The Patriotic Front may no longer be interested in listening to the radical voice of Mr Kelvin Bwalya Fube because of the reforms that he is calling for in the ruling party, but the learned lawyer makes very interesting observations which are full of lessons even to us outsiders.
On Monday, Mr Fube took a bite on the on-going debate on whether the Patriotic Front picked the right candidate for the mayoral election in Lusaka. He could not state whether Miles Sampa was the best among those who applied, but pledged to give him a vote as a way of showing loyalty and solidarity to the Central Committee choice.
“I am a disciplined member of the PF, when the central committee adopts a candidate, I trust they’ve done their homework. We’ve got party members today who are loyal to the PF who remained and who feel hurt and want to behave like the brothers in that prodigal son story in the Bible. We should not be bitter because Miles has been picked above those who are loyal, if those who remained in the party to be loyal, are not capable in the eyes of the central committee, we can’t fault the central committee. If they think Miles is the best candidate as they decided, let’s respect that decision,” said Mr Fube.
“My challenge to Miles Sampa is that I hope he comes to his senses and realises the importance of this party. Miles was more related to Mr Sata than myself, he betrayed ba Sata but the party has forgiven him. We as a membership has forgiven him. Miles Sampa owes us as PF loyalty, he owes us delivery as a candidate. Miles must know that we have our eyes on him and we are watching.”
To our ears, that was a petition to the PF Central Committee that the party leadership needs to be more considerate when promoting members and adopting candidates. We interpreted Mr Fube’s remarks as a plea for help on behalf of the languishing PF youths who keep praying that one day soon, they will begin to climb the hierarchy.
Indeed, there are many youths in the Patriotic Front who risk their lives everyday as they endeavor to protect the interests of the party. They work so hard with loyalty and commitment, hopping that their efforts could be rewarded some day.
Examples of such youths are many, but we would like to pick one name that most of our readers can relate with. Brian Hapunda. What did this PF youth do to that party that is so unforgivable? We don’t want to open old wounds, but we recall the role that Hapunda played on finance mobilization in the run up to President Lungu’s election in 2015. He has campaigned vigorously for the party in almost every general and by-election. Can the PF claim that he is not in good standing? We don’t think so.
Unlike Hapunda who feeds his family from his tomato plantation and other private businesses, there are other youths who actually don’t have lives outside the PF. They feed from causing mayhem in the city whenever called upon to do so.
We see these youths controlling taxi ranks at Northmead, Crossroads and Long Acres, among other hotspots where they have planted PF flags, waiting for the President, Ministers, secretary general and other bosses to pass by and buy them lunch and beer. Some of these youths are well-qualified graduates, but because Zesco and other parastatals have already been filled with relatives of the top party leadership, they have remained on the streets hustling.
They even call each other commanders and generals of the party’s security wing. In their military fatigues they drink away their sorrows as they await the next by-election to feed from it.
We have observed that whenever these youths offer themselves for elective positions in the party, they get sidelined. In the recent adoption process of the mayoral candidate, a majority of them applied, but the front-runners were those who had betrayed the party. Why?
It seems that is how things work in PF. It actually says a lot about the leadership of the party which is also running our government affairs. There is no morality and there are no guiding principals to national leadership. It’s a government of political expedience, where those who are more amenable to corruption and other illegal practices get rewarded faster.
It has not started now and it will not end here. We remember that when President Lungu started courting Dora Siliya, Chishima Kambwili who was then chief government spokesperson protested, saying he would rather sell his soul to the devil than eat from the same table with the Petauke Central member of parliament, whom he accused of insulting Michael Sata.
Look at where Dora is today. She is sitting exactly in the same chair that Kambwili was sitting, drawing the same allowances, drinking the same tea while the man who was loyal to the party is fighting his diabetes and injecting his insulin from outside government.
So, Mr Fube is right when he says some loyal members were hurt by the choice of mayoral candidate that the Central Committee made. We can add that, in order to get recognized in the PF, it seems one has to be loyal to an individual in the top brass, and not necessarily the establishment. To be adopted, you need someone who can push for you at State House.
In fact, as outsiders, we have observed a pattern that, apart from new comers, it is those that leave the party and rejoin who are getting rewarded more handsomely. We can guess that if Prof Nkandu Luo will lose her parliamentary seat for Munali, Mr Antonio Mwanza will be among the top contenders for adoption ahead of the by-election.
We are interested to hear an explanation from the secretary general, Mr Davies Mwila, because we have seen that the leaders that the PF produces end up leading the rest of us.
Does he want all the loyal and respectable members to first resign from the party, join the opposition, insult President Lungu and the entire PF leadership, then go back and apologise before he can realise their value?