PF media director Sunday Chanda says unlike Hakainde Hichilema, UPND founder president Anderson Mazoka would give credit where it was due whilst criticizing government.

And Chanda says after 20 years of being in existence, the UPND must reflect on the roles of an opposition party for it to be relevant.

Meanwhile, Chanda has advised the UPND to draft a proper manifesto saying their 10 point plan has been rendered obsolete by the PF’s vigor.

Congratulating the UPND for clocking 20 years in existence, Saturday, Chanda observed that some of the positive things Mazoka used to do had been abandoned by the current UPND leadership.

“The current dispensation of rubbishing everything and anything the government does just for the sake of it is a far cry from the constructive criticism of the founding father of UPND. A mature Opposition political party understands that more often than not, it must rise to the challenge to play the role of a proposition party – there is a clarion call to politics of alternatives!
In the days of the late Anderson Mazoka, UPND would publish an alternative national budget and alternative policies to challenge the budget of the then government of the day. While being critical of government at times, the UPND under Mazoka gave credit where it was due,” Chanda recalled.

“However, since 2006 under the current regime that succeeded Mazoka, UPND has typically been hypercritical and rather pedantic of anything and everything under every administration- from President Mwanawasa to President Rupiah Banda, President Michael Chilufya Sata and the incumbent His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. How is it that during the tenure of its current administration, the UPND has never said anything good or given credit where it is due regarding any of the fore-mentioned leaders’ achievements? Can they really say that all the above-mentioned Heads of State never did or have never done anything right? How bizarre is it that they only give credit posthumously as in the case of President Mwanawasa and the late President Michael Chilufya Sata (albeit begrudgingly)? Does being in opposition also mean rejecting to work with Government Departments to bring development to the people and expelling Party officials that are seen or rumoured to have been seen talking to government officials?”

Chanda advised UPND to reflect on its role as an opposition party.

“Perhaps as the UPND celebrates 20 years of its existence in Opposition, it needs to revisit its purpose and what it means to be an opposition party. As they do that, their leadership should also use this milestone in the Opposition to reflect on their intra-party democracy and internal dialogue,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Chanda advised the UPND to draft a proper manifesto saying their 10 point plan had been rendered obsolete by the PF’s vigor

“After 20 years, UPND is Still Without a Manifesto; how then can they move “Zambia Forward” Political Parties are essentially organisations that seek political power so that their philosophy and policy become public policy. It is therefore unbelievably strange that after 20 years the UPND still have no manifesto- they instead have a one-pager wishlist with bullet points they call a “Ten Point Plan”. It is a “plan” that raises more questions than answers. The crucial Who, What, Why, When and How is conspicuosly missing. Nevertheless, since the said 10 point “plan” has been swallowed up by what PF is delivering, what alternative promises and policies can they offer?” he asked.

“What new message does the UPND bring to the political equation besides singing the empty “corruption” song? We therefore urge our brothers and sisters in UPND to find a new song because everything they sing about has either been delivered by PF or it is work in progress. They cannot reinvent the wheel! By the same token, we also exhort the brethren to develop a coherent detailed manifesto rather than a one-pager with bullet points. Statecraft is no simple matter!”

Chanda wondered whether the UPND considered itself a democratic party.

“Can they really call themselves “democratic”? Apart from the obvious fact that their current leader is de facto Life President having unsuccessfully contested 5 elections without even so much as a sniff of internal opposition – have they ever held an elective convention? The basic question is -Do their structures even hold elections like the ruling party does? If so, how often? How responsive and representative is their top to bottom approach that has rendered them out of touch with the grassroots? These questions may be a bitter pill to swallow, but they are an elixir that will help them see how over the years they have evolved into an Aristocracy (a privileged class/person holding hereditary title) rather than a democracy,” stated Chanda.

“Democracy and dialogue go together. Where there is no internal democracy, there is no internal dialogue. UPND should first get its house in order by taking a leaf from the ruling party in order to build internal democracy by conducting internal elections as well as dealing with intra-party dialogue before they can credibly talk about inter-party dialogue. Finally Bretheren! May the 20 year be a watershed for the UPND in which they will consciously choose to engage in the edifying and nation building political arena of ideas and policy, rather than the retrogressive arena of calumny and misinformation. Hearty felicitations once again to Mr Hakainde Hichilema- the President of the UPND as well as the leadership and members as they celebrate this milestone.”