THE Patriotic Front says the UPND is prone to drifting wherever the wind goes like a rudderless vessel because it is visionless and directionless. But UPND presidential spokesperson Douglas Siakalima says PF are crumbling at a faster rate and that no amount of propaganda or even insults will help them.
In a statement, PF media director Sunday Chanda alleged that the UPND has no manifesto and merely drifts with every wind.
He stated that manifestos ostensibly bring like-minded people together as they seek to form government so that their policies could be implemented while they hold public office.
“A manifesto thus functions as a statement of principles, policies as well as gives a policy compass, giving direction for a political party. It is a vision crystalised into a document. Therefore, a political party without a manifesto is both visionless and directionless; and because it is directionless and visionless, it is prone to drift wherever the wind goes like a rudderless vessel. Such is the rather unfortunate status of the United Party for National Development (UPND),” he charged.
Chanda stated that without a manifesto for more than 20 years, the UPND had been lost at sea aimless and directionless.
“Instead of a being guided by detailed manifesto, complete with the What, Why, How and When as well as the Who, all UPND has is a terse disjointed wish list they call a Ten Point ‘Plan, which they hastily put together for convenience’s sake just before the last general elections. Curiously, some UPND members have during the last few days contended that their party does have a detailed manifesto which according to them was put together in the year 2000 by some dons in the academia in conjunction with some named senior members of their party,” Chanda stated.
“If that is the case, then their rudderless limbo is worse than anyone could imagine! It is preposterous, it would mean that they have not had an updated manifesto for the last 18 years – inclusive of the more than 12 years their current leader has been at the helm of the drifter! Shockingly, some may question our interest in this matter and they may even say it is none of our business. However, the reality is that a ‘manifesto-less’ UPND is every Zambian’s business regardless of whether or not they belong to UPND, because as it can never be overemphasised; the quality of our country’s overall democracy and politics, is a function of the quality of the democracy and politics of the individual political parties.”
Chanda stated that for democracy to thrive, the ruling party needed worthy and credible competition.
“What makes UPND of further particular interest to all citizens is the fact that they are supposed to be the foremost opposition party. For our democracy to thrive, the ruling party needs worthy competition in the form of a credible opposition party worth its salt; one that knows where it stands, where it wants to go and how it plans to get there. In the interest of the development of our country, the Patriotic Front covets a contest of ideas; not the violent challenge of regional allegiance practiced by some,” he stated.
“The PF development agenda is premised on a mission with a vision seen through the clear lenses of the PF Manifesto, 7th National Development Plan and vision 2030. We have so far been unfairly deprived of an opposition of excellence. We yearn for a contest of policy, from those who are supposed to represent an alternative government (such as the UPND). We echo our challenge to them to play the role of a proposition party. Therein lies the dilemma; how possible is it to have such discourse when the UPND don’t even have a manifesto? How can they offer what they don’t have?”
Chanda discredited the UPND ‘Ten Point Plan’ as irrelevant because their promises to deliver had already been swallowed up by the exploits of the ruling government.
“Even their Ten Point ‘Plan’ has been rendered irrelevant and it is as practical as delivering sand to the Sahara or ice to Alaska; because everything UPND promises to deliver has already been swallowed up by the exploits of the Patriotic Front. A party without a vision is an empty shell. The void is eventually filled with negative stuff such as personality cults, bile, innuendo and all manner of negativity. Once a political party is not anchored by a well thought out manifesto, it becomes petty as it frenetically pursues every whim of sensationalism; and having no vision-related benchmarks, the abnormal becomes normal – it is eventually sucked into the dark hole of irrelevance. …Instead of opposing anything and everything from the ruling party just for the sake of opposing, thereby getting themselves deeper into the rut of irrelevance, UPND need direction; they need a detailed manifesto that is clear, practical and relevant. As Habakkuk 2 verse 2 says; “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run (with it) who reads it”. How can they [UPND] run with ‘Zambia Forward’ when they themselves don’t know where they are going? Without a manifesto, they will eventually run themselves into oblivion,” stated Chanda.
But Siakalima said the PF said UPND had a live manifesto.
“In the first place, I was one of those who did our first manifesto, which many Zambians accepted. In fact, at that time when we released that manifesto, some people said it was written by Havard University lecturers, yet it was written by ourselves, it was a Zambian born document which at that time was talking about the lost and wasted decade of the MMD,” Siakalima said.
He said the UPND manifesto was still alive.
He said the things the opposition party articulated in 1998 and 2001 elections were still alive today.
“The only thing we changed was to change with time when there was a small thing that had happened. Otherwise we have had problems in the last 20 years in the country,” Siakalima said. “[president Levy] Mwanawasa corrected a few things. And what people should know is that Mwanawasa actually borrowed many of the things from us and at some time Mwanawasa requested that ‘can you help me’. This is how we sat down to talk about our mineral resources, we talked about the windfall tax and Mwanawasa implemented that within six months, we had collected from the mines US$900 million which the people were getting on a loan from the Eurobonds.”
He said the problem with Chanda was that he does not even know the PF.
“If you remember when the PF launched their manifesto, they actually borrowed from us, talking about free education from grade one to grade twelve; free bursary up to university, which they have failed to implement up to today,” Siakalima said. “So people should not forget that that boy was MMD; he always follows where there is some nshima and some kapenta, yes. When PF came into power, he followed where there is nshima and kapenta. And mark my word, he will try to follow the nshima and kapenta in UPND in 2021 because the PF are finished and are going; they are out.”
Siakalima said the PF manifesto has not worked and that it was mere words written on a piece of paper which they do not follow.
“In the first place they were saying lower taxes, more money in the pockets and more jobs. There are so many taxes today, levies, taxes and whatever today which are reducing money in people’s pockets,” he said.
Siakalima reminded Chanda that today unemployment rate in the nation was at 41 per cent.
“So what can he tell us about manifesto? So how he has failed to look for what to say and their problem is that after HH met with Lungu, they are now disappointed because they have now to behave; Lungu has told them to behave not to be mischievous because they are getting paid out of this issue,” he said. “Now this thing is almost finishing, now he is turning to manifestos. We have a manifesto. This time around in 2016, that’s where we derived our 10-point plan.”
Siakalima said Chanda had to say anything because that was how he eats his kapenta and nshima.
“So let him take his nonsense elsewhere and not with us. Otherwise the PF are crumbling and at a faster rate. No amount of propaganda or even insults will help them, they have been badly injured, they will not sustain the wounds that we have inflicted on them,” said Siakalima. “The nation is watching and in any case many of the PF members who were very difficult to admit that PF has failed today they are admitting. You go into these compounds; people are annoyed. Let him not just have comfort in air conditioned rooms, people are annoyed in the compounds, there is hunger and there is anger, that combination is ruthless and they will turn that anger in 2021 on the PF.”