Monday, June 17, 2024

Why HH might not manage to win the 2026 polls

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By Chrispa Mulenga

With just 1,200 days to go before the 2026 general elections in Zambia, there are some who believe that the incumbent President, Hakainde Hichilema, will easily retain his position due to a weak and disorganized opposition. However, a closer look suggests that winning the election will be far from straightforward for Hichilema.

One key factor is the Lusaka/Copperbelt region, which has historically played a decisive role in determining the outcome of presidential elections. The ruling party has become extremely unpopular in these areas due to economic hardships, and Hichilema’s UPND party lacks a clear strategy to reverse this trend. If the party fails to gain significant support in these regions, they may struggle to achieve the necessary 50% plus 1 vote to win outright.

Another obstacle is Hichilema’s lack of natural popularity among Zambians. Unlike some previous presidents who were elected based on their perceived affability and charm, Hichilema’s intelligence, wealth, and good looks have not endeared him to the electorate. His victory in the previous election was largely due to sympathy votes and the absence of any better alternative. This vulnerability could work against him in the next election, as voters may not be as forgiving.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the immediate past ruling party, the PF, remains a formidable presence and is capable of disrupting Hichilema’s plans. If they emerge from their convention in good shape, they could pose a serious challenge to Hichilema’s re-election bid.

While there are undoubtedly other factors at play, these two issues – the importance of the Lusaka/Copperbelt region and Hichilema’s lack of natural popularity – are likely to be key challenges for the UPND party in the run-up to the 2026 elections. Winning 50% plus 1 of the vote will be crucial, and without significant support in the Lusaka/Copperbelt region, Hichilema’s path to victory may be far from assured.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Ba mulenga just sit down 2026 is very far to start talking about election, but Im very comfortable to tell you that HH is winning without any doubt.we can not vote for Edgar lungu who is busy hiding money forget with your useless article.lusaka times you are PF supporters I don’t care wether you will delete this comment.

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  2. What does Chrispa Mulenga mean by ‘natural popularity’? Unfortunately he has not bothered to define the term. However, what’s clear is that political popularity or unpopularity are not permanent as the PF found out in the 2021 elections. There’s no doubt that HH is alive to that. The CDF is really making a visible impact wherever there’s an MP who wants their people to reap benefits from carefully targeted government spending. Naturally PF types are either blind to this, do not like it or will want to frustrate it.

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  3. There is no way HH could be a 1 term president…………..

    The state he found zambia, to where we are now will guarantee two terms………

    More importantly, he has won the student vote with free education and meal allowances.

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  4. Austerity measurers are often misunderstood in African nations and they affect the popularity of a President

  5. There are just about 13,000 student voters at UNZA at almost all of them don’t vote from that polling center as the institution is usually closed during elections. There are over 1.1M frustrated beneficiaries of FISP, they make a larger constituency than the illusive student vote. HH should quickly address the challenges in the delivery of FISP otherwise he’ll be shocked. And while his Party is more worried about the PF, the Socialist Party is making inroads and might get a substantial share of the 2026 vote to cause a runoff. We might have our very first 2nd ballot and since there are no precedents it’s difficult to tell how it’ll go but what’s certain is the suspense it’ll cause

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    • Those 13k UNZA students have extended families……..multiply that by 2
      There are more than 300k families benefiting from free primary and secondary education…….with extended families, multiply that by 3

      Add on to that retirees who have been paid out and their families……..

      Nipatali……….

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    • @Spaka, that’s how politicians are misled. Students don’t head households, they’re dependants. The crop marketing season has just started. Let’s meet here again around August to weigh the impact on Zambian life between meal allowances and a mismanaged FISP. It’ll soon be seen how Mtolo Phiri has messed up

    • Too too early indeed.

      And that’s because Crispa Mulenga’s 1,200 days to go before elections is actually 3 years and 2 months.

  6. What a tilted analysis, OK ba Mulenga I think is a coolade reseacher, he pointed out all the bad things that will make UPND and HH a 1 term presidency while on the other hand he deliberately decides not to give analysis with concreate reasons while another party will win and better the zambian people.

  7. Those disagreeing with the author are the ones out of touch with reality. Just take a trip into any of the townships in Buchi, Chamboli, Ng’ombe, Mandevu, Chifubu, Masala, Kamuchanga, Kankoyo, etc. and attempt to sing praises of HH and the New Dawn, and see if you will come out of there unscathed. Most of the bloggers here are well-to-do wine and whisky drinking urban middle class types bakumayadi who don’t seem to know how the other half lives! Shock and disaster may await you in 2026!

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  8. Those disagreeing with the author are the ones out of touch with reality. Just take a trip into any of the townships in Buchi, Chamboli, Ng’ombe, Mandevu, Chifubu, Masala, Kamuchanga, Kankoyo, etc. and attempt to sing praises of HH and the New Dawn, and see if you will come out of there unscathed. Most of the bloggers here are well-to-do wine and whisky drinking urban middle class types bakumayadi who don’t seem to know how the other half lives! Shock and disaster may await you in 2026!

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  9. Amongst everyone who is commenting here I have the best record when it comes to accurate predictions, hate me or like me these are just facts.

    I predicted 2011 Sata , 2014, 2017 ECL and before 2021 I said HH would win, all predictions made with total accuracy.

    My prediction for 2022 is HH is winning again….Zambians are not a difficult people…but when looking at Zambians you must realize there are two demographics, the rural and urban dwellers.

  10. Ctn…
    For the urban give them fair prices on fuel and food items( mealie meal and cooking oil), jobs (more so in the mines, and manufacturing sector), a stable currency (by way of Forex earned) and for the rural populace subsidized fertilizer, better FRA floor price for soya and maize. The CDF strategy I feel is not working well, there is too much bureaucracy and micro management to allow fast disbursement of funds, my advice is those funds would better be used at district level for development projects specifically genuine road repairs of which the whole country will feel the benefit and impact. The state of our roads is a national disaster, CDF funds would better be used on road repair alone.

  11. Ctn…

    These are very simple items to work on and I don’t see how HH can fail given the time he has left.

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