Saturday, June 15, 2024

About Crossing the Rubicon: A case of HAkainde Vs Lungu


By Sean Tembo – PeP President

1. Ever since l decided to aspire for the Presidency of the Republic of Zambia, there are certain values and beliefs which l embraced, and which will define what kind of a President l am going to be, should the Zambia people be gracious enough to make me one at some point in future. One of these values, which l must admit is somewhat unpopular, is that l do not believe its a good idea to prosecute former Heads of State.

2. You see, when you look at Zambia as a nation, our democracy credentials are outstanding, in as far as they are measured by our ability to peacefully kick out one ruling party and replace with another. But what do we have to show for our outstanding democratic credentials? Nothing !!! The standards of living of our people have systematically deteriorated from the time of independence to date. It’s like whenever we change Government, we jump from the frying pan to the fire itself. Inarguably, UNIP was better than MMD, and MMD was better than PF, and PF was better than UPND.

3. There are many possible explanations why democracy has not borne the desired fruits in our case here in Zambia. But my considered view is that the primary reason is the nature of our politics which are premised on enemty and vengeance against one another. When a political party loses power and a new President is sworn into office, the focus is not to correct the mistakes of the previous administration and build on their successes, no. To the contrary, the focus of the new President has always been to completely erase the legacy of the previous administration, destroy the former ruling party so that it has zero chances of ever ascending to the leadership of the country again, and for good measure; lock up the former Republican President.

4. This cycle of events have been repeating itself since 1991. Every living former President of Zambia has been locked up by their successor. KK was locked up by Chiluba. Banda was locked up by Sata. And now we are seeing Hakainde harassing Lungu. It appears that the only sure way for a former President of Zambia not to be locked up by their successor is to die in office. Similarly, instead of Chiluba building on KK’s vision of industrializing Zambia by establishing a factory in every district, he instead got rid of almost all state enterprises through privatization, both those which were making profits as well as those which were making losses, with the end result that any young Zambian who finishes school in any corner of Zambia has to come to Lusaka to look for employment opportunities.

5. Fast forward to this day, instead of President Hakainde Hichilema completing the various infrastructure projects which the PF administration partially started and invested taxpayers’ money in, he is letting them rot and go to waste. Ostensibly because he is afraid that if he completes these partially constructed schools, hospitals, universities, roads etcetera, it might help cement people’s views that the PF had a solid infrastructure agenda. It’s always about politics and never about the people we are supposed to serve.

6. The above is why Zambia is today a beacon of democracy but with no corresponding economic prosperity to show for it. We are our own worst enemy. We hate one another with a passion, simply because of political affiliations. And the funny part is that our respective political parties are not even that ideologically opposed. In fact, apart from UNIP, Zambia’s other ruling parties have never had any ideology to speak home about. And yet, when we look at a person from a different political party, we don’t see a fellow Zambian who has a a slightly different approach to how we can develop our country, instead we see an enemy who must be destroyed at all costs.

7. If we as a nation are going to achieve economic development for ourselves, we need to change the way we do our politics. We need to reduce if not outrightly eliminate the toxicity in our political dispensation. When a new person ascends to the office of President of the Republic of Zambia like Mr. Hichilema did, the focus should cease to be the complete annihilation of the former ruling party and locking up of the former President. Instead, the focus should be about correcting the mistakes of the former ruling party and building on their successes.

8. No matter how bad a former ruling party might have been, there are certain things that they did well. Instead of destroying or erasing everything, let us learn to be humble enough to acknowledge the successes of our predecessors and build on them. The Presidency should never be about you the individual or your personal ego and insecurities. It should always be about the people your serve and what is best for them. Constantly reminding yourself that what is best for the people may not be what is best for your personal ego, but the people must prevail. Always.

9. President Hakainde Hichilema has an opportunity to break the current cycle where democracy has failed to pay the expected dividends to the people of Zambia. He has the means to reduce the political temperature in the country. Within a few days, we saw the attempted assassination of Mr. Chilufya Tayali at his house as well as the harassment of Former President Edgar Lungu, also at his house. I call it harassment because you cannot treat a former President like a common criminal while he still has his immunity in place. President Hakainde Hichilema himself will one day become a Former President, so the question he must constantly ask himself is how would he like to be treated in his retirement?

10. The President must be wary not to set lifelong precedents on the basis of short-term emotions that he might have from time to time. Additionally, President Hakainde Hichilema should not premise his dealings with Former President Edgar Lungu on the basis of how the later dealt with him while in office. Can you imagine how much of South Africa would be left today if upon rising to the Presidency, Nelson Mandela premised his dealings with the Boers on how the Boers dealt with him while in opposition? It is very much on record that while in opposition, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema was relentlessly harassed by the PF administration. But does that entitle President Hakainde Hichilema to now harass the PF at the expense of national building and development? The answer is a definite no!!! National building and politicking rarely go hand in hand. So far the President has been doing a lot of politicking since ascending to office. That is too much. If the only thing we talk about as a nation is politics, then at what point are we going to begin to conceive and implement ideas that will uplift the social-economic wellbeing of our people? How long should our people suffer while we the political leaders are preoccupied with settling petty political scores against one another? The 19 million of us are probably all related to one another, so why should we be expending so much energy to destroy one another on the basis of petty political difference, instead of using our energy to make Zambia a better place for ourselves and our children? My brothers and sisters, let us unite and focus our energy on defeating our common enemy which is hunger and poverty.


  1. Like it or not what HH did on the Mongu road would have plunged the nation into a civil war….in countries like Rwanda he would have been gunned down. Thanks to God it didn’t happen. Thanks to God again nobody else will play that prank on HH’s motorcade.

  2. We had Zambians being burned alive in our streets, we had open ethnic cleansing of people from GRZ from certain regions, we had cader thugs beating up and directing police, we had markets being burned just to buy fire trucks …………….

    If this was other opposition, zambia would have been on fire by now……..

    But for the tolerance of the largest opposition party lead by HH, zambia survived the inferno…………

    • Are you a Zambian ???

      During the gassing more than 50 innocent victims were lynched and murdered with many burned alive………

  3. When it comes to political violence both the PF and the UPND are guilty. In UPND’s strongholds they pulled down Sata’s portraits and installed those of HH even when he came out a distant 3rd in the 2011 elections. Today they’re pointing fingers at others as hate speech promoters but ask how they treated Edify Hamukale, Howard Sikwela, Wilbur Simushi, Richwell Siamunene and others for joining the PF a party they referred to as Bemba Party? HH can lock up ECL but that won’t win him votes. So Sean Tembo is right. Political power is temporal, it’s up to politicians to do the correct thing while they have time to

  4. The UPND is full of thieves. Soon we’ll begin to name them, what they did in the past and what they’re doing now. Mary Chirwa just told us that she had just finished her investigations and seems like has been removed as a cover up to shield top criminals. Some are even grabbing entire mines!

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