THE Patriots for Economic Progress has withdrawn from the Opposition Alliance with immediate effect. In a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday, PeP leader Sean Tembo said the party had come to a realisation that its belief regarding the need for opposition unity as a prerequisite for an opposition electoral victory in 2021 was not shared by some key members of the Alliance.
“It dawned on us that some of our Alliance members held the belief that they were perfectly capable of winning the 2021 general elections without the need for opposition unity. Their belief regarding the irrelevance of opposition unity as a vehicle for a 2021 electoral victory naturally informed their attitudes towards the Opposition Alliance in general and Alliance members in particular, both explicit and implicit,” Tembo said.
He noted it had been nine months since PeP made a decision to be part of the Opposition Alliance comprising 10 opposition parties.
“Our decision to join the Opposition Alliance was informed by a number of reasons. Chief among these reasons was the strong belief that opposition unity was necessary to ensure that the opposition wins the 2021 general elections with a landslide so as to usher into office a sober, selfless and committed government that would redeem our citizens from the shackles of poverty, corruption, economic mismanagement, and other evils currently being perpetrated by the PF and its government,” he said.
Tembo said it had been the party’s long held belief that without opposition unity and an electoral pact, it would be difficult for any single opposition political party to win the 2021 general elections with a sufficient enough margin to ensure that the ruling PF and its government were retired in the national interest.
“It has also been our belief that other political parties within the Opposition Alliance held a similar assessment and perspective regarding the prospects for 2021,” Tembo said.
“Arising from the above, we in the Patriots for Economic Progress believed that the Opposition Alliance is a vehicle that would benefit all of us, and that since all of us stood to benefit from this vehicle, all of us as individual members of the Alliance would similarly be willing to make certain sacrifices to ensure that this Alliance project succeeds.”
He noted however that it soon dawned on the Patriots for Economic Progress that some Alliance members held the belief that they were perfectly capable of winning the 2021 general elections without the need for opposition unity.
“…However, the difference in opinion regarding the necessity of opposition unity as a prerequisite for a 2021 opposition electoral victory essentially renders our continued participation in the Opposition Alliance redundant. We joined and became a part of the Opposition Alliance with the hope and expectation of assisting each other through the creation of synergy. To the extent that some of the key members of the Opposition Alliance believe that they do not require any assistance, we cannot force ourselves and our assistance on them,” Tembo said.
“Accordingly, we in the Patriots for Economic Progress have taken the decision to withdraw our membership and our participation from the Opposition Alliance with immediate effect.”
Tembo said PeP believed in the practice of civilised politics, “whereby we look at our political opponents not as our enemies but as our rivals. Therefore, it is our expectation that despite our withdrawal from the Opposition Alliance, we shall continue to relate well with our brothers and sisters in the Opposition Alliance and possibly even collaborate on other issues of common interest.”
He said if in future the key members of the Opposition Alliance “have a genuine change of perspective and adopt a sincere belief” that they need PeP to complement each other towards the 2021 general elections, the party’s doors would always remain open.
He thanked members of the Opposition Alliance for their comradeship and their hospitality over the last nine months.
“In my individual capacity as PeP president, I must admit that I have learnt quite a lot from the more experienced members of the Opposition Alliance such as president Hakainde Hichilema of UPND, president Chishimba Kambwili of NDC, president Charles Milupi of ADD and president Elias Chipimo of NAREP. To you all, I shall forever remain indebted,” said Tembo.