EMMANUEL Mwamba says PF stands a chance of breaking the spell of former ruling parties not coming back to power.
He also urges the need to “fight corruption and fight it strongly…there’s a tendency of when new people get into power, they think they’re there to enrich themselves”.
“So, I want to bring freshness to politics, which put people at the centre, which put respect for the rule of law, respect for the value of money that government owes our people,” he says.
Mwamba, a former diplomat to South Africa and Ethiopia, is in the race for the PF presidency at a convention scheduled for later this year.
In an interview, Mwamba said upon learning from its mistakes, the former ruling party can build a springboard and win in 2026.
“I think that there’s an opportunity for the Patriotic Front to break the spell that former ruling parties do not come back to power. That former ruling parties go into oblivion, former ruling parties get preoccupied with divisions and sprinter groups,” he told The Mast. “The PF has an opportunity to learn from the history of political parties in this country and ruling parties that have lost elections. Secondly, I feel that we need a very strong opposition. A weak opposition is a disadvantage to the people of Zambia because the people of Zambia are only going to have another opportunity to determine the fate of this country after five years.”
Mwamba said he wanted to provide freshness to the politics of the country through his leadership at the helm of the PF.
Recognising the PF failures, Mwamba said he would pick lessons from such mistakes.
“It is imperative that institutions of democracy such as the media and oversight institutions, political parties and civil society are extremely strong and independent so that they can offer checks and balances against government,” he said. “I have proposed to lead the PF with the support of the members that I help strengthen the PF as a very strong opposition – help with everyone else and build it. Help in rebranding it, help in recognising its faults, failures and mistakes. To start afresh and give it a new lease of life – that is why I have joined the race.”
Asked how his intention has been received in the party, Mwamba said: “I’ve been received very well in the party and across stakeholders. And you know that I’m a social media native. Again, I’ve had tremendous response from people on social media. I have decided to join politics which I have always wanted from 2015. I tried to stand as a member of parliament in Kasama because there was an election coming up in 2016. However, I was appointed high commissioner to South Africa, and the president [Edgar Lungu] insisted that I needed to get the job and work for the country than pursue my politics. So, my passion has always been politics.”
And Mwamba has called for what he called civilised politics, pledging to practice the same.
“I think that we should do our politics totally different from the way it has been done. We should offer constructive criticism to government. Expose mistakes and abuse of the law. We need to fight corruption. Corruption is not a matter that happens to former ruling parties. It’s a matter that happens to every succeeding government,” he said. “We need to fight corruption and fight it strongly. And there’s a tendency of when new people get into power, they think they’re there to enrich themselves. They repeat the mistakes of the past. They begin to abuse resources, engage in illegal contracts and just to extort money from government and government revenue. So, I want to bring freshness to politics, which put people at the centre, which put respect for the rule of law, respect for the value of money that government owes our people. And to promote sound policies.”
Meanwhile, Mwamba bemoaned the country’s habit of embracing foreign policies.
He warned that most of “these things have never worked in other countries”.
“There’s trouble in this country that we have a habit of implementing foreign policies – straight jacketed foreign policies. And they’re just imposed on us; whether by the IMF or other partners. Things that don’t work or are used as experiments against ourselves,” noted Mwamba.
Mwamba served as administrator in the office of the second president, the late Frederick Chiluba for 10 years.
He was also appointed by president Michael Sata as permanent secretary for Northern Province, Eastern Province, Western Province, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services at the time, and at Cabinet Office.
Later president Lungu appointed Mwamba high commissioner to South Africa before transferring him to Ethiopia as permanent representative for the African Union; and as permanent representative of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.