Orison Swett Marden noted that success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.
And talking about ‘never say never’, (Shakespeare), in Julius Caesar Act 4, Scene 3, 218-224 – Brutus: “There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”
It has been a long and arduous road for Hakainde Hichilema and the UPND to claim victory.
This victory they owe it to the citizens. And if the UPND’s 20 years plus in the opposition was difficult, challenging, what they are about to inherit – take on – makes the past a picnic. Real work – the struggle – begins now. The mess the PF has left behind socially, economically, culturally and otherwise is gigantic. It’s not for the fainthearted – those that want to seek shortcuts. Hakainde’s administration will have to start running from the first day. His team will need to listen and analyse every criticism, pick ideas from everywhere, if they want to succeed. Certainly they can’t afford to take the Patriotic Front’s way of governing.
Given the magnitude of the victory – the burden for delivery becomes heavier. The next aspect to weigh heavily on the new government is the need to swiftly revert to constitutionalism.
At the expense of repeating ourselves, Hakainde is now President of the Republic, a position he has fought for tooth and nail since he came onto the political scene in 2006. You may have made friends and enemies alike along the way. But you are now President of all – those who gave you a vote, those who did not and those who did not vote at all. Millions did not believe in you. Still others believed in you. Others remained unconvinced about giving you support for one reason or the other. You also raised a lot of hopes and promised big to fix the many things, problems that our homeland today faces. You coined or adopted the posture of a fixer. With all these, yours will be a challenging journey. You will be your own maker or breaker.
It is for you to prove your capability and sustain the faith of those that have placed their hope in you, in your leadership. You also have a tremendous task to prove wrong the millions that don’t believe in your leadership by delivering to their satisfaction.
We think you are no stranger to the polarisation in the country. Yours is to prove those that feel you are tribally inclined wrong. All through your leadership of the UPND this far, many branded your outlook as tribal. Those that raised issue with you on this regard are looking at your every move, statement, and action you will take in appointments to government and implementation of development programmes.
But being President places a demand for inclusion and tribal balancing in your governance. You were a lethal critic of the past administration over skewed appointments to government. You set for yourself standards, from the social sector to fighting corruption, by which you will live, work and be judged. The ball is now squarely in your hands.
You will encounter healthy criticism or scrutiny from the ideologically anchored Socialist Party. And on the other side, capital – petty bourgeois – will preoccupy your administration for obvious reasons. On top of that tenderpreneurs are already lurching – both those who lost out under the PF regime and those who benefited highly – to government contracts and whatever benefits!
It won’t be easy.
But as Thomas Jefferson noted, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
No doubt these were bitter elections but it’s time we reset the button.
As Dr Munyonzwe Hamalengwa aptly advised, “The onus to demonstrate civility rests on the victors, no matter how they achieved that victory. The first prong of civility is for the victors not to gloat, boast and embarrass those who did not win. This is obviously counter-intuitive. Humans have a tendency to sneer and gloat and boast and mock those who did not make it. Zambia is a particularly sad example of this. It is shocking for someone like me who had been far away for a long time to find this unfortunate behaviour. The second prong of civility is not to retaliate in any way against those who did not make it. Provable criminality on all persons regardless of their political affiliation is an exception and that must be left in the hands of professional police without any political tint or taint. The third prong of civility is to control and prevent political and party operatives from committing prong one (gloating and boasting and insulting the opposition) and prong two (retaliation). The losing party, its leaders and its cadres must also not create conditions for their victimisation. Accept defeat civilly.”