MATERO PF member of parliament Lloyd Kaziya says winning elections at parliamentary level in 2021 will be more about individual popularity because no one can stop the wind of change.
And Kaziya says it is indiscipline of the highest order for the ruling party to allow aspiring MPs to announce their candidature without following the formal adoption process.
In an interview, Kaziya gave an example of UNIP whose members of parliament won several seats in the 1988 and only to lose them in 1991.
“Let me give you an analogy, in 2016, the party was very popular, whoever stood on the popular party went through. It is the same when MMD was coming into power. If you recall, president Kaunda had to move the (general) election, elections were in 1988. There were UNIP candidates who won with a landslide in 1988, but come 1991, they all lost,” Kaziya said.
“You see, when there is a wind of change, you can’t stop it. When there was a wind of change in 2011, no matter what MMD did, people had made up their minds and whoever was on the wrong side, lost. You must get me clearly there, whoever was on the wrong side, lost. So, this is not about adopting popular people.”
And Kaziya expressed concern that the ruling party was allowing members to start declaring interest in contesting parliamentary seats while the incumbent MPs were still actively in office.
He also cautioned that the adoption of perceived popular candidates at constituency level was not a guarantee that the ruling party would win the forthcoming general election next August, as history showed that past regimes had crumbled despite having adopted popular parliamentary candidates.
“Issues of adoption, people should not play to the gallery of political whims because you know, if you observed the patterns in 2016, it was not about a popular candidate unless in certain cases where the residents strongly feel that, ‘we don’t want this one,’ then an independent becomes popular because you see, parties can make mistakes. If you are not liked by the party secretariat, it doesn’t mean that you are not popular on the ground. That is a misconception and those who want to play politics in that way, they will be very disappointed. That is a warning I can actually give that if the party does not listen to the people on the ground, it is not about who you like or who you don’t like,” Kaziya said.
“You see, if the secretary general (Davies Mwila) doesn’t like me, it doesn’t mean that I can’t win the election, far from it; they don’t know how I interact with the community. They don’t know what I hear from the ground. So, it is not for the SG to decide who should be adopted, no, it is up to the party and the populace. The population comes first and the party, second; individuals, last, because you may think that you are punishing someone and yet you are making the party unpopular.”
He said the ruling party needed a strategy to protect incumbent MPs because they were the reason the party won the 2016 general election.
“I am actually perplexed to see the amount of indiscipline the party is allowing to allow people to start declaring interest when there is an incumbent. I mean, that is total indiscipline because the party must have a strategy. It is not everybody who should come and challenge the incumbent to say, ‘no, I am standing’. There are a lot of applicants there. We are not saying we should not be challenged, no,” Kaziya said.
“There are a lot of applicants who want to try their luck and stand as MPs and stand for the position they want. The party must have a strategy to protect the incumbent. Whether popular or not popular, those are people who have made the party win. So, they must not play around with the incumbent. The party must protect its own incumbency. Where they feel the candidate has not done very well, this is where you help a candidate, bringing them closer by talking to them and helping them to perform.”
He said he would not allow illegalities in his constituency because he stood for the truth.
“I, as Kaziya, I have stood for truth, I have stood for the people and I have said I am not going to allow illegalities, I am not going to tolerate cadres taking the law into their own hands. If that has made me unpopular amongst my party, then I have no apologies. If people can’t see what I stand for, I am not a corrupt person; I am a person that has stayed in the compound even when I was Minister, I stayed with my people and I still stay with my people. If people are going to be imported from Kabulonga [or] wherever to come and stand in Matero, they will be taught a lesson,” Kaziya said.
“People are able to tell our characters, they are able to see who is amassing wealth and who is not amassing wealth. We can be getting the same salaries; others are richer than [us]. They didn’t come with the wealth. We all went with politics with what we have, but people are able to differentiate who we are. That is the benchmark for modern politics: to know who is being honest with the people. We have seen leaders amassing wealth and you may think people are foolish and are not seeing through what they are doing. People are watching us and we cannot hide through political rhetoric.”
He argued that it was careless to call an MP non-performing when they were not being aided by government agencies to bring about development in the constituency.
“I have heard these stories where people are saying, ‘non-performing MPs, this and that,’ who makes an MP perform? We have people like Jack Mwiimbu (Monze Central UPND member of parliament), who have been in Parliament for four terms, does he perform in his constituency if he is not assisted by projects by government? So, if Kaziya has not been assisted with roads, if he has not been given projects in Matero, you call him non-performing? If Kabwata has more than 200 metres of bitumen standard township roads, who is being assisted between Kabwata constituency and Matero constituency? So, a person who is being assisted with government projects in terms of road network, in terms of developmental projects is popular and he is performing? So, they must be very careful with this word,” said Kaziya.
“So, these issues of being careless with the talk to say, ‘non-performing,’ an MP is just a mouthpiece of the people, he must talk to government agencies to bring development. If government agencies are not helping that particular MP, then you must regard him as non-performing? Sometimes, being loud is not politics. Adoption is not dependent on the party, it is the people who should see who should represent them. So, if the party is becoming unpopular, even if you are popular, you can go down with the party.”
So far, the PF in Kabwata constituency have unveiled popular businessman Danny Yenga to succeed incumbent Given Lubinda following the August, 2021, general election.