Arrogance, lack of humility will kill the Patriotic Front.
And because of arrogance, the Patriotic Front is failing to learn the true lessons of their electoral defeats.
Patriotic Front secretary general Davies Mwila has described the party’s loss in the Roan Constituency parliamentary by-election as a mere setback, promising a “major comeback”.
Many people seem to be very happy with the defeat of the bullying, intolerant, violent, corrupt, pompous Patriotic Front in Roan. And they see it as a massive embarrassment for them.
The arrogance of the Patriotic Front is starting to grate on the feelings of many people. And it will be a big mistake for the Patriotic Front to see this as a momentary irritation with them and not as something deep.
Sometimes it takes some humiliation to teach us the virtue of humility. The thing is, no matter how smart, successful, or special you are, nobody likes a braggart. Nobody likes arrogance. Nobody likes cockiness.
But Mwila says, “This is merely a setback; we are poised for a major comeback!”
But Mwila promised that the Patriotic Front will “carry out a postmortem of this painful setback and we will ensure that we regain our footprint in the Constituency” and that they were aware of “issues that led to this protest vote”.
Mwila says the Patriotic Front defeat in Roan did not mean the party was losing its popularity.
What does it mean? Does this defeat mean the party is gaining popularity?
In many places the Patriotic Front is winning through violence, intimidation and outright bribery of the electorate. But people are starting to reject their methods. People are starting to see them for what they are.
And lack of humility is blinding them from seeing that people are moving away from them.
If they don’t quickly realise that the defeat in Roan is not a small protest but the beginning of big slide, they are in for rude shock.
There was a saying that a man’s true character was revealed in defeat.
And Napoleon Hill once said, “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”
Muhammad Ali said, “I never thought of losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.”
Defeat teaches us life’s most valuable lessons.
Defeat should be a school in which truth always grows strong.
Norman Vincent Peale said, “Believe you are defeated, believe it long enough, and it is likely to become a fact.”
About Roan, a lot was said. Schemes were hatched on how to take Chishimba Kambwili out of Roan. The PF leaders were puffed up with pride. And just as the scripture tells us, pride comes before the fall.
Because of its pride, the PF rode on a high cloud, entering Roan with much pomp and as braggart men. The entire government was in Roan. District commissioners were in Roan. We saw Roan residents queued to be given, bribed with K10s and other amounts for them to vote for the PF candidate. The PF manipulative hand was unleashed in Roan. Just like in other areas where by-elections have been held, a great show of power was displayed in Roan. But they were beaten. They have been made to eat their humble pie. Whether they will now be humble after eating that pie is a question for the future.
The people of Roan have simply sent a signal to all areas of our Republic that Zambians should not be cheated and arm-twisted into deciding in favour of ruling elites. Zambians are the masters and the rulers are servants who must be humble and self-respecting. If they respect themselves, they can respect the Zambian masses.
Indeed, as Mwila put it, the PF will conduct a postmoterm and they need it. As they say defeat is painful especially public defeat.
President George Bush, who had suffered his share of defeats earlier in his career, wrote in his journal on November 4, 1992, about the exquisite torture of his loss to Bill Clinton: “It’s hurt, hurt, hurt and I guess it’s the pride too.” He reflected wistfully, too, on his failure to embarrass the pollsters. “I was absolutely convinced we would prove them wrong,” he wrote, “but I was wrong and they were right and that hurts a lot.”
PF must swallow its pride. It must swallow its arrogance, which will kill it.