The expulsion of Kelvin Fube Bwalya and Julius Komaki from the Patriotic Front was an open verdict. It is not surprising for anyone who has been following Edgar Lungu’s reign.
The brutality he has subjected his perceived enemies or opposition political parties since assuming power in 2015 has no limit.
Announcing the duo’s expulsion on Monday, PF secretary general Davies Mwila said, “The Central Committee received reports and recommendations for the expulsion of Mr Julius Komaki and Mr Kelvin Fube Bwalya. Central Committee unanimously resolved to expel from the Party with immediate effect the duo for gross indiscipline and uttering statements aimed at creating disunity and confusion in the Party. Let me mention here that the duo essentially expelled themselves when they started pushing for disunity and anarchy in the party because there is no progressive political movement that allows laws of the jungle to take centre-stage.
This must serve as a warning to members of the party that in asserting your freedoms as a member, do not drag the party’s name into disrepute. We shall enforce discipline in the party and there shall be no sacred cows. The two colleagues must therefore be removed from all platforms associated with the Patriotic Front with immediate effect.”
In April, KBF announced that he would run for president in 2021. In doing so he said, “Let me be clear, Mr President: You have done your best for our party and this country. You cannot do beyond your best. Kindly pass on the mantle of leadership to us…. Let us fight for you. Remove yourself and your team from this unnecessary fight. Take the wind out of the sail of the opposition. We shall do the fighting for the Patriotic Front. Without you as a target, the opposition will be lost. Their fight is personal.”
For his part, Komaki had asked Mwila to resign on account of “embarrassing and misleading” President Lungu.
“Because of the inefficiency of the SG and the perpetual hatred that he has brought in the party, the divisions have cost the party in Roan Constituency in that instead of appreciating those people who worked so hard for the party, empower them, he has gone on to fight them,” said Komaki.
Komaki is a founding member of the ruling Patriotic Front.
Now the duo has been shown the door!
It’s not Zambians alone witnessing the growing paranoia and dictatorial tendencies of Edgar and his Patriotic Front regime.
In its May 27, 2019 country annual update, the NKC African Economics – an Oxford Economics Company – noted this repression and harassment of the opposition.
NKC noted that, “Zambia won its independence from the United Kingdom in October 1964 with Kenneth Kaunda winning the election to become the country’s first post-colonial president. The country has experienced several peaceful changes in president and one change in ruling party since the advent of multiparty democracy. Zambia’s more recent political history has witnessed some reversal of the earlier democratic gains. Two heavily-contested elections in 2015 and 2016 – the former forced by the death in office of President Michael Sata – saw President Edgar Lungu of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) defeating his closest rival, Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND), in a disputed outcome where Mr Lungu and the PF were accused of vote rigging with several irregularities in the vote tallies and in general conduct of the polls. The elections set the tone for a contested and often hostile political environment in which the ruling PF and Mr Lungu engaged in a clampdown on legitimate opposition and on any form of criticism that seriously undermined Zambia’s democratic culture.”
A dictatorship is a form of government where one person or political party has the power to do whatever they want. The ruler is called a dictator. In a dictatorship, the individual’s rights are generally speaking suppressed.
Now it is clear for all to see that Edgar wants to rule absolutely and anyone who dares to question or challenge his authority will be silenced.
His Patriotic Front is becoming a clear model for anti-democracy. Here is a leader who has been challenging the opposition – particularly the UPND – to go to the convention to elect its leadership; in short to institute intraparty democracy. But where’s that democracy within the PF? What sin have KBF and Komaki committed to be expelled from the PF? Surely, should a party member be expelled for mere interest to contest a position?
But this is not new. The nation is aware of how Edgar bulldozed everyone, through a supposedly show of hands, and crowned himself PF candidate in the 2015 presidential by-election. Since that infamous Kabwe convention, Edgar is untouchable. For some time now citizens have been lamenting the shrinking of political and civic space in our country. Today, PF is the epitome of a dictatorship where Edgar does not take kindly to any checks and balances. Anything that comes to opposing him should be punished. He does not hesitate to fall on his opponents or perceive enemies like a tonne of bricks! For all those who thought he’s a humble leader are now witnessing the true colours of a strongman mentality! He has entrenched himself as the Alpha and Omega of the PF!
But is this the way politics should be run?
Last month, a long article on Zambia appeared in the Financial Times of the UK summing up very correctly the challenges the country faces under the leadership of Edgar and his Patriotic Front. The article, “LUNGU – THE MAKINGS OF AN AFRICAN DICTATOR”, gave a very good analysis of the situation in Zambia that no honest person could easily dismiss. Given what is happening, both inside the PF and outside it, indeed Edgar has the makings of a brutal African dictator with no moderation or restraint. As the Financial Times put it, those who could not understand what type of a leader Edgar was now should know that he is nothing but a tinpot dictator. Edgar is reckless and unyielding. He always wants to have the last word on everything happening in the country. This not a recipe for good governance; it is a clear route to tyranny.
With the legal and political manoeuvring he has made, Edgar will stop at nothing to get what he wants just as he has gotten rid of KBF without any credible reason other than that he declared his democratic right to contest the position of PF president at the party’s convention. We have been warning all along that the bells tolling on the opposition will one day be on those who sided with Edgar and his autocratic rule. Today he’s silenced those who harboured ambitions for higher position in the party or the Republic.
Edgar has virtually reduced the country to a dictatorship for him to continue in power. As he has made it impossible for the opposition to meaningfully organise and mobilise public support, he’s now turned the heat on perceived opponents within the party. For now we can only sit back and watch the direction the supposed PF intraparty elections will take in the aftermath of KBF and Komaki’s expulsion!