UPND founder member Emmanuel Hachipuka has reminded Hakainde Hichilema that youths and other party members have high expectations for jobs from him.
Hachipuka, who is also the ruling party’s former Mbabala member of parliament, adds that much as some of the party members may not have educational qualifications, they still possess skills which made the party form government.
He has warned that if the President totally keeps distancing the party leadership from his decisions, they may feel irrelevant.
“My message to HH is simply this, there is your party with high expectations for jobs from you into government. Keep the party [national management committee] NMC engaged and make them feel they are part of the decisions in creating your government. If they are not, they might find it difficult to hold the party together. In making your appointments the party leadership must not be seen by the party as though they are irrelevant. If this happens, they will fail to hold the party together,” says Hachipuka. “There are youths such as Brian Mulenga, a UPND recognised youth who has defended us for years even during the [Edith] Nawakwi days in MMD, then PF. They may not even be trainable but must be recognised in some way because they possess the skills that defended/carried our fight until we won. I am sure when the government is finally set up there will be room for such people such as Brian Mulenga. For now, I rest my case.”
Emmanuel has raised a very important issue that Hakainde should pay serious attention to. The party cannot be completely detached from government programmes. And the reason is simple, it is the party that owns the entire government programme. Members of the ruling party, in this case the UPND, are the ones who were fighting in the trenches for a cause that only they understood. They crafted the party manifesto and identified themselves with it. So, alienating them from government is a very dangerous undertaking for Hakainde.
Yes, we understand that he is trying to bring in professionalism in government, but even then, he cannot completely detach himself from the party that sponsored him to the presidency. In this case, members of the UPND National Management Committee should be consulted and be made part of governance. They should own the governance because they fought for it – they are his foot soldiers.
It would be suicidal for Hakainde to disperse all party members who fought with him and please last-minute entrants who are mostly professional opportunists. If he continues on this trajectory, the party will rise against him and he will fail to hold it together. There will be resentment that could even split the party.
If the argument is about the levels of education for some of his party members, that is not a big issue. There are a lot of skills people possess, some of which are just inherent while others are learnt – acquired. And these are the skills Emmanuel is talking about – skills that ushered the UPND into government. Some of his members, if not all, suffered a lot at the hands of the brutal PF regime. And where were the so-called intellectuals when his foot soldiers were being brutalised by PF for standing with him? Much as the PF regime was persecuting Hakainde, it was also doing the same to his followers, they never had it easy.
In the case of a government that comes about as a result of a revolution, it is cadres who understand the mission. These are the troops one has carried out a revolution with, so they deserve space in national leadership. Equally, UPND cadres have all along struggled with Hakainde, so he can’t just detach himself from them so quickly. He needs them. And he must listen to them. Let them help him defend and execute the party programmes.
Just as Mao Tse Tung advises, “We must know how to use cadres well. In the final analysis, leadership involves two main responsibilities: to work out ideas, and to use cadres well…We must know how to take good care of cadres. There are several ways of doing so. First, give them guidance. This means allowing them a free hand in their work so that they have the courage to assume responsibility and, at the same time, giving them timely instructions so that, guided by the Party’s political line, they are able to make full use of their initiative…”