PARTY of National Unity and Progress (PNUP) president Highvie Hamududu fears that if money remains a basis upon which Zambians elect people to public office, then very soon a drug dealer will become the President of the country.
Hamududu also says one cannot be participating in elections with a very unclear manifesto, or even without one.
Hamududu says winning an election without offering clear policies to voters is synonymous with fraud.
He confirmed that he will contest as the President of Zambia in August this year.
Hamududu, an economist, is a former Bweengwa UPND member of parliament, (2006 to 2016).
“We are contesting! The issue is that political parties should be formed to offer something. It doesn’t matter whether you are big or what; what matters is the idea,” Hamududu, who has been running the PNUP since May 2017, said in an interview.
“It’s not easy but any political party started from there. Remember, PF began with one MP and people were even laughing at president Sata that he is not normal. But within a period of 10 years we saw him getting into power. So, it’s an idea. Resources could be a problem, yes. As you know this country everything has been monetarised. You must have money! It’s like now political power is a commodity where anyone can buy. You know, that has consequences because if you are going to use money as a basis to vote for people, then very soon we will have a drug dealer as the president. Drug dealers can make billions and so we must not be shocked if we are going to vote for a drug dealer one day.”
He said the basis of voting should be a political party’s manifesto.
“There must be a package of policies that is very clear to the point! From that perspective, we are very ready to participate in this year’s general elections,” Hamududu said.
“But if there is any political party that has any similar thinking like ours, of course, in the future we can always collaborate. We are not averse to working together.”
Hamududu clarified that he could not entirely trash the concept of political parties working together.
“I cannot say that it is not possible for people to work together. The spirit of working together must be promoted; it shows the maturity of our democracy,” he said.
“In any case, if no one crosses the 50 per cent plus one vote barrier this year, people will have to come down their high horses and talk to everybody. That’s when they will know that there is no big or small political party.”
He also said it did not matter how many political parties would contest this year general elections.
“Many people are saying there are too many political parties. But there is nothing wrong with that. At the end of the day there will be a winner. Those who are worried must just pull up their socks,” Hamududu said.
“If you are worried about competition, it means you are not very clear; you don’t think you can marshal support of the country. Competition, for me, is very good. It makes people raise the bar.”
He is dejected that at the moment, political discourse in Zambia has been going down.
Hamududu recalled how the 1991 elections were very exciting.
“[In] 1996 Dr Kaunda was barred and so there was really nothing. But 2001 we went up; there was so much competition to where the one who is believed to have won (Levy Mwanawasa) got 29 per cent and our president (Anderson Mazoka) – that time I was in UPND – got 27 per cent,” he explained.
“That competition itself made Mwanawasa perform because he was sitting on a hot seat. He needed to get legitimacy and as the ruling party you can only get legitimacy by delivering to the needs of the people. You saw a man they called all sorts of names – cabbage and what have you… But today the same chaps who were saying all those things are the ones who are eulogising him that he was a good president.”
Hamududu said people never learnt from history.
“People must read history; you can’t just appear from nowhere and be a saviour. Even Jesus, our overall saviour, had a history. He came from the Father! As human beings we must be very clear to understand history of where we are coming from and we must learn from history,” he said.
“I can tell you that in 2015, 2016 elections, there were no issues. The more we raise the bar now, that’s when people will wake up and begin to offer something clearer.”
He added that what a political party offered was a social contract – a manifesto.
“You can’t be participating in elections with a very unclear manifesto. People can’t vote for you as a little ‘Jesus’ and trust you. Human beings are all human beings; there must be a document through which people can hold you accountable. We are all human beings and we are all fallible. No human being must be trusted 100 per cent,” Hamududu said.
“So, what we need is to have all political parties with a very clear manifesto. People should vote for you based on what you are offering. If you win an election without a clear policy, that is fraud, because when you are in power you will begin to do whatever you want.”
He said people could not surrender their sovereignty to an individual without a national plan.
“Even myself should be very clear with my offer to the Zambian people. As political contestants, we must all use “if” because no one is supposed to be, unless you are chosen to be the ideal president,” he said.
Hamududu pledges that his government will form an 18 member Cabinet.
“That’s clear in our manifesto,” he said.
“In agriculture we shall implement an export-driven agriculture. We will not close the borders for exports, because export is the secret of expansion of any production of the country. No one can stand up and argue against that.”
He further promises that his government will find a solution to the current high cost of mealie meal.
“We have said that to deal with the issue of high mealie meal, in the initial period, we shall take the national food security item to the Ministry of Defence,” Hamududu explained.
“Through an agency like the Zambia National Service, we can grow enough food for national food security so that the issue of cheaper mealie meal is addressed from that perspective.”
He also commits that his government will operationalise agricultural diversification, from maize.
“We must practically diversify our agriculture but the easier crop which can make the farmer grow quickly is maize. Maize farming has now been known by everybody. Even people in Lusaka are growing maize under pylons,” he said.
“We have comparative advantage in maize production and we can be the number one supplier of maize and mealie meal into Congo DR. But we should bring in other cash crops.”
Hamududu further spoke about broad land titling in the country, as a panacea for improved commercial farming.
“Let us title land across the country, including traditional land. I’m from the royal family and I believe that it is achievable to title land, including traditional land. That way, we can have people doing commercial farming on titled land in all parts of this country,” said Hamududu.