GBM is a paper tiger politically, says Tembo

THE opposition alliance’s media and finance sub-committee chairperson Sean Tembo says suspended UPND vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba might have the body weight but that does not necessarily translate into political weight. And Tembo says that as far as he is concerned, Mwamba is a paper tiger politically.

He believes that most Zambians support the opposition alliance not because of a particular individual but because they were sick and tired of the incompetence, corruption and infinite arrogance of the PF.

Tembo said that Mwamba, popularly known as GBM, does not have the capacity to undermine the UPND and let alone the opposition alliance.

Speaking on UNZA FM radio’s Lusaka Star programme yesterday, Tembo charged that GBM might have the body weight but “that does not necessarily translate into political weight.”

Tembo, who is Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) president, accused the PF of seemingly being be too preoccupied with annihilating opposition political parties in the country.

“That is what is essentially making the political situation in this country at this moment to be as chaotic as it is,” Tembo said.

“Given this situation where the PF has lost the support of the people countrywide, they want to find a way to cling to power. In their minds, they believe that one of those ways is to try and undermine the opposition. That is why you have all these sponsored defections and confusions in the United Party for National Development as well as the NDC. You have a situation in UPND where the vice-president, all of a sudden, starts speaking against the party, which is regrettable.”

He argued that, for starters, he did not “think that Mwamba had the capacity to undermine the UPND and let alone undermine the opposition alliance.”

Tembo said GBM was not a political heavyweight, “as most people try to advocate.”

“These things are not based on what is taking place in your mind – it has to be backed by evidence on the ground. When you talk about Honourable Kambwili, he held that seat (Roan) for some time and when time came when he was no longer a member of parliament for that seat, he nominated a person and that person won on the strength of Honourable Kambwili. We can all safely say that Honourable Kambwili is a political heavyweight,” Tembo explained.

“But when you try to look at the other man and his performance in Kasama Central, you’ll realise that he held that seat for some time…. He put his daughter there and she was beaten pants down by a political new entrant. So, how can you say that you are a political heavyweight when you cannot even win in your own constituency? He might have the body weight but that does not necessarily translate into political weight and Zambians need to differentiate between political and body weight. As far as I’m concerned, he is a paper tiger politically!”

Asked what the major reason behind the current political ‘chaos’ in the country was, Tembo linked it to the failure by the PF government to deliver to the aspirations of Zambians.

“Then know that they have lost support of the Zambian people and this is evidenced in the manner in which they lost the Roan by-election. If that election [in Roan] was held in a general election, I can assure you that the PF would have polled less than a thousand votes,” he noted.

“The NDC would have won that election by more than 10,000 votes. But they managed to only lose by 3,000 votes because it was a by-election where the PF dedicated all State machinery [in the campaigns.] So, that just shows you the extent to which the PF has lost support, not only in Luanshya or the Copperbelt but across the country.”

On what evidence he had that the decision to ‘defect’ by GBM is being motivated and influenced by the PF’, Tembo responded by giving an analogy of a hyena that defecates grey hair a day after an old woman disappeared from the village.

“The inference will be that the old woman was eaten by the hyena. In the midst of the UPND confusion, in relation to its suspended GBM, the PF media houses are celebrating by amplifying the matter,” Tembo said.

“It just shows us that the PF have a hand in the confusion happening in the UPND. The good thing is that the UPND is a seasoned political party; they have overcome greater turbulences before. For us, as their opposition alliance partner, we have no doubt that they are going to overcome this particular turbulence. It’s no big deal! The reason people support the opposition alliance is not because of a particular individual [but] because people are sick and tired of the incompetence, corruption and infinite arrogance of the PF.”

Tembo added that if any member of the opposition alliance thought that if they walked away then Zambians would suddenly change and stop supporting the opposition alliance and instead support the PF, “that is a very myopic view to the political situation in the country.”

“I can assure you that the support that the UPND enjoyed before their vice-president ‘left’ will continue to be the support that UPND will enjoy going forward,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Tembo pointed out that the PF had “a bitter taste in their mouth” regarding the huge loss they suffered this month, at the hands of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), in Roan Constituency.

“In that regard, they are trying to harass the NDC [by influencing the Registrar of Societies to strip Chishimba Kambwili of the party presidency], just like they have been trying to harass all effective opposition political parties,” he complained.

“In our mind, as Patriots for Economic Progress, we have no doubt whatsoever that the recent illegal decision of the Registrar of Societies was partisan and influenced by the Patriotic Front as a way of revenging their loss in Roan Constituency.”

Tembo stressed the need for the PF to respect State institutions even as it practiced its politics.

“This damage which they are causing by compromising State institutions like the Registrar of Societies will continue for a very long time, long after they have been kicked out of office in 2021. Let them politic but at the same time preserve the integrity of our State institutions,” said Tembo.

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