PROFESSOR Nkandu Luo says the Patriotic Front needs to face the people of Zambia and apologise for the wrongs committed by some members of the former ruling party.
And Prof Luo says Zambia needs a Nelson Mandela who will not try to settle old political scores, but instead focus on uniting the country.
Meanwhile, Prof Luo says now is not the right time for her to declare if she has presidential ambitions because she feels the Patriotic Front’s focus should be on ensuring that when they are voted back into office in 2026, they do not repeat the mistakes of 2011 to 2021.
In an interview, Wednesday, Prof Luo, who was former president Edgar Lungu’s running mate, said she was actively participating in the politics of the country which would bring about total transformation.
“What Zambia requires today is a Nelson Mandela, somebody who will come to say regardless of what happened to me yesterday, I want to move the country forward and I’m not going to settle old scores, I am going to move the country forward because in life, all of us go through a lot of injustices and so I’m not going to sit and say no because I faced this injustice therefore then I have to settle old scores, no. So for me, that is the narrative that is preoccupying my mind. How do I mobilise the country around this thinking that all of us have a role to play in this country, especially the members and sympathisers of the Patriotic Front so that when we are voted back into office in 2026, we don’t repeat the mistakes of 2011 to 2021 , that’s my preoccupation. So right now you can talk to those who are presidential aspirants but for me, I’m moving the country forward and actively participating in the politics of Zambia that will bring a total transformation of Zambia,” she said.
Asked whether presidential ambitions were not on her mind, Prof Luo said; “No, no, no, I am not discussing that. I have told you what I am all about. You asked me a question, ‘are you actively participating in politics?’ And that’s the answer I just finished that the politics I am participating in are politics of critical thinking and transformation and appreciating that Zambia has too much wealth for us to be preoccupied with individuals but to be preoccupied with the country.”
Asked whether she would contest the PF presidency, Prof Luo said the party required a lot of reorganisation.
“I can’t discuss things like that. The party right now needs reorganisation, I think that’s what we should focus on as a party. I’m saying the party requires a lot of reorganisation, that is my answer, so I don’t want to be in such discussions. It’s like when you are building a house, you can’t start talking about the roof,” she said.
“When you decide to build a house, you cannot start talking about the roof before you start talking about the pillars and other things. We just came out of a very humiliating defeat and we have done a postmortem as a party and we have identified what made us lose elections, so right now my focus is on how we deal with the issues that have been raised in the postmortem and then other things will follow later.”
Prof Luo said those who were declaring their presidential ambitions had the right to do so, but personally, her focus was different.
“In life, you should not compare yourself with others, you should be yourself. The moment you start those comparisons, you will end up in a ditch. So me I’m me. My feeling right now is that what we need as a party is to focus on dealing with some of the issues and reorganising ourselves. That is my focus and that is my thinking as Nkandu Luo. In a democratic society, everybody is entitled to their own opinion and so there are those that think that at this point, they should declare their presidential ambitions and also they are entitled to that opinion. For me and many others, we think that we should deal with issues in the postmortem,” she said.
And Prof Luo said there was need to change the narrative that PF was full of monsters.
“I think some of the things that are usually said are more things that happened in Lusaka than anywhere else. The issue of carderism for example were more prominently in Lusaka and maybe the Copperbelt. So it is easy for us to deal with them. It is a matter of us creating opportunities of information sharing about the dos and don’ts and the best way to behave when you are in authority. So there are little things you can deal with but big in that they affect people’s lives. There is a need to go back to the people and apologize and say it was not the entire PF but maybe those of us who were in leadership overlooked correcting the behavior of our people. It is very important to change the narrative of this country that we were not monsters, we were actually good people but maybe one or two, three people may have brought the kind of narrative that has come to Zambia,” she said.
“You hear my statements from time to time and I’m very much into organising the Patriotic Front. I was president Lungu’s running mate and so it is very very important to save our party and do things here and there that people may have overlooked but were hurting Zambians. I want to be part of the team that will bring hope to the Zambians. I know the press exaggerates a lot of these things, I was just reading an article a while ago where they were describing the PF and I’m saying to myself is this the PF that I know? But that person is entitled to that opinion and if he does not like PF, obviously he will make it a monster.”
She said people needed to realise that the country couldn’t change just because of having a new President.
“We need to change the narrative of thinking that if you change the President then things will be good in Zambia. That narrative must come to an end and that’s why you are calling me to ask for my presidential ambitions because people think if Luo declares then you know, no, no, no. Things in Zambia are going to change when we as Zambians come together and decide that we need to change the country and changing the country goes beyond an individual, it is team work of people of the right mind that start thinking big, people who realise that this country has so many resources, this is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. So how does each and everyone of us participate to make Zambia great?…Once you start seeing that step, then you won’t even see this narrative of people today, they were yesterday demonising people and then next day they are saying this is the best thing that has simply because they are looking after their stomachs. I think we need to go beyond the politics of the stomach and go to the politics of this great country that God has endowed with so much,” she said.
Prof Luo argued that PF was still the party of choice.
“I’ve travelled around the country and one thing that is clear everywhere you go at community level, regardless of the opinion of those that are blogging, is that PF is a revered party and it has a lot of following and everybody is just wondering, what happened, why did we lose? So at the moment, our focus should be how do we reorganise ourselves, bring hope to our membership and the people of Zambia that support us. Other things will follow later. This comparison of saying because this one is doing this and so I should do this can throw you into the ditch. I’m very grateful president Lungu gave me the opportunity to run as his running mate. I’m very grateful because it has exposed me to a lot of things and that has also exposed me to a country politically and therefore I know what the people of Zambia are looking for,” said Prof Luo.