CANADIAN-based Zambian lawyer Elias Munshya says the country will face serious problems if there will be no strong opposition.
Speaking when he featured on Radio Phoenix’s Let the People Talk, Friday, Munshya said that for a political party to be viable, it needed to have a regional base.
He added that for PF to be viable going forward, it needed to continue inspiring the regional base that it had, or it would die.
“For a political party to be viable in Zambia, it must have a regional base. If a political party lacks a regional base it can’t survive, that is just common sense. The reason why UNIP survived after 1991 after the defeat was that it had a regional base of Eastern Province. Immediately it lost the regional base of Eastern Province, it died. The Patriotic Front remained a viable opposition because it had a regional base of the north, Bemba areas Luapula. That is how opposition parties remain viable. The UPND remained viable because it had a very strong regional base which is Southern Province and other Zambezi Provinces,” Munshya said.
“For the Patriotic Front to be viable going forward, it also requires quite alright everything that we have mentioned, but it also needs to continue inspiring the regional base that it had. Otherwise, it is going to die. Among the political parties that we have, there is no political party that has a regional base and that is a huge concern. I am just hoping that we are going to find a new political party that is going to, first of all, inspire a section of our country and then build up from that regional section for then aspire to lead the entire country. So, if there is any danger we face right now, it has to do with the very fabric of our democracy, meaning that without a strong opposition we are going to face serious problems.”
Munshya however, expressed doubt that the PF would continue holding on to their regional base
“You see, the UPND managed to survive in opposition for all these years because of the reason I have mentioned here. So, I am very doubtful whether the Patriotic Front will be able to continue holding on to that region, to their own original strength. If they held on to that regional strength, we are going to continue having viable opposition. Without that, we are not going to,” he said.
“The Socialist Party appears to be inspiring a lot of bars, Harry Kalaba’s DP could also be one of those. The MMD remains quite strong in terms of infrastructure and name recognition. I am hoping that it will remain relevant. Otherwise, it is difficult to tell at the moment.”
Meanwhile, Munshya urged the UPND to continue being a truthful and transparent party.
“There is massive expectation, I think people from all around the country have massive expectations. For me what we expect is that the UPND becomes a party that tells the Zambians the truth and puts all the cards on the table. The problem with the previous government is that they lied a lot to the people of Zambia. They hid information from the people of Zambia. They borrowed and over-borrowed without accountability to the people of Zambia. Zambians are willing to sacrifice with their leaders if they see that leaders themselves are sacrificing. So, the UPND must continue to be truthful,” said Munshya.
“We do not expect miracles overnight. No matter how many expectations we have, no matter how many promises the UPND has given us, we are not looking for overnight solutions. One thing we are looking forward to having is a government that tells us the truth. If you have borrowed billions, just tell us the truth, if you are facing challenges tell us the truth, if you are saying we should sacrifice and tighten our belts, we want to see you be the first one to tighten your belts. Not you saying that the government is broke and yet there you go busy buying luxurious planes. I think it hurt our people because on the one hand they saw their own living standards drop and the living standards of their President go up, the living standards of Ministers go up, the living standards of cadres go up, that was inexcusable.”