We have observed that the Patriotic Front has switched into full campaign mode. The chief executive of the ruling party Mr Davies Mwila and his campaign team is toiling from province to province, trying to mobilise membership.

Recently when he toured Southern Province, Mr Mwila told the local people to join PF saying, “the boat is not yet full and needs more passengers”. Actually, the truth is that the boat is empty but full of daredevils who have chosen to eat until they are fully submerged.

Even President Edgar Lungu has woken up to this reality. He has realised that citizens mean business when they say 2021 is too far for them to wait. We have observed that the Head of State has suspended his fantasy for flying abroad; instead he has hit the ground running ahead of the next presidential race.

We are told that when asked why the President stayed away from the African Union Summit this year, State House explained that the Head of State had more pressing issues to deal with at home. Previously, the President would travel without a clear purpose and spend nights in Swaziland, watching virgin breasts with his entourage – he would not see any pressing issues that needed his attention at home.

But time is running out and they have now seen the unfavourable political footing in the country. That is why everything that the Patriotic Front is doing now has a bearing on 2021. Decisions that the government is now making are based on the ruling party’s desire for re-election.

Even presidential appointments are speaking the same language. No wonder certain regions are being sidelined because the Executive knows that appointing senior public servants from the opposition strongholds would give them access to State resources.

This is by far going to be the longest campaign trail the country has ever seen. Stakes are high in the 2021 general elections.

There is panic in the PF camp; the leadership is seeing bad signs written everywhere they look. Public opinion is not on their side, even when they do what they think is right. They have cleaned the city, but instead of appreciating, the vendors are saying “tukamimona mu 2021”.

What is worse is that the ruling party is not healing from its internal conflicts. The bitterness among aggrieved members is getting more and more ugly as time flies by. The youths have turned to WhatsApp to send their voice podcasts. It’s like this is when they have discovered that they can actually broadcast voice notes using the social media platform.

When you listen to what these PF youths are saying in their voice messages, you can understand why the party leadership is sweating. After some PF youths attacked Chishimba Kambwili’s supporters at Lusaka Central Police, other PF youths vented their anger through podcasts, rebuking their colleagues for accepting to be used by the greedy leadership of the ruling party.

This is the awkward position that the PF has found itself in; their youths are fighting, they want to eat. The civil society is fighting; they want their voice back. Traditional leaders are demanding back their land which the PF sold to bogus investors. Farmers don’t even want to hear any more words from the Minister of Agriculture. The church is fasting and praying for regime change; they are saying ‘enough of the dictatorship’.

Lusaka has ditched the ruling party, even without the opposition being allowed to hold campaign rallies to recruit. Copperbelt is worse because Mwenya Musenge and his team have punched NDC holes in the PF structures.

But President Lungu is not absolutely stupid, as some people may believe. He has seen all this danger coming and it hurts him to imagine that Michael Sata’s mighty Patriotic Front might be kicked out of power under his watch. That is why he has ordered the party structures to embark on a on a vigorous campaign tour, three years ahead of time.

The Head of State knows that his government has made so many blunders. Blunders which, if not watered down, can easily lead to regime change. That is why the PF has embarked on a mitigation campaign, they are trying to launder themselves to the voters before the opposition visits them.

That is why the opposition must not continue sleeping. Our message to the PF rivals is, don’t be left behind. Put on your campaign gear and head out. Go and tell the farmers who has killed agriculture in the country. Go and meet the traditional leaders and assure them that their land will be repossessed from fake investors and PF cadres who shared it among themselves.

Voters ought to know that the people they voted for have spent the last 18 months stealing public resources, travelling, building mansions and driving fancy expensive cars. Most importantly, the opposition must tell citizens what they will do to these criminals in government who are in a looting competition.

We expect the police to allow the UPND, NDC, NAREP and whoever is remaining in FDD, to travel around the country and meet voters the same way that Mr Davies Mwila is doing. Whatever permit has been given to the PF leadership to campaign must be extended to the opposition so that people can hear all voices. That is what democracy entails.

The police may stop the opposition from doing what the PF is doing, because it is common knowledge that they operate under State House orders, but the opposition must come up with all sorts of plans to meet the people. If it means donating books to community school across the country, do it and use the opportunity to meet the voters and campaign. Don’t be fooled into waiting until the President officially declares the campaign season. It is here and it is going down, do not slumber in anger, wake up and fight for your country.