Sunday, April 14, 2024

2021 was about Edgar Chagwa Lungu vs Anger and Hunger


By Chimwemwe Mwanza

Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives. And choice not chance, determines your destiny, once wrote Greek philosopher Aristotle.

In hindsight, Aristotle’s writing aptly surmises the choice faced by a coalition of unemployed, angry, and hungry Zambian youths determined to chart the course of their destiny – post the 2021 Presidential elections. By a landslide vote, they were emphatic in their choice; and they reminded albeit tacitly that the just ended elections were never about ECL vs HH but that ECL and A&H (Anger &Hunger) were on the ballot.

Against the backdrop of a reckless borrowing spree that burdened the national fiscus which in turn gave rise to massive unemployment, run-away inflation, and a soaring cost of living among other factors, the PF’s various infrastructure developments such as construction of hospitals, new tertiary institutions new road networks and energy expansion projects failed dismally to rekindle its dwindling fortunes.

It was this coalition of the walking wounded that conspired to dispatch the PF from power and this they executed with much aplomb – whichever way one looks at this, a difference of 1 million in the total vote tally is a jaw dropping feat for an opposition party. Add to this, a tame protestation by the outgoing Presidency of a rigged election, it becomes all too surreal. For some PF and UPND faithful, this shock has yet to sink in.

Why 2021 is critical for ECL and HH

Make no mistake, this synopsis is hardly an attempt to downplay the resilience and patience of Hakainde Hichilema – Zambia’s own political ‘Albert Einstein’. He has been nothing but tenacious. For more than 16 years, he continued to provide critical checks and balances from the opposition trenches. That his former Vice Presidents GBM and Canicious Banda and more recently party faithful Charles Kakoma among others, deserted him just when his ascent to the Presidency was almost in sight is the measure of his character.

For this businessman cum politician, his political trajectory has finally come full circle. HH is now a politician and in politics, there is no such thing as humility. Lest we not forget that politicians can be pretentious as well as good liars. However hard he has tried to conceal his relief; this victory is sweet and one that he will savour for years to come – for a possible loss could have easily consigned him to a scrap heap of political history.

Is this the beginning of the end of PF?

History is unforgiving to losers – as precedence has shown and the future is often crueler to the vanquished. If the fate of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) and that of the United National Independent Party (UNIP) were a proxy, then it is fair to suggest that the PF is on a slow march into political oblivion.

Aside from the fact that both these two parties contested in the just ended elections, MMD exists in name only while UNIP is nothing but a mere empty shell of a liberation movement sculptured in struggle credentials.

As a political cult birthed in grievance politics, PF has always lacked an ideological identity – hence the lumpen mantra ‘More money in your pockets’ – whatever that means. In fact, PF was Micheal Sata and Micheal Sata was PF. Thus, it may well be correct to suggest that Sata’s death only served to send the party into a downward spiral and Lungu has now become the captain that sunk the ship to ground.

Zambia’s politics of cult personality

If there are any lessons to the UPND from the PF’s impending gradual but assuring demise is that populism rules. Yet with that comes responsibility. If abused that responsibility can lead to both economic and political destruction. That Zambia became the first nation to default on its foreign debt in the Covid – era is telling of populist but destructive economic decisions.

In the absence of a structured succession plan, the PF will likely tear itself to pieces and the true greens will now begin to emerge from their shadows – you hope not to scavenge on a carcass. Stripped of levers of power and by extention political and economic patronage, Edgar Lungu is now at his weakest point.

As the glue that held the party, he will likely take time off to lick his wounds and therefore might have no role in efforts to rebuild his party. PF now looks like an emperor robbed off its loins, and those that were previously cast into the political wilderness must surely be readying for a comeback; not to rebuild but to put a sword into a mortally wounded party.

The author is an avid scholar of political history and philosophy. He has since stopped eating game meat and become a vegetarian. The only thing he supports is Kabwe Warriors and Liverpool. For feedback, contact him on [email protected]


  1. Excellently put. But more so arrogance. PF behaved like spoiled children, created a lawless country and copied UNIP mulilo, waikatako wapya”! Took Zambian’s for a fool and there they are! Time to dance to their tune.

  2. This wasn’t only about hunger/anger in 2021 , it was about 7yrs of decline and despair.For 7yrs Lungu steered the ship into rough waters .

  3. Greatly written article…l love your observation that PF lacked any ideological identity after Sata died.

    Sata’s death led to the congregation of vultures,headed by Lungu,with no political vision as he personally admitted…Their only common denominator was theor appetite to loot the national treasury & sow tribal hate in the country.

  4. Lungu is an unsavoury character, a crook and a theif with zero integrity.

    His leadership skills are that of a ruthless pirate who relied on bribing whole communities…..

    Unfortunately lungu did not have enough money to bribe all bembas and the rest of the country………that was his downfall.

    PF are indeed doomed. They are too used of freehandouts……by the time all their well wishers and senior figures are investigated for corruption and looting, there will be no one left.

  5. We told Lungu to not appoint those riff-raffs, Any normal person that chooses to have Kaizer Zulu as an adviser is headed for a disaster.

  6. I fear for the upnd. I feel the expectation is too high. Why are international observers so happy??? While they sing of the high debt the forget to tell us how many hospitals, roads, etc this money has put in our country for our benefit for generations to come. So what are these investors expecting??

  7. You are still talking about ECL instead of asking hh how he will achieve all those promises they made hahaha

  8. It’s not just that PF borrowed excessively for, albeit, much needed infrastructure development, it’s that they stole so much of it and had no direction beyond building. What’s the purpose of a new road, hospital or school if you can’t afford the fuel, medicines or text books needed for them to be useful?

  9. I enjoyed reading this. The problem for PF is that is Lungu continues active politics, he will not get his perks. If he steps down, the people who can take over are brutish and they will eat each other to the death. CK and GBM can play dirty, now imagine them against each other and against the likes of Malanji and Mundubile. Mama Edith is finished. The last time I heard from her she was seeking asylum at Robben Island. It is PF which is going to be retired after THE PEOPLE arrest all the people who will not sonta where they stole.

  10. Whoever thought that Mulungushi circus of raise your hand for Lungu would take this long to go away? That old woman who bussed people to Mulungushi to raise their hands instead of choosing the successor as per Constitution is to blame. She started it all and there was no one educated enough to object or get a following. Unfortunately she is no longer in a position to suffer the consequences. Good luck Nkandu Luo and all those who jumped ship at the last minute but lost their parliamentary seats. Zambians taught them a lesson. If you have no principles you will always be a looser. How can you admire ‘Ubomba mwibala…’ from the highest level? Zambia got a timely save!

  11. The new Zambians are mostly a throw back. The analysis is extremely simple. So, you will get rid of UPND after 2026 for another model? Look at your buildings, they just become decrepit, pulled down a nd replaced by new ones.Heard of estate maintenance and repair?

  12. Pf is gone like the previous governments. Let’s support our president elect for the promises he made. Schools are opening and we are waiting for free education he promised from grade one to university,employment for youths,cheap fertilizer ,cheap mealie meal and many more to mention. Let me start working and see how things will be implemented

  13. Kamb.wili inadvertently ashered in the UPND. NDC played a major role in offsetting CB, NP, Muchinga and Central. In 2011, Panji presented to us the People’s Pact. Some things come as a disguised blessing.
    People saw Socialism in PF and were happy to go hungry alongside, but anger was born when leaders abandoned the people to fend for themselves.

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