Saturday, July 20, 2024

In a fair election, Lungu cannot win; in an unfair election, he cannot lose

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By Sishuwa Sishuwa

Voters in Zambia head to the ballot box on 12 August to choose a president from 16 candidates, making this the most heavily contested election in the country’s history. The leading contenders are incumbent Edgar Lungu of the governing Patriotic Front (PF) and Hakainde Hichilema of the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), who between them won 98% of the presidential vote in 2016. Although the Socialist Party’s Fred M’membe is expected to fare better than the rest, the election may have come too soon for the celebrated former newspaper editor who founded the left-leaning political alternative in March 2018 and has since traversed the country slating both the PF and the UPND in his attempts to build a power base.

Despite having a progressive manifesto that pledges to ‘reverse Zambia’s slide into privatisation and de-industrialisation’ – social processes that have damaged social life and created a sense of despondency among ordinary Zambians – the prospect of M’membe making any more than a token showing in the presidential race is tiny. He may however do enough to prevent the frontrunners from obtaining a clear victory in the first-round. Should none of the 16 presidential candidates win more than 50% of the total votes cast, a second ballot featuring the two highest-placed contestants shall be held within 37 days of the initial ballot to determine the winner.

Zambians in the mood for political change

The general mood across the country points to the sort of nervous euphoria for change last witnessed in 1991, when the then opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) defeated the ruling United National Independence Party – the party of Kenneth Kaunda that had had ruled Zambia since independence. This feeling is driven mainly by voters’ outright opposition to Lungu rather than support for Hichilema. In the capital Lusaka and the Copperbelt – two crucial urban constituencies that previously voted PF but are likely to swing to the opposition – the desire for change can be seen in the sometimes-hostile reception that PF campaigners have received. “I wonder if people need extra glasses to see what PF has done over the last ten years”, complained Lungu’s running mate Nkandu Luo on 29 July when campaigning in North-western Province.

While campaigning on the politically influential Copperbelt Province on 7 August, Lungu vowed to arrest Hichilema, his main rival whose support is rising considerably there, if he wins re-election for alleged corruption during Zambia’s privatisation of the mines in the 1990s. At the time, Hichilema worked for a private audit firm that was hired by the government to evaluate the value of state assets to be sold. Lungu claims that Copperbelt residents are poor today because Hichilema took advantage of the privatisation process to enrich himself instead of negotiating better deals for the government. Critics argue that if the president had tangible evidence, he would have had the opposition leader arrested and prosecuted long ago. Lungu hopes that this threat would, however, shore up his waning support among mineworkers and discredit his opponent ahead of the UPND leader’s much-anticipated visit to the region.

The desire for change is also evident in the size of crowds that Hichilema has been able to attract both before and after the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) suspended physical campaign meetings in June to curb the spread of COVID-19. The crowd that turned up at Hichilema’s nomination in Lusaka, for instance, was so huge that the PF accused the UPND of having hired people from across the country for the occasion. Even in Eastern Province, previously considered Lungu’s fortress, thousands turned up for Hichilema’s national face mask distribution exercise – a loophole to get around restrictions on rallies first used by Lungu before the opposition also adopted the strategy. If this expression of support translates into votes, the incumbent is in trouble.

Why the people want change

There are several factors behind the president’s unpopularity. One is the high cost of living, thanks to a faltering economy. According to the latest data on chronic poverty in Zambia from the Overseas Development Institute and Poverty Action, the proportion of adults who cannot afford to have more than one meal a day has risen to 40% under Lungu’s rule.

The second is the high levels of income inequality. Despite being a lower-middle-income country, latest World Bank records show that nearly 60% of Zambia’s 18.8 million people earn below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day (compared to 41% across Sub-Saharan Africa). While poverty is endemic, several PF leaders have continued to accumulate and display obscene or grotesque wealth in ways that have alienated the governing party from many Zambians.

The third is the country’s staggering debt, which, alongside the Lungu administration’s demonstrated lack of commitment to fixing its debt crisis through better fiscal management, has undermined the government’s capacity to improve service delivery, invest in social sectors, and reduce high unemployment. When the PF won power in September 2011, Zambia’s external debt stood at $1.9 billion. By December 2020, it had risen to $12.74 billion. While the government insists that this money has been invested in building roads and infrastructure, the opposition argues that much of it has been lost to corruption, another central concern of many voters, one which, according to the annual trends reports of the Financial Intelligence Centre, has worsened under Lungu’s watch. The lack of service delivery has been felt most notably in the health sector, where the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have exacerbated the crisis.

The fourth is the violent behaviour of the PF cadres who control the markets and bus stations. Lungu’s reluctance to stop their activities has emboldened their conduct, undermined the authority of the police, and left the public greatly exposed.

The fifth is the lack of policy consistency including in the mining industry, Zambia’s major export earner. In addition to undermining revenue collection, this policy instability has raised significant consternation among foreign investors. Economically, this should be a good period for Zambia, with strong commodity prices, but the government has interfered with mining in a very erratic way, forcing mines to submit to nationalisation.

Added to this is the closing democratic space, the deteriorating state of the human rights situation in the country (for example, read Amnesty International’s latest report on Zambia here), the general breakdown in the rule of law, and the absence of leadership on key issues such as grand corruption in government, the so-called “gassing” incidents in early-2020 (discussed in detail below), the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and deepening ethnic divisions that have characterised the past five years.

Another issue is that Lungu – first elected in the 2015 presidential by-election that followed Michael Sata’s death in office and then re-elected in the disputed 2016 general election – is widely seen as seeking a third term in office. Since the re-introduction of multiparty politics in 1991, no president has been voted in more than twice. Although the Constitutional Court controversially ruled by majority decision this June that Lungu is eligible to stand again, the much-publicised legal challenge to his nomination delegitimised his candidature among much of the public. There is a significant constituency who are unhappy he is standing for a third time and are keen to stop him.

In these 2021 elections, Lungu is also riding on his own record in office. In the last two elections, he campaigned as Sata’s preferred successor, but now the veil has fallen away. Although he has presided over the passage of a new constitution (one he unsuccessfully tried to amend in 2020) and overseen considerable achievements in infrastructure development, his overall record has not endeared him to many Zambians. All variables considered, it is reasonable to say that in a fair election, Lungu cannot win.

Another difficultly facing Lungu is that he is heading into the election with less state support than previously. In 2016, he managed to keep his ministers in office even after the dissolution of parliament. The Constitutional Court declared this move unconstitutional days before the election, but by then his ministers had already mobilised significant government resources for the PF campaign. Deprived of the same advantage this time, Lungu has been left exposed.

Lungu’s last card

With the president facing such odds, there are even rumours that he might seek to postpone the presidential election by enticing one of the 15 other candidates to withdraw from the race. Zambia’s constitution requires the electoral commission to cancel the vote and organise fresh nominations if a candidate pulls out of the running before election day. If he did this, Lungu’s objectives would be four-fold.

The first would be to allow parliamentary elections to take place, while the presidential poll was postponed, in the hope that he would then have the backing of elected MPs in a rescheduled presidential election. The second would be to slow the considerable momentum Hichilema has gathered and stretch his resources with a new election campaign. The third would be to secure a lower voter turnout in a stand-alone election, which might make it easier to manipulate the process. And the final goal would be to separate the presidential election from parliamentary and municipal polls because, according to sources in the intelligence community, Lungu believes this will make it easier to rig. To this end, recent weeks in Zambia have been awash with dodgy opinion polls projecting a Lungu victory in the first round.

If the election proceeds as scheduled, however, Lungu’s campaign will be reliant on the efforts of two female politicians: the retiring Vice-President Inonge Wina, who lacks a clear power base of her own; and the president’s running mate Nkandu Luo, a deeply divisive figure who may lose rather than gain him votes. Lungu chose Luo to join his ticket because he saw her as unambitious and because she is not part of either of the PF’s Bemba-speaking factions led by former health minister Chitalu Chilufya and former minister of finance Bwalya Ng’andu respectively.

Even ethnic mobilisations against Hichilema appear to be hitting a wall in rural constituencies this time. In Luapula and Eastern provinces, several voters who previously identified with the PF have shown a willingness to forego their ethnic attachments and vote for the Tonga-speaking UPND leader. “This time, I am trying Hichilema; let us see what he can do” was a repeated phrase during my recent visits to these areas.

Lungu may still emerge victorious in Eastern, Luapula, Northern and Muchinga provinces, but he is likely to do so with reduced margins, especially in the Bemba-speaking Northern and Muchinga provinces where M’membe is likely to perform well due to his ethnic roots there and effective grassroots campaigns. Most importantly, Lungu is likely to lose in Lusaka and the Copperbelt provinces, despite his attempts to placate public sector workers with populist policies such as ordering the payment of gratuities to mineworkers before Election Day and placing a three-month moratorium, effective August, on debt repayments that civil servants owe to lending institutions. Were this to happen and Hichilema to win in his traditional constituencies of Southern, Northwestern, Western and Central provinces, the incumbent may even lose the election in the first round.

Lungu’s strategies

Seemingly aware of the high likelihood of his defeat – and the threat of subsequent prosecution for possible corruption and criminal misuse of power – Lungu had previously developed strategies to secure re-election. The first was an attempt to amend the constitution that was defeated in parliament. The second was to disqualify Hichilema by arresting him on a trumped-up charge.

Two schemes were hatched towards this goal. One involved linking the opposition leader to the “gassing attacks”, a spate of suspicious incidents in early-2020 in which unknown people were rumoured to have sprayed unidentified chemical substances on unsuspecting residents, leaving them gasping for breath or briefly unconscious. At the time, the PF accused the opposition of being behind the attacks, while the opposition alleged that the ruling party had staged them as a pretext for arresting political opponents ahead of 2021. Whatever actually happened, the outbreak of violence connected to these “attacks” left at least 50 people dead, but the strategy collapsed after the rank and file of the military – according to senior military sources – refused to cooperate with the civilian authorities’ plans to implicate Hichilema. The other scheme was to arrest Hichilema over a private farmland he acquired in 2004, two years before he joined politics and was elected UPND leader. A small, Lungu-friendly party that is opposition in name only filed a complaint against Hichilema, alleging irregularities in the procurement of the land. This strategy also failed after key witnesses, arguing they had been coerced, refused to cooperate with the authorities and went into hiding.

Another strategy Lungu employed was to abolish the 6 million person-strong electoral register and create a new more favourable one in a month. The ruling party feared the existing roll, created over 11 years, had more registered voters in opposition strongholds than the PF’s. Although Lungu achieved this objective in December 2020, when a new dubious register totalling 7 million voters was announced by ECZ, the president is now unconvinced he has the support of most voters even in areas once considered PF strongholds.

According to PF insiders, Lungu has now asked his agents to help manipulate the election using two strategies. The first involves reducing the number of polling agents, both from political parties and civil society, who would be allowed to monitor the voting and counting. Last month, the ECZ announced plans to reduce the number of local observers to five per constituency and one per polling district due to COVID-19. The commission later gave political parties a few days to submit the particulars of their chosen agents and organise for their transportation to provincial capitals so their photographs and name tags could be prepared. Given the short notice, it is unlikely that opposition parties managed to meet this requirement before the deadline. If implemented, these measures are likely to leave several of the over 12,000 polling stations without monitors.

The second strategy involves the deployment of the military onto the streets a few days before the election in areas likely to vote for the opposition. On 1 August, Lungu unleashed soldiers from the Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force and Zambia National Service onto the streets. “I have allowed other wings of the defense force to join the police in maintaining law and order in those points where we have experienced violence,” he said. The military has so far been deployed to nearly all of Zambia’s 10 provinces including those that are not violent hotspots such as Southern, Western and Northwestern provinces. Lungu’s decision followed the death, in unclear circumstances, of two people in Lusaka’s Kanyama township, which the PF has been quick to blame on the UPND. However, sources both in the police and military told me that this deployment was long planned. In fact, on 26 July, Zambia Army Commander Lieutenant General William Sikazwe announced on the state-run ZNBC TV that his officers were “ready to move in and curtail any disturbance of peace and security before, during and after August 12 elections”. “We have plans,” he continued. “For now, it is the police that are in charge. But we are ready! We are on standby.”

A senior police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told me that the suspicious deaths in Lusaka were just a pretext. “The idea was to project the UPND as violent and to justify the deployment of troops,” he said. “The mood in urban centres does not look to be favourable to the PF.”

In deploying the military to police electoral contests, the first time this has happened since Zambia achieved independence in 1964, Lungu seeks to intimidate voters into staying away from the polls, facilitate ballot stuffing and dubious vote tabulation, and supress potential protests, military sources revealed. The Zambia Air Force is particularly crucial because they are the ones who transport ballot boxes to and from polling stations to the totalling centre. The problem for Lungu is that there is no guarantee the military will cooperate in this scheme. While the top brass of the Zambian military is loyal to Lungu, the rank and file is professional and has historically played a neutral rather than partisan political role.

What happens if all this fails and Hichilema wins the election? The PF has already announced that they have assembled a team of lawyers to petition the results. In addition to recognising that they may lose the election, these developments indicate the PF’s confidence in the Constitutional Court’s deference to the interests of the current executive.

In a free and fair election, Lungu cannot win. In an unfair one, it seems he cannot lose.

79 COMMENTS

  1. ALL OR ATLEAST THE MAJORITY WANT CHANGE
    OBVIUOSLY THOSE IN THE PF POCKET WANT TO REMAIN LOYAL
    NOT LONG NOW AND YOU WILL SEE THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE PREVAIL
    FORARD ZAMBIA
    NOT BACKWARDS ZAMBIA UNDER PF

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  2. Good Analysis Sishuwa Sishuwa. If ECL and PF lose Copperbelt and Lusaka then their path to victory is very narrow. Opposition Political Parties and the Voters are now very much alive to Vote Protection Measures. So rigging this Election is going to be difficult. The writing is on the wall.

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  3. And you happen to be a Lozi….of course Lungu in your own tribal thinking cannot win….and why is that all UPND die hards are either Tonga or Lozi…..but PF is genuinely made up of all Zambians….not smoke screen window dressing Bemba names appointments…..Tikki and Spaka you know which tribes you belong to

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  4. Did people really witnessed the wind of change that was in 1991 to compare it to whats happening now? I think they just hear about it. Its unfortunate that an educated person cannot find time to do a research about the 1991 wind of change so that he presents a factual paper to the public because beyond elections, beyond HH and ECL, sir you still need to command the respect of your academic achievements. Don’t present unfactual issues because you like HH. You say ECL can not win a fair election. What is the definition of fair from your dictionary? UPND last week killed PF caders and people like you never said anything. Just go and participate in PVT. If indeed theres wind of change you should win with landslide. Why should the election be tightly contested when theres wind of change ba…

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  5. All these fake Academics have been promised good government positions by their fellow tribesmen….we know the deal…Professors with no shishi in their pockets now they think Politicians can be their saviors…..especially this Professor Chishupu like Kaizar calls him

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  6. All these fake Academics have been promised good government positions by their fellow tribesmen….we know the deal…Professors with no shishi in their pockets now they think Politicians can be their saviors…..especially this Professor Chishupu like Kaizar calls him…..

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  7. Why should you say the elections will be tightly contested with a possibility of a rerun but in the same breath you say theres wind of change. That shows that you know theres no wind of change. Thats why you are talking of ECL not winning a fair election because you want to stir the country into a civil war as you know that HH has spent 5 years in courts instead of strategising how to get votes from Luapula, Northern, Eastern and Muchinga. Anyone who gives an excuse that HH is not allowed to hold rallies then they are saying HH cannot think of alternatives if one way is blocked. Implying that he can not find solutions to the economy if what he planned fail to work. Ba UPND you should have been going door to door explaining your manifesto the past 5 years. Its wasted 5 years.

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  8. @Tikki-Don’t give yourself false hopes. Hh raised huge crowds in Northern province by-elections but lost by a landslide. If you spend time communicating with upnd supporters, they are the loudest and give you the impression that change is in the air. Be careful, just don’t cry when results are announced.

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  9. He continues to uphold his high standard in political commentary. Not a piece that will please the PF but they will be reflecting on it privately.

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  10. Liswaniso,imakando,Sishuwa, Hachiswenya,Hachipuka…wako ni wako….and these are the names that will make up 99% of his cabinet….but thank God Hechi Hechi is not winning…
    just a little excitement with his gullible roadshow supporters and the majority of them just little kids taking his roadshows as entertainment

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  11. Nicely done article; The End is Near for the PF…Enough is Enough….people don’t eat bridges and roads. This was a miss calculation on their part. It will be hard for the PF to rig this election everyone is watching with wide open eyes. People have to feed their families. This is what happens when people go through tough times.

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  12. @Dominion-Thank you! And that’s the question on the ground: “what is upnds plan of action for this country should they get into power because for the past 5 years they haven’t told us??”

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  13. If you were not studying then three weeks before exams you start accusing library staff of being used by the examiner to make you fail, when they ask you to leave because time to close the library has come. You want them to open the library for you on Sundays and holidays if they refuse you permission you say they are being used by the faculty to make me fail exams. The question is how many times has your strategy fail you? You people who follow HH you should be sincere with yourself. What are just two points HH has mentioned to Zambians how he will improve the economy better than PF. Where did he say that and please give us a video link we hear. Just two point or one please. A clear strategy or blue print of economic exapansion.

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  14. It’s a one sided analysis. Hichilema as a person as many disadvantages that would cause him to lose elections. But unfortunately for many UPND supporters, they think that the catalog of misfortunes in the nation will draw voters to Hichilema but that isn’t the reality. As a respectable social scientist don’t shy away from analysing the UPND and its candidate. Further, I don’t see why you have ignored Harry Kalaba because to me he has more followers than Fred Mmembe. As such this isn’t a fair comment but an attempt to prop up your preferred candidate

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  15. Just how can win an election after performing so dismally, all the universally accepted metrics of measuring the vibrancy of a country are in negative, after inheriting a fairly decent economy from MMD, so he should be voted back on what basis, fly over bridge? Over priced roads? Unsustainable debt? Morally the man is not even supposed to be on the ballot paper, in civilized country he could have exited on his own

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  16. Indeed fairness has become a “democratic thing” when it suits you it fair when it makes you uncomfortable it is unfair. But we agree that we all have different choices to make and associate with what we want. The majority then decides what is “right”or what they want. Sometimes greatness is defined by being different or even defiance even when you are “wrong”. So on 12 August the “ majority” will decide who goes to state house. Remember when you lose it is “unfair” but when you win it is “fair”. Also when you win there is no rigging but when you lose votes are “stolen” from you. Democracy is everything but loss.

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  17. You know the problem with thinking. It is driven by perception(visual outcome) and experience(past outcome). But a clear mind looks at data in line with desired outcome. The key word is 50+1 of vote cast. The author hopes or what’s to dismiss other views predicting a ECL win, and replace it with his own. The of senior military, police or shushu sources hope to identify himself with influence and power across state and academic line. Why has it become fashionable to play people for zombies? Psy warfare applied from the position of gossip and paycheck. KZ, give us the real picture on the ground.

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  18. @13-decent economy from MMD my foot! An economy with no industries and employment at 10%?? No hospitals, schools, bridges (K5 talk time in Shang’ombo used to cost K10 because of being isolated until the PF GRZ put a bridge!), power deficit, potholes….

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  19. Its just fair that UPND sends a video across to explain to Zambians how he will boost the economy of Zambia beyond what is happening. How different is his agricultural and mining police from that of PF and how will these sectors earn more forex than what is happening now. What simulations have they done on the Balance Of Payment in the first year in government to show that they are better than PF. You can’t hide your policies now if you have them because no one has time to copy and implement. Show us, it may just be a game changer for UPND. What is their policy on manufacturing? How will they do better than PF? Ba UPND give us ka link for the video where HH has explained these issues or any senior UPND official.

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  20. It’s a good analysis but not a fair comment. As a notable social scientist you should have balanced your article. You haven’t analysed Hichilema and the UPND. Hichilema has many deficiencies that won’t get him support despite the misfortunes in the economy. This is just an attempt to prop up your preferred candidate. What I expected was a comparison of the 2 frontrunners. Further I don’t understand why you have ignored Harry Kalaba whom I think has more followers than Fred Mmembe

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  21. Sishuwa was probably a toddler in the late 80s and early 90s for him to compare to the wind of change that took place not only in Zambia but swept across the global, beginning with the fall of the iron curtain in 1998, to events in today’s Zambia that do not point to a wind of change. The nose-dive in copper prices, the surge in oil prices from the mid 70s onwards, the resultant balance of payments problems and socio-economic ruin it brought leading to shortages of sorts from the maize staple, to bread, soap, fizzy drinks and medicines in hospitals that UNIP presided over cannot be compared to increased production in the maize staple, rice, soya beans, fish and livestock under the PF. The difference we see today is that whereas under UNIP there were food shortages, we cannot talk of food…

  22. … shortages today. People simply do not have enough money to buy available food. Zambians who lived under Kaunda’s rule and are still alive will agree to this. The major economic challenge we face as a country that goes back to the UNIP times is the nature of our mono-cultural economy that is heavily dependent not only on the export of base metals that are vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the international markets but also on the importation of finished products with high landed costs which we have not heard politicians talking about fixing the economy tell us how they will address. The older generation of Zambians are wiser to realise that a mere change of personnel at the level of government does not guarantee a change of the mono-cultural nature of our economy when those that…

  23. … promise to fix the economy do not speak to this. Besides, an increased face book following for the major opposition party, just like an increase in the number of people following it during road shows, does not necessarily translate into more votes for the major opposition party. One would probably need to find out how many of those that express support for the major opposition party on face book or during roadshows indeed are registered voters. Secondly, one also needs to be guaranteed that registered voters expressing support for the major opposition party in different parts of the country would actually turn out to vote. It matters in this particular case to take a closer look at the different generations of voters and their likelihood to vote. Finally, it is important to also bear…

  24. … in mind that no one political party has a monopoly of following from one generation of voters. All parties have younger and older generation voters within their fold. No study has so far been conducted in Zambia to show that one political party has more younger generation or older voters within their fold. During my recent field study that has taken me to different parts of the country, it has not been uncommon to hear younger people say they do not feel there is a wind of change and for them to claim President Lungu and the PF would be very difficult to dislodge from power on account of their more superior campaign messaging and strategies to the opposition parties.

  25. Sishuwa’s title ” In a fair election Lungu cannot win, in an unfair election he cannot lose” is an example of a false dichotomy that does not allow for an in-between position. If indeed Sishuwa has been an avid and critical follower of Zambian politics and has ever done political science literature review that includes the big names of political science like Professors Juan Linz, Larry Diamond and Alfred Stepan, he would realise that Zambia has gone beyond being a Pseudo-democracy. Since returning to multiparty democracy, the ruling party has twice been turned out of power. Late Dr. Kaunda lost power in 1991. So did Mr. Rupiah Banda lose power in 2011. So, we can see that Zambian elections have by an democratic standard been fair. Sishuwa should avoid talking down the democratic gains…

  26. I now understand that if you are partisan, you can go to any length to try to paint your preferred candidate white. But even then, its not good for someone pretending to be highly intelligent like Sishuwa. Your article is based on gossip and innuendoes and you want people to clap for you,surely, who does that? like really or you are paid to write such lies to suit what you want to hear?

  27. What a fake and biased analysis! It’s just a matter of two days and we shall be at the polls, and the reality will be crystal clear for everyone including the stiff necked critics.

  28. Another skewed analysis by Sishuwa Sishuwa.
    He wrongly refers to Central Province as a Hichilema stronghold. It was shared rather than out-rightly won by one of the contesting parties.
    Lungu’s vote in Northern, Muchinga and Luapula will not be tampered by the appearance on the scene of one Fred Mmembe. The headmen, chiefs and the Mwinelubemba are not mentioning Fred. They are busy riding on the issued bicycles and mobilizing voters turnout on behalf of you know who!
    It is folly for Sishuwa to underplay or even overlook the fact that The Copper-belt is predominantly urban with sprawling large mining constituencies such as Wusakile/Nkana, Kantanshi/Kankoyo, Chingola and Chililabombwe. By extension, constituencies such as Chimwemwe (second largest after Matero), Kwacha and Chiwempala…

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  29. @Dominion, don’t waste your time the UPND don’t have a workable plan. They’ve now even hidden their manifesto from the public for fear of negative comment. They’re just a bunch of good for nothing idlers

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  30. Although I admire the depth of the analysis, I tend to shy away from predictions. I elect to wait until after the voting is over. Clearly each side of the two front runners has put in strategies to win or avoid losing, which may mean the same to some but I think require different strategies. My advice to all peace loving Zambians is to exercise caution on the type of statements to make but urge you to go in numbers and vote for a leader best suitable (in your view) to deal with the challenges our beloved country is facing. And doing so as one people under one Zambia one nation. And don’t forget to pray for everyone involved.

  31. Our constitution was written by strange people. The President appoints the Elections Commission of Zambia bosses. The President appoints the members of the Judiciary to which complaints will be addressed. The President appoints all the military and security chiefs. The President appoints the most senior civil servants. All these things in favour of a man who is a candidate in the elections! What were the writers of the constitution smoking? They have practically legalised corruption. This is lawfare of the worst kind. If all these appointees were to repay the President for his favour, no opposition leader stands a chance!

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  32. Continued from @25
    …are likely to side with their neighbours! These were on the brink until the presidential decree to nudge out Vedanta from KCM and buy off Glencore out of Mopani to avert placing the facility on Care and maintenance. Miners have even been partially paid their accrued terminal benefits. The last expose of HH under dealings with Vedanta to fund the UPND in exchange for the return of the mine and his vehement criticism of GRZ involvement in Mopani buyout has alienated HH to mine workers. The two major mine workers’ unions (MUZ & NUMAW) have openly come out to pledge support for Lungu.
    Rewind to 1991, there was no fragmented opposition to UNIP and KK! The wind of change was visible, most opposition united with a unit of purpose never experienced before. Had the frog…

  33. I believe Harry Kalaba will poll 3rd in these elections. That said, the real challenge for HH is whether he meets the 50%+1 threshold. I do not see any scenario where Lungu and PF obtain more votes than HH and UPND.

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  34. Shishu, you are indeed a UPND strategist rather than a free thinker. You’re churning out stuff that will please your employer. Tell Hakainde that he cannot win more than the three and half provinces he won in 2016. Lungu may win the rest but with reduced margins.

    Don’t jump on the Trump bandwagon. Trump lost in a fair US election.

  35. Majority of Zambians made up their minds a long time ago to vote PF. All these write-ups are meaningless.

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  36. Sishuwa Sishuwa, IT NICE TO KNOW THAT YOU KNOW THAT YOU HAVE LOST THE ELECTIONS EVEN BEFORE THE VOTING 12/08/2021.
    IT IS PERFECTLY NICE TO KNOW THAT YOU THAT THE OPPOSITION HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO SALE TO THE ZAMBIAN ELECTORATE.

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  37. In the last HH has said no word about Zambia’s future. The only thing he has been doing is just lifting his hand and all dull creatures have been saying is bally. i can more than 100% say that zambia will be divided if by chance hh wins. The nature of him or them is that they are segregative. you people will be the first to cry.

  38. Education without a creative mind is a very dangerous cocktail. Especially if the education that a person has acquired does not produce fruits and fulfilments. Sichuwa is a voice of a very angry and frustrated soul.

    +++ Zambia must not wait for a single politician to bring change and manna. We are the people, individually that Zambia is waiting for to change the nation by creating wealth and jobs considering how rich the nation is with natural resources +++

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  39. Sichuwa finds it extremely hard that a single person can vote for Lungu. Why is that? Because that comes from a hateful heart.


    All the past 5/6 elections that HH has lost, claims have been made by UPND Campaigners and Bloggers that Zambia wants to change and the time has come for HH. Yet HH has been beaten by Mwanawasa, Banda, Sata and Lungu. Could it be, maybe Zambia have wanted change but they don’t see it in HH. I mean beaten 5 times and twice by the same person

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  40. Surely how can Sishuwa fail to comment on how much HH has invested in this election? On PVT alone Hichilema has staked USD5.0M as reported by credible foreign media! This is what we can term as brain-drain par excellent! Sishuwa is trying to mislead us that he receives briefs from Heads of Defense and Security Wings! What a cheap way to try and gain credibility. If Sunday Chanda or indeed Mourinho Mwanza did such an article he’ll be dismissed as a cadre, but what can one make of Sishuwa?


  41. The problem with Sishuwa is that when he sees 5,000 people standing and cheering while HH is giving a speech, Sichuwa makes conclusions that those that are cheering or turning up for HH represent every single Zambian. He takes a false snapshot and convinces his analytical mind to be the truth. In other words, only Sichuwa knows what every Zambia wants.


  42. Brethren Dr Sichuwa !!

    Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, waiting for HH to give you a job. Use your educations and creative mind to become enterprising and create Wealth & Jobs. A person who is as educated as you do not need to kiss a politician backside. You just rise with your God given wings and fly like an eagle.

    You are Angry, Frustrated and Raged, which is killing your creative & imaginative mind. You are fearful to fly your God give wings and would rather wait for HH to pull from the mud. One does not need to know you personally, but your words speak volumes and reflect what goes in your heart and mind. Common you can do better than this.

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  43. Education without a creative mind is a very dangerous cocktail. Especially if the education that a person has acquired does not produce fruits and fulfilments. Sichuwa is a voice of a very angry and frustrated soul.


    +++ Zambia must not wait for a single politician to bring change and manna. We are the people, individually that Zambia is waiting for to change the nation by creating wealth and jobs considering how rich the nation is with natural resources +++

  44. @39 independent observer
    You’re 100% correct….instead using his education to make a better life for himself…he prefers to be a Cadre of which the majority of them Cadres are illiterate…..Education can’t make you smart sometimes…thats why Michael Sata used to say Educated people are cowards and Lazy….they just want to brandishine their PHDs and get paid….now they think HH is their savior….I know he has promised them some diplomatic positions

  45. The writer has never been impartial because he sounds like an opposition but labels himself a scholar accustomed to lengthy, verbose articles
    Remember he once said: if PF wins these elections, there will be violence afterwards. Today’s title and script carry the same connotation from the same doomsayer.

  46. No mine was forced to nationalise, as Sishuwa states.
    Glencoe at Mopani wanted government to go on knees. The miner blackmail grz by choosing unilaterally to put the mine on care and mtce. When challenged, the Glencoe failed to justify the closure. Thinking govt may not buy back the mine, investors SOLD the Mufulira and Nkana units to grz.
    Is this nationalisation sure?

  47. Analysis based on tribal won’t change anaything.I can tell Shushuwa that UPND can’t win Lusaka.I know there are a lot of tongas but other tribes are more compared to tribal party.Your analysis is shallow.Do u know that people in lusaka don’t know UPND MPs in Lusaka and copperbelt.This party is just bitter bcoz they know that thier last tribe leader chance to rule is slim and will be retired for good.Zambians have refused tribal politics by UPND.UPND can’t offer any solution apart fromsaying barry will fix it

  48. @51 Mulongoti Machayi
    Yes he is trying to incite violence and I thought education makes people wise…but this one he has turned himself into a Cadre

  49. The article is hollow. The problem with UPND and its vuvuzelas is that they create a hostile political environment and expect a level playing field and free and fair elections. The nature of life is such that you reap what you sow and don’t expect ECL to reward you with good you have not invested.

  50. @37 Continued
    …Had the frog that Kaunda used to resoundingly beat in previous elections opted to stand in 1991 under the MMD ticket, it would also have won hands down! Prior to multipart-ism, the situation was dire! We had money but couldn’t buy essentials as they were simply not available. UTH and the few hospitals available were referred to “departure lounges”. They were few, they had to cater for patients reporting in with a sneeze to those with terminal ailments. Traveling to any part of the country was a nightmare. Roads were so deplorable the traveller had to spend hours on end on the road. And that is for those lucky few to have bribed the vigilantes for a seat on the bus!
    I hasten to agree with the good doctor on two pertinent issues, though – The general breakdown in the…

  51. Anonymous@ 50
    Nice one and its clear this chap is just an Educated Cadre

    Independent Observer @ 48
    You have properly analysed this Dr Fimo Fimo. He needs help to fix his head.

  52. mukokose ba ss…..you wont see what hits you…face book elections different from on the ground…another thesis writer for hire… its on the 12th then we shall see after failing to check his eligibility…..you have now resorted to this…shame

  53. @23 Ayatollah, you are blaming Sishuwa Sishuwa for not analyzing Hichilema and the UPND. You said Hichilema has many deficiencies that won’t get him support despite the misfortunes in the economy. Sishuwa Sishuwa has told us the way he sees the political fight between Lungu and Hichilema. You can also write yours, tell us the many deficiencies that won’t get Hichilema support. People will analyze your write up and pass their comments. Naturally some people will support you and others won’t.

  54. It seems these elections have been won even before a single vote has been cast. This goes to show how these two leaders are so desperate to outdo each other. Each one of them is claiming victory and busy looking for excuses. Zambian’s need to vote for their lives. We need a functional government therefore a clear winner is needed. Feel free to usher in a new ones if the heat becomes too much with these two parties.

  55. @62 Future Zed
    Good observation…both HH and Edward Lungu are desperate….they will be some skirmishes and both need calm down….and HH has promised alot of people jobs and contracts and Lungu’s people still want to continue eating…tense moments…thank God I’ve never banked my hopes on any Politician…I hustle every day…Uber driving etc….as long as I depend on myself

  56. True popularity is seen and evident on the wards and local constituencies Its not about Transporting Cadres at night in Buses from Intercity and cross country pumping up popularity As it is PF wins by 65% AGAINST the rest with UPND settling for a 38% The socialist party yes has enjoyed some favor chiefly because of the campaign strategy and younger candidates its has fielded in BUT just like any other socialist Ideologies the socialist party can not marshal sufficient numbers and later rule Zambia Socialism is a dead concept and has failed to work on countries like North Korea as can be seen in failure of allocation of national resources by Bureau 39 people and…

  57. The PF sent cadre has needlessly been attacking diplomats, and today the American diplomat responded. Because these PF people are people who can not been advised, to be advised that you cannot been campaigning whilst stopping others, as true as this is, they don’t want to be told. Careful once Americans(world super powers) start talking, pay attention….

  58. He has sensed unavoidable menacing defeat.

    Kikikikikikijukija Hehehehehehe nkunkunkunkyu kwekwekwekwe

    This kakelenka ka shishua can make you laugh.

    hihihihihihihihihi hohohohohoho!

    Yaaabaaa!

    Seeming learned but incredibly s+up1d and du.ll. this sushuwa.
    Udzamudziba yesu.

  59. Just face it shishuwa’s there is no match for PF. Not now.
    6th time political brutalization of one u5 is like “kolwe angala pamusambo anasha”.
    3 times walloping of u5 hikainde hachilema sounds so sweet in my cheeks.
    Let him try 2026 limbi.

  60. I repeat. The mines were not forced to privatise. GRZ negotiated with investors for a buyout. Glencoe willingly sold the mine to government at the market price.
    KCM mismanaged Nampundwe, Nchanga and SmelterCo. USD12m was recently paid to some Mopani workers and all of KCM employees as terminal benefits. All the these are some positive strides of this open secret on mines.

  61. Elections are also won on leadership and past performance record not painting the country’s democracy and institutions Black in international media like Aljazeera African confidential and others You don’t set up others and copy pictures to international media and institutions to paint your country black to win sympathy votes deliberately The sending of the military police is purely to instill Public order and beef up the Police its exercises of electro duties A Party of National character with leadership can still compete and emerge if trury its worthy it In this case UPND is losing and cannot win under the current leadership It has to change HH and rebrand to rename…

  62. rename its party as United Parties for National Development not this current party led by HH its not taking them anywhere in Zambia Politics Post 12th August 2021

    See yoou friday as you recount the losses

  63. The Zambian diplomats who are in the country, flown at great expense to the tax-payer have become trolls, You can tell who is who by the writing style.

  64. Ubututu limo bulwele.

    This small unza chap is so demented and delusional. So sick that his brain suffers from hemorrhage of hate.
    I wonder what ECL has done to this boy’s minute and microscopic ego.
    Anyways we will teach him an electoral lesson.
    Sick puppy.

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  65. No wonder upnd keep losing elections. How can a learned person compare 1991 to 2021. Chiluba beat kaunda by about 80 percent. If he surely sees HH beating ECL by that margin, then he needs to have his head checked.
    An educated person cannot sink to such lows, motivated by hatred and promise of a job. Even in grade 12, we were taught to compare and contrast. And Mr. Sishuwa, Iam afraid your article is not befitting of your status. If upnd is so popular country wide, how come their Mps are only concentrated in a few regions while PF is represented much more widely?
    You write as if you are talking to small children who don’t know anything and you can’t even get your facts right. You are blinded , vindictive, and hateful and if that is the character of upnd, then Zambia does not need you…

  66. The problem I am having with UPND supporters is that they all think everyone wants change, which to me is not true. Take for instance in Lusaka, a few middle/upper-class are advocating for change, while the lower class who are the majority wants to remain with PF. And please, this year’s elections can’t be compared to the change of 2011. 2011 was a revolutionary election from the country-wide mood to turn-out, and finally celebrations. I see a lot of UPND cadress celebrating as if they have already won. That premature confidence/celebration will make the UPND not to concede defeat!
    I am not voting myself because all the top-running candidates are the same. PF is full of cadres, unlawlessness, corruption etc, but UPND is the same like PF.

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