UNIVERSITY of Zambia lecturer Dr Sishuwa Sishuwa says a “Hichilema-Kambwili” combination on the ballot paper will be enough to defeat the ruling Patriotic Front and deliver victory for the opposition next year, provided Bill 10 fails.
In an interview, Saturday, Dr Sishuwa observed that PF was afraid of the success of the UPND-NDC alliance and that they were determined to destroy it.
“I think a [Hakainde] Hichilema – [Chishimba] Kambwili ticket will be enough to defeat PF and deliver victory for the opposition if Bill 10 collapses. Hichilema may still win on his own, but needs a broader coalition to effectively deal with the possible rigging. Kambwili brings support from the Copperbelt and also useful networks in the government, crucial to effectively dealing with rigging. In contrast, politicians like Harry Kalaba, Sean Tembo, Charles Milupi or Andyford Banda bring comparatively less political value to the coalition.
“It is important to be pragmatic in politics. A serious politician in opposition politics who wants to enact positive change once in government first has to win state power. The strategy that they employ to win power may be dictated by the circumstances or context and does not have to be similar to the strategy of governing. The PF are so afraid of the prospects of a Hichilema-Kambwili presidential ticket that they are determined to undermine its creation through a threefold strategy,” he said.
Dr Sishuwa noted that the ruling party was trying to lure Kambwili back to PF or have him convicted.
“The PF’s first strategy is to lure Kambwili back to the ruling party. This is unlikely to work: l don’t see Kambwili returning to the PF fold as long as Lungu remains President. The second strategy rests on the expectation that the courts will convict Kambwili on one of his ongoing cases and have him disqualified from running for election. This, too, won’t work because Article 100 of Zambia’s constitution only disqualifies a citizen from being nominated for election as president or running mate if they are serving a prison sentence or have served a jail term of not less than 3 years in the preceding 5 years. The implication here is that even if Kambwili is convicted by the Magistrate’s Court, he can appeal to the High Court and if necessary to the Court of Appeal, and finally to the Supreme Court. It is close to impossible that these appeal processes will be exhausted before the August 2021 election for him to be serving a prison sentence,” Dr Sishuwa argued.
“The other strategy the PF could use to undermine the UPND-NDC alliance is to bar Kambwili or Hichilema himself using Bill 10. In particular, Bill 10 seeks to amend Article 266 of Zambia’s constitution to insert a new term, “legally disqualified”, defined as “a disqualification by a court or quasi-judicial body established by law”. If Bill 10 is passed and enacted into law, this provision could be used to disqualify a citizen seeking nomination for election to ANY elective public office including President or Vice President. The provision gives a judge or tribunal the unfettered power to bar a prospective candidate to elective public office on ANY ground that the presiding judge or tribunal can dream of. This, too, won’t work is Bill 10 collapses, as it must,” stated Dr Sishuwa.
Asked if some of Kambwili’s actions when he served in government would work against the alliance, Dr Sishuwa said that assessing a minister’s performance was a subjective matter.
“In the absence of measurable standards to assess the performance of ministers, it is difficult to provide a fair analysis of Kambwili’s record in government, when he worked as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Labour, Minister of Youth and Sports and Minister of Information. It is much easier and perhaps more helpful to assess his record as Roan MP, since voters consistently returned him to Parliament, and supported his NDC”.