OPPOSITION United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema’s followers took to social media to express their dissatisfaction at his silence over the party’s loss in the just ended local government by-elections.
On Friday morning, Hichilema shared a post on his Facebook page which read “the youth are saying ‘Bally will fix it,’ and many are saying, ‘how?’ Pay close attention my friends, as I’ll continue to elaborate on how we will fix Zambia together.”
And later that night, he shared another post which read “The future of our country is bright because nothing can shake our collective determination to deliver ourselves from our undeserved struggles. Have a great weekend!”
But his followers, who did not seem excited by these posts, took turns advising him to improve his style of politics as others castigated his practice of ignoring important matters like the perceived loss of base in UPND strongholds.
The following are some of the comments on Hichilema’s two posts, by press time.
Trisha Whites: “Us Facebook disgruntled youths we don’t even have voter’s cards…The pipo (people) who vote are in remote areas, they don’t even have smart phones. Anyway, continue making memes and comedies on social media to entertain us, as we are waiting to be employed by the government.”
Matthew Nyumbu: “These elaborations need to reach even the most remote places in Zambia. We can’t afford to have PF in power after 2021 due to ignorance of electorates, that will be the end of Zambia.”
Temba M’gabadeli Deliz Kamocha: “Can you please change some of the individuals leading your party. Those guys are failing us. Come out from those comfort homes and visit Western Province in person to get firsthand information [on] why we are losing every by-election. Those guys around you are cheating you boss.”
Thabo Maz: “Mr Hichilema and your team work on the grassroots, otherwise those good programs you have will go under the bridge careful. I’m in Magodi, UPND is nowhere to be seen.”
Frank Musonda Nkole: “Bally our determination can’t be shaken but my concerns is on the selection of candidates to contest and serve in these various political positions. How is it done? Because it seems most of these pipo (people) are not much known by their pipo (people) because they don’t share the same struggle. Try and look into this issue sir coz it’s now becoming so costly. #Bally2021.”
Mulanda Squared: “Bally am not happy with the way we performed in the just ended ward by elections. We need to do more on grass root level if we were to win 2021 general elections, am scared.”
Burasa Gashema Phiri: “I think you ought to take your losses in the by elections. The audience on social media is mostly convinced. It’s the people in the rural areas and the people with no social media presence. That’s where you have always performed badly.”
Handson Gondwe: “President HH, be magnanimous enough to do some introspection on your campaign strategies due to the loss you have gotten from Western Province. It now seems to be a trend losing from your strong hold.”
Hon Fred Kabombo Chansa: “Yes u can fix it bally and u have done that all across the line of rail. The elite know exactly what they need. So don’t waste your time across the line of rail. My advice is that you go flat out in the rural areas. Preach well to the people and come 2021, the UPND team will be smiling. All the best Sir. If you need my services am available.”
And in his response to these comments, Saturday morning, Hichilema assured his followers that he had heard their concerns and seen their comments, committing to do everything possible to work on them.
“Today I wish to briefly discuss the issues surrounding our performance, especially in Western Province in the by-elections that took place two days ago. To our supporters in Western Province, we wish to say we may not be happy with the outcome, but we acknowledge your groans and hear your concerns and will strive to attend to them with utmost urgency. This we promise you. To our gallant voters that gave us victory and significant inroads in areas which not too long ago, would have been impossible to penetrate, we say thank you! We shall visit you too and thank you personally. Please continue supporting our crusade in bringing economic emancipation, justice and equality to our nation that has been captured by thieves and criminals,” stated Hichilema in another Facebook post.
“To the rest of the citizens that are bearing the brunt of the mismanagement of public affairs and massive corruption of the PF, we urge you to continue being resolved and focused in your concerted efforts to dislodge this corrupt government come next year. Do not be discouraged and give in to the treacherous agenda of thieves that have looted our treasury to near bankruptcy, by agreeing to the crumbs they are throwing at you. Eyes on the ball fellow citizens! There’s plenty of work to be done and everyone has a role to play. Let’s not settle for less but total victory against dictatorship, corruption and the abuse against the public good.”
Meanwhile, in a statement issued by State House Spokesperson Isaac Chipampe, Saturday, President Edgar Lungu congratulated his Patriotic Front (PF) for winning 10 out of the 15 by-elections held in Western, North-Western and Luapula Provinces on Thursday.
“President Edgar Lungu has congratulated all political parties that participated in the Thursday, 30th July, 2020, local government by-elections. The President has paid glowing tribute to the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) for winning 10 of the 15 by-elections conducted in North Western, Western and Luapula Provinces. President Lungu also congratulated the five candidates from the opposition who won the elections. The President has also commended all parties for their peaceful conduct during the campaigning and the voting. ‘This is as it should be. At the end of the day we are one, no matter the political differences and the different political parties sponsoring us. I wish to salute all PF structures and all members at grassroots for sticking to issue-based campaigns founded on the PF’s developmental agenda.” The President called for discipline and unity of purpose among party members,” stated Chipampe.