[By Melvin Chisanga]
Those that have been involved in wars either at planning level or in the actual battlefield, like myself, might agree with me that, while some strategies can win you many battles in the course of a war and can be repeated, others are single use strategies whose efficacy never outlives a single battle.
The idea of adopting songs for political use, like the UPND did to Dreamz’s ‘Mwankole’ hit, did not start today.
As a way to encourage the Zambian electorate to receive the political bribes of the then financially strong MMD, but vote otherwise, in the run up to the 2011 tripartite elections, the Patriotic Front found the message in Dandy Crazy’s hit song titled ‘Don’t kubeba’ befitting of their strategy.
Those that were there can bear witness and attest to the efficacy of the strategy. Whoever mooted the idea became an instant hero and I hope they were appropriately rewarded for their creativity.
Former Republican president Rupiah Bwezani Banda, does, until today hold the record of having run the most flamboyant political campaign in the history of this country, in the bid for his re-election during the 2011 general elections.
His campaign was raining all sorts of political gifts, ranging from money to party branded paraphernalia. When the political field gave him lemons, as he could not compete favourably on the financial front with the MMD that was riding on incumbency to fund its campaign, Mr Sata sought to make lemonade out of the lemons by urging his followers and supporters to receive the gifts but vote for the PF come elections day. And it worked!
But like I have already alluded to in my opening paragraph, some strategies can hardly be reused to replicate any previous success, and from where I stand, ‘Don’t kubeba’ is one of such, owing to a myriad of factors.
Let us begin with the famous Nyanja adage which says and I quote, ‘mwai wamzako si ogonela panja’, which reminds us that we should not be fooled to think that just because our friend was able to survive a night outside the shelter, so shall it be with us. Sheer luck has its own place in our lives, we may not be as lucky.
Excuse me Easterners if I haven’t quoted this saying in the exact way that you the owners do. But coming to think of it, I don’t even know why I am even apologising. So what if that is the case, as if there is even anyone among the rat-eating cowards, who can dare raise a finger at me even if I did.
The other factor that could have made the PF succeed with this strategy could have been the MMD’s way of doing politics. Even at its lowest point in as far as public perception is concerned, someone would agree with me that the moral conscious of the MMD did not get as seared as that of the PF has become.
Whilst the MMD was still able to concede defeat even after looking so popular on the ground due to the political bribes that they were using to attract people to their political rallies with, I don’t see the case to be the same with the PF, and therein lies the gist of today’s Vantage Point.
If the way the PF have conducted themselves in as far as their desperation to bounce back in office in 2021 elections is concerned, is anything to go by, no one will attend their rally and claim to be planning not to vote for them come election day.
In their own desperately unrealistic world, you will hear the PF claiming everyone who attends their rallies to be their member, and downplay everyone who is seen attending an opposition rally as doing so merely to kill their boredom, without any intention to vote for the opposition whatsoever.
Unless you don’t mind getting politically married to them, the PF are not the kind of man whose gifts you can be receiving, when deep down in your heart you know you do not want to marry them. They are even worse than that kind of a man who will ask you to pay him back the money he spent on you.
In their case, whatever you say or do after pitching up for an appointment with them does not matter. For them, a public appearance with them is enough evidence of political marriage. This is evidenced in the PF’s belief in ‘chombela ng’anda’ kind of political marriage where no certificates in form of party cards, are issued as proof of political marriage.
From my vantage point, the whole idea of not issuing party membership cards both signals membership temporality and gives the party latitude to disown a member as not belonging to the party whenever it is convenient for them to do so. It is very easy to end a marriage that has no certificate, isn’t it?
Unless we are ready to put up with all the vices of the PF, we need to speak so unequivocally about our decision to show them the exit door next year, that they will have no reason to manipulate the will of the people. One of the ways we shall do that is by avoiding them completely.
Though I am very alive to the fact that it is difficult to remain morally strong in the face of hunger, allow me to remind you of the lives we have lived for the past four years. When was the last time we experienced this ‘love’ that we are seeing this year? This brings me to the concept of ‘evening love’, ‘luyando lwaku mangolezya’ that I like giving as an example.
Politicians in this country are aware of how strongly a Zambian voter has been tethered to political vicious cycle and will exploit this status quo to their advantage for as long as we the voters don’t wake up from our political slumber because it works to their advantage.
Seeing how amenable we are to receiving political gifts at the eleventh hour and willing to forget the suffering that we go through during the ten hours, politicians at any level in this country don’t worry about re-election even when they don’t deliver on their promises because they know it will only take them a few coins from the very money they get from the voters as tax, to buy their way back into office. Sad isn’t it?
Like an abusive husband who only recognises his wife in the evening for the sake of the cold of the night, we have seen the maneuvers of the PF in recent times to cosmetically try and get close to the people in view of the 2021 elections.
From now till next year, we shall see and experience a lot of ‘love’ from our government and area members of parliament, such as empowerment schemes, developmental projects and outright gifts. But whenever we see these things, let us check what time it is on our political clock. You will realise that it is in the evening politically.
Like in marriage, real political love should show beginning in the morning when leaders are just put in office, so that there will be no fear of the cold by political evening time.
But in the case of the PF and all the incumbent MPs, they have already shown us what kind of leaders they are: evening lovers. As if that is not enough of a problem to the people of Zambia, this oppressive evening lover called PF will do anything to remain the head of the house called Zambia, even against the will of the people.
The only sure way we the people of Zambia are going to liberate ourselves from the multifaceted yoke of suffering that the PF has placed on our necks is by avoiding any form of association with them. How about dying a little during the few remaining months for the PF, for the sake of our freedom?
Unlike the MMD, who even after managing mammoth rallies, giving big gifts and were winning by-elections, but still allowed the will of the people to prevail by conceding defeat, the PF are a totally different breed of politicians who will cling to anything that will guarantee their stay in power.
If you are that person who is in the habit of propping up the confidence of the PF and giving them reason to think of rigging next year’s elections through your irresponsible actions, the blood of the many Zambians who are longing for the change of government will be on your head should they perish from the PF driven suffering.