UPND, respect alliance partners

All People’s Congress (APC) party president Mr Nason Msoni is a perfect example of a Facebook politician. Very few Zambians have the slightest clue where his party secretariat is, who are his members, not to mention the leadership structures. As a matter of fact, he often spends his time abroad, making it even harder for his followers (if he has any) to meet him for planning and strategy.

But we have observed that this particular politician has a very astute niche for current affairs. His 24/7 presence on social media seems to be giving him an upper-hand in analyzing political situations. This is the reason why, even if he does not command the largest following, it is very difficult to ignore his political commentary.

Last week, president Msoni made very interesting observations about the newly-formed opposition alliance, which we think the leaders of this coalition must take interest in digesting. President Msoni’s concern was that one of the alliance members, the UPND, has been undermining the relevance of the other partners, given that they are already saying they don’t need the help of the coalition to win the 2021 elections.

His observation came shortly after Northern Province UPND chairperson Nathan Illunga declared that the opposition party would not allow any member of the alliance to become a running mate to Hakainde Hichilema because they already have their own Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba whom they are not willing to change.

“When it comes to going into an election, I don’t think we are going into an election as an alliance because for us in the UPND, we have already adopted president Hakainde Hichilema as our presidential candidate and his running mate is GBM, and we are not prepared to change! In 2016, we were only beaten by a very small margin. So, we are capable of winning an election in 2021 as UPND alone,” boasted Illunga.

Our Facebook president, Nason Msoni, says this kind of pomposity, disregard for others and demeaning attitude from the UPND defeats the very essence of forming a political alliance. He doesn’t think such careless statements can inspire those leaders that are willing to come together to offer proper checks and balances to the government.

“This is just a word of caution because such statements, which are being issued by our friends have got the effect of pushing away political parties and supporting the other faction to prove a point, which will be most unfortunate under the circumstances. So, when we talk about our fellow opposition parties, we have to be a little courteous. An election is almost two and half years away and in the life of politics, one day is a long time, dynamics change. So, to imagine that you are the only one who is an alternative, I think it’s very dangerous,” warned president Msoni.

We cannot agree more with the observation from this political leader. Call him an armchair critic if you wish, but his point is accurate and valid. With this kind of approach from the UPND, we cannot blame president Msoni for refusing to follow the wind and staying away from this alliance.

The UPND has to be a little more considerate when it is talking about the relevance of other alliance partners in this coalition. Like we said in our previous editorial opinion on this topic; a vibrant opposition is as good as an efficient government. In supporting the formation of this alliance, we advised the members to have the interests of the people at heart and not front their desperate desire to govern at all costs.

“People want a government of leaders who are willing to sacrifice their personal interests, leaders who genuinely love this country, take advice, tolerate criticism, respect the provisions of the Constitution and have the capacity to unite the country,” we stated in our opinion.

“The responsibility of changing government is not bestowed on the opposition, but the people who desire to be governed differently. When citizens feel the existing government is too corrupt, oppressive and failing to uphold the rule of law, it becomes their duty to take it down. But in order to bring about positive change in government, the electorate needs to be convinced that the people who are seeking office are not motivated by greed.”

Don’t get us wrong. There is nothing wrong with the UPND campaigning as an individual party or seeking to form government alone, and no one has the right to stop them from doing that. But when this political party is in an alliance with other partners, and these partners have adopted a position that they will be willing to support Hakainde Hichilema if he becomes the alliance candidate in 2021, then it is a clear lack of wisdom for the UPND to say they will not bend to support any other running mate other than GBM.

What this means in essence is that the UPND wants to use the alliance partners as a stepping stone to getting into power, without giving back anything in return. This type of greed is what is giving relevance to the attack that the alliance is receiving from PF media director Sunday Chanda.

In our view, the UPND needs to warn its members to behave if they need the respect of other alliance partners. Let them take a ‘chill pill’ and stop dreaming that their ascendance to power in 2021 is already guaranteed. They may be the biggest opposition political party, but they must not think their alliance partners are foolish. In fact, UPND must very carefully apply logical sense and realize that each of their alliance members is a potential enemy, should they frustrate them out of this union. It happened to them in 2011 and it can happen to them again. If this comes to pass, the UPND will have more than just the PF to deal with. #Imbwili.

         

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