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Friday, September 24, 2021

Zambia’s August 2021 elections – a new era beckons

Feature Politics Zambia’s August 2021 elections – a new era beckons


By Guy Scott

The UPND Alliance, led by Hakainde Hichilema (HH), has much to offer Zambia. HH has surrounded himself with a dedicated team of experts committed to rooting out corruption, delivering opportunity and restoring Zambia’s natural wealth back into the hands of the people.

The general elections scheduled for 12 August are set to be a decisive moment for Zambia.

Almost 60 years since independence and 30 years since the reintroduction of multiparty elections, Zambians are once again demanding change and leadership that will meet their aspirations, redress the balance of power, and restore opportunity in the country.

In recent years Zambia has lost its way. The ruling Patriotic Front (PF) government has decimated the economy and severed its connection with the people. As a result, hunger and unemployment are on the rise even as prices of copper, our major export, have reached new highs.

Just as worrying are the attempts by those currently in power to cling to their positions using the politics of division and tribalism to gain political points and cynically divide Zambians. This threatens the very foundations of our peaceful nation and the treasured legacy of unity that was bestowed by our recently departed first president, Dr Kenneth Kaunda.

Ahead of next month’s elections the opposition is offering a stark departure from this track record of failure. The UPND Alliance, led by Hakainde Hichilema (HH), has much to offer the country. Their economic platform is informed by HH’s strong business track record, as well as his personal journey as a farmer.

As a leader, HH is open to advice and counsel; humble enough to seek guidance from those with more experience, yet confident in his ability to turn around the country with the support of his team and plenty of hard work.

Having been arrested 15 times and spent over four months in prison following the 2016 elections, HH also has a resolute commitment to delivering a better and brighter future for Zambians which encompasses a strong protection of human rights.

Like so many of us, he has a strong sense of compassion, patriotism, and duty; a desire to see Zambians thrive. He has no time for those who enter politics simply to enrich themselves.

The people of Zambia are calling out for change. They will not be hoodwinked by the PF’s distribution of campaign material. I spoke to a young woman recently from Eastern province who explained that she and her fellow youth “will not be blinded by the simple distribution of chitenges [garments] and small packets of salt that the PF are dishing out”.

People have seen that such handouts are unsustainable. Instead, they want leadership that will strengthen their capacity to farm and sustainably produce food. They are looking for a government that will prioritise job creation for our youth so they can be uplifted out of poverty. To achieve this, HH has surrounded himself with a dedicated team of experts, hailing from all 10 of the country’s provinces. This diverse and experienced coalition is committed to rooting out corruption, delivering opportunity and restoring Zambia’s natural wealth back into the hands of the people. No longer will the government be weighed down by ineptitude and graft, but will instead be lifted up to properly serve those who place their trust in it.

In response to the opposition’s growing strength the incumbent government has attempted to block our progress at every turn, denying voters the chance to hear our message wherever possible. Even before rallies and roadshows were banned on public health grounds the police were routinely deployed to block our passage, recently firing tear gas canisters at HH as he simply attempted to travel to church. Meanwhile, the president and his vice-president were touring the country, officiating at various non-essential events, suggesting they think only the opposition can spread Covid-19.

Restrictions on physical campaigns mean media access has never been more important. However, under President Edgar Lungu’s government media restrictions and shutdowns have become commonplace. It is no wonder that Zambia is one of the fastest autocratising countries in the world, according to the Varieties of Democracy Index.

Not content with shutting down the largest independent print publication ahead of the 2016 polls – The Post – Prime TV, Muvi TV and Komboni Radio have all since had their licences revoked or cancelled on either a permanent or temporary basis. In May Muvi TV was threatened with closure by the Independent Broadcasting Authority after hosting opposition politicians in a move criticised by domestic and international civil society groups alike. Meanwhile, governing party cadres are deployed to attack radio stations hosting opposition figures and have been caught on camera burning UPND materials.

Rather than facing its problems head-on, the government is becoming more and more oppressive by the day. It has run out of ideas and it has no positive track record upon which to run a credible campaign. When the PF lost its founding leader, President Michael Sata, in 2014, division and infighting took hold of the party. Those that came out on top are now seeking to use similarly thuggish tactics to maintain control and run roughshod over the country with little regard for Zambia’s hard-won freedoms, peace and unity. Taken together, this will have grave implications for the credibility of the upcoming poll.

Yet it remains the case that there is more that unites than divides us as a nation. Today Zambians are united in wanting opportunities to earn a good living; an end to the ever-rising cost of living; and access to the most basic services like education and healthcare.

On 12 August, our hope as the opposition is that Zambians will reject the politics of division and once again vote for democracy and embrace change. A new era beckons.

Daily Maverick

The author is former Vice President of the Republic of Zambia

27 COMMENTS

  1. A paid for Party Political Newscast. The author introduces normative political debate. Unfortunately, sanitising Hakainde is impossible. Yes, change can happen but Hichilema is the stumbling block he is just a Trumpian businessman,his task is to meet personal costs of business.

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  2. Chief Consultant has started campaigning and this is good. UPND alliance has to campaign extra harder in order for a win to be granted. If that is not done, ECL alebwelelapo pamupando. In 2011 if MMD was strong as PF is now, it was going to be nafuti nafuti for RB.

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  3. HH is a square peg in a round hole. He can’t simply be laundered. He is a failed project. Alebwelelapo pamupando

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  4. I don’t think HH can change anything see what is happening in the world SA in particular. He economy is bad, this is a worldwide issue because of Corona.

    We need to change but not UPND awe

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  5. I can see HH’s weaknesses – but UPND is the only way out of the PF quagmire. Continuation of the PF government just means more poverty, increasing isolation in the international world, total capitulation to corruption. PF: Lying about everything, not delivering anything! Thank you Guy Scott for stepping in.

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  6. Suy G’cott can you be categorical in your allegations and claims. Which Zambian people are you referring to who want change? Do you mean the upndead camp people.
    Iwe muzungu which people? That message is a blank shot thanks. Mere propaganda and it’s not gonna work. May socialist part beat upndead in most constituencies to teach old Suy Gcott a lesson. Can please age gracefully bo Gcott.

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  7. If i was Guy scot, i would stay away from politics especially politics of appearing to launder HH. You are in your evening of your life, leave room for people to remember you in a proper perspective once you go to meet your ancestors. In any case, you failed to install HHR as president when you acted as president in 2015, as every knew that you clearly didn’t want ECL to be come president for what ever reasons best known to your self. Again in 2016, you organised everyone who was not happy with PF for whatever reason to gang against ECL but you failed. so, its sheer wast of your time Guy scot, if indeed you are the one who said or wrote the said article.

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  8. ” Zambians are once again demanding change and leadership that will meet their aspirations, redress the balance of power, and restore opportunity in the country.”

    “In recent years Zambia has lost its way. The ruling Patriotic Front (PF) government has decimated the economy and severed its connection with the people. As a result, hunger and unemployment are on the rise even as prices of copper, our major export, have reached new highs.”

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  9. But nobody is stopping HH from contesting. Why does he keep putting statements which appear to ask for sympathy? If he thinks he’s good, people will vote for him. If he is not good enough, will he call it quits?

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  10. Good to see so many Zambians take part in the debate. For sure, no one is clean in Zambian politics, there has to be a way out of this poverty. Look around, 70% of Lusaka is in shanty neighborhoods and what makes believe what is happening in SA will never happen here!

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  11. When Zambia becomes the next Zimbabwe and is totally ruined these PF pussies will be crying.

    The writing is on the wall. Look at SA, 27 years after apartheid ended still no improvement the majority are in poverty. For 27 years black presidents have been running the country. Corruption is unprecedented.

    Has any change occurred to better and improve the lives of the masses

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  12. Says the muzungu wo pusa who was put in the limelight by Michael Chilufya Says. As his personal friend, he went against his wishes by trying to block the Edgar Lungu presidency. He put his weight behind hh in 2015 as acting president but failed to spoil his friend’s wish. He is now a spent force with no political clout. So such articles or comments are of little and no consequence or impact on the August 12 polls.

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  13. We can’t change govt. Zambia is better than south Africa right now. Lungu has managed COVID 19 so well. All neighboring countries are rushing to Zambia.Go to Chipata see how malawans are flocking into Zambia in search of food. Go to northern province and muchinga see how Tanzanians coming to Zambia. Go to Luapula and see how congolese are flocking to luapula.Go to livingstone and see how Zimbabweans are flocking to Livingstone.It’s all boarder.Why bcoz Zambia has better leadership.To be fair HH should not even contest.We are in safe hands of ba Lungu

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  14. Wait a minute. The cost of climatic change induced Covid-19 pandemic and drought on water cannot be overlooked. Without electric power, the wheels of industry were more than paralyzed. Importation of electric power proved costly. The cots of infrastructure was also impacted through delays and sharp rise in procurement. Let us give credit where it is due. The last mandate of the sitting president will bring back smiles on the faces of the people of Zambia. Leader wil come and go but PF will endure. Founding members of PF need to lead by example. Win or lose, they must remain in PF.

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  15. Well said from one once referred to as muzungu opusa by the change you now speak about tongue in cheek…. Indeed we need change but that change isn’t under 5….

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  16. Okay ine I just want to hear you say how you’re going to fix the Aviation industry it’s all I care about, so if you don’t have a vision for that then I’m still not convinced.

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  17. @Ayatollah,
    @Zambian Citizen
    @Mate
    Muyichindike bane, you are the only ones trying to bring in toxic language against this man…….This man has done a lot for Zambia. If you have a different opinion, just say it in a normal and civilized way just as the other 19 people who have so far commented above. You dont have to go that extent.

  18. It is understanadable that the Scottish-Zambian man would not be kind to a political party that denied him the presidency. Guy should have known that his political height was limited to the vice presidency and not more. Guy was really hopeful that he could push his luck as far as possible. Zambia is a great country that gave Guy the chance to rise to a vice president in a liberated African country.

  19. Let us not criticize the old man. It is his right to write his views. We live in a democracy. Even you write a response to him with your views. We in pf are not worried because we are confident in our track record and messages. Live long ba guy scott

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