Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rupiah is headed for disaster

Rupiah is headed for disaster
By Editor
Thu 17 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

It cannot be denied by any honest person, both within and outside the MMD and its government, that there is a growing dissatisfaction with Rupiah Banda’s administration.

This doesn’t need much disquisition. What may need debate are the causes for this dissension, dissatisfaction.

And there appears to be an acceptance within the MMD and Rupiah’s own government that the connection with the people has weakened, is not what they would like it to be or as it should be for a political party in power. To this effect, over two weeks ago, some leading members of the MMD and members of Rupiah’s own State House staff attended the meeting at Andrews Motel in Lusaka to try and see how they can effect a reversal of this growing public dissatisfaction with their boss, his government and their party.

Of course, those who met at Andrews Motel could not be expected to start discussing the weaknesses of their boss, of Rupiah. The most they could do is to point out and criticise things around him, people working for him but not himself. They did not stop the buck where it should stop, and that’s at Rupiah. They blamed Dickson Jere – unjustifiably so, The Post, among others, and the inability of the state owned and government-controlled media to come out with effective propaganda, for their problems, for the problems of their boss but not Rupiah himself.

They even tried to touch on the issue of Frederick Chiluba’s acquittal and how it was affecting Rupiah’s popularity. But again, they could not be honest on this issue because of Rupiah’s direct involvement in it. They beat around the bush. Instead of admitting that their support for Chiluba and Rupiah’s manipulation of the judicial process to ensure that his friend goes scot-free was costing him and them heavily in terms of political popularity. What we are seeing today is almost like a repeat of 1990-1991 when UNIP leaders were failing to see and accept the reality before them; when they were failing to accept the responsibility for their declining popularity.

Rupiah and the MMD are not going to come out of this if they don’t take a forthright and honest attitude towards their problems. Refusing to see and accept what is there will not help them. Things have changed and if they continue in this manner and at this rate, nothing will save them from the impending Armageddon. There is still time to correct their mistakes and remedy their weaknesses and failures. But it will require a big shift, a gigantic change in their attitude and methods of doing things. If they can manage to make such big changes in their approaches, then they may survive, otherwise they are gone.

And no amount of rigging or any form of manipulating the electoral process will save them. We say this because for them to succeed, they will really have to massively rig the elections. And this may prove too dangerous and difficult for them to do because even the people to use in such criminal processes are becoming fewer. Clearly, the only way out is an honest one: admit mistakes and weaknesses and openly go out to correct them.

There has to be also an admission on the part of the MMD that Rupiah has been a disaster for them as a leader. And a lot needs to be done to help him overcome his weaknesses and deficiencies. Rupiah has become increasingly associated with the most disagreeable messages and thoughts.

And they may think much of that linkage is unjustified, but since it is what people think, it must be appreciated as a deeply felt distaste of Rupiah, rather than a momentary irritation. And it will be folly to dismiss it as a mere false perception. Rupiah is linked to corruption, tribalism, nepotism, intolerance, ineptitude, harshness, dishonesty, deception, lies, brown envelopes and so on and so forth. Rupiah is thought to be uncaring about unemployment, poverty, poor housing; and considered to be indifferent to the moral argument over corruption especially when it comes to his family and friends. Rupiah is thought to favour greed.

And today, no one can deny the fact that Rupiah has divided the MMD into factions which he has failed to reconcile because he doesn’t have the leadership capacity to do so. And the impact of this disunity upon the MMD is clear to see. The MMD must in the very near future learn again to display the common purpose that is fundamental to any party’s prospects. If they don’t do that, they stand no chance to be reelected.

Rupiah is also thought to be arrogant and out of touch. And much of it may be no more than his personal mannerisms that grated on the public in a very negative way. Some of it is insensitivity on the part of Rupiah especially his defence of corruption and corrupt elements. The defence of corruption and corrupt elements has disgraced Rupiah and his government in the eyes of the public. Their perception is of corruption and unfitness for public service. Such distasteful perceptions can endure up to the 2011 elections and do Rupiah and his friends damage for a long time.

Rupiah and his friends should face these issues head on and deal with them if they have to harbour any hope of political survival. Rupiah’s decisions and actions have profoundly disappointed many supporters of the MMD and disgusted many others. And those in government with him and those in the leadership of the MMD bear a particular responsibility for all this.

People seem to be in a hurry for a rest from Rupiah and his friends. Rupiah and his friends need time to reflect and listen and come to understand one another and the mood of the Zambian people better than they have of late. They certainly need to do a lot about themselves. They need better and different organisation. They need to spread their appeal and attract different sorts of people. They need to get straight what are their core beliefs. Sort out the confusion in their party and government. Take a fresh look in the new circumstances. In short or in a word, the MMD needs to renew itself.

People cannot detect any sense of direction from Rupiah on anything. Rupiah has failed to define the purpose of his government and his only discernable preoccupation is the defence of Chiluba’s acquittal and that of other corrupt schemes. Rupiah seems to be guided by the wish to destroy those who oppose him, those who question his dealings; and by the determination to amass wealth and be re-elected. And as we have stated before, that is not a recipe for governing well. You cannot run a political party and a government forever on that basis.
The only thing that is holding Rupiah and his friends together is their desire to stay in power, to keep their government jobs and privileges.

That’s what they hold in common. But with the passage of time and with increasing public pressure on them, with the political heat increasing against them by the day, that will prove an insubstantial glue. And the signs of divisions within their political party and government are becoming more and more visible by the day. And again as we have stated before, experience has repeatedly shown that a political party divided into hostile groups loses its militancy and popular appeal or support. Protracted inner party strife inevitably results in party members’ concentration on discords. The party becomes distracted from political struggle and day-to-day work among the masses and loses influence.

Rupiah is too bossy, too contemptuous of fellow citizens and he will pay highly for this.

And there is need for them to realise that humility and modesty is important in public life. Arrogance will not take Rupiah and his friends anywhere.
And lastly as they try to assess or find out why they are losing popularity so fast, there is need for them to realise that there is nothing which makes people more appreciative of a government than that it should be able to deliver services. The tide of public opinion is quickly shifting against Rupiah.



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