Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Race to the PF Presidency – it’s an uphill climb for Lubinda


By Chimwemwe Mwanza

Attack is the best of form of defence. It’s a tactic that the late PF founding leader Micheal Sata often adopted when his back was against the wall, and it seemed to work. Thanks in part to his brand of populist politics, he was at his best when on the offensive.

After serving the MMD from its inception, he was overlooked for the Presidency prompting him to turn against the late Frederick Chiluba – once his closest political ally. It is worth recalling that it’s Sata that selfishly championed Chiluba’s ill-fated but divisive third – term bid yet king cobra deftly managed to extricate himself from a tarnished MMD to establish the PF.

It appears that PF Presidential aspirant Given Lubinda has borrowed this strategy cut and paste from Sata’s political playbook – albeit with a few tweaks. Granted his party has a ten-year record in office to defend after being tossed out of power, Lubinda has been hard at work battling to deflect the damning findings of a post electoral autopsy of the PF’s governance record. Struggling for relevance in a vastly transformed but new political landscape, he has been on the offensive attacking a two-month-old government for failing to deliver on its promises.

But here is why this strategy is struggling for traction. An electoral defeat like the one recently handed to the PF signifies rejection and by implication Lubinda as part of the PF collective is intrinsically linked to failed leadership. For some in the PF and the electorate at large, their anger is still simmering that Edgar Lungu’s candidature including the rest of the top leadership brass cost them both power and the gravy train.

As the newly appointed Vice President of Zambia’s biggest opposition party, He is almost a shoe in to taking over the reins from the incumbent – who has already made his intentions known that he won’t be seeking re-election at the party’s forthcoming convention. By virtue of proximity and association, it would be fair to suggest that the two leaders are now co-joined and are viewed by the PF grassroot as political Siamese twins – for lack of a better description.

Hence this attack, deceive and deflect strategy. At least he has a plan. As the adage goes, an idiot with a plan can beat a genius without a plan. Who can forget? In 2011, the PF taking advantage of disgruntled Zambians fed up with economic malfeasance under the MMD, pulled a stunning con on the electorate with promises of more money in people’s pockets. For the attack, deceive and deflect plan to work, all that Lubinda has to do is to consistently keep the spotlight on the UPND – this as a ruse to avoiding scrutiny and interrogation for his role in the PF’s poor record of governance.
He is all too aware of the impracticality of the UPND successfully adopting its election promises in under two months in government. However, he is hoping that by repeating and beating the UPND manifesto drum so hard, the noises regarding free education and cheap fertilizer among several of the UPND’s utopian promises will find resonance with struggling families, the youth and possibly the PF faithful.

Race for the PF Presidency – Read Kambwili’s Lips

A career politician with nothing to show for in terms of development for his two-decades as a member of parliament for Kabwata, Lubinda lacks leadership skills, the charisma and oratory cadence critical to galvanising his party’s dejected base – which is still battling to digest the shock August 12 defeat. While the top PF structure has settled for the former Justice Minister as its preferred leader, they know too well that he is not sellable.

In the eyes of true greens, he is not only a liability but has no support base outside the PF’s central committee. And for a party that largely considers the Mpika, Chinsali and Kasama clique as the true greens, Za yellow’s ethnic background counts for nothing – in fact this diminishes his chances.

Never mind the fact that Lungu an easterner is PF President and try as we may to discount the significance of ethnicity in the PF, one can rightly argue that the former ruling party traces its genealogy to Mpika. In fact, where it not for Alexander Chikwanda’s shrewd backroom role in dispatching Wynter Kabimba from the party, Lungu’s ascent to the PF throne could have hit a snag. But with Chikwanda as the kingmaker and helped largely by the bemba clique, Lungu bagged the PF Presidency.

This begs another question, does this clique have any motivation to supporting a Lubinda Presidency? First and foremost, the PF is unlikely to ever bounce back in power at least not in its current state so why would anyone invest their effort, time, and money in supporting a lifeless trojan horse in Lubinda? Put differently, other than financial, is there perhaps another incentive to investing in a party that will serve in opposition trenches for the next five years? Off course there is – this is certainly the view of the PF die hard.

One can forgive them for betting on a resurrection because miracles do happen in politics too. If you dare argue, look east beyond Chipata. After more than two decades out of power, Kamuzu Banda’s Malawi Congress Party (MCP) recently resurrected from its grave with MCP Tonse Alliance leader, Lazarus Chakwera – just like his biblical namesake stunning Peter Mutharika to ascend to the Malawian Presidency.
However, Zambia’s political contour is rugged and any thought that the PF could bounce back to power seems far-fetched. Here is a good reason to back this argument. After losing power, all of Zambia’s former governing political parties including UNIP and the MMD have ended up at a crematorium and it seems that the PF is now on life support awaiting similar fate. Where does this leave Lubinda then?
Those rooting for his candidature are united in the view that he is more pliant to preserving Lungu’s legacy in the PF than other candidates. And this is a big deal in a party that doesn’t require its leader to advance his own vision but that of its founding leader, Sata. Whichever way one looks at this, Lubinda is in a pickle. But first, he has the small matter of the convention to worry about before he can even start thinking about 2026. Crucially, he lacks a critical support base to take on a formidable opponent such as Chishimba Kambwili which is why he is using his countrywide roadshow as a ruse to sell his candidacy.

And don’t be fooled by claims of Kambwili’s unpopularity in the PF central committee, this race will ultimately come down to grassroot support which by and large is a bug bear for Za yellow. In fact, Lubinda is intensely disliked by the grassroot to the extent that his own former constituency officials once organised a mob to lynch him for poor service delivery in Kabwata – his former constituency. If a leader can’t manage a constituency, imagine a party like the PF or a country as complex as Zambia for that matter?

Whatever the PF’s choice, the party can ill-afford to self-destruct after its convention. For once, it should guard against the temptation to rig its convention in favour of a pre-determined outcome because Zambia can’t afford to give the UPND a blank cheque in the form of a weak opposition – not in this era where the ruling party is within striking distance of attaining a two-thirds parliamentary majority.

To be candid, a genuine renewal of the former ruling party will require a complete overhaul of the top leadership structure – if possible, the dissolution of the entire central committee and pack it with new blood. It’s time to look for a youthful and charismatic leader that is not linked to the party’s disastrous ten – year reign in government.
Does Lubinda fit this profile?

About the Author: He is halfway through an interesting best seller titled winning and written by the late Jack Welch – the former CEO of General Motors. He is recommending this book to Miles Sampa who by the way is next in line in the race to the PF Presidency series. For feedback contact: [email protected]


  1. Lubinda is a “foreigner” so he can’t run for presidency and 2ndly the dislodged ruling parties in Zambia never resurrect .PF is neutered and being lowered into political death.

  2. I strongly hope that GL will get the presidency of PF. It will absolutely GUARANTEE that PF will not get anywhere in the 2026 elections!

  3. Given Lubinda can’t lead PF in its current form because he is part and parcel of the Bill 10 which cost the PF. Its better to get rid of the entire central committee and bring in new blood so that we have a vibrant opposition to grow our democracy. My worry is we need a strong opposition to provide checks and balances to UPND before we drive this country into a ONE PARTY STATE.

  4. JUST A COMMENT: MMD went and could not come back to fight the then ruling PF because there was nothing they did which they would have based their come back fight on apart from the disatasterous PRIVATISATION they had introduced . People begun walloping in poverty etc etc. Here comes the PF, yes despite all the issues that been highlighted so far, Caderism, thefts, etc etc , they have laid a benchmark for the current govt to try and beat. Look at all the infrastructure! PF has a chair to seat on in the future when talking to the nation to compare what they had done to what the current govt will do. So saying UNIP and the MMD have ended up at a crematorium and PF is certain to go the the same way is a bit misplaced. It will be wrong timing even for the UPND to think they are already…

  5. You will need a New Rebrand of a candidate well accepted Allrounder candidate in the Country who will learn from the loss and why the losses and build the party to compete and win the 2026 which is Possible Like fillya pa bangweulu ifya white white


    Politics is about money…. who from the bemba clan is willing to put their stolen money on GL knowing they might be no return? Just wait and see, GL is runnning around because he still has some ngwees in his pocket…. soon when that finishes he needs mosny to manage a party. You thin Kambwili and co will put thei money on GL? FORGET

    Zambians forget every easily… even the infrasracture you talking about will be irrelevant in 2026.

  7. No matter who leads PF , their inevitable ticked to irrelevance is simply strict economic governance guided by the rule of law by the UPND GRZ…………

    That alone will sentence PF to irrelevance…….

    However , the PF still have dates with bailiffs for use of GRZ resources in campaigns for lungu ……….

    And most of their MPs have got future appointments with the police and courts for corruption, violence and even murder…..

  8. @SleepyJoe, UNIP has more to boast about in terms of what they left behind than PF…but where are they? I do not see how you can talk about the PF leaving out the in your face corruption, arrogance, cadreism etc. Not with the current generation that went through their misrule.

  9. This is where i don’t get it with PF Zealots! The PF lost an Election despite the so called infrastructure development to a party that has never built a single toilet. What then will they base their come back on? the same infrastructure hogwash? Please…….

  10. Agitate several aggregates together for a long time, they eventually conglomerate and become fewer distinct entities. Zambia’s democracy is young. The numerous political parties will soon start merging and sooner or later we will have 3 or 4 parties. the egomaniacs will have to give up or compromise. Where is General Godfrey Miyanda, Elias Chipimo, Edith Nawakwi, Fred Mutesa, Saviour Chishimba etc? Gone!

  11. PF Rest In Peace forever. Who will like the behavior of kampyongo who turned police in PF cadres. Lusambo kaponya testing power. Lungu the brutal president Zambia had produced.

  12. John Welch was CEO of General Electric (GE) not General Motors I don’t know why the author of this long article is misleading the public.

  13. Jigga Kayama Simangulungwa (formerly Corruption scandals: 48 Houses Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans Honeybee) Jigga Kayama Simangulungwa (formerly Corruption scandals: 48 Houses Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans Honeybee)

    So this author is unashamedly saying the PF is mow the new “Only a Tonga can rule UPND”… in this case “Only a Bemba or Easterner can rule PF”.
    What a shameful thing to say without even challenging that notion after tribe was thrown into the gutter in the just ended elections?
    PF would did their own grave if they will base Lungu’s successor on tribal bigotry. Given Lubinda right now is the only remnant of sense still left in the PF; at least someone who is hands; neck and head are not publicly soiled in deep corruption scandals. To compare Kambwili cr00k with Lubinda is being disingenuous, apart from the fact Kambwili can speak Bemba fluently… that man can’t be voted into office even by his own wife, let alone run a successful party.
    And Miles Sampa, n£gro…

  14. Jigga Kayama Simangulungwa (formerly Corruption scandals: 48 Houses Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans Honeybee) Jigga Kayama Simangulungwa (formerly Corruption scandals: 48 Houses Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans Honeybee)

    …And Miles Sampa, n£gro please!
    Campaigning for Kambwili and Sampa against Lubinda won’t do the corrupt PF any favours. Right now only Lubinda can have the nerve to distance himself from corrupt Lungu and his same Bemba click of Alexander Chikwanda; GBM and Kambwili. Get real mate or shnt up and sit down!

  15. A great, highly talented Zambian song writer and vocalist of “yester- year” Emmanuel Mulemena, an artist who seemed head and shoulders above his peers then,  sang a song – one among the various he sang entitled “Kuwalule,” an apparent famous [and Royal- I think] grave yard.
    Some of the words in the song went:

    “Kumwalule kwalala mama, Kumwalule, Kumwalule.
    Kumwalule tababwela mama Kumwalule, Kumwaluke, Kumwalule.”

    When the ruling political party loses power in Zambia, they are buried in ” Kumwalule.”

  16. Who wants the thieves to come back after 5yrs to steal more, bring the cadres in the bus stop and markets? PF should not be allowed back in govt because now we see some sanity in the country and bringing them back would be the worst mistake. Hope other parties can just reorganize themselves and challenge the UPND.


  18. Vultures fighting over the carcass known as PF. The only reason they want the seat is to use it as a stepping stone for better things in future just like nakachinda used MMD carcass as a stepping stone to get a foothold into PF hierarchy.

  19. Given Lubinda is just confrontational towards HH instead of telling us his rebranding vision of the PF. Can you imagine this visionless party commissioning a postmortem for the PF election loss when reasons for the loss are extremely visible and do not require any waste of time on time wasting postmortems. We need people with the right temperament for leadership like madam Sylvia Chalikosa, and not Given Lubinda and please not Kambwili – there is absolutely no leadership in the man despite overrating himself, terrible

  20. Lubinda, Nakachinda and Kambwili should come no where near PF leadership contest. If that happens we are going to UPND, We want Sylvia Chalikosa for PF Presidency

  21. Lusaka times keeps moderating already moderated comments, not sure for what. Comments which are polite and non inflammatory, gaging peoples opinions is not good, let people state their preferences

  22. Kambwili should be re expelled from the PF, he will cost us more. Honestly, there is no leadership in the man.LT Don’t moderate this, he has a right to respond on this same blogg

  23. Just as there is a citizens arrest of somebody, we are exploring ways of a PF citizens expulsion of Lubinda, Nakachinda and Kambwili

  24. @9 responding to #4. Zambia has over 18million people now. Only 2.8 million cast their vote for UPND and 1.8 miilion for PF so to say Zambians rejected the PF is big headed for me. Well for me I love HH for what he is saying he will do for this great nation but I will not be so closed up if these promises do not come to be. Zambia is not owned by PF or UPND but by all Zambia. The majority of Zambians did not decide, only the minority that went to cast their vote whether you like it or not, 14.8 million never made their choice and come 2026, their vote will count. OTHERWISE YOU ARE ON POINT.
    @ 8, No wonder people of various debates have started to ignore your very dangerous tribal mind. Do you see why people in this country has said certain wrong things before, because of simple minds…

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