Although the People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) are not a clear threat to the Patriotic Front ahead of the 2021 general elections, they are a group of youths worth listening to. The president of this political party sounds like he has the correct measure of reason and we like his school of thought on a number of issues.

Those who are still shocked that Mr Andyford Mayele Banda came out fourth in the 2016 general elections, beating former justice minister Wynter Kabimba, Tilyenji Kaunda of the legendary UNIP, outspoken Saviour Chishimba and of course Peter Sinkamba of the Green Party; should take interest to listen to his debates.

Given the resources that some of these big political parties have, Mr Mayele can perform real magic. What is more encouraging is that he is actually the youngest of all the presidential candidates who took part in the last elections. At only 35 then, the PAC president and his broke leadership proved that what it takes to win an election is the right message and the right packaging.

Why are we eulogizing Mr Mayele today? Well, we like his reaction to the multi-million dollar campaign that the ruling PF has embarked on. You see, when the Patriotic Front started distributing President Edgar Lungu-branded books to pupils and students across the country, we asked the UPND for a reaction. They were very upset, and they vowed that they would also brand Hakainde Hichilema on various materials and donate to school, just like the Head of State was doing.

The National Democratic Congress also reacted angrily saying they would instruct the recipients to tear the books and burn them. We understood the anger, because even now, we believe that the President is imposing his popularity on the citizens.

Today, the PF has stepped up its mischievous philanthropy programme which has already broken the 2011 campaign spending record of Rupiah Banda. Elections are still more than three years away. In-between, anything can happen, and we mean anything, not just losing the eligibility case which is still in court, but anything else can happen. However, the ruling party has already picked it’s candidate in the name of Edgar Chagwa Lungu, painted his face on cars, bicycles, motorbikes, not to mention clothes. These materials are being given out in millions to citizens.

When Mr Mayele Banda was asked for a comment on this matter, he once again inspired us with his wisdom.

“The pictures that we have seen of the PF branded bicycles with the face of Edgar Lungu, plus the distribution of branded books is a clear indication that the PF want to win the next elections at all cost. The PF wants to use money, power to win the next elections. If we want to play their game, I don’t think we can make it. If we are going to brand books, brand bicycles, brand vehicles and all sorts of things, it will be difficult for us,” said Mr Banda.

“As PAC, we believe that the best way is to devise other means of educating the voters because clearly the PF have failed. Now the fact that they have failed means that we should not give them a chance to rule this country. We need to engage in civic education with the voters so that money shouldn’t be the idea [to influence them]. The idea should be the performance indicators, which the PF has failed to meet.”

Mr Mayele Banda is very right. There is no political party in Zambia that has the amount of money (dirty money for that matter) that the PF has. So competition with them cannot work. When you listen to explanations from people like Mumbi Phiri on where they are getting the money from, you would feel insulted. The PF claims they have been organising fundraising events which have earned them enough money to buy the bicycles and cars.

The PF wants the country to believe that the auction sale of worthless items like President Lungu’s hat has generated millions of dollars for the secretariat. But every alert Zambian knows that this is corruption money, taxpayers’ money, public resources. The PF has all the money you can think of, the problem they have is how to spend it.

The PF leadership knows, starting from the National Youth Chairman Mr Stephen Kampyongo all the way to the Vice-President Madam Inonge Wina and her President. They all know in their hearts that in 2011 they didn’t have a fraction of the money they are playing around with today. They moved from company to company begging for financial support to buy fuel for their campaigns.

With the little resources they had, they managed to woo the support of Zambians and remove the corrupt regime of Rupiah Banda. But for whatever reasons, they have taken the same route that the MMD took – thinking their predecessors didn’t spend enough. They think if they start early, Zambians will forget their problems and fall in love.

We agree with Mr Mayele Banda that if anyone wishes to challenge President Lungu and the PF by emulating the distribution of campaign materials, they will fail. The right thing to do is to engage the recipients of these campaign materials into voter education. What Zambians should know is that the PF is giving them what rightly belongs to them; there should be no conditions attached.

We urge the opposition not to be bitter with the PF. It should comfort the UPND, NDC, MMD, FDD, NAREP, Rainbow, PeP and indeed Mr Mayele Banda’s PAC, that the PF has decided to spend corruption money on the poor Zambians. Opposition leaders must encourage Zambians to receive these gifts with both hands and pray that the donations will continue every month for the next three years.

In fact, opposition supporters should join in distributing these materials. Let them not tear or burn the books, they should instead access them and help in giving them to the vulnerable pupils. PF wants every 2021 voter to see Lungu’s face, so help the man.

If the opposition come across PF branded bicycles, they should freely and peacefully ride them to their campaign destinations, point at Lungu’s picture and tell the voters what to do when they hold that ballot paper. Bembas say ukufulunganya lunshi kunya pabili.