Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM) president Edwin Sakala says the opposition in Zambia doesn’t seem to understand its role. On Friday, Sakala and the party’s vice-president Charles Kafumbo, declared support for former foreign affairs minister Harry Kalaba’s movement ahead of the 2021 general elections.
Kalaba left government but has maintained his parliamentary position as the ruling party’s representative in Parliament, opting to speak “on behalf of Zambians”.
When asked on the ZDDM’s support for Kalaba despite the party’s close links to the governing PF, Sakala said: “That is a ruling party [and] we are an opposition party and we have got our own aims and objectives. Of course, we have worked very well with them (PF) in the past…What has happened in this county is that the opposition seems not to understand its role – we think that demonising, calling names is politics. We as opposition have to come up with alternative ideas. For example, the ruling party has done very well in terms of infrastructure development and what have you. But on our side as ZDDM, we believe that the priority in this country should be the welfare of the people.”
He also opposed the widespread allocation of land to foreigners.
“I don’t believe that what we are doing [by] bringing in the Chinese to help us to build various infrastructures is right. Even the way we have been selling Zambian land is very dangerous because God stopped creating land. The land that we have is the only land which we will have and we cannot afford to sell even an inch to anybody! We have got a situation now where the Chinese are almost colonising us! As an opposition party, we feel very strongly about such things,” Sakala said.
On the country’s governance system, he pointed out that ZDDM had been on record that Zambia should go the federalism way.
“Each province has to govern itself. We might be friends of the PF but we have our own ideas and goals. We believe it is high time that we linked up with people like Kalaba who have the same beliefs as us. The ruling party has its own ideas which are being worked…So, even the PF itself must understand that we are an independent political party,” Sakala said.
Last week, ZDDM issued a statement, inviting Kalaba to be the opposition party’s presidential candidate in 2021.
“We the Zambia Direct Democracy Movement, one of the oldest political parties in Zambia, wish to invite Honourable Harry Kalaba to stand as ZDDM presidential candidate in 2021 elections. ZDDM has noted with deepest concern the increased disparities and widening gap between those in government and the people they are supposedly serving,” stated Sakala and Kafumbo last week.
Asked to explain why the ZDDM thought of Kalaba, Sakala noted that his party had a lot of respect for the former foreign affairs minister.
“Well, you see in Zambia, we have always thought that it is important for us put our heads together. We have been following Kalaba’s past and we believe he can make a very valuable contribution. We have a lot of respect for him. We believe he is one of the people who can make it [as a President],” Sakala said.
And when asked whether the ZDDM believed Kalaba could win the 2021 general elections, Sakala responded: “We believe so.”
“Unless you have not interacted with that man…. We have been following his thinking and reasoning from the time that he was appointed as a minister. It’s very rare [for] an African leader to resign. Above all, he is a God-fearing person and that’s our common denominator with him. We believe that in this country we have got a moral crisis in the sense that it seems everybody now…. We are talking of leaders being corrupt but the corruption starts from the grassroots. We believe that Kalaba will bring a wind of change in that he will encourage the people to realise that Zambia is our only country and we have to develop that spirit of nationalism and patriotism precision,” said Sakala.