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Mtayachalo advises PF to tread carefully on Lungu’s successor

CHAMA North PF member of parliament Yotam Mtayachalo says only unity and perseverance can rekindle the former ruling party’s lost glory.

In a statement, Mtayachalo said the choice of party president to succeed Edgar Lungu would determine the future of the PF.

“Following the party’s defeat in the August elections, I feel duty bound to comment on the loss and the possible political future of the former ruling party. First and foremost, the future of the Patriotic Front will be determined by the choice of the leader members shall settle for after president Edgar Lungu relinquishes the party presidency,” he said. “Further, I am alive to the fact that our party is going through a number of challenges after losing power which is expected from any party which has lost power. However, it’s only unity and perseverance that the party can rekindle its lost glory which is not easy.”

Mtayachalo said bouncing back to power was not an easy undertaking in Africa.

“President Edgar Lungu has run his race and as such someone else should take the leadership baton and lead the party to the 2026 general elections,” he said. “However, bouncing back into power in Africa is not an easy undertaking but it will have to take a lot of hard work
between now and 2026. And needless to say the party must first recognise why the people voted against us in just 10 years of being in power. Therefore, a serious introspection and rebranding is needed otherwise bouncing back into power in 2026 or in the foreseeable future may be a tall order as long as we don’t want to face reality and behave like an ostrich pretending that all is well.”

Mtayachalo also gave a detailed background of Zambia’s democracy and what happened to political parties after losing power.

“After the crushing defeat UNIP suffered at the hands of the MMD, the party has never recovered from the excruciating defeat largely because of leadership wrangles and lack of visionary leadership post Kaunda era,” he said.

Mtayachalo said if Dr Kaunda hang on for some time before identifying a credible leader to succeed him, it could have been different story.

“It was unfortunate that immediately Kebby Musokotwane was elected at Namayani to replace KK, political confusion engulfed the former ruling party especially after the zero option plan in which prominent UNIP leaders such former intelligence chief Harry Kamima, Major Wezi Kaunda and Chama South member of parliament Cuthbert Ng’uni just to mention but a few were incarcerated which further fueled divisions in the party accusing the Musokotwane group of conspiracy theories which culminated into the removal of Kebby Musokotwane’s faction during the 1994 national convention at the University of Zambia,” he recalled.

Mtayachalo said UNIP had never recovered from 1996 when it boycotted the elections.

“Furthermore, coming to the MMD, former president Rupiah Banda quickly relinquished power after losing the 2011 general elections and electing Dr Nevers Mumba as its leader but Dr Mumba did not receive the support from a number of key party leaders because he was not
considered as a true blue. And eventually Dr Mumba has failed to rekindle the former ruling party to its glorious days due to a number of factors or in the nutshell the MMD is almost going into oblivion going by disastrous performance in the 2016 and 2021 general elections,” he said.

Mtayachalo appealed to the PF to choose a leader who has grassroots support.

“Moreover, for the PF it is do or die,” he said.

“By and large, it’s a test case for the PF in terms of leadership. Who leads the party post ECL and should we mess up the succession plan, that may spell doom for the party and most likely going to suffer the same fate of UNIP and the MMD. Therefore, the issue of who will succeed president Edgar Lungu as party president must be treated very carefully.”

Mtayachalo called for serious rebranding of the party.

“In my view we need to be honest with each other and avoid putting in the forefront leadership who may be in bad standing with the people. But instead should embark on serious rebranding of the party if the party has to remain relevant to Zambia’s political dispensation because the former ruling party has chance to bounce back into power provided we settle for the person the people on the ground prefer. And this can be done through an independent leadership survey to avoid the mistakes of former ruling parties such as UNIP and MMD,” said Mtayachalo.

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