Tag Archives: Edgar Lungu

Zambia, Independence and Elders Pensions, by Gabriel C Banda, (a Reprint)

AT the recent, May 13 2017, funeral of Mama Salome Chilufya Besa Kapwepwe, President Edgar Lungu rightly bemoaned the material situation of many persons who fought for Zambia’s independence. He called for them to be appreciated,and supported, while they are alive.

I suggest that, a) the situation of freedom fighters must be worked out and solutions found.  This, perhaps requiring complex solutions, will cover all those involved in the fight for independence. The complex situation will have practical solutions that will include establishing what type of support and activities can be established to support them now.

And, b), In the meantime, a more immediate and less complex task is to redress the situation of those that were unfairly denied pensions and benefits when the Chiluba administration took over office in November 1991 and cancelled an existing pension scheme for leaders, thus putting many who served as full-time staff  in the unified government-and-party under material stress.

This task is about reparation and restoration. It is about the right of workers to benefits that are gratuity or pension related. The task is easier to deal with. The solution can be some one time payment/compensation or series of payment or other benefits negotiated with those who were retired and had pensions revoked. To follow up on this issue, I reproduce the following piece I wrote, published as “Zambia’s Independence and Our Elders Pensions,” by WordPress.com, October 2016. Please read and share. Thank You. GCB, May 2017, LUSAKA.

 

Zambia’s Independence and Our Elders Pensions,

by Gabriel C Banda

OCTOBER is another opportunity to deeply express appreciation and reflect on Zambia’s Independence journey. Many persons, from various walks of life, and from various places, worked for the Independence of Zambia.

And since Independence, 24th October 1964, up to present times, many persons, from various backgrounds, have contributed much in nourishing the vision and achievements of our society.

October 2016, 52 years from Zambia’s independence, is another time to reflect on the current situation of Zambia’s Freedom Fighters. Our focus for now is on the situation of those who took up public office. As we remember to praise those that fought for Independence and are still around, let us consider how their situation is and how it has come about.

Yes, there are many persons, thousands and thousands, into millions, that got involved in the struggle, with some being leaders that helped to organise it. There was much suffering and contribution during the journey for Independence.

After Independence, some became officials in the ruling party and the government. Some persons had, for reasons like that of being young then, not been actively involved in the struggle but became workers and officials in the government and the ruling party.

Zambia started off as a multi-party system but, due to various factors, among them the solving of inter-party violence, in 1972 transformed into the “One Party Participatory Democracy.”  Many observers make the mistake of not distinguishing the reasons, type, structure, and systems involved in particular one party systems. The one party experiences were not the same.

In Zambia, the One Party state system, unlike in some other countries where there was banning of other parties, was actually some unified party system. Those from ANC and the ruling UNIP, many of who earlier before Independence had belonged to the same party ANC, were integrated. It was a form of Government of National Unity, a system recently more recommended, even temporarily, in various parts of the world, especially where there is great tension, conflict, and division.

There is no doubt that the merger helped deal with the problem of inter-party violence and tension. MPs and position holders concentrated on dealing with issues in their communities and the whole society.

-For persons of various backgrounds and places, the “One Zambia, One Nation” national motto was taking shape. The position of women became stronger in politics, society, and the economy, with women leading various directions.

-Also supporting this was the “Zambian Humanism,” a form of South Africa’s Ubuntu but much more practically and systematically organised. These were part of the foundation that has, through year 2016, made Zambia continue with relative cohesion and withstand big pressures where other nations have been shaken and destabilised.

This system unified the Party and Government structures. Officials, full time and voluntary, were greatly involved in public mobilisation and participation. Towards the end of the one party system, a leaders Pension and Benefit system was put into place to cover the public officials playing various roles.

There were advances made under Zambia’s One Party system. Of course, it had its challenges and limitations.

In December 1990, after calls for return to a multiparty system, President Kaunda signed away the One Party system, repealing Article 4 of the Constitution. He signed, putting aside the need for doing the planned Referendum. Going back to a multi-party system offered potential advancements in some aspects.

In some way, the One Party system experienced in Zambia had enabled some social cohesion that made it easier for persons of various backgrounds to go into political parties in relative unity. The system had enabled some level of togetherness available for respect for one another during a return to multiparty systems.

As preparations and campaigns for multiparty elections intensified, some officials in opposition said that when they took over government, they would make sure members of UNIP did not get any pensions. The opposition politicians in MMD openly pledged this at public rallies. They said they would push aside the benefits and pensions of UNIP officials who worked in the Party and the government.

Some who publicly pledged to ensure those from UNIP would not be paid pensions and benefits were even lawyers. The basis upon which they based their opposition to pensions of the targeted workers was not clear. The pledge not to pay benefits was openly repeated at rallies, such as the one at Woodlands Stadium, Lusaka.

As Zambia moved towards the elections, it was clear that some things had not been clearly settled. These included issues of distinguishing and apportioning assets of UNIP and Government. The leaders’ Pensions and Benefits were not discussed. It was assumed that, even with the words of MMD officials, the law would still continue and have the pensions administered.

Elections were held in October 1991, with Frederick Chiluba’s MMD taking over from President Kenneth Kaunda’s UNIP. Over the 25 years, there are some things that have worked better than were things at the time of the One Party state. Yet there are also things that have declined.

Among the negative legacies of the Frederick Chiluba MMD rule was the violation of the basic rights of those officials who worked in UNIP and government. Immediately upon coming to office, the MMD administration, true to the pre-election vows of its officials, nullified the Leaders Benefits and Pensions law.  That action displaced into hardship many workers and officials. President Kaunda was for some time also affected.

Although, under international pressure, some adjustments were made for Dr Kaunda, and that after much suffering, the benefits of other positions were not re-instated or even settled through negotiation. Many officials who served government before 1991 have continued without pensions. 25 years later, in October 2016, this wrong, this violation of human rights in the name of politics, this evil against the elders, has not been corrected.

Presidential and other officials’ pensions are designed to make leaders concentrate on their jobs. They should not in future suffer because of their contribution to society. The presidency and government jobs should not just be for those who are already rich.

Also, giving Presidents and ministers and other officials good pensions helps prevent corruption and unfair practices for financial and resource benefit. Of course, there is need to put parameters and limits around Presidential benefits, such as the value of the house being built, but not to remove the benefits.

For now, as we remember October and Independence, let us consider the plight of those leaders and officials that were unfairly put into hardship because of the bias and hatred of those who came into office. It is time to settle the issue of pensions and benefits of Zambia’s government officials.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

G C B,   October 2016, LUSAKA.

Zambia Elections 2016 Casting, Some Factors and Dynamics, by Gabriel C Banda

 

Zambia Elections 2016 Casting,

Some Factors and Dynamics, I

by Gabriel C Banda

IN Zambia’s Elections and Referendum 2016, some factors will be at play. These will help or impede candidates. The candidates’ cast, crew, and set up greatly affect decisions of voters.

Out of respect for other candidates, the voters, the voting process, and also for one’s self discipline, it is still important to wait for the final results before declaring that someone has won or lost.

We find that some projections, such as those attributed to the Economist Intelligence Unit, which at times does useful work, did not consider, understand or appreciate, or perhaps they just for other reasons ignored, various important local factors and dynamics.

They write: “Assuming a reasonably credible vote, we continue to expect Mr Hichilema to win a narrow victory.” The EIU implies a likely second round run off.  But both expectations of HH to win and a second round election were opinions that may have had no basis on mood and issues on the ground.

The EIU write-up is not systematically considerate of the various factors at hand. It comes out as some subjective view of the candidates, some “Like” and “Dislike” of candidates and the preferred direction of the outcome . It is sometimes better to wait for the actual result as expectations brought about by error or subjective view may be misleading.

The Economist Intelligence Unit writing also mentions that, unlike the sceptical President Edgar Lungu, UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema, “HH,” has now openly agreed to an IMF programme if he comes into office. And also that, “Regardless of the outcome of the election, a tighter, IMF-backed fiscal framework is likely and our forecast of a gradually narrowing fiscal deficit in 2017‑20 remains unchanged.”

Of course, sadly, both candidates are likely, one willingly and the other perhaps not willingly, to be pushed into some IMF programme, which is likely to greatly have strong negative impact on the basic needs of many people. Sadly,  the IMF had in recent months still managed to get the Edgar Lungu administration, although reluctantly, to begin preparing for a possible IMF agreement that would start after the elections.

If PF’s Edgar Lungu gets back into office, an IMF programme will put pressure on his government and bring dissatisfaction in many of those that voted for him. This will affect who ever will be the PF presidential candidate in 2021.

Neither some in opposition nor the Edgar Lungu administration seem to appreciate the negative impact that IMF programmes have had on Zambia and other parts of the world, including, recently, in Greece and other European societies. The IMF programmes have led to deaths, riots, instability, and decline in quality of life of many in society. And there ARE alternatives to IMF programmes. And unlike before, it IS possible to avoid the IMF and its negative machine.

At the same time, the economy is not the only factor voters in Zambia consider. Some factors are stronger than the economic and financial situation of the voters. Voters consider many other factors, including the person they feel more safe, at home, and friend with. Many factors will affect turnout.

                                                               The Turnout Factor

But, back to the elections, we observe that crucial to the final results of Zambia’s 2016 elections will be the volume of turnout of voters. The turnout will help some candidates and work against some candidates. Many factors will affect the level of turnout throughout Zambia.

A high turnout is likely to boost some candidates and weaken the chances of others. Those who had previously scored high turnout in their support areas may, even with the addition of high recent 2016 Elections voter registration in their support areas, be worried of a high general turnout in Zambia, especially in areas where your opponents are strong.

But some in Zambia were expecting that a huge turnout may not be favourable to key opposition candidates. Others felt high turnout may help opposition. While both Edgar Lungu and opposition HH were likely to increase their votes due to a high turnout, the ratio in the difference will be much higher and definite than in January 2015. But, still, it is better and honourable to wait for the actual count.

Violence

The elections also witnessed some violence that, bearing in mind Zambia’s long relative stability, was of great concern. Much of the violence was PF-UPND cadre violence. But other parties had also been affected.First President Dr Kenneth Kaunda called for “practical work towards “Zero Violence.” He said political party cadres should not be used as militias and troops.

And while at some point the Elections Commission of Zambia suspended campaigns in some two areas due to violence, this suspension was useful but, sadly, also affected other parties that did not engage in violence. The suspension was useful but would have been even more effective if the main actors, PF and UPND cadres, had their campaigns suspended while the other parties not involved were allowed to continue campaigning in those areas.

This would have allowed the imposing of necessary sanctions while those playing fairly would have been rewarded by being allowed to be free to campaign in the areas. It would also have prevented further PF-UPND violence.

In addition, violence does affect turnout for votes. Many women, who are often registered more than men, will keep away where they feel there is violence and high tension.

For now, we should consider various factors and dynamics that will contribute to the final results of Elections 2016.

                                                                    Parties Transformation

It is worth remembering that in Zambia, parties have been transforming greatly. The MMD of third president Levy Mwanawasa was not the same as the original one of the Frederick Chiluba administration.

Although Levy took over from Frederick Chiluba, his administration ended up moving away from the harsh, Thatcherite, individualistic “swim or sink” economic policies promoted by IMF and World Bank.

Levy’s team even began to provide some subsidy support for farm production, leading to high production. The administration also began to allow free health services, starting with the rural areas.

There was no longer the attitude of government being completely removed from supporting enterprises and members of society. Under the Rupiah Banda administration, these programmes continued and were sometimes expanded.

The changes in transition are both on policies and practices and the leaders of the parties and administrations. When President Michael Sata came into office in 2011, infrastructure projects like roads, which had been there under MMD and RB administration, were gone into in a big way, so big that there were concerns about how national budget and financial balance would be affected.

When Sixth President Edgar Lungu took over after the elections of January 2015 that followed the passing of President Michael Sata, the roads projects, and others like health and education facilities construction, continued being implemented. This was to an extent where, again, some persons were concerned that the national finances would be greatly affected by the infrastructure projects.

But some important change related to President Edgar Lungu and President Michael Sata related to their approaches, styles, and demeanor. We can note that the PF administration became more systematic and organised in programme and other approaches. And under Edgar Lungu, the PF moved from the image of being led and controlled by persons that could be considered “tough.” While President Lungu still paid tribute to the late fifth president, the PF began to appear with some more gentle clothing.

                                                           Parties as Vessels

Again, we should note that leaders of parties have sometimes used parties as vessels they get onto and can dump for other available vessels. This has happened from 1991.  While their cadres may quarrel with those of other parties, party leaders and officials do easily move across parties, even to those they previously strongly condemned or ridiculed.

                                                           Running Mate.

Running Mate. There is now in the Constitution the requirement of a “Running Mate” to the President. It was meant to provide security of tenure of the Vice President and smooth transition if the need arises. This Running Mate arrangement has some weaknesses and challenges, with examples from Brazil and Malawi, that may at times create difficulties. These may, or may not, happen in Zambia.

The selection of running mates in Zambia’s elections of 2016 will have quite some bearing on the results. Some are liked and some are not. The concern by many is that, under the new system, the Vice President is always a potential president and actually in some instances acts like a President or co-president.

So voters opposed to a particular running mate may turn out to cast a vote against the presidential candidate. It is a way of preventing the running mate from acting in the office of President. Or they may like a running mate and thus turn out to vote, even where they initially may not have planned to go and vote.

The Running Mate factor may not in large numbers reduce voters pledged to a candidate but may lead to high turn out by those who oppose the candidate and running mate and would otherwise have stayed away from turning up. People may decide to turn out to vote when they are worried about the combination of presidential candidate and running mate.

Also, besides presidential running mates as factors in turning out to oppose or support a candidate or team, others taking part in the elections under a party affect support of the whole team standing as a party in the roles of President, MP, Mayor, and Ward Councillor.  Many candidates for parliament, mayor, and councillor were putting their presidential candidates and their parties on the flyers.

But, actually, in some cases, associating with some party, president, parliamentary, mayor, or ward council candidate can distance you from some voters that do not like those.  While some voters may consider candidates linked to a party as a package, others consider individual candidates. This may thus lead to one voting for an MP or mayor or councillor of one party, or an independent, and not voting for that candidate’s aligned or preferred presidential candidate. Sometimes, aligning with some candidate of another office may be a burden.

Because they do not like some candidate or running mate, some voters may turn out to vote, and vote against the candidate and crew they do not like. They vote against that candidate and running mate by voting for another that may not be their very preferred candidate but will support as a way of contributing to the defeat of the candidate the voter does not recommend.

Some voters will not turn up to vote when they are displeased with the presidential candidate and running mate. Yet some will turn up to vote when they find there is a candidate and team they do not like.

They may be turning up to vote in order to come and stop some candidate and running mate. You are sometimes judged by the company you keep. The candidature is not just about you, but those you turn up with as crew and team. In Elections 2016, this will be a major factor in voter turn out. In Elections 2016, some presidential candidates seemed unprepared for a running mate and did not handle it smoothly.

*                        *                    *

– GCB, July-August 2016, LUSAKA.

WE WILL LATER CONSIDER OTHER FACTORS IN ZAMBIA’S ELECTIONS OF 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casting Zambia Elections 2016, by Gabriel C Banda

Casting Zambia Elections 2016,

by

Gabriel C Banda

(Recently, we have reflected through sharing parts of PF, the Divided House writing I had shared around Zambia’s January 2015 presidential by-elections. The thoughts were discussion on the rising of Edgar Lungu to presidential candidate WITHIN their PF party. There are more thoughts we have had on account of President Edgar Lungu administration’s performance in office and the relations around other candidates in Election 2016)

 

Casting Zambia Elections 2016

By

Gabriel C Banda

WHATEVER the outcome, elections greatly transform societies. And whatever a person voted, elections transform individuals in society. The results of elections will always make persons enter other phases of life. But there are some things we must think about as elections are about to happen.

Out of respect for the election arrangement and the voters, you should never celebrate before the vote is cast and before the vote is counted. Doing so may be disrespect for other candidates, the voters, and the elections process.

Things may change from what you expect. Prospects of election candidates may change due to factors that can come into play, including factors that may suddenly come into play even just shortly before the election day comes.

Factors of change can be linked to issues and events involving candidates, their party, and other human and natural events in the society.

The factors may lead to situations that may include the following:

  • Some registered voters keeping away from the elections, affecting both turnout and chances of some candidates
  • Some registered voters turn up, after they initially might have avoided going to make the vote

The turn-up may be for various reasons:

  • Some voters will turn up in order to support a candidate
  • Some voters will turn up in order to vote against some candidate.

Put it in mind that, in elections, your candidate of choice is not necessarily the one that most votes will choose. Know that the elected person is not necessarily the one best suited to deal with the tasks of the role being voted for.

Elections do not necessarily result in the election of the person best suited to the tasks of the position, but get to choose the candidate who the most number of voting persons desire to take up a position. The elected person is not necessarily the best suited and the ones not elected are not necessarily the worst for that position.

You may not like a candidate that is eventually chosen but you must accept that person’s selection and their holding the position they have contested for.

Also, know that election results are expressions of feelings of support at a particular time. A candidate who is elected may not necessarily be chosen at other following elections. A person that is not selected in an election may at some other time come out the elected. So things with elections are not very fixed but are able to change.

Renewed Constitution

Zambia’s elections of August 11, 2016 will take place under a new Constitution.  This new Constitution has come about from public deliberations and input.  The Election Day will have voting for many positions: President, Member of Parliament, Council Mayors, and Ward Councillors. There will also be included a Referendum on the Bill of Rights.

The new Constitution is will be interesting to put into force. While one believes that there are potentially some difficulties in issues like the Running Mate Vice President, the “Grade Twelve” requirement, there are some clauses, like the “Fifty Per Cent Plus One person,” that are very helpful. The Fifty Per Cent Plus One helps to get a wider consent from all parts of a country than happens in simple majority “first past the post” elections.

But some of the content in the new Constitution may be well meaning yet difficult to apply in reality. In our earlier writing, we have mentioned our concerns about running mate, particularly with the examples of Brazil and Malawi, where there was conflict between president and a vice president who, by law, will not be removed from office. Although there are those of us critical of the Running Mate clause, other persons have pointed out some advantages it may have.

Sometimes, expected and unexpected problems may happen in implementation of Constitutions and elections. We hope that, experiencing and knowing the challenges arising due to implementation of the content of the Constitution, things will be smoothed out and made better. In Zambia’s Elections 2016, some factors will be at play. These will help or impede candidates. These we will observe and discuss soon.

  • GCB, LUSAKA. July/August 2016.

The Divided House and emerging of Edgar Lungu, by Gabriel C Banda

“Why Edgar Lungu?” I had been asked, by my friends, why Edgar Lungu ended up being the PF presidential candidate. This writing I did is some excerpt dealing with Why, in the conflict, within PF, around the Zambia’s Presidential by-election of January 2015, Edgar Lungu came out with much support amongst members of PF and the public. I wrote this and shared with friends. This was written with a focus on internal PF situation and how that affected them. The topic of Elections 2016 and inter-party contesting, I will deal with at some other point but very soon. ………Thank You. GCB, LUSAKA.

                                                   Why Edgar

Some persons have asked me why Edgar Lungu emerged the preferred candidate within PF and the public. The reasons are many but will include various issues. Edgar Lungu was considered to have been in good favour of the Fifth president, Michael Chilufya Sata. Sata gave Lungu key positions within the PF party and government. When Wynter Kabimba was removed as Secretary General of PF, the position was given to Edgar Lungu. Besides the party position, Edgar was, unusually, was, unusually, given two ministerial positions: that of Defence and Justice.

Key for his supporters within PF, was that Michael Sata made Edgar Lungu to act as state President while Sata was out of the country. In fact, some ministers like Dr Joseph Katema have said that President Sata insisted on handing over the instruments of state authority to Edgar Lungu before he could leave Zambia for medical attention abroad.

Other factors in favour of Edgar Lungu’s candidature and his rising appeal amongst many non-PF members of the public was that many members of the public became sympathetic to Edgar when Guy Scott and team within PF were acting against the Secretary General. It is possible that without the actions against him, his backing from the public could have been less.

An important factor in the support for Edgar Lungu was his perceived personality. Edgar Lungu was considered to be modest, somewhat gentle, and showing some humility, and therefore likely to be a considerate and listening ruler, a servant of the public rather than an aloof master and boss.

We must remember that Edgar Lungu was coming out as a contrast to some other officials within the PF. Other many PF officials supporting him seem to have felt that this time it was important to present a candidate who was by character accepted and admired by more across Zambia.

We must remember that in rural Zambia, character – especially of the humility, humble, fair, and service type – is greatly respected and promoted. The one who demonstrates tolerance and patience when faced by attacks or stress will be considered a more respected person and winner.

And people in Zambia’s rural tend to turn out for voting. The women tend to come out in large numbers to vote – although where there is violence, many women will keep away from the voting booth.

In many parts of Zambia and Africa, and even Asia, when there is a vacancy, one who would be a leader or ruler will not offer and promote them self. It must be others around you who have confidence in you who should point out that you must be the leader to take the position.

In many cultures, it is rude and not very cultured to show a lot of the “I” in your move towards public office. One must be a provider of service who is proposed by others to be a leader or ruler. Many persons make the mistake of openly promoting themselves when seeking office. That may work in cultures in America but is not respected by many in Zambia’s cultures.

A leader must appear self less. Edgar Lungu was emerging as a person of choice by the people, not one who was by ambition driving himself to some public seats. Edgar Lungu would be different from the image of the Patriotic Front being a party of tough acting persons.

At the same time, Edgar Lungu was considered one who would follow on with programmes under Michael Sata, thus getting him the support of those who were pro-Sata and wanted a feeling of stability through continuity. Edgar Lungu was careful not to make remarks that attack late Michael Sata. In the cultures of Zambia and others, one must show respect to elders and deceased and can only address issues without openly attacking an elder or deceased person.

In fact, one of Edgar Lungu’s appeals to many was to express that he did not have his own vision but was carrying forward the vision there around Michael Sata. This was not weakness but considered a strength in local cultures. In Kenya, President Arap Moi had talked about “Nyayo,” continuity with programmes of the late Jomo Kenyatta. It avoids the image of a radical rebellion or revolution against a predecessor and their supporters.

Edgar Lungu, having been born and grown up on the Copperbelt, also appealed to a huge segment of voters – those on the Copperbelt. They would consider Edgar one of them. That Copperbelt support could extend to nearby areas of Central Province, Luapula, and even Northern provinces.

Thus for many in the rural and urban areas, Edgar Lungu was a person they could understand, feel at home with. We must also remember that a lot of “Ba Kopala” had since 1991 migrated to the huge urban centre of Lusaka. Thus, besides other Lusaka residents, there were bound to be many Copperbelt migrant linked pro-Edgar votes in Lusaka.

Because of his roles and positions in PF and government and because of his character, Edgar Lungu was more likely to appeal to many voters across Zambia than some other PF officials. It was likely that, as a party in government, and even with some members of PF having left the party or campaigning against him, if many voters turned up to vote, the contest between Edgar Lungu and other candidates may be very tight.  ………../GCB, Lusaka..

(MORE WILL FOLLOW, ON COMING ELECTIONS, 2016)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zambia Constitutional Amendment 2015 Issues, the Running Mate

Zambia Constitutional Amendment 2015 Issues, the Running Mate

by Gabriel C Banda

President Lungu’s assenting to the Constitutional amendments bills of 2015 on Tuesday January 05th, 2016, will be a major mark in Zambia’s life.

Those Constitutional contents of Zambia will have various effects, some positive and some negative.

The 50 Per Cent Plus One provision in the presidential elections is likely to contribute to a succeeding Presidential candidate who, because of the second round where voters all over the country will zero in on two candidates and make choice, will have wider national acceptance than has happened in some elections.

There will be wider acceptance of the President ascended and serving in office. Previously, there are those of us that were worried that a candidate with the highest votes may have, say, 30% of the votes cast and will become president yet around 70% of the voters may not be for the person. This was unfair and undemocratic.

But from the 2016 elections, there will now likely be less discontent and hostility towards the elected President because people would have been given chance to select the final candidate, the President-Elect.

One hopes that the provisions on presidential election candidates will not lead to the emergence of a two-party system and some parties going into decline. Sadly, there have been some calls for parties to merge so that they may be bigger and stronger. This may negatively affect political advances in Zambia.

It does not mean that all who head political parties do so because they feel they will win the presidency. It is important to have various political parties as their members and leaders provide the very needed variation. They contribute various ideas, views, and positions. They are needed and should not phase out due to big-party political systems.

And the financial cost of a 50 Per Cent Plus One system should not be excuse not to have it. The cost is a necessary expense, worth it through the wide, national, and more democratic approval of the elected President. The cost is cheaper than discontent and hostility arising from a president that is not popularly elected.

There are other comments to be made about the various parts assented to. We will also be interested in considering practical issues and effects that might arise from some of the amendments done. Among others, practical challenges can be around provisions like minimum academic qualifications for Presidential, MP, and Councillor candidates.

For now, we will consider the Presidential “Running Mate” provision. It is about a Vice President candidate who is legally tied to the Presidential candidate and their term. They are a team.

The Presidential Running Mate clause has both advantages and potential problems. The Running Mate system has worked fairly well in places like the United States. In some places it has not worked well or, rather, it has failed.
The provision can help the public decide who should act as President when the President is not available. At present in Zambia, an acting President, whether the Vice President or another, and whether a good worker or not, is imposed on the public.

Currently, the President chooses the Vice President and, if required, can change them anytime, while still in term. This has both advantages and challenges.

The experience around the Michael Sata administration showed the difficulties of having to select who should be acting President even when the president goes out for a normal visit. This becomes a bigger problem when there is discord within a ruling party and various forces within are trying to take or influence presidential authority.

While there were some challenges around transition at the time of Zambia’s President Levy Mwanawasa’s passing away in 2008, the issue was very serious and disturbing at the illness and passing away of President Michael Sata in 2014.

This was due to weak, unstable, inconsistent, unavailable, or inadequate internal processes. There were challenges around structures, channels, management, practices, and succession procedures associated with the management practices of the then PF party administration.

The experience constitutes some of the weak parts of the legacy of our beloved Big Man, late Michael Sata, in his role as President. It is important to avoid similar situations happening.

In the new system, the Running Mate, the Vice President candidate, will be accepted as President to complete the term when a President, through factors like impeachment, ill-health, or death, ceases to be head of state.

And in the field of political party negotiations and concessions, a Running Mate will help parties in alliance, as the Vice President from another party in an alliance cannot be removed by the President after being voted in. This provides security of position to the Vice President but can also create national instability when the President and Vice President are at loggerheads, as happened in some countries.

Of course, there are many factors to consider over a Running Mate. Because the president will be bound to the person who is Vice President, the selection or choosing of a candidate must consider long-term factors. It must be more than just about the present. The Vice President, who in Zambia facilitates cabinet, parliamentary, and government issues, must be very competent and not just ceremonial.

The Vice President must respect and get on well with the President. For the stability of society, they must get on well throughout the term. It is expected that the Vice President will not attempt to directly or indirectly harm the President and the President’s office and government.

It is not exaggeration to say that it is possible that through differences or ambitions involving the two, a Vice might attempt to take over the Presidency from one who is still in term. Foul play may be attempted.

We also need to ask what happens when a Running Mate Vice President stops their role due to ill health, graft, or death. How smooth will be the process of replacing the Vice President while the President’s term is still on?

For some other limitations over a fixed Running Mate, we can also consider practical examples, such as that in our neighbourhood. The experience of Zambia’s neighbour Malawi provides lessons that are warnings or points to consider and rectify in order to make things smoother.

In 2004, President Bingu wa Mutharika, of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, DPP, had Cassim Chilumpha, of the UDF party, as his Vice President. Later, the President and Vice President had strong differences. But Mutharika legally was not able to easily fire Chilumpha.

And later, in the elections of 2009, Bingu wa Mutharika got Mrs Joyce Banda as Running Mate. And, later, Vice President Joyce Banda and President Bingu wa Mutharika had big differences. But as she had been a Running Mate, Joyce Banda could not be removed as State Vice President, even though expelled from the ruling DPP party.

Meanwhile, because she was the holder of the state office, no one could be actively appointed to replace her. So, the Vice President had differences with the President and the Vice President was not reporting to the President.

She sat on the position and was not removable so that another person could do that state Vice President official role. She even formed her own party, the People’s Party, while being an official Vice President who was in practice not working for the president.

Thus there was some tension when Bingu wa Mutharika died, in April 2012, and she, being the official Vice President even though she had stopped working for the President and had formed her own People’s Party, PP, was lined to take over, by law.

Eventually, after difficulties, she did take over and became President. Now, it also happened that when Mama Joyce Banda was going for Presidential elections in May 2014, she had differences with her Vice President, Khumbo Kachali, who she chose not to adopt as her Running Mate.

Instead, she chose Sosten Gwengwe, a young man who had joined the ruling DPP party from opposition MCP and later, after Bingu wa Mutharika’s death in 2013, joined Joyce Banda’s PP, People’s Party. He became her Running Mate in the May 20, 2014 elections.

Of course, the selection of Running Mate created problems in her ruling party. Joyce Banda did not win the elections. Running Mate Sosten Gwengwe did not even win his former parliamentary seat. In 2015, there was talk of Gwengwe getting back to the MCP.

But clearly, the Running Mate condition was an important issue. The differences also created other difficulties in the country.

Thus, with our neighbours’ experiences as practical lessons, the Running Mate provision Zambia is trying to adopt now must be carefully thought through, with potential challenges dealt with and sealed.

Of course, the Running Mate provision affects political parties in various ways. It will have implications in ruling and opposition parties. Some will find difficulties to field a Running Mate. The provision may shake and divide some parties. The provision will also affect alliances of political parties as they try to offer a common candidate and make deals on who should be President and Vice President candidates.

Because of some of the reasons discussed, I do not believe that the Vice President Running Mate system may always work well in our Zambian situation.

I believe the Vice President should not replace a President-Elect when the President-Elect is unable to take up position. Let the voters choose again. Some Vice Presidents may be alright as Vice President but not as President. In any case, the race is based on the Presidential candidate who comes with a known Vice President candidate.

The key candidate is the President and the Vice is subsidiary. I believe the Vice should not substitute a President-Elect that is unable to be sworn in. Many voters may not believe a Vice President candidate can necessarily be the lead presidential candidate.

The Constitutional clauses for assent in Bills 17 and 18 of 2015 were not made by the Edgar Lungu administration but were extracted from the last Constitutional draft that had open input from members of the public from various sectors.

In Constitutional clauses in earlier administrations and the recent public process, some parts are influenced by persons that are trying to affect some other persons they do not want to succeed as candidates.

Some clauses done in the Chiluba administration were considered unfair and divisive but nevertheless remained unremoved by succeeding administrations. Some had, away from the spirit and motto of One Zambia One Nation, contributed to a nation of citizens and lesser citizens.

Nothing was stopping succeeding administrations from undoing the destructive clauses planted in the Chiluba administration. Later administrations seem to have felt they would come back to the unwanted clauses later.

The Chiluba administration’s provisions contributed to some social stress that still needs to be healed. It is pleasing that the Edgar Lungu administration, through the Constitutional Amendments of 2015, acted to undo some of the divisive seeds sown by the Chiluba administration through the Constitution.

But not all is smooth. For some aspects in the recent draft constitution used as base for the 2015 Amendments will bring unnecessary difficulties. These aspects include some minimum educational qualifications for candidates for President, Vice President, and Councillor.

This will be complex and not easy to settle. Some amendments are in principle progressive and meant to help the Common Good, but may require supporting mechanisms in order to be smooth and not give problems.

It is also likely that Edgar Lungu’s haters and hard tackling opponents may question the issue of number of terms President Edgar Lungu will want to have and whether, because with his 19 months in office finishing late Michael Sata’s term, he will have in August 2016 done less than half a five year term. In the Constitution draft clauses, less than half a term is not counted as a term.

Thus Zambia’s new Constitution may require other supporting details and mechanisms to make its parts smooth, fair, and sustainable.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing and the arts, social development, and peace issues. He has been on the MA Peace Studies programme of University of Bradford, England.

*                    *                      *

GCB, December 2015/January 2016

PF, the Divided House, by Gabriel C Banda

PF, the Divided House

Gabriel C Banda

by

Gabriel C Banda

(*Writer Gabriel C Banda is involved in Social Development work, Writing and theatre arts, and understanding Conflict and Peace Building issues. Has been on the University of Bradford, England, MA Peace Studies Programme). This piece appeared on WordPress.com, on     https://gabrielbanda.wordpress.com/.

For author email contact, <ginfinite@yahoo.com> .

 

THE concern of many people has for a long time been that even when President Sata was alive, there were big wrangles and divisions within the Patriotic Front, PF, leadership. For some time, the PF has been a divided house. Yet to stand and achieve a lot, a divided house must heal, mend, and strengthen.

There was concern about how the weaknesses were affecting not only the ruling party but the whole nation. When President Sata was ailing, people were concerned that the problems within the party would affect not only the party but also create problems post-Sata Zambia. For stable transition, we hoped Mr Sata would reach 2016.

The PF had divisions even when in opposition. At one time, a large number of PF MPs had a position, from which they were being expelled, different from that of party president Michael Sata.

But a major problem since our Big Man President Michael Sata, “Ba Kateka,” and his PF came into office in September 2011 has been the continued internal party squabbles and infighting openly affecting the country.

Some squabbles have come out amongst party field cadres. Some have been amongst high ranking party officials and ministers. Some of these fights have been very big. They have affected not only the PF but the country as a whole.

Of course, President Sata cannot be blamed for all the attitude, behaviour, personalities, and even upbringing of the PF members who were in conflict, but he still was expected to be final captain of the boat.

Some of the fights amongst party members and factions have been violent. People wondered how if there was violence within the party, what levels of violence would come about if people of different parties fought.

If fights within PF have been a concern for the party, the bigger concern is how the fights affect the whole country. Yes, what happens within the PF is of concern for many people outside the ruling party because it affects the whole country. It affects present and future stability. There is effect on social cohesion, the economy, and various aspects of life.

The PF fighting and rough squabbles happened not only once or twice but many times. This is of concern. The cadres and officials involved in the fights were so involved in their fights that they did not seem to care about the presence of their president, Mr Michael Sata, who was also the republican president. It would have been enough concern if the fighting was happening within an opposition party. But this was the ruling party.

The concern has been that the infighting continued many times. The concern is also about being a party that is ruling a government. You expect some discipline and respect from ruling parties and their members. But the PF infighting continued right up to the time of Mr Sata’s death, in London, on October 28, 2014.

The tension amongst groups within the party continued after his death was announced. Even during the mourning period, tension and division are coming out. Many people are anxious. Many people are wondering how PF will handle the tensions and fighting amongst its officials and members.

Already, some members of PF and general public are concerned about reports that Mulenga Sata, the late President’s son, may have ambition to be presidential candidate. People wonder how this, and candidatures by others interested in the party presidency, will affect relationships within the party.

Will the fighting within PF increase or decrease? This depends on how PF leaders handle things. This depends on whether, and how, the divisions will be settled. Settling the fighting within PF can be a good way of honoring the president that has died. But how easy is it to amicably settle the divisions and fighting within PF?

The problem is that many of these fights were happening while the party leader was still alive. The fights went on even when the fighting parties knew Mr Michael Sata was there as president. The question now is: will the fighting stop when Mr Sata has died? Michael Chilufya Sata was known to be a very firm man but even then it appears he was ignored by officials and cadres who kept on fighting even when he was present as both party and republican president.

Fighting elements did not respect the presence of the president. The fighting continued because he was ignored. He was a very strong man but he was ignored. This shows the seriousness of the situation for Zambia, especially at the death of Michael Sata.

A question is: if they did not listen to tough Sata when he was alive, will they listen to the next person who will be party president and stop fighting?

There are concerns that continued tension amongst PF members may badly shake the country. Tensions within PF are not a big danger if they stay within the PF party. The problem is when a PF candidate becomes Republican president after elections and the divisions within the party are still there and strong.

Some officials inside PF may be worried that their opponents within the party may take over. They may be more worried than if someone from outside the party becomes president of Zambia.

Right now, the fighting within PF will be subdued because of the mourning time upon us. A normal culture is that during a funeral, people respect the memory of deceased persons and will not fight or do something that can bring tension.

But the truth is that, while in opposition and in government, the internal situation of the PF party has for a long time been weak. PF has been a house divided. Sadly, while there were some helpful things he did, President Sata did not settle the divisions before he died.

These were bound to cause problems within the party and for the whole society.
Because of hostilities amongst the leadership, some members of PF might be more uncomfortable and insecure about opponents within their party becoming Zambia’s president than others outside the party assuming the republican presidency.

Meanwhile, many members of the public are wondering if a PF candidate, from a very divided party, can hold the country together given the fact that there are strong hostilities within the party. People wonder whether, following PF trends, the absence of President Sata, who was strong and tough but was sometimes ignored by those fighting, may lead to further infighting within PF, leading to instability in the whole society.

The PF as currently a divided house greatly affects the whole nation and beyond.

  The Guy Scott Act

A lot will be affected by how the Acting President, Dr Guy Scott, acts. He can go into record as someone who was placed to handle the transition and did it very well, to the benefit of PF and the whole society. To do that, he must focus on the interest of the whole nation, and not the interests of the PF or some fighting groups within it.

Already, in an action most people would not do, his removal, on Monday November 3, 2014, of Justice and Defence minister Edgar Lungu from the position of Party Secretary General, a position given Edgar by late President Michael Sata, did not go well with many members of the Patriotic Front and the general public.

The timing of the removal during the mourning period appeared not sensitive and was bound to build tensions within PF and affect people’s attitude towards Guy Scott and his team. Immediately the statement of removal was announced, there was tension in Zambia. Some PF cadres reacted strongly.

Almost immediately, there were open protests in some places. There were disturbances. Some senior officials and ministers also openly reacted and said they would meet Guy Scott the next morning. In the party and the general public, the action of Guy Scott actually raised the profile of the quiet, generally reserved, Edgar Lungu.

The position of Guy Scott was not helped by the public decline, on television, of Davies Mwila, who Guy Scott had appointed to replace Edgar Lungu. In the situation, when the nation needed to get together around the death of the President and was doing that, there are questions about whether Guy Scott’s actions had been sensitive and appropriate.

He had made poor decisions and words before, some he even apologised for, and this time many people thought he went too far. He showed poor reading of the current situation and overestimated his authority and strength. His action appears to have underestimated the forces against him. The result was predictable.

By early the next day, Tuesday November 4, after some cabinet and Central Committee members met him and in their presence, Guy Scott read a statement announcing the reinstatement of Edgar Lungu.

He said there will be a process of selecting a candidate after the burial. We do not know what was discussed or what was said to him by other officials for him to read the recanting statement.

But although it was honourable to have read the statement reinstating Edgar Lungu, it was clear that the questionable decision or decree by Guy Scott affected the image of Guy and those who may have been with him in the PF. The PF has again shown itself as a house divided.

  Encounters with Guy Scott

Our Big Man Guy Scott I first learnt about when I was a very young child and a relative of ours worked at the Scott Farm behind Bauleni, in present day “New Kasama,” at Walkover farm. Guy Scott’s father, Dr Alexander Scott, who I understand was respected by many, was involved with African interests before Zambia’s independence. He ran the African Mail newspaper, which eventually turned into Zambia Mail and Zambia Daily Mail.

When I was very young, we, with others in my family, would sometimes, go over from our residence in Libala, past the high Leopards Hill broadcast transmitters, on to Bauleni, gently over some hill, down to the New Kasama area farm, to see our relative.

I remember the Scott family had, amongst other dogs, a big dog named Bentley. The very few times I saw him, when I was a child, with his spectacles glasses, Guy Scott appeared calm, reserved, and even considerate. He spoke deep Nyanja.

Later, they went to another farm in the Chelston area. The farm was located near NRDC, the Baptist church, and the new Salama Housing estate. We still would visit our relative there.

Later, when the transition back to multiparty system in 1990 and 1991 was happening and Guy Scott had aligned with MMD, on a few times, with John, a friend of his, he came over to meet me for some analysis of the then development issues around rural Zambia. We had very detailed discussion and debate with him. He was very inquiring, asking many questions, and pushed for responses to various issues.

He eventually said, at some other time, that his friends were suggesting that I become an MMD member. I refused to do that, saying that besides MMD as a party not being very coherent, mentioning to Guy that, as a social development worker and writer, I had a personal policy of not joining political parties but following and considering various issues at hand, in a nonpartisan way. I was a believer in effective plural multiparty participatory processes and systems but did not believe in the MMD party.  I still have not changed my policy about not being fixed to political parties.

Government and Vice

Another difficult situation left by PF for Zambia as Guy Scott is Acting President is that there is no acting Vice President to give some balance. Guy Scott appeared to have all authority. The removal of Edgar Lungu from the Secretary General role had been an expression of that excessive authority, which others in PF and the public have strongly reacted against, leading it to be reversed.

The deep tensions within PF have continued. Many members of the public are still very concerned about the effects of a divided house on the whole society.
November 04th 2014

                                                            More Rivalry

Yes, I believe that, following the passing of Fifth President Michael Chilufya Sata, the big challenges to social balance linked to political balance may be those related to the problems and disharmony within the ruling PF.

Since the tension over the firing and reinstatement of Edgar Lungu, more rivalry has been expressed by various factions within the Party. Worrying to the public was that some of the rivalry and hostilities were happening even during the funeral of Michael Sata, when burial had not taken place.

There was disagreement over processes for PF to use to arrive at a presidential candidate. Most PF MPs and Members of the Central Committee endorsed a petition asking for adoption of Edgar Lungu as PF candidate for the presidential by-election.

In view of various factors, they wanted the Central Committee to choose the method of getting the candidate. Acting President Guy Scott insisted the Central Committee would not decide but the general conference. As things went on, there were conflicting statements made to the public by sides in the ruling party.

It seems Michael Sata had in his ill health still been concerned about the transition in PF and the nation. On ZNBC television, Information and Broadcasting minister, Dr Joseph Katema, respected as a calm, mature, and reasoning person, narrated events before President Sata left for the trip to London.

In a special interview on state owned ZNBC Television on Tuesday November 11, 2014, Dr Joseph Katema said there were signs that President Michael Sata had trust in Edgar Lungu doing presidential duties. (Check also Zambia Daily Mail, Thursday November 13, 2014, p 1, “Sata was insistent on Lungu, says Katema,” by Henry Sinyangwe).

When leaving Zambia for medical attention, President Sata, said Dr Katema, was insistent that before leaving for health attention in London, the President wanted to hand over the State “instruments of power” particularly to Edgar Lungu. Edgar Lungu was flown back from his official Angola trip to come back to Lusaka and be acting President. Handing over the instruments, Sata then left Zambia for the medical treatment.

Together with the fact that, besides Edgar Lungu being Acting President a few times when Sata was out, President Sata at one time left Edgar Lungu with the position of PF Secretary General, after removing Wynter Kabimba, and two ministerial positions, that of Justice and Defence simultaneously, many PF MPs and members of the Central Committee felt Edgar Lungu should be the PF presidential candidate. There was also feeling that Edgar Lungu was respected by many non-PF members of the public.

This was in a situation where the ninety day period in which state elections must take place put pressure on all political parties. The parties had to find, following their own processes, who should be their candidate, find the resources for campaigns, and be ready to have fully presented their candidates to the general voting public.

For PF, because of existing divisions within the Party, it was feared that, in the circumstances, a choosing of the candidate at the national conference, involving thousands of delegates, could bring out friction that would disadvantage the party.

But there were other PF members who may have preferred other candidates. If not against him, they did not support Edgar Lungu, or genuinely wanted a more consultative and participatory process of getting a candidate for the party. So, the reasons why a member of a party may be for one candidate and not for another may vary from person to person.

                                                 Candidates:

By November 19, 2014 and close of receiving of internal nominations, PF had ten candidates filed in for the party presidency. They were, in alphabetical order:

Captain Seleman Phangula Banda
Chishimba Kambwili
Given Lubinda
Edgar Lungu
Geoffrey B Mwamba, GBM
Miles Sampa
Mulenga Sata
Dr Christine Kaseba Sata
Bob Sichinga
Wilbur Simuusa

Then Acting PF Secretary General Bridget Atanga said former First Lady Dr Christine Kaseba was the last to file in.

We note that of the ten candidates, four were current cabinet ministers, with Edgar Lungu holding two cabinet portfolios left him by President Michael Sata. The other current ministers were Chishimba Kambwili, Bob Sichinga, a big brother of ours, and Wilbur Simuusa.

Of the ten candidates, two, Given Lubinda and GBM, had been cabinet ministers who were made to leave their cabinet posts at times of disputes within the PF.

(I remember first meeting Given Lubinda in 1980, when he had just completed secondary school in Kafue and was put as one of my students in a provincial Theatre for Development group I was guiding. He was very assertive. He later, after his studies at agriculture college and his work in social development, became a friend of ours).

And one of the candidates, Miles Sampa, was a current deputy minister, under my big brother Commerce Minister Bob Sichinga, also a contestant in the 2014 PF presidential.
Mulenga Sata, son of late Michael Sata, was Lusaka Mayor and Lusaka PF Chairperson.
One candidate, Captain Seleman Phangula Banda, had in recent times been Zambia’s High Commissioner to Nigeria.

Dr Christine Kaseba’s filing in brought various comments from the public. Some supported her while others said, although drawing sympathy and respect during the funeral of President Sata, there were many issues to be considered about timing of her entry into the contest and whether she could get the PF nomination and, later, the Republican election victory.

Concern was also expressed about members of one family contesting for the position of PF candidate and possible state presidency. Dr Kaseba was widow of the President while Mulenga Sata was son. Miles Sampa was related as a nephew to Mr Sata. Bob Sichinga’s son is married to a Sata daughter.

Although related to some by marriage, I would not put Bob Sichinga in the same relative category as some others.

People in the public were concerned that there would be a contest involving a Mother, a Son, a Nephew, and an in-law. However, whether the Michael Sata name will help some of the candidates may depend on the attitude of the internal and external voters towards the late President and how he acted towards them and how they considered his presidency.

                                                       General Conference

After long heated dispute over whether the Central Committee should make the selection of the official candidate or it be done by the general conference, the key sides in the PF contest for the presidency eventually settled on deciding choosing the final candidate through a general conference involving thousands of PF members.

The conference was scheduled for Saturday November 29, 2014. Previously, some had wanted to find another process that would catch up on the limited time left, and would also limit the possibilities of fighting, great fallout, and decline of the party.

Suspensions and Counter-suspensions

But even then, there were unpleasant incidents involving Acting President Dr Guy Scott, on one hand, and, on the other hand or hands, other members of the Central Committee, Cabinet, and Parliament. A significant number of MCCs, 27, or way over half of the total number of members, endorsed his suspension for his style and actions.

Guy Scott also announced suspensions of some 16 MCCs, including the PF Chairperson, Mrs Inonge Wina! The others were Benson Chali, Rasford Mwale Chipolo, Fabian Chiposo, and Obvious Chisala. Then there was John Chisanga, Lazarus Bwalya Chungu, Stephen Kampyongo, and Jean Kapata.

And there was James Kapyanga, Joseph Katema, Sylvester Mtonga, Mwenya Musenge, Willie Nsanda, and Malozo Sichone, and Freedom Sikazwe.

Dr Guy Scott decreed that, in response to recent political happenings which were of concern to the general public, “… I have today decided to suspend the 16 according to powers vested in me.” (In Sunday Mail, “Scott bans 16 PF bigwigs,” by Kapala Chisunka and Christine Chisha, November 23, 2014, Page 3, and Sunday Times of Zambia, “16 PF MCCs banned,” by Nakubiana Mumbuna, November 23, 2014, Page 2).

Like in Michael Sata’s PF reign, Guy Scott was able to, by decree, change the situation of officials, workforce, and issues. This throws light on the challenges of the PF systems, processes, and practices since 2001.

Even before Guy Scott’s temporary reign, within PF, such action had happened before. The strong differences between the PF figure head and officials such as MPs are not new. Differences happened even under my big man, President Michael Sata.

Some suspended by Guy Scott this time were ministers, deputy ministers, and MPs. But some other MCCs that had not been suspended by Dr Guy Scott called the suspensions “null and void.”

The statement was signed by Esther Banda, Emmanuel Mpakata,Yamfwa Mukanga, Samuel Mukupa, Alfredah Mwamba, Davies Mwila (Sunday Mail, “Scott bans 16 PF bigwigs,” by Kapala Chisunka and Christine Chisha, November 23, 2014, page 3. Post Newspaper of Lusaka also has listed the names).

On Sunday, November 23, 2014, some MCCs were blocked from entering State House for a Central Committee meeting. Other MCCs then joined the barred MPs in solidarity. Guy Scott called meetings of the other Central Committee members illegal while they said Guy Scott could not chair meetings because he had been suspended and a quorum could not even take place.

There had also been issues of who should receive applications for PF presidency. Acting President Guy Scott had received the ones entered. Later, the opposing MCCs were saying the applications should be handled by the Central Committee.

Also, there were some members of the PF who sought High Court decisions on some aspects of the events in the party.

                                           Ceasefire and Battle Lines

However, on Monday November 24, 2014, Acting President Guy Scott said there was reconciliation. On Tuesday November 25, 2014, most members of the MCCs team that had announced Guy Scott’s suspension said they apologized for suspending Guy Scott. The teams from various sides were now ready to meet at the November 29 2014 general conference.

For the public, these were signs for hope. But while the groups talked about reconciliation, members of the public were wondering whether the actual battle lines had been erased or were still there. How would the contest for PF president work out?

Was what had happened just a ceasefire where the battle lines were still deep and not erased or shifted? A ceasefire is not necessarily the erasing of battle lines. All over the world, we find that when ceasefires are made amongst combatants, sometimes the ceasefire leads to stability but sometimes the ceasefire works to be windows for parties in conflict to re-prepare themselves, rearm, dig-in, and reorganize. Preparations may include strengthening one’s self and weakening opponents.

What may have happened in PF was a ceasefire while long term peace and stability still needed to be achieved. Meanwhile, many members of the public were apprehensive about what would happen, given past and current tensions within PF, at the November 29 2014 conference.

Meanwhile, the final positions of expressions of candidature may change as, if happens as it sometimes does in Zambia, some candidates within parties and across parties may pull out and endorse others. Some may leave their own parties and stand on other platforms.

PF and Post-Elections

There are, of course, some problems which are found in opposition parties. But bigger concern are the PF, who are a ruling party and have great effect on the stability of the society. This was always a fear as even when President Sata was alive, the tensions were there and sometimes even very open.

Some members of the public may be concerned that given the acrimony from participants within the PF, whoever wins the PF candidacy and if gets the state presidency, may not be easily accepted by some factions, within PF, which would have not won the candidature. There may be tensions in the national social barometer.

I think a problem is that PF have big internal divisions that may affect the rule of a person from there. At the close of internal nominations on Wednesday November 19th, 2014, PF had ten candidates, including the Sata widow Dr Christine Kaseba and the Sata son Mulenga Sata! (Of course, we may not be fully aware of the reading of the situation within and outside their party, or their late husband’s and late father’s party).

                                                              Refining or Further Weakening?

While there are risks of problems arising at the PF general conference, it is possible that the fears may not fully come to be. It is also possible that from the general conference, some PF might emerge that may be more widely accepted.

The MMD that Levy Mwanawasa led was not the same as the original MMD party under Dr Frederick Chiluba. There was transformation in policies and practices. The MMD of Rupiah Banda moved further away from the MMD existing under Chiluba.

Some of the persons who had been in the original Chiluba MMD administration left Levy and RB to join other groups, such as PF. Thus the “MMD” name became just a vessel that had transformed. When RB was leaving office in 2011, although with the same registered name, MMD was not the same as the 1991 party. When PF came into office in 2011, some of its members were known to have been in the early MMD of the 1990s.

Will the PF 2014 general conference lead to refinement or further weakening?  It is possible that the PF will also undergo great transformation from the Michael Sata one. For politicians and rulers, parties may just be vessels that can be used and changed.

But a divided house or party or team cannot for long stand under internal and external pressure. To stand firm, a divided house must be healed. To heal, those involved must be sincere, respect others, and reach out from the soul. To contribute smoothly to society, a divided house must heal and mend its internal and external relations.

                                                            Polls and Opposition

At the same time, for a stable transition, the opposition would have to work together and stand together in the polls as each of the major opposition groups do not have many seats in parliament. Without a large number of seats in parliament, a president from the opposition may find them self unstable, and could even be deliberately undermined by the other parties.

Thus the opposition can win the polls, using the current unfair simple majority rule, if they combine and can work out an arrangement over pooling together their seats in parliament and sharing ministerial positions.

If UPND’s HH or MMD’s Nevers Mumba or RB stand alone, one might win the presidential by-election but be weak in parliament. Of course, you may then end up with efforts trying to woo candidates from the new opposition set up. If MMD and UPND work together, they have stronger chances of winning the polls.

Of course, it is possible that my big man President RB, Fourth President, may at this time, having been the immediate past Republican president, be well exposed to the public in comparison to some candidates in opposition and ruling party.

I do not have details of how things went, but I believe that the RB team should have discussed issues with my brother Nevers, in whom I am well pleased, and together come up with some consented way, as, just like my brother HH, riding with RB over a weak PF would lead to Nevers and HH getting into office and having the further national exposure and acceptance they need to prepare for their possible times to contest the presidency. “Win-Win” for those involved is possible.

There could be established some two vice-presidents, one from the ruling party and another from the partnership. Or some firm and fair arrangement they can agree on. The two, HH and Nevers, have time on their side and, if patient, can make it president within the next fifteen to twenty years.

Before Nevers Mumba moved to join the MMD as state Vice President, he had been in some strong positioning amongst national parties. I believe that had he not joined the MMD then, he and his party could have gained strength.

There was a time when Nevers Mumba may have been stronger than Michael Sata. I believe that it is possible that had Nevers Mumba not gone over to MMD, to join as Vice President, it is possible that Never could have been strong and Michael Sata may never have grown big.

An advantage of partnership would be the making of some form of government of national unity, which would, if well worked out, be very helpful for stability during transition and the time we reach 2016 for the next scheduled elections.

However, in November 2014, the issue about MMD fielding Nevers or RB would be affected by results of court actions taken to the High Court and the resulting political actions that would be taken.

                                     More Opposition Candidates

From other political parties, expressions of running for the state presidency made included that of, in alphabetical order, our Brother Hakainde Hichilema of UPND, and UNIP’s Tilyenji Kaunda, “TJ.” my big brother and our senior and prefect at Kamwala Secondary School.

There is also my Big Brother Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda, who is considered analytical, independent minded, and a supporter of orderly processes and systems, of the Heritage Party, and my Sister Edith Nawakwi of FDD, and Peter Sinkamba of the Green Party of Zambia.

I understand NAREP’s Elias Chipimo Jr will be standing. There is also my big man, Dr Ludwig Sondashi, of FDA, who, apart from being a lawyer who has had some focus on Constitution, is well known for his Sondashi formula being used by some persons in addressing HIV and AIDS.

My Brother Father Frank Bwalya, as usual fearless and forthright, on November 21, 2014, said his Alliance for Better Zambia will not have a candidate but will support a PF candidate if that candidate is Edgar Lungu.

Christian Democratic Party, CDP, head Dan Pule, who is also a religious preacher who helped to bring the TBN television station to Zambia, is expected to stand.

I have not asked my big brother Tenthani Mwanza, of National Democratic Party, NDP, and a keen observer and analyst of long time Africa and international political dynamics, whether he will stand during by-election January 2015. And I do not know if my brother the ULP leader Sakwiba Sikota, another calm, fearless, and thoughtful person, was going to stand.

We will later learn about positions other political parties will take. The parties include Ng’andu Magande’s National Movement for Progress, NMP, and Mike Mulongoti of People’s Party, and ADD’s Charles Milupi. There is Zambians for Empowerment and Development, ZED, with Dr Fred Mutesa. There is also Langtone Sichone and ZADECO. I do not know if Cosmo Mumba and New Revolution Party will take part. There is All Peoples Congress Party’s Msoni.

    Stability

One prays that the January 20 2015 presidential by-election will lead to stability, whoever gets into office. As the founders of modern Zambia did, we should be building a strong foundation.. A divided house is unstable and does not easily withstand wind and other pressures. Zambia House must be strong and free.

Variation can be very enriching and should be harnessed. It is one thing for people in a party to get as much ideas and contribution from its members as can happen. But difference is not always the same as variation. Differences that are in the region of hostility and antagonism may, depending upon the handling, sap and weaken a party, to the extent of decline or disintegration.

Let people of Zambia choose who should rule.

Zambia is praised as a place of stability. Yet that stability has had to be worked at. Things may be shaken. It is the duty of all politicians, cadres, citizens, residents, and all of us, to ensure that each person acts for harmony, peace, and stability. A divided house or nation becomes weak.

But everyone is capable of retraining themselves to focus on peace building. Many are wondering what will happen with PF. Human actions divide people and work against natural unity and cooperation. But human action can also help improve situations.

We pray that things go well at the PF general conference. We pray that Zambia’s presidential by-election of January 20, 2015 will go well and stable. The actions of politicians and everyone can make life better. Every one can heal and mend if they just allow themselves to, and will themselves to do so.

                                                           By Tuesday, November 25th, 2014.

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                                                For author email contact, <ginfinite@yahoo.com> .