Opposition Alliance spokesperson Sean Tembo, who is leader of the Patriots for Economic Progress, has today announced his party’s decision to exit the alliance, about nine months after its formation.
At a press briefing in Lusaka, Thursday, Tembo cited the attitude of some fellow members who did not value the unity of opposition in the country as one of the reasons for his decision.
“As Patriots for Economic Progress, it is not our intention to sit here and argue whether opposition unity is necessary for a 2021 opposition electoral victory or not. However, the difference in opinion regarding the necessity of opposition unity as a prerequisite for a 2021 opposition electoral victory essentially renders our continued participation in the Opposition Alliance redundant. We joined and became a part of the Opposition Alliance with the hope and expectation of assisting each other through the creation of synergy. To the extent that some of the key members of the Opposition Alliance believe that they do not require any assistance, we cannot force ourselves and our assistance on them. Accordingly, we in the Patriots for Economic Progress have taken the decision to withdraw our membership and our participation from the Opposition Alliance with immediate effect,” Tembo said.
He said his party joined the alliance with the view that a united a opposition was necessary if opposition victory was to be actualised but that not everyone shared this vision.
“We in the Patriots for Economic Progress believed that the Opposition Alliance is a vehicle that would benefit all of us, and that since all of us stood to benefit from this vehicle, all of us as individual members of the Alliance would similarly be willing to make certain sacrifices to ensure that this Alliance project succeeds. However as time went by, we in the Patriots for Economic Progress soon came to a realization that our belief regarding the need for opposition unity as a prerequisite for an opposition electoral victory in 2021 was not shared by some of the key members of the Opposition Alliance. It dawned on us that some of our Alliance Members held the belief that they were perfectly capable of winning the 2021 general elections without the need for opposition unity. Their belief regarding the irrelevance of opposition unity as a vehicle for a 2021 electoral victory naturally informed their attitudes towards the Opposition Alliance in general and Alliance members in particular, both explicit and implicit,” he noted.
He, however, thanked fellow members for their hospitality and apologised in advance for differences they might have had with former colleagues in the alliance.
“Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, perhaps this is the right occasion for us to also stress the point that we have an adversarial type of political system in our country. Unfortunately so, l must add. What this means is that in the days, weeks and months ahead, as we seek to advance the political interests of the Patriots for Economic Progress, we may find ourselves stepping on the toes of other political players who may include our brothers and former colleagues in the Opposition Alliance. For that, we wish to apologize in advance. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we wish to take this opportunity to thank our brothers and sisters in the Opposition Alliance for their comradeship and their hospitality during the last 9 months or so. In my individual capacity as PeP President, l must admit that l have learnt quite a lot from the more experienced members of the Opposition Alliance such as President Hakainde Hichilema of UPND, President Chishimba Kambwili of NDC, President Charles Milupi of ADD and President Elias Chipimo of NAREP. To you all, l shall forever remain indebted,” stated Tembo.