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Alba Iulia
Sunday, January 29, 2023

The 2026 General Elections won’t be easy for the ruling UPND or opposition PF-Zumani

HeadlinesThe 2026 General Elections won’t be easy for the ruling UPND or...

Former President Edgar Lungu’s political advisor Chris Zumani Zimba has warned that the 2026 General Elections won’t be easy for the ruling UPND or opposition PF.

Dr. Zimba, a political scientist, said UPND and PF must be cautious that what is coming ahead of them in 2026 is not a political battle but the actual Russia-Ukraine war as its best.

He said both PF and UPND must not miss certain emerging new political players like the Socialist Party in their 2026 strategy and schemes arguing that such forces are more than useful now than later if they understand mass mobilization and grassroots politics.

Dr. Zimba further identified some strengths and opportunities for PF against the UPND.

“Everything is happening so fast and HH is in a hurry to institutionalize his power base and ensure minimal political competition for 2026. He understands the political game, he has the workable strategy and has ruthlessly shown incumbency potency. In like manner, the former ruling PF is not giving up yet but drilling sure political holes for the New Dawn government everywhere despite bleeding both financially, materially and politically. Below, l summarize a SWOT analysis of PF in the face of the ruling UPND government. Some identified strength and opportunities for PF this far could be as follows: They have countrywide membership and structures that have remained somehow ‘united’ with very minimal defections to Socialist party and UPND; They have the second largest force of MPs in parliament, most council chairpersons and councilors countrywide; the real lead opposition party in Zambia;Many people still compare the UPND government performance to the PF government in terms of delivery against the UPND’s own multiple campaign promises;UPND has shown many cracks of frustrations, divisions and discouragement for failure to ‘equitably share’ the spoils of war amongst its members and cadres;PF has the full experience of being in the opposition for 10 years as well as running government for a decade too. If they harness this strength well, they could retain political potency more than UPND thinks;

Many PF leaders and cadres are still hopeful that they can bounce back into power in 2026 or 2031 with the practicality of having 8 party presidential candidates willfully paying K200,000 each to succeed ECL,” Dr. Zimba observed.

He said UPND has made PF more ‘united’ and forceful by denouncing, harassing and rejecting them as a wholesome team and thereby blocking mass defections which is usually the case if and when a party lose power.

“This is good as it raises both political morale and faith among their members; UPND has made PF more ‘united’ and forceful by denouncing, harassing and rejecting them as a wholesome team and thereby blocking mass defections which is usually the case if and when a party lose power. Thus, PF enjoys imposed and forced ‘collective unity’ due to UPND hostile face; The regional and global economic dynamics, geopolitical factors such Russia-Ukraine war may favour PF if prolonged as fuel, grains and fertilizer may become more expense plus the ‘poison’ of climate change especially if UPND fails to deliver on the economic front as promised in 2021;The Zambian economy too is still sick and not giving immediate positive signs for full recovery while the health sector as well as agriculture sector seem to be running on life support machines; Despite HH maintaining his firm position on containing cadres, UPND is speedily showing the deep wounds and cracks of political violence, cadre thuggery and the brutality of harassing and disrespecting citizens, civil servants and voters just like PF did and was rejected; and HH is now Republican President which makes it impossible for him to make rhetoric promises as he is supposed to just perform and deliver. Thus, PF is now popular on social media than UPND with many ‘Allie’s’ while HH now attracts more scrutiny and public criticism as voters expects results, not stories,” Dr. Zimba said.

Dr. Zimba also commented on some weaknesses, challenges and threats against PF bouncing back into power in 2026 or 2031.

“PF still wants to exist and compete as Northern/Bemba party 20 years after its birth when political dynamics have completely changed. They needed to present themselves as a ‘national political movement’ focusing on Copperbelt and Lusaka while their rural regions are defended in campaign battles. Copperbelt and Lusaka have the largest numbers and made HH victorious in 2021 without debate. But PF still prioritize ‘their rural Northern regions’ even as they debate ECL’s successor. PF strongholds of Luapula, Northern, Muchinga and Eastern are porous, fragile and unreliable; they consistently show fluidity and non ethnic voting when compared to UPND strongholds that are ethnically biased, closed and rigid. Both RB and ECL were not fully supported by Eastern voters in 2011 and 2021. Last year, ECL narrowly won Eastern province by 51% with HH getting 49%; and HH beat ECL in Northern Province by 51% against 49%. Along the three Zambezi provinces of UPND, HH got his lion’s share of 89% in total while ECL only got 11% in 2021; PF strongholds are being invaded and over powered by UPND while they have been blocked from making political life in the three Zambezi regions. While UPND cadres can now go to Petauke, Mwense, Mpika, Mansa, Chama or Chadiza to freely mobilize, campaign and win an election there, PF cadres cannot now freely camp, mobilize and win any election in Pemba, Sesheke, Lukulu, Chavuma, Mazabuka or Mwinilunga. It’s practically impossible,” he stated.

Dr. Zimba added that UPND was gaining strength in PF strongholds.

“Many PF folks are blindly demanding and rushing to a convention to choose ECL’s successor with a 20 years old mind set of looking for a Bemba president instead of looking for a right and suitable leader. At this stage, PF is supposed to be looking for someone who is angry and with a national appeal, huge brains and amazing resources like HH himself, Alick Dangote, Elon Musk or Moses Katumbi because HH is not a child’s play at the path is moving for 2026; From the death of Sata to date, PF has survived with too many centres of power; more internally divided and fractured on ethnic and regional basis. Although ECL was their leader for 7 years, they consistently challenged and undermined him with ethnic reasons and political egos both internally and externally but he graciously tried to unite them this far; The PF leadership succession has too many people vying for power which may birth splinter or new parties after the famous convention and weaken them further. This convention is a huge threat to the survival of PF, it’s build or break especially that HH is more interested to know his next main rival;PF still wants to use their party constitution to the latter like a Bible. It’s too dangerous and risky now especially that UPND has tripled its political mighty and schemes. Central Committee was supposed to take control of the game than their supreme document and do the needful at every stage; UPND is penetrating and rooting itself in former PF strongholds while PF is being closed up in UPND strongholds; In 2026, PF will be confined to campaign only in 6/7 provinces as UPND will physically close their stronghold in the Zambezi provinces; UPND has mastered and perfected their art of political crushing of rivals over years. It started as ‘Mapatizya Formula’, it was used generously last in their strongholds with a signature of Jackson Kungo’s murder and in 2022, it delivered Kwacha, Kabushi and the recent local government bye elections,” Dr. Zimba said.

“HH and the UPND government have tamed many local activists and pocketed Western donors to themselves. Don’t expect Americans, EU, British governments to fight or condemn him on anything soon or later because he is their preferred president. This makes PF and the entire opposition weaker and vulnerable to political abuse and defilement.HH has time to govern and with public resources on his table; the gods may touch and bless him to deliver on many of his campaign promises by 2026. If and when this happens, the political hopes of PF to sing “Alebwelelapo” will be turned into political nightmares and crushed; So far, UPND has shown unity of command where only HH is the lead political figure to command and rule everyone in the party. While HH enjoys this maximum loyalty and allegiance, PF has always had too many bigwigs, more than 10 Bonanzas and Bulldozers all challenging and vying for power without regards for anyone; HH has made a huge difference with real fiscal decentralization by loading millions of money into local communities. i.e K26 million annually per constituency; he is employing in masses and improving his free education policy,” he said.

“If these programs work out and benefit majority masses among others countrywide, PF may need more prayers and fasting for 2026; and As long as they can use it prudently and improve the economy as well as empower the lives of many Zambians, the IMF loan will remain a huge strength of HH regardless of what PF and UPND critics say. Until the IMF loan conditions start making many citizens angry, cry, mourn and fume, it will remain HH’s strength for now than a weakness. Our mechanics rarely use old spare parts when they are repairing our cars; but that does not mean old spare parts are useless. Sometimes, they use some of them. Such a summary SWOT analysis may not be too factual, but it is good to help our brothers and sisters in PF and UPND to understand that 2026 is not going to simple for both sides. What is coming ahead of them in 2026 for both sides is not a political battle but the actual Russia-Ukraine war as its best. In addition, both PF and UPND must not miss certain emerging new political players like the Socialist party in their 2026 strategy and schemes. Such forces are more than useful now than later if they understand mass mobilization and grassroots politics. Anyway, we leave politics to politicians but submit our views and opinions,” Dr. Zimba concluded.

19 COMMENTS

  1. The only chance PF have is if an economic
    catastrophe happens in zambia, with ……….

    total paralysis of systems of governance, unable to continue investigations into their plunder………..

    As things stand. ………..

    PF own too much stolen money. They were too dependant on GRZ resources.

    When ZRA finishes with PF, they will be nothing left………..

    4
    1
  2. The UPND has never had an easy election. Even last year even though they won, their campaign used to be curtailed by PF

  3. Zamani is a lost man who doesn’t know which side to pick. Even a blind old man would tell you that upnd stand zero chance of retaining power after their diabolical performance thus far. You cannot promise heaven on earth and then give people rubbish. Yes tongas will vote for hh regardless but tongas don’t decide who runs this country. Chamana.

    Getrude phiri
    Leeds

    6
    8
    • We as Zambians we refuse to be tribal the reason PF lost terribly, your tribe or language is not important it’s just means of communication, you are such a useless person to sink so low on tribal lines, I am so ashamed to be reading such stupid comments from a bum like u, so disgusting to say the least

  4. This article would have made sense if it was done towards 20226, say around 2025/2026. As it is it’s too early to take this write up/analysis seriously. The political terrain is dynamic and fluid and what we are seeing now will be totally different in the next coming years.

    9
    1
  5. PF is not a political party.It is a criminal organization.It will be crashed not because of political contestation,but because it is a lawless,corrupt,tribal,thuggery and bereft of diplomatic manners.It is motivated by destructive populism to retain power for purposes of plunder

    11
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    • No Kaizar Zulu. MuZambia is not dreaming. PF is a criminal organisation, and most of you people will be in jail by next you. You may remain free for a while because you are hiding in the UK, but sooner or later, you have to return to Zambia. At that time, you will be charged, arrested, tried and imprisoned at Chimbokaila or Mwembeshi

  6. PF is out of the equation. A new Party will come on board to challenge UPND after 10 years. PF is criminal gang. By the end of the day majority will be in jail. I do not give them a chance.

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  7. Let me remind all the pf members who are busy boasting about the tulebwelepo campaign.
    The world at the moment is going through a rough time economically. Look what happened in Sri Lanka, Lebanon, and even Great Britain. Economies all over the world are in distress. Now tell me, who can prophecy what will happen in 4 years? Will the war in Ukraine continue? Will the price of crude oil remain above $80/barrel?
    The pf convention has not yet been held and I can foresee a splinter group coming out of pf.
    Instead of yapping, convince the Zambians why you want to come back. what is it you did not complete, then remember to disclose all the atrocities that were done during your reign.

  8. I don’t trust these political scientists, there was even one who used to be called to the let the people talk program and he told the host on radio that come 2021, call me back here, PF will be back in power. After elections and the brutal drubbing of PF, the guy has never been heard again, he was even boasting that he was called in Europe to help some countries. Where is that chap please. No sooner has he disappeared than another one appears now making same personal predictions out of touch with reality

  9. “PF strongholds of Luapula, Northern, Muchinga and Eastern are porous, fragile and unreliable; they consistently show fluidity and non ethnic voting when compared to UPND strongholds that are ethnically biased, closed and rigid”- THIS SUMS IT UP AND IS THE REAL REASON ZAMBIA HAS BEEN HELD TOGETHER AS ONE ZAMBIA,ONE NATION!! THE FREE,OBJECTIVE THINKING OF PEOPLE OF LUAPULA,NORTHERN,MUCHINGA and EASTERN PROVINCES WHO VOTE NOT ON THE BASIS OF ETHNICITY BUT ACCORDING TO WHAT HAS BEEN PROMISED TO THEM!! PF had these strongholds and the Urban areas, immediately PF lost some ground in these rural strongholds and gave way to UPND big time in urban areas, that was the end!!BY THE WAY, THE ETHNIC GROUPS FROM THESE AREAS ARE ALSO THE MAJORITY THAT IS WHY BEMBA AND NYANJA ARE DOMINANT LANGUAGES IN…

    1
    1
    • PF are liars and hypocrites. What has kept them in power is not their strongholds, but the criminal manipulation and rigging of elections. After we realised that Chiluba had hoodwinked us in 1991; and he was nothing but a corrupt and incompetent tribalist, we voted for Mazoka in 2001. Mazoka won, but the presidency was given to MMD’s Levi Mwanawassa, Thereafter, they poisoned Mazoka. Levi won cleanly in 2006. In 2011, Michael Sata won by lying to the Lozi telling them that he would restore the Barotse Agreement. Thankfully Michael Sata died shortly thereafter. In 2015 HH won but was swindled by PF; In 2016, HH won again but was swindled PF. In 2021, UPND cleared out PF. So after Chiluba UPND won 4 of the next 6 elections.

  10. Next election will be a walk in the park for UPND if PF is the major opposition- which is seemingly the case.

    Zambians treat former ruling parties like the core of a maize cob, a newspaper or tissue – discard it forever after using it.

    Mention 1 party that has bounced back after losing – Zero! Zambians vote for you, give you a second opportunity of a second term and if you mess up- out

  11. To think that among those vying to be president of PF is someone who unequivocally said PF was a den of thieves. He said going rejoining PF would be like a dog going back to its vomit. He, then does exactly that! He goes back to PF!
    So this is the calibre of leaders in PF who think Zambians can vote for them instead of HH – are you kidding me???!!

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