EXPELLED PF lawyer Kelvin Bwalya Fube, alias KBF, says it does not make sense for President Edgar Lungu to have more than half of his Cabinet consisting of members of the MMD, which the current ruling party defeated in 2011 under the leadership of then-president Michael Sata.
According to Mr Fube, the appointment of Honourable Raphael Nakacinda as Water Development and Sanitation Minister suggests that the ruling party does not have competent people who can take up the position, something which he believes is not the case.
“You cannot have three quarters of your Cabinet coming from a party that you defeated in elections, as if the party itself doesn’t have members, we have members. For instance, the recent appointment of Honourable [Raphael] Nakacinda who is a very dear friend of mine, but he is not PF. At least from where I sit, he hasn’t renounced being a member of MMD. In fact, he is in court trying to fight for his position in MMD. Are there no people within the Patriotic Front who have worked for this party? It is very disappointing to be asking members of the Patriotic Front to be sacrificing. Bending backwards everyday so that members who are in other parties must come and start ruling them and directing the affairs of their party? It is wrong! We should stop that. And this is why some of us are opposing this leadership,” Mr Fube complained.
Strictly speaking, there are no political boundaries in African politics and in Zambia to be specific. Politicians do not have ideologies and those who do, don’t respect them. In Zambia, they say, politics is about numbers. Anyone can join any party and ascend to any position. So, there is nothing sinister about MMD members being in President Lungu’s Cabinet, especially when they add value.
But we understand what Mr Fube is talking about, although he is not accurate when he says three quarters of the Cabinet Ministers are MMD. The expelled “elections strategist” is talking about promoting newcomers in the party at the expense of loyal members who have been holding the party together. On that observation, we totally agree with Mr Fube. The appointment of Mr Raphael Nakacinda raises eyebrows because it doesn’t appear to make sense. Of course, Honourable Nakacinda is our comrade and he is a young citizen who deserves a government leadership position. But we don’t understand the politics that the appointing authority is playing.
A New York-based Zambian social commentator Moses Kuwema asked interesting questions around this appointment. He said: “Raphael Nakacinda – what exactly does he bring to the table? Politically, he is a double orphan with no party or constituency. You can’t accuse him of being highly educated either.” We don’t know if President Lungu understands that the loyal members of his party are asking the same questions. How does President Lungu expect his senior party officials to feel bowing to Mr Nakacinda, or Felix Mutati’s boy, as they call him?
Considering that elections are only six months away, one would expect that this would be the time for a leader of a political party to focus on consolidating his support base and proving to his loyalists that he has their best interests at heart. It is shocking that President Lungu feels he is so loved within the party that he thinks he can make any decision and the party will endorse it without questions. We must say that such assumptions got Robert Mugabe out of the chair he thought he was glued to.
Anyway, this is a PF matter and those in PF must not be surprised if they insist on endorsing Mr Lungu at their convention and then the man goes ahead to pick a complete outsider as his running mate. President Lungu doesn’t seem to care about the people who put him where he is. Clearly, he feels invincible.
It appears that President Lungu appointed Nakacinda because he knows that the nominated MP is an unlikely candidate to challenge him at the convention. In other words, the President is knocking out competition by keeping the less ambitious close and kicking out those that he fears the most. But that is a very selfish way of practicing politics, in fact, it is also a very unsustainable approach. A party president is nothing without the people who toiled for his election. In the case of President Lungu, those PF members he is sidelining are the ones who broke so many laws to get him into State House.
If President Lungu is still punishing Mutati by elevating his long-time subordinate, then he has taken the punishment too far because this is now a slap in the face of the PF loyalists! We also think this is how President Lungu will lose popularity inside PF as well because such decisions are hurting his party. The fact that his members can’t complain publicly doesn’t mean they are happy. President Lungu is sowing envy and jealousy into his people and he will surely reap the fruits of his decisions.