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PF MIGHT NOT EVEN RECOVER…a divided house can never rule, warns Sikazwe

FREEDOM Sikazwe says he has noted that there are people within the PF who claim to have made a name in politics yet they have excelled in soiling that acclaimed popularity.

He warns members accusing others of having caused the PF loss that, “as long as people take that route then it will be very difficult for us to recover or we might even fail to recover.”

In an interview, Sikazwe a former presidential affairs minister under Edgar Lungu, wondered why those who claimed to have already made a name were still seeking to stand on other platforms instead of theirs.

“If balipanga amashina akale (since they have already made their name), let them go stand on their own. Uwapanga ishina kuti waiminina apali ponse (if you have made a name would you stand on every other platform)?” he asked. “That’s why bamo beminina pali bu (some contest as) Independent nokuwina awina (and they win). If someone is frustrated, let him go and stand as an Independent. We are just now waiting to be guided by the party [on] who will be president but naifwe fwine tuli bantu (we are also people). So, if people are going to bring names that we know are rotten, we will say awe, tekanyeni, apa pena twalufyanya; tiye tufwaye epo bali nabambi
abengabombako incito iyi
(hold on, here we have messed up; let us look around there are others who can do this job).”

Sikazwe said he has been quiet since the PF lost elections last August because he wanted to reflect.

He said he did not want to make rushed decisions on his next political move.

Awe, ine ndifye bwino bane. Fimo nga fyacitika tekutala waiminina walatamba? Ifyakubutukila kuti walufyanya (I am fine, friends. When certain things happen, can’t you hold on and watch? If you rush, you may end up spoiling things),” Sikazwe said. “Ama decision yakubutukila kuti walufyanya (you can cause problems through rushed decisions), but so far so good. Last Saturday I was in Lusaka to attend the central committee meeting, elyo nabwela (I have just come back). Ifwe tatwaba muma politics yakusabaila; washibuka walanda ici, walanda ici, awe (We are not into politics of ranting; you just wake up and say this, you say that, no). There are those in such politics but me I am not petty.”

Sikazwe refuted public assertions that he had retired, saying he was reflecting on the PF loss and watching from a distance “but not far away”.

He added that as a member, he did the very best he could during the last presidential and general elections to keep the party in power.

“So, what is important kusumina (to accept). Nga wayeba ati naficitika ninshi naficitika (if you convince yourself that things have happened) then you say where did we go wrong; that’s where we are,” Sikazwe explained. “Any reasonable person should first reflect that, ‘what has happened?’ The
party has a bright future if only we can handle the current situation; the current situation is what is threatening some of us. The challenge we have is where some people don’t seem to have accepted the fact that we lost.”

He said if some of the PF leaders had accepted, they would have by now been sitting down to reflect on what went wrong.

Sikazwe disclosed that some people in the PF had already concluded that the loss was caused by certain individuals within the party.

“They have already concluded that uyu noyu ebalengele tuluse, aba naba ebalengele tuluse (it’s this one and that one, these and those who made us lose), which I don’t believe myself because as long as people take that route then it will be very difficult for us to recover, or we might even fail to recover. That’s my view,” he said. “What has happened, genuinely all of us are just supposed to accept defeat and say, ‘yes, we have lost but what is the way forward now’. We want to rebrand and ensure that this party continues, but for as long as we have people who seem to have hidden agendas nokulanda ati aba naba tatulebafwaya, ebalengele tuluse; nimwe mwacitile ifi: ba youth, others, awe nimwe bene ba MP. Elyo kuli na abalelanda ati ‘you were very stingy’, tamwalepelako abanenu impiya…such comments eyaletinya bamo; icishele kwikala tondolo ati awe abalefwaya ukulanda kabalelanda tumone uko twalapela. (and saying that this one and this one we do not want them, they made us lose. You did this: the youth, others, no it’s you the MP. And there are others who are saying that, ‘you were very stingy’, you were not sharing money with your colleagues… such comments are what is scaring some people. Hence, they have resorted to keeping quiet that, no, let those who want to talk do so and we shall see how far it goes).”

Sikazwe however, expressed optimism that the PF had a bright future, with a possibility of coming back to power.

“But I am telling you, this party has got a future even bouncing back. We can make history by bouncing back if only people can accept that yes, we have lost. And, again, we still have the zeal to bounce back and we can bounce back; the party can bounce back,” he added. “What is surprising is the situation in the country where we all seem to believe that once a party loses, that’s the end. In USA, it has not been one party ruling. Same in England. It’s the two parties that are competing. These will lose this time, baya baicita (they go) reorganise; one term, two terms and they bounce back. And again, the other party goes and rebrands and bounces back. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

Sikazwe cited the Malawi Congress Party which lost power in 1994 under president Kamuzu Banda but formed government again in 2020 through President Lazarous Chakwera.

Iyaba Kamuzu yalibwela (Kamuzu’s party is back) from nowhere. And that is why if you have seen in politics, don’t think those people who are still clinging to MMD or UNIP that they are stupid, awe (no),” he said. “I can tell you, there is going to be a generation that will come and say no, no, no; in fact, ba UNIP did very well if you compare them to aba bambi abaishile apa (others who were there). Iyo generation nayo ikesa cita judge abantu bamo ati (that generation will come and judge some people that) these were crooks. Ba UNIP, their ideology was excellent and you would be surprised UNIP bouncing back. You can be surprised MMD bouncing back. Why? Because people will have to sit down and reflect that okay ba MMD balituteka, ba PF balituteka, naba UPND balituteka (MMD ruled us, PF ruled us, and UNIP ruled us), but things are not working. The vision of UNIP was better than aba uko baletutwala, elo mwaisa sanga fyapilibuka (these and where they are taking us, then you find that tables turn).”

Sikazwe called on his colleagues in the PF to unite and chat the way forward.

He said the biggest challenge the party faced was to reorganise and make sure that all members started speaking the same language that their vision was to bounce back in 2026.

“So, we are saying to our colleagues, it’s time we teamed up and ensured that we moved as a team. But now if we can start fighting within ourselves ninshi capwa (then that’s the end). A divided house can never rule. A divided house can never progress. So, that is the challenge we have,” Sikazwe said.

He said changing the status quo would help the party regain confidence and bounce back to power.
Sikazwe reaffirmed his friendship with Lungu, stating that he usually calls the former president to chat and compare notes.

“If you were near, I could have shown you that on this day, this is the number; we were talking on this day. We are talking and advising where we can,” he said.

Sikazwe refused to have a preferred president for the PF, adding that the onus was on the party membership.

He said the PF presidency would not be decided by an individual.

“That I have refused. I can’t wake up today and say, awe ndefwaya ba Lungu bakonkanyepo, awe ndefwaya uyu abe president (that I want Mr Lungu to continue, that I want this one to be president), that would be my personal opinion. But then does that mean that person will win us an election?” he asked. “We have to make a decision based on the popularity, ukumona ati uyu nga twamubikapo (ensuring that if we choose this one) we will be able to sell him. But nga twafisenda (if we take things) personal; people saying ine ndefwaya uyu – uyu eufwilefye, uyu alalanda sana, uyu aba shani (I want this one – it’s only him or her, this one talks too much, this one is like this); it doesn’t work out like that.”

Sikazwe said the best example was Lungu who was not popular the time he became President.

“Who ever thought ati (that) Lungu kuti aisa isanga pali bu (that Lungu could find himself as) President? Who? For all those of you who were there, nobody ever thought [it could happen],” he said. “So, ifi fintu efyo fyabafye (this is how these things are). Ilyo (when) [President] Hakainde [Hichilema] took over the party iya (called) UPND, he was a nonentity. He was nowhere. And people were even asking ati awe nga uyu afuma kwisa (that where has this one come from)? So, naifwe bene (even us) it’s a question of us ukumfwanafye nokucita (we collaborate and) decide that let us sit down and decide who can become president. Not that iyo kuli abapanga amashina kale, awe (that there are those who have already made a name, no)! Some people abo mulelanda ati balipanga amashina, balipanga amashina nokuyonawila abene (some of the people you are saying have made names, they have made names and destroyed that legacy themselves).”

Sikazwe recalled that he once knelt down to plead with some of those jostling for the PF presidency and claiming to be popular in an effort to ask them why they wanted to disorganise the party.

“There are some people that some of us sat down with, ukumukonka ukuya mufukamina ukuya mukumweba ati imwe (I followed that person and said you) guys, ninshi mwalaonawila (why are you destroying the) party umusango uyu (in this manner)?” he explained. “Please, let your friend rule, your time will come. Ine nafukama nalila nati (I knelt and pleaded that) guys what is wrong, why do you want to mess us like this? Nga yafika inshita Lesa alanda ati (when time comes, God says) it’s your time, it will be your time.”

Sikazwe said he had earlier advised that those with presidential ambitions only had the PF as a platform to rule.

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