By Venus N Msyani
Asking for forgiveness if sounding like trying to discourage morale in the camps of other candidates. Though 16 presidential candidates are contesting the upcoming election in Zambia, the real battle is between the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) and the Ruling Patriotic Front (PF).
It is the third time UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and PF leader Edgar Chagwa Lungu are facing each other in a general election.
If Hakainde Hichilema is going to lose again as prophesied by some prophets and predicted by some so-called political analysts, the question is by what margin?
Simple math points to Hakainde offsetting the margin. He has lost two elections and managed to narrow the margin in both hence probability of doing the same in the next election is high.
In the 2015 by-election, which was a result of the death of late President Michael Sata, Hakainde Hichilema lost to Edgar Chagwa Lungu by a margin of about 27,700 votes.
In the 2016 general election Hakainde lost again but managed to cut the margin to half. He lost by only about 13000 votes.
If anything has changed between 2016 and 2021, has changed in favor of Hakainde Hichilema. Standing on the way of fundamental human rights, corruption, negative attitude towards social media, unnecessary arrests, and violence have made people lose confidence in the PF government.
Internet is another thing that will help to produce the next president for Zambia. Social media fits into the equation.
Though there are several conflicting reports online about internet penetration in Zambia, every Zambian will agree that the number of Zambians who are on social media in 2021 is more than that of 2016.
An implication that social media is able to offset the 13000-vote difference won by PF in 2016 and can be concluded by rewriting the above question:
Hakainde Hichilema will win the upcoming August 12 election by how many votes? Will it be enough to avoid 50+1vote clause?
In the column article “UPND’s Propaganda and Social Media Obsession Can’t Win Elections,” on Lusaka Times about a week ago, the author argues that social media politics has made UPND supporters create an illusion in their minds that they are popular and they have already won the 2021 elections.
This has nothing to do with propaganda. Unless one is not wise enough to know why there is a waged war against social media by the PF government. PF saw a loss coming a long time ago.