It is difficult to ignore Miles Sampa’s continued fall from grace. In fact it is quite touching to see a young, enterprising Zambian politician lose esteem and integrity in a blink of an eye. How did an upcoming star politician with so much going for him become a nobody; a political nonentity?

Miles Sampa was the closest contender to the PF presidency; either him or Edgar Lungu was going to take over from Michael Sata. They both seemed to be equal contenders as they battled to the extent of dividing the ruling party – Inonge Wina leading the Edgar Lungu faction and Guy Scott pushing the Miles Sampa agenda. Several people within and outside PF felt sad after the much younger, less controversial presidential aspirant lost the bid to be on the ballot paper. But look at the decisions that the much younger, less controversial ‘candidate’ has made in just one year. Where did he go wrong?

First, when resigning from government, Miles said he was tired of living lavishly as a (deputy) minister and he wanted to be with the poor people of Zambia and Matero Constituency in particular. He said as minister he would go and have lunch at plush hotels, change vehicles and employ maids at government expense – a lifestyle he said was not good for him and for any other leader in a poor country like Zambia. He made sense even though everybody knew that he was bullshitting.

When resigning from the PF the Matero MP said “My decision comes as a result of the intolerance, hate, vengeance and violent conduct towards party members; including those who supported me at the Kabwe convention in 2014. As a firm believer of peace and democracy, I feel a number of people were not and have not been accorded the right to express themselves freely and that, in itself has created disharmony from within. The current PF, in looks and conduct, reminds me of the MMD of 2011 that instilled fear in the general public. I choose to disassociate myself from such a grouping and wish them well.”
Again, we feel that was a brilliant farewell message for a politician who seemed to have eyes affixed on future prospects of leading the country.

When Miles Sampa formed a political party, he became a certain threat to the bigger existing political parties. PF even went to the extent of influencing the failure by Miles to register the Democratic Front, but he succeeded to form the United Democratic Front, which propelled him to the leadership of the Orange Alliance. He was respected enough for Eric Chanda and Elias Chipimo to pave way for him. Miles was slowly getting on top of things until his exposed opportunistic affair with UPND threw him off tangent.

We say Miles exposed his greediness and opportunism with UPND because after Hakainde Hichilema failed to form government, Sampa the great was devastated. He lost political direction. For the first time we saw that all the statements he had made about hating lavish lifestyles and distancing himself from the PF violence, was nonsense.

From vying for the party and republican presidency, Miles was reduced to a nonentity begging for mere membership back in the PF. As if that was not enough, the PF had to humiliate him further by demanding a written application for him to rejoin the party. How does a politician manage to finish himself so quickly? No doubt Miles Sampa broke the hearts of many young people who looked up to him.

We are not saying this is the end of Miles Sampa, he is very capable of reclaiming his spot in future when he is done embarrassing himself; and when he gets back to his senses, we will be here to provide him coverage because he has the right to be heard just like the other politicians we are covering.

We are concerned about the future of Miles Sampa because we have seen him work for this country before. He has proved to the people of Matero Constituency that when his stomach lets the head to do the thinking, he can perform wonders. There was a time when no one could talk ill about Sampa in Lusaka? He was a star; he was Miles ahead of the rest in terms of positioning himself for future leadership of this country, but his intriguing appetite has cost him so much more than just integrity. Today if he stood in Matero, he could possibly win, but voters would have to think twice, unlike two years ago when he had total influence.

We are asking “how can we help Miles Sampa” because Zambia can’t afford to lose such great young talent. We say this because our political space is dominated by much older politicians who are preparing for retirement. Those in government are preoccupied with accruing more and more power while those seeking to form government have no entrepreneurship ideas to share with the younger generation, unless they ascend to power. They hardly understand the frustrations of a 21st centaury jobless youth. It’s people like Miles Sampa who can think of “MetroCab” and similar such enterprising initiatives for youth empowerment.

We need more serious young politicians who have the capacity to take-on older political party leaders. Of course we need wisdom from the veterans, but remotely. Just like Rupiah Banda is providing guidance to PF from outside, or like Vernon Mwaanga is mentoring the UPND without a portfolio. Young politicians like Miles Sampa need to claim their space now and stop begging for jobs through praise singing. If the young political players fail to sacrifice and ignore the rumbling stomachs, it means this generation will never produce sensible leaders because our love for money is indescribable.