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About the PF stalwarts’ exodus

IN defeat, people always find it easy to point fingers and to pin the blame on others. They find scapegoats instead of accepting reality, conducting a thorough postmortem so as to restrategise. To interrogate what went wrong and come up with a plan on how the vanquished party can forge ahead because in five years’ time Zambia will again be holding presidential and general elections.

But what we are observing from the PF is dead worrying. Very soon this vessel will remain a shell, without members, unless the exodus of PF stalwarts and others is arrested!

This is why Chief Chikanta of the Tonga speaking people of Kalomo district is urging those resigning from the PF a few days after losing power to learn to stick with their leaders even in difficult moments.

“Genuine support calls for respect for the people that you claim to support. So, there is no need to run away from President [Edgar] Lungu now that he will no longer be President,” says Chikanta.

We have seen a number of Patriotic Front members of the central committee resigning their positions hours after the Electoral Commission of Zambia declared Hakainde Hichilema as President-elect. Others are already aligning themselves with the victorious UPND. This kind of shameless political prostitution must come to an end. This is what is retarding development and democracy in Zambia. People must learn to own – embrace – both victory and defeat. You can’t always want to align yourself with the winning team. Majority of those jumping ship today were the loudest vuvuzelas who proclaimed the PF’s invincibility. What has gone wrong today? Why are they abandoning Edgar? Why are they apportioning the electoral defeat to their secretary general Davies Mwila?

Yes, defeat is painful to take but PF stands to sink into oblivion if they don’t take their loss with humility and conduct an honest postmortem. They first must come to terms that they went into the August 12 polls as a weak party. Edgar must actually own up, this embarrassing defeat is his baby. He’s a liability to the PF. He cost the party an election big time.

He messed the PF’s chances of re-election when he forced the third term which was rejected by Zambians. Secondly, Edgar weakened the PF the very moment he engaged in guided democracy! PF became a closed shop – and Edgar became the alpha and omega of the party. Edgar refused to conduct an elective general conference ahead of the August 12 general elections. He preferred to nominate – to appoint – members of the central committee. By doing so the party missed an opportunity to freshen up. It went into the polls with a central committee full of dead wood and a demoralised following.

Thirdly, Edgar imposed Professor Nkandu Luo on the party as his running mate. The moment Edgar revealed Prof Luo on nomination day, we could see the shock on the faces of most senior and junior PF members right there in the nomination room. And it seemed Edgar realised that his followers were not happy with his choice of a running mate. But because he was ‘Edgar almighty’ he challenged all displeased PF members to appoint their own running mate when their time comes in 2026. Even days after nominations, Edgar kept on justifying Prof Luo’s appointment. Indeed, the moment you keep on justifying your action or decision at any given moment, just know that you made a wrong one. The rest is history and Edgar’s food for thought as he returns to civilian life.

What kept some people around, in PF, were some pecuniary benefits that came by associating with the ruling party.

Others pretended to be loyal party members and Edgar’s lieutenants for fear of victimisation. Edgar’s PF was vindictive! And we warned Edgar that after leaving State House he would count his friends on his palm! What his inner circle are doing today, resigning as if they are men and women of integrity, defines his legacy! There was no loyalty to the party and no loyalty to Zambia. They were all in it for themselves. Now that the power and source of livelihood has slipped – they see no reason of remaining in the sinking boat.

In haste they want to take their appetite, propensity for good life and corruption, to the UPND. How callous! The lack of loyalty in our politics is frightening. And it is a wakeup call for all. Loyalty has become a fragile commodity in our country! But it shouldn’t be this way.

As they say, “The merits of loyalty are often debated – anyone who has ever been hurt by someone they considered a true friend can attest to the fact that loyalty is a double-edged sword. But no one who has ever found himself in need of a true friend can deny it is one of the most valuable gifts in the world. But as valuable it is, it can also be exceedingly rare. Perhaps one of the reasons that it is such a rare quality these days, is that loyalty is so easy to be misplaced. How many times have you given your loyalty to a person or a cause only to realise that your trust has been betrayed and your faith has been broken? But without loyalty, families are broken and friendships are empty.”

What is happening to Edgar and his PF is one big lesson to politicians on dos and don’ts. We need honesty in politics. There must be transparency in intraparty elections. Do away with patronage!

To the new ruling party, the UPND, those crossing over from the PF are not your true members. Genuine members are those who toiled with you when you were fighting in the trenches – those whose clothes got worn out for the sake of seeking to form government. These are the true members who must be honoured first. All those joining you now from the PF are just shameless sycophants and opportunists whom you should not listen to, at least not now. Once you leave office, the same characters will cross over to the winning party. For the sake of political numbers welcome them, but ignore them and pay attention to your loyal members who have suffered with you. It’s time we brushed aside these shameless politics of benefits – sebana wikute!

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