2021 General Election shall remain topical for years

[By Alfred Chioza]

THE 2021 General Election was and will always remain highly topical. There were fortunes lost and fortunes gained by individuals who had to align themselves to the ‘right’ political parties. The major parties, in this case, were PF and UPND. There were major differences between the two parties: the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party with sacks of money and unimaginable logistics. It was widely assumed they had compromised key institutions and people who, one way or the other, would handle and influence the election outcome. They were buying soulless politicians from opposition in order to weaken and diminish the chances of the latter to win the election. They hired fake local election ‘riggers’. Money was no problem for the ruling party.

Psychologically, their members had great confidence that they were surely headed for victory. After all, the security wings were all under their control or so they thought. They dictated the rules of the campaign game. The leader of the main opposition, Hakainde Hichilema, was barred from even attending Church services or and funerals. He was not even allowed to fly or address political rallies countrywide.

He had been arrested 15 times on tramped up charges; one of which was treason. The latter charge, had HH dragged into Mukobeko Maximum Prison. But he remained unfazed and had his eyes on the political ball! Further, government had deliberately under registered voters in all opposition strongholds. The ruling party even registered underaged voters in their strongholds. As if that wasn’t enough, they registered foreign nationals from Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Mozambique, thereby undermining the country’s sovereignty and security.

Unless one was damn, it was a foregone conclusion that PF would carry the day, come election date! The opposition had no chance in hell to win this election in as far as PF fanatics were concerned. PF blackmailed and compromised their hotheaded firebrands who had left them and joined the UPND. In some cases, high ranking UPND members were also bought and promised heaven in the PF world. Weaker souls who lacked analytical minds and couldn’t read the political mood in the country fell prey to PF’s political machinations. Imagine if they hadn’t left, someone amongst those clowns would have been Vice-President of Zambia today. Alas, greed took their better side.

Today, their political future has been ruined and is in tatters. They have overnight become politically irrelevant – they are laughing stocks. What was even worse, they played divisive tribal cards. This terribly backfired and, among other things, cost PF its popularity. Ultimately, PF miserably lost the election.

Prior to the general election, most political pundits put their money on PF. Crooks trekked to PF to cash in, and they did. Ironically, even some presidents of opposition political parties became PF lapdogs, surrogates and attack dogs. Fake prophets were falling over one another praying for Edgar Lungu to win. Others gave Lungu fake prophecies that he would win by a huge margin. Con-gospel artistes were all over, praising Lungu and PF.

So far, only the charismatic Catholic Bishop George Lungu of Chipata diocese flatly turned down the shiny PF bribe. He said: “Go give to the needy. There’re no medicines in hospitals.” The other lonely voice of dissent came from the fearless Telesphore George Mpundu, a Catholic Emeritus Archbishop. He relentlessly termed Lungu’s candidature a ‘third term’ and further denounced the former president’s corruption.

The self-styled spin doctors were some known Zambian diplomats who abandoned their missions and came home to help save the sinking PF ship. They came to beef up ECL’s campaign team and camped here for three months. One wonders whether they were civil servants or simply PF cadres. Their sole aim was to help PF win this election so that they could continue looting the treasury at will. They didn’t care a damn about the ordinary Zambians who were being shortchanged and became increasingly impoverished.

Some ‘witch doctors’ were also hired by PF for image building and damage control. Additionally, PF hired characters with toxic tongues that promoted hate speech and tribalism. Helicopters were hired for these morons who shamelessly divided the country. And not to be left out were numerous opposition leaders who didn’t stand, but backed ECL. They had hope that after Lungu won he was going to fix Bally. Instead, as fate had it, Bally rattled the PF nest and won big! All these mercenaries became the biggest political losers in the 2021 election. Their political Careers shattered forever. From henceforth, they have become politically irrelevant. Perhaps they could do well to practice witchcraft full time. They are finished like a wax candle.

The UPND had no strong budget to wage a serious campaign challenge. They simply packaged a good effective message which Zambians loved and appreciated. Even the innovative roadshows proved a tremendous success. Violent PF cadres were slowly alienating the Zambian voters. Imagine each time the two parties clashed, even when PF was the aggressor, UPND youths were picked and locked up. Lives were lost whenever UPND wanted to protest. The opposition, especially UPND, weren’t allowed to address political meetings. Life became a living hell for the majority of Zambians, including ordinary PF members as they shopped from the same expensive stores. However, PF leaders and some of their cadres became rich beyond imagination. Ordinary Zambians became poor and had no money in their pockets as promised in 2011 when PF wrestled power from MMD. Money went exclusively into the pockets of PF leaders. They grew rich. Goods and services became too expensive for ordinary Zambians. PF was embroiled in so many inexplicable scandals and slowly many youths got disenchanted as they couldn’t find employment anywhere. The fat PF cats were seen counting and playing with millions of Kwacha. They built mansions, bought expensive cars, aeroplanes, boats, etc. Cadres were also levying taxes in markets and bus stops.

When the campaigns started, PF miserably failed to package messages that would resonate with the people. All PF resorted to was dishing out money to the marketeers, youths, villagers, chiefs and demanded their votes. Ironically, the amounts they sometimes gave could be insulting, as low as K10. What would K10 buy especially given that inflation was so high?

The economy was at its lowest ebb. PF government had overborrowed and started defaulting. This, coupled with the COVID-19, industries balked. Big hotels closed and many workers found themselves out of employment. Zambians became increasingly disillusioned while government leaders thrived on the chaos and became richer and richer. This economic imbalance made the majority of Zambians to turn their backs on PF who had betrayed the trust of the voter. The numbing difference by which ECL lost to HH was over one million votes. To date, the so-called True Greens are still in mourning and disbelief. The worst part is that the once stronger and diehard members of PF are jumping ship on daily basis. I’m inclined to believe that the PF era is over, especially given the embarrassing daily revelations of sordid stories of corruption. Sooner rather than later, some PF bigwigs may end up swapping their freedoms with long jail terms. In 2017, PF secretary general Davies Mwila saw it coming and warned his colleagues in the party that, “let’s work hard and win this election, because if we lose, we shall all get locked up.” What prompted him to say this? Your guess is as good as mine

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