Thursday, May 30, 2024

Love him or loathe him……..HH is a strategist, a genius!


By Prince Bill M. Kaping’a Political/Social Analyst

Love him or loathe him, this villager from Bweengwa who grew up herding cattle, one Hakainde Hichilema, the current President of the Republic of Zambia, is a strategist……..nay a genius!

Following the demise of Anderson Kambela Mazoka, the founding leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND) in 2006, a scintillating battle for the top slot would ensue albeit threatening to tear down the party. A hitherto little-known name in political circles but then a very successful businessman and cattle rancher would step out of the shadows to square it off with the acting party president Sakwiba Sikota alongside another prominent entrepreneur James Ndambo. Readers would still remember Ndambo for capturing the imagination of the public with his record-breaking philanthropy exploits in the nation, recently.

Speaking in an interview with Amos Malupenga, Managing Editor of the then influential The Post Newspaper prior to the intra-party elections, Hakainde declared, “The request came from all over – the party members and people from all walks of life, the business community and my fellow village people. By the way, I do a lot of community work. Over the last fifteen years, we have done schools, clinics, deep tanks and we assist a lot in the areas where we have farms. I pay school fees for children numbering fifty who are not mine.”

HH would subsequently fend off competition and claim sweet victory. However, this would not sit well with some senior party stalwarts and would result in the exodus of the likes of Bob Sichinga, Patrick Chisanga, Henry Mtonga and of course, the vanquished Sakwiba Sikota. That same year, HH would go on to challenge the ruling party-sponsored candidate Levy Mwanawasa and end up eating humble pie.

Just when many political pundits started preparing obituaries for UPND and HH; in a matter of time, he would demonstrate that he was a tough nut to crack! For the next 15 years, he would thus commence navigating the rough terrain of Zambian politics by dodging bullets and teargas, stomaching smear campaigns and slander, escaping from violent cadres though rickety roofs, and constantly enduring detentions, of course the harshest being solitary confinement for a prolonged period of time at the notorious Mukobeko Maximum Prison for the laughable charge of treason over a traffic offense! Under ordinary circumstances, many would have easily crumbled like a cookie and thrown in the towel, and yet HH remained resolute, even when he had to dig deep into his pockets and bankroll the party he loves, almost single-handedly.

How many politicians would have had the stamina to withstand the torture, calumny and bearing the financial responsibility of keeping a party intact for so many donkey years?

In the past, we have witnessed a plethora of individuals – the rich, decorated army generals, top class lawyers, fiery clergymen, successful farmers and even intellectuals attempting to form their own political parties. We shall cite a few examples:

Some of the country’s affluent individuals such as Enock Kavindele, Ben Mwila and Humphrey Mulemba once flirted with the idea of running their own parties. After failing to wrestle UNIP from the grips of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda at the Mulungushi Rock of Authority in 1991, Kavindele left in frustration to form his own United Democratic Party. It would put up a lackluster performance in the elections that followed, only managing to scoop a few council seats, particularly in North western province where he hails from. Before long, he would abandon his own party to join the promising MMD where ended up being rewarded with a senior portfolio as vice presidency.

And as the cracks began to appear in MMD barely after 2 years in office due to allegations of corruption, a group of MPs led by Humphrey Mulemba would resign from the party in protest and form the National Party. The new party would retain the 5 of the by-elections forced by their resignations from the MMD. Unfortunately, National Party would suffer a natural death after the death of Mulemba in 1998.

Meanwhile, as the drama continued to unravel in MMD, in the early 2000s, Ben Mwila who was said to be President Chiluba’s uncle would ditch the party after his colleagues criticized him for considering a presidential run. He would form the Zambia Republican Party and go on to put up one of the most expensive campaigns, trudging every corner of the nation, holding rallies and distributing party regalia.

After his resignation from MMD in 1993, respected lawyer, Dr. Roger Chongwe would come up with the Liberal Progress Front. Alas, this was a stillborn baby that would never see the light of the day! The same applies to Sakwiba Sikota’s pet project, the United Liberal Party which was only best known for churning out articles in The Post newspaper and hosting press briefings at the plush hotels in Lusaka. As for the Dr. Ludwig Sondashi-led Forum for Democratic Alternative which he formed in 2014, there’s nothing much to write home about. He would best be remembered for promising to roll-out his Sondashi 2000 formula for free once elected as president as if every potential voter was HIV positive!

Never to be left out, intellectual giants such as Bo Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika would equally craft his own Agenda for Zambia along with his beloved sister Princess Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika. The party would end up claiming 2 parliamentary seats in Western Province in the 1996 elections. Another intellectual, Dr. Gwendoline Konie would follow suit in 2000 and quickly relocate back home from abroad to come and contest the elections under the banner of her brainchild, the Social Democratic Party.

Seemingly taking advantage of the respect that citizens have for farmers for the nshima they supply to our homes, commercial farmers Ben Kapita and Guy Scot saw an opportunity to try the Lima Party in 1996. However, it failed to attract the much anticipated support from the public.

Some of the country’s admired army generals such as Christon Tembo and Godfrey Miyanda equally tried their luck raiding our political landscape with their own political parties – Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) and Heritage Party, respectively.

Perhaps taking advantage of Zambia as a Christian nation, in 1998, popular Televangelist Pastor Nevers Mumba would give birth to the National Citizens Coalition (NCC). If he thought the gullible public would immediately greet him with ‘ichimwela,’ he was a very disappointed individual. NCC even failed to produce a single MP!

Where are all these political parties today? They are either dead or only exist on paper.


  1. James Ndambo never contested the UPND leadership elections in 2006. There were only 3 candidates, HH, Sakwiba and a Baldwin Nchite. Take note that Bob Sichinga left UPND before Mazoka died. I hope the author can correct these two statements. Thank you

  2. Going by what the nation has seen so far, it is public opinion that UPND was not bank rolled by a single individual. By extending tax holidays to mining companies most of which are foreign owned, one would think or conclude that the UPND was bank rolled by these mining giants. And now is pay back time, through these tax holidays.

    This is not genius, if it is true and it is worse than the corruption UPND is perceived to be fighting,

    • Perhaps in the beginning HH used his own money, but not for the last few elections.
      He is an astute businessman and certainly aware that politics is not an investment.
      All the big parties owe someone something.
      However HH survived that long in an environment extremely hostile to opposition, it remains genius.

    • There is no way the established mining companies that are enjoying tax holidays would sponsor UPND…….

      It’s was PF they were bankrolling…..

      Nobody would bet on HH winning with the iron fist lungu ruled with, certainly not the mining companies , who not dare get into lungus bad book……..

    • Iron fist? Lungu? Just like HH, Lungu was a Kawayawaya He had no guts to fire underperforming and corrupt colleagues like Dr Chilufya. Seeing that he couldnt achieve anything in governance he therefore started focussing on amassing wealth. Just check his bank account now and you will see wealth incongruent with a President’s emoluments.

  3. “…remembered for promising to roll-out his Sondashi 2000 formula for free once elected as president as if every potential voter was HIV positive!” LOL.
    Prison makes a hero of anyone, whether they deserve the title or not. This is something to consider as Tayali continues to be arrested.
    Good write up, takes us old timers back to 1991 when parties were mushrooming everywhere.

  4. Maybe HH is indeed a genius. But let’s face it, in ELEVEN MONTHS IN POWER he has achieved very little. Food prices are still sky high, fuel has only gone up and the police roadblocks are back and demanding higher bribes than ever before. Not impressed

    • Common , ………..

      From the damage left by PF , even Jesus would not be able to provide free bread and fish for the people………..

    • Genius is what most of our generation call any rich man. Donald Trump was described similarly although we all saw how foolish he was when he was in office. We should reserve words like genius for actual genuises.. Geniuses who can take electricity to the entire Zambia. Geniuses who can empower the Zambian with skills to run all of the country’s businesses. Geniuses who can do what Japan has done after being victims of a war.

  5. It does appear that the writer of this article was so young then that he/she relied heavily on oral information from those who were bent on twisting the facts about the real political fracas that took place in the UPND following the demise of underdone Mazoka.
    “However, this would not sit well with some senior party stalwarts and would result in the exodus of the likes of Bob Sichinga, Patrick Chisanga, Henry Mtonga and of course, the vanquished Sakwiba Sikota.”

  6. Indeed opposition parties in Zambia being sole proprietary in nature perform dismally, also mostly because parties these days do not mobilise the grass roots, most parties just believe in vain political commentaries or digital connection through radio, TV and social media. People in compounds want to connect with the aspiring people on the ground, covid or no covid, they want to shake somebodys hand. But the current opposition parties are all ‘dead on arrival’, neither promising and telescopically you can tell they don’t even have the competence to be in government, ALL OF THEM

  7. If being a puppet of the Oppenheimer family is being genius then I agree with you. If attempting and losing elections 5 times in a role is ingenuity, then I agree with you.

    • #6.1, It doesn’t matter whether he’s ruling or not. A good leader isn’t one that’s loved or hated but he’s one that makes correct decisions. I’m not emotionally connected to Mr. Hichilema, so I don’t have a reason to love or hate him. I’ll agree or disagree with him not because I love or hate him but based on the decisions that he makes. I peacefully lead my life irrespective of who occupies that office. I survived under Welensky, Kaunda, Chiluba, Mwanawasa, Banda, Sata and Lungu. So what’s the deal?

    • Holy Mackerel ba Ayatollah nimwe bamudala! Welensky? Most here dont even know him.Why dont you bring your wealth of knowledge to the political scene where UPND or PF or Sean Tembo could utilise you to the full?

  8. Some opposition party members like Kambwili have already started praising UPND government for the teacher recruitment, whilst I also praise UPND, the real narrative must be that over 70,000 teachers remain unemployed in Zambia. As opposition parties if this narrative is not peddled, the party in power will be thinking they have completed the job on teacher recruitment, the problem with opposition in Zambia is that they are neither strategic nor tactical, no clue at all. The real narrative is that over 70,000 teachers in Zambia remain unemployed. The commendable starting point of employing the 30,000 teachers does not change the narrative that over 70,000 teachers in Zambia remain unemployed – FACT

    • 70,000 of wasted labour. Doesnt government realise we are wasting money training people who wont get jobs? Lets get the 70,000 to work please. Anyone who can come up with a plan to employ these will be a genius

  9. Prison makes a hero of anyone, whether they deserve the title or not….. persecution frequently covered by public social media can be one’s strong ladder step upwards

  10. A fellow ignorant upnd cadre praising another one. Talk about kissing someone’s backside. Hh has not achieved anything tangible following all his promises. He wants to claim he has created 30k jobs and yet at the same time more have lost sources of income after he got rid of money booths just for show during AU summit. Remember those are the youth who gave him the vote. 2026 he is out.kaleza watch what happens

  11. We are looking at 2024/25 for ……………

    Zambians to reap the sweet fruits of hard work, sacrifice, sound economic polices all guided by the rule of law……………

    By the end of 2025, these dimwit opposition who seem more concerned with flags and awards will …………

    all scatter and take cover…..

    As sure as the sun raises everyday…….

    • The opposition has no message. Already Socialist party is now copying UPND manifesto to offer free education , which they had never dreamed it would happen . HH has just raised the bar of leadership and voters will find it difficult when he leaves office in 2031.

  12. 1. HH is neither a political strategist nor a political genius. The two things that HH got to the finish line are (1) Commitment & (2) Consistency .

    Every election failure was a learning curve which made him stronger, wiser and he lied more to Zambians. It’s been a long winding road for HH. The *determination & *discipline to stay put in the political arena gave him the rewards in the end. When HH lost elections he turned up again, over and over till he got to the finish line. Without *Commitment you can never start. Without *Consistency you can never finish. This is what separates people who become successful and those who don’t, in life.


      I disagree with you on part………

      I think HH is a darn good strategist , genius is a long shot………..

      Don’t forget HH literally bankrupted lungu and PF in ideas and campaign funds trying to keep him down………

      Here is a man who navigated UPND against the the whole GRZ marcinary and niebouring countries who were al too svared to be seen associating with him……..

      Very few parties would survive the fury and onslaught lungu and PF unleashed against UPND if they were not lead by a pure strategist………..

    • Spaka 13.1

      How does neighbouring nations come into this. It’s the voters of a nation that make a president. You never count on support of leaders from neighbouring nations. You cannot accomplish your dreams and fulfilment in life with such mindset. If I have a dream to build the first electric car to be made in Africa – I just need 5% chance. I don’t need approval from friends, family or associates. I just need my belief, commitment and consistency. And *circumstances, *people, *events and *situations will come on the way. There is a reason why in today’s business world, *Corporate Strategist are abandoned job roles because we live in a fast paced and agile world.

  13. 2. Starting school in grade one, to end up with a university degree requires *commitment and *consistency. Starting a company in the garage of your father as a university drop out in the case of Bill Gates and turning it into a global-game-changer called *Microsoft Corporations, requires *commitment and *consistency.

    The best way to predict your future is to create it. 80% of success happens because you turn up. If want to win a sports game or an Olympic Medal, the first thing to do is to turn up and increase your chances. That’s why every season in the football & tennis world you have underdogs beating giant teams or sports personalities.

  14. Those that are saying the UPND only survived because of external support, what of the FDD.. I used to hear that there was a European country that was funding political parties headed by women. I think the country was Sweden if I’m not mistaken

  15. 3. In essence there is a lesson that every Zambian can learn from Hakainde Hichilema. Same with the hot-air Michael Sata. Both HH and SATA had consistency & commitment which is a always a driving force to success. In case of Sata beating a savvy, established, and educated RB.

    Let’s not forget they both lied to the Zambian electorates. (SATA) * I will fix the economy in 90 days. *More money in your pockets. (HH) *Bally will Fix It. *Bally will create Youth Jobs. Today HH has no plan and clueless for the youth.

    • I can guarantee HH will come right on youth jobs…….

      It is just a matter of time that his economic policies payoff ,…..

      It’s been only 11 months to fix the PF damage…….

  16. Nothing genius about him. It was the corruption of the previous regime that finally gave him a chance. Otherwise he would have been waiting for the next elections, again.

    • And more correct the corruption during Chiluba’s time that gave him the chance to make money from privatisation

  17. Spaka uli Chisushi sana, how do you equate Jesus to what is going on in the nation right now? Please keep Jesus out of this nonsense!! You have forced me to use the word that is not appropriate, sorry.

  18. The cost of fuel is global,so don’t blame this on his excellency.Let’s learn to count our blessings for having HH as our president. Can you imagine having those pangs boys under this global recession?? A sembe ni disaster.

  19. Clever nations should be flexible. They could waive the levies and taxes when the price is too high. Just for three months they could sell us fuel without those extra charges. Why should govt be so greedy with its suffering citizens

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