I THOUGHT the PF would would lose the August elections because of power cuts, but now I wonder what campaign themes the opposition will use after President Edgar Lungu has resolved the problem, says FDD leader Edith Nawakwi.
And Chishimba Kambwili has asked President Lungu to recruit other opposition leaders in a partnership that would reduce the number of presidential candidates August 2021 elections.
Speaking during the PF general conference, Nawakwi wondered what magic the President had performed to end loadshedding.
“As we go into this election, we should think about the future of our nation. I, personally, thought that the Patriotic Front were on their way out. There were power cuts, then the high debt. I thought to myself ‘wooh’, I am going to this election saying there are blackouts everywhere. I don’t know what the President has done, all of sudden we have forgotten the power cuts. I am wondering what are going to be the campaign themes for the opposition? I have decided that I think we buttress our campaign, as the Forum for Democracy and Development, on agriculture. A different type of approach to say that you need to change your practices from having food crops to cash crops. I think that if PF does not polish up, I will certainly find that you may be outgoing,” Nawakwi said.
She said in future political parties should hold national conventions were rivals were invited to help resolve problems.
“So, I think that this is very important and we are very grateful as a party. We hope that this is not the first time nor the beginning, but that in future we could have conferences in this country where we as political parties can interact. It has a distinct effect of dissolving tensions. Some of these tensions are man made, some of these tensions are fabricated, some of these tensions are perceived. When some one faces defeat, they try to create a theory that Zambia is not at peace. To our visitors, this is the oasis of peace. We also look forward to political parties developing, growing such as the ANC, such as the Chinese communist party. That will only happen when FDD is in power.”
She said it was disappointing that the country was going to the August election with the current Constitution, which she claimed was against the increase of women MPs in Parliament.
“You see by this time, we would have a new constitution, but for the inability of some of our colleagues to see the purpose of this nation, we are going to go to the next elections under the 2016 Constitution. We had intended in the proposed review of the Constitution that we provide for proportional representation, so that more youths, more women could have come through in the 2021 election. Unfortunately, you all know that the first past the post system is the most cruel system, which is always tipped against the women of Zambia. Across Africa we all agree that, unless we have a change in our constitution makeup of our country, we will not see more women coming forward. So, I do pray that after the 2021 general elections, only members of parliament who are pro women representations must be elected,” said Nawakwi.
And Kambwili said there was need to reduce the number of “unnecessary” presidential candidates.
“What the Patriotic Front has done today is unprecedented in this country. If political parties in Zambia both the opposition and the ruling party were to be inviting each other for functions like this, there could be no political tension in this country. This country is divided into regions politically. There is region A and region B. This year’s election is not about Chishimba Kambwili, it is not about Wynter Kabimba, it is about the red versus the green. I would appeal to my elder brother to reconsider having a meeting where we can, as much as possible, reduce unnecessary presidential candidates, in order to avoid this country to go into wrong hands. I have been there, I have been inside there and when this happens Zambians will regret. I went in there, I came out, it is up to you,” warned Kambwili in apparent reference to the UPND.
Meanwhile Rainbow Party leader Wynter Kabimba urged President Lungu not to pay attention to doom sayers who proclaim violence.
“We all need to work together to maintain peace as we move towards the 2021 presidential and general elections. The duty and responsibility to maintain peace in this country relies on each one of us as Zambians. It doesn’t rely on you alone, it doesn’t lie on the PF, it doesn’t lie on the police but it lies on all of us as Zambians. We shall therefore, join hands with you in maintaining that, as we move towards the 2021 general elections, peace is maintained. Don’t listen to prophets of doom. Those that are psyching our people that there is going to be violence in this election. Zambians are known to be peaceful people. Zambians must reject those prophets of doom. Zambians respect democracy,” said Kabimba.
“Your Excellency, this election is a very peculiar one, I hope you realise that you are going to have two opponents in this election. These two opponents are both your former classmates. The first one is the new president of UNIP, Bishop Trevor Mwamba and the second one is myself. So, your Excellency, forget about the rest and concentrate on the two of us. Here is my prayer, my prayer is that the presidency of this country must remain in our class. Your Excellency, we must guard this presidency jealously.”