People who read the news can’t even remember the names of candidates who are contesting the Roan and Bahati parliamentary by-elections because the on-going campaigns are not about them. There is no dialogue being held between political parties and the electorate. Campaigns have been reduced to road shows for comedy roasting and name-calling.
We have observed that so far, almost all political parties have failed to sell their candidates. There is no manifesto being shared, no plans about what they want to do for the people if elected. As for the top three contenders: PF, UPND and NDC, they have turned this into a presidential campaign rather than parliamentary.
Let’s take Roan Constituency, for example. When you listen to what is being discussed at the campaign rallies, Honourable Chishimba Kambwili’s camp is focusing more on de-campaigning President Edgar Lungu and his alleged criminality. This is being done at the expense of explaining to Roan residents, how the National Democratic Congress candidate is better suitable to represent voters in Parliament, compared to that of the Patriotic Front.
KAMBWILI: “Even if you bring a witchdoctor like (Freedom) Sikazwe, the one with white hair at State House, there is nothing he can do! Because some people are not Ministers, they are witchdoctors for the President! A person’s worth is seen by the company he keeps. If someone plays with fools, drunkards and prostitutes, even the wife will be insulting him together with his friends, but if you play with wise people who have been giving you good advice, even your wife will be asking if your friend is not seen in a long time. Now, look at Sikazwe. ‘Bushe Mwalimwishiba Sikazwe? Wena I think afolela pakuseka, nangu ba President baimya ukulu ninshi naseka (Do you know who Sikazwe is? He is the man who gets paid for laughing, even when the president just lifts his leg, he will start laughing).”
There is more of this language from the opposition NDC leader targeting the PF leadership than there should be. In our view, Honourable Kambwili, being outgoing member of parliament, could spend more time pointing at the development that he has delivered to the people in Roan and telling the people how he would like those projects to be carried on by his candidate. We are sure a lot of residents in the constituency would be interested to hear this than Sikazwe’s witchcraft and Lungu’s unquenchable thirst for Jameson, which everyone already knows about.
On the other hand, the Patriotic Front campaign team led by Honourable Richard Musukwa and Honourable Bowman Lusambo has also focused on assassinating Kambwili’s character instead of responding to the complaints from the voters in Luanshya.
MUSUKWA: Kambwili is just an undisciplined prodigal son. Those members who are following him will be shocked! I am surprised at the politics of the UPND [and I think] that is why the UPND is going nowhere. How can they go in an alliance with our undisciplined prodigal children? So, the UPND does not know how to do politics. So, we will defeat them as individuals and we will defeat them as a consortium,” Musukwa said.
LUSAMBO: “Imwe belamibepa ba Kambwili, eco nabatobele ulupi pantu tabomfwa. (Kambwili should not come here and lie to you. That’s why I slapped him because he doesn’t listen). Even the Bible says if a child doesn’t listen, you must whip that child. So, that slap I gave Kambwili is Biblical, it’s from the Bible.”
Really? If that is how it works, maybe Honourable Lusambo should give an opportunity to the Zambian people who feel he also doesn’t listen, so that everyone can have a chance to fulfil the scripture. Many citizens would be glad to slap Lusambo for abusing his authority to conduct illegal deals.
But the question is: why should people vote for the PF candidate in Roan and not that of the NDC or PAC or UPPZ? We feel pity for the voters because at the end of the campaign period, they will have gotten nothing other than a few handouts from those who have money to dish out at the rallies.
This is not only happening in Roan, it is the same situation in Bahati and it was the same situation in Sesheke. We shouldn’t be surprised with the voting pattern because even the people who attend campaign rallies are those who have nothing constructive to do. A serious person who has a demanding day-job will not waste time to go and listen to such nonsense from politicians!
Sadly, this trend has engulfed the entire political system in Zambia to an extent that campaign rallies have been relegated to circus parades for one group of thugs against another. The educated elites are watching and laughing from a distance, as the country gets torn apart by vicious barbarians who have no plan for the population. To borrow President Lungu’s words, our electoral process has been left in the hands of people who have no skopodonono!