to the PF, but the main opposition UPND also wanted him to fail. There is no doubt in our minds that, just like a jealous first wife, the UPND have never desired for any third political force to emerge in Zambia, for fear of being subsequently overshadowed, as the case has been in the past. To the extent that Honorable Kambwili and his NDC party were slowly emerging as a third political force, the UPND were as rattled as the PF and they both equally took active steps to undermine him and see to it that he fails. As PeP, we eventually expect the same maneuvers although we have no intention to fail.
5. As Patriots for Economic Progress we know for a fact that Honorable Kambwili’s truest passion lies with providing an alternative voice for the Zambian people and not being in the PF gravy train. His decision to rejoin the PF and hold hands with those who tormented him for years, was out of duress and blackmail and does not in any way represent his true political feelings. It is for this reason that for us, we shall not join the bandwagon of those condemning his decision to retreat and rejoin the Patriotic Front Party. You cannot condemn a man for losing a battle which you never assisted him to fight in the first place. Therefore, we wish to take this opportunity to advise the UPND and its supporters whose condemnation of Honorable Kambwili as an unprincipled politician has reached fever pitch, to cease, desist and introspect.
6. As Patriots for Economic Progress we shall always hold Honorable Chishimba Kambwili in deep reverence as someone who earnestly tried to build a third political force but failed because of the underhand methods of the ruling PF party and the jealousy of the main opposition UPND party. Imbwili fought a good fight and deserves respect, and not insults, from the Zambian people.