To suggest that most people in Zambia today do have a high opinion of the Patriotic Front government is nothing but simply living in denial. There is a general sense and an overwhelming feeling across the nation that the PF government is slowly but surely loosing grip on power. In fact, any well-meaning Zambian, including political pundits and analysts, seem to agree with the assumption that the days of the PF in government are numbered. And if anyone takes a serious look at the performance or rather the lack of performance by this government since they came in power, one will come to the same conclusion as myself and others that this regime is over, given everything else being equal. It is an open secret that the PF government will need more than a miracle to retain power after the 2021 general elections. This means that the Zambian people have a responsibility to be alert and watch this outgoing regime carefully because this is a time when they will do more irreparable damage in the few months left for them in office.
In order for the Zambian people to unseat the Patriotic Front from power, we need to understand the basic tactics that every unpopular regime deploys in an attempt to hold on to power at all cost. The fight to defeat the ruling party at the polls next year will not be an easy one, and no opposition party can do it alone. In fact, I would argue that not even the opposition alliance will defeat the PF next year but rather what is needed to change government in 2021 is nothing but united forces of change. The problem with our people is that when we use the term change, the only thing that come to mind is nothing but political change. However, in 2021 we will need more than just political change. We will need economic change, social change, cultural change and any other progressive change that we have to embrace as a people, hence the need for us to come together as a united force of change from various sectors of our country. It is not only up to the political parties or the politicians to bring about the much-anticipated change but rather the masses of the people across the country. We need lawyers with courage such as John Sangwa and others to answer the call of duty, to speak up in defense of the rule of law and the constitution. We need church leaders, men and women of integrity who will rally the better angles of our nation to do the right thing. We need businessmen and women, we need the civil societies and non-governmental organisations that have the best interest of the people at heart. And also we so desperately need the opposition alliance; all of these entities coming together to form a decisive united front that will bring the PF government to its knees in order for change to occur.
Let us examine few examples here of how united forces of change if properly coordinated can bring down even the most feared regime. Fortunate enough for us, there is a case study for reference right next door to us which in fact happened not so long ago. There is no doubt that most Zambians today are yearning and aspiring for a kind of change that just took place in Malawi in the just ended elections. The Tonse alliance which was effective in bringing about the change of government in Malawi speaks volumes to us, but yet no one should make a mistake of thinking that this alliance of political parties was solely responsible for that change we witnessed because there were various organisations and entities which came together to achieve this specific political goal. We should never forget the role that lawyers, judges, police officers and soldiers played in Malawi as they fought for justice while maintaining peace and observance of the rule of law amidst political turmoil. Another current case study of political revolution and regime change is none other than the unfolding events in Mali. There are great lessons to be learned from the brave and courageous people of Mali, who have united to protest and register their frustrations against the government. Any serious student of politics, any African politician or even any concerned Pan-Africanist cannot afford to pay a blind eye to what is happening in Bamako and across Mali. The revolution going on there is not led by what we may consider as typical political leaders but instead, it is under the leadership and direction of Mahmoud Dicko, an Islamic clergyman who has mobilised and organised thousands of people to take to the streets of Bamako, the capital city and demand the resignation of a president. The situation in Mali is so desperate that it took five different heads of state and presidents from the following countries; Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal, and Niger to convene in Bamako to help find a solution to the political standoff but to no avail. In fact, in April 2019, it was the same Imam Mahmoud Dicko who organised protests that forced the sacking of the then prime minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, a move that opposition political parties could not do single handedly. And now Dicko is calling for the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita whom he has accused of complacency, corruption, and nepotism. And perhaps we should not forget that such allegations are not exclusive to the president of Mali, because right here at home we have our own share of corruption allegations leveled against President Lungu and his cronies. Therefore, maybe it is about time that Zambians respond with the similar if not the same vigor of intolerance towards corrupt leaders, as the people of Mali have done and continue to do.
There are certain characteristics of the uprising in Mali and the Malawian experience in the just ended elections that need to be formulated here in Zambia ahead of the general elections if we are to see the kind of change we want. In both cases, we have seen the role of religious leaders, be it in the Christian faith or the Islamic faith, working in collaboration with political players, spearheading the forces of change. It is crucial to pay attention to this dynamic at play in any revolution. Therefore, I can safely say that it is the beginning of the end for the PF government, especially with the registration of Our Civic Duty Association (OCIDA) which has the likes of Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu serving as emeritus for the organisation. To those who have a good memory, we can never forget that Archbishop Mpundu was very instrumental in helping the Patriotic Front under Mr Michael Sata to win the 2011 elections without question. I make this observation because I do know the kind of power and influence that men and women of the clergy working with political leaders can have on the masses of the people. Fellow countrymen and women, the time for united forces of change for 2021 is now, we need all Zambians to come together in unity of purpose to redeem our nation from the greed and corrupt leadership. It is not the job of politicians alone, but a duty for all responsible citizens.