Monday, April 29, 2013

Nevers is dribbling himself
By Editor
Mon 29 Apr. 2013, 14:00 CAT

Nevers Mumba says MMD feels betrayed by UPND for cannibalising the former ruling party's senior members. This was expected and Nevers was warned by many people who have dealt with Hakainde Hichilema and UPND about their dishonesty, lack of respect and loyalty to allies.

Today, Nevers is saying, "The behaviour of our colleagues will now force us to reconsider the working arrangement which was slowly being built on the basis of mutual benefit and trust. The MMD has now had its hand forced and we will actively review any further dealing with any possible associate who is unfaithful to the spirit of common interest."

Hakainde and UPND have never entered a pact or alliance in the spirit of common interest. They have always done so purely on the basis of their own narrow interests, their own expansion agenda.

If Nevers was an experienced politician, he wouldn't be surprised at what he is seeing today. In fact, there is something bigger than what he is seeing today in this alliance of his and Hakainde. Nevers should ask himself why people who have been very close to Rupiah Banda are the ones leaving MMD for UPND. One such person is William Banda, who left MMD to become a political advisor to Hakainde. William was very, very close to Rupiah. Now we have Canisius Banda. Canisius was brought by Rupiah into the MMD politics. In a word, Canisius is a Rupiah man. If Nevers thinks Rupiah is with him, he is cheating himself; Rupiah is with Hakainde. And everything possible will be done by Rupiah to strengthen Hakainde and not Nevers. Moreover, Rupiah has no serious commitment to MMD. It was not his political party; Rupiah was UNIP until Levy Mwanawasa gave him a job in his MMD government. Rupiah has no serious attachment to MMD, just like Nevers himself. They are both travellers when it comes to MMD. So, Rupiah doesn't care what happens to MMD. What matters to Rupiah is what happens to himself. And today, Rupiah sees Hakainde as a better defender of his interests than Nevers. Hakainde has a constituency that he can call his while Nevers has nothing. Nevers cannot win even a parliamentary election in any part of this country. And Rupiah knows this very well.

And we have given enough valuable advice to Nevers and his friends on their alliance with Hakainde and UPND. In a recent editorial comment headlined 'Building an alliance on illusions, opportunism', we stated the following: "Kenneth Chipungu, MMD chairperson for elections, says they need to work together with the UPND to win 2016 elections. This may be true. But there are other factors that need to be taken into account if the desired result is to be achieved.

It is said that there is strength in unity and that those who are ready to join hands can overcome the greatest challenges.

For political parties, just as for individuals, there has to be some reasonable degree of honesty for them to work together. Those who have worked with UPND in opposition alliances have no kind words for them. And MMD should take this into account in their dealings with UPND.
UPND is a political party that always strives to get more than their partners in any political alliance. This was the situation in UDA in 2006. It was also the situation in their pact with the Patriotic Front from 2009 to 2011.

For a political alliance or an election pact to work, it should strengthen all the parties involved in it, and not just one of them. It is also very important that the biggest alliance partner should not be weakened to strengthen the smaller partners. An alliance or election pact in which the strongest or biggest political party is weakened at the expense of the smaller ones will not win an election.

UPND is never faithful to its election partners. This is a political party that recruits members from its alliance or pact partners without shame or disguise. Recruiting members from your alliance or pact partners does not engender confidence in a political alliance or election pact. It simply succeeds in creating an intra-pact strife.

Experience has repeatedly shown that a political alliance or election pact beset by internal struggles and unbridled competition loses its militancy. Protracted intra-pact competition, scheming and manoeuvring results in partners' concentration on discords. And as a result the alliance or pact becomes distracted from political mobilisation and day-to-day work among the masses, and loses its influence.

UPND is a party that always over-values, overrates itself. They will always claim to be more popular, more influential than empirical evidence can prove. In their pact with the Patriotic Front, they claimed to be more popular than their pact partners, who had more seats in Parliament, and whose leader had defeated their leader by far in the previous two presidential elections. Their claim was that the political landscape had changed in their favour since the last elections. But they had no evidence to back up this claim. They wanted to field more candidates in by-elections than their partners. Whenever there was a by-election, problems started in their pact because they wanted to field candidates even in places where they stood no chance of winning.

The 2011 elections proved their assumptions, their claims of being more popular than their pact partners totally wrong. But these are shameless people. They simply carry on as if nothing has happened and continue to behave in the same way in their next engagement. We are seeing the UPND behaving the same way in their alliance with MMD. A smaller political party has assumed hegemony over a political party that is more than twice its size. The smaller political party is trying to swallow the bigger one. This may seem illogical. But that is how UPND behaves and conducts the politics of its alliances or pacts.

Opposition alliances can work if founded on sound principles, values and common aims. But UPND never anchors its political alliances and election pacts on a fair and just base. It is always on intrigues, manoeuvring, scheming and dribbling. But it is a well-known fact that no true alliance can be built on the shifting sands of evasions, illusions and opportunism.

Like in any marriage, to succeed in a political alliance or election pact, those involved have to accept and respect the legitimate interest of each other. Concessions are inherent in alliances and pacts. When you enter into an alliance or pact, you must be prepared to care about the legitimate claims of your partners and make the necessary compromise. UPND is not a political party that respects such an approach to alliance or pact politics. They always get into alliances or pacts to get more and give less, if not nothing.

But in the Patriotic Front, they met their match and were dealing with politicians who were more intelligent, wiser and more experienced than themselves. They couldn't get more than they deserved. And when they realised that they were dealing with people they could not fool, manipulate or disadvantage, they left the pact. But these are prostitutes who cannot live without a partner. They quickly started prostituting themselves with Rupiah. And in Rupiah, they think they have an ally who will deliver MMD to them. They see MMD as a political party beset by a lot of problems, a party that is disintegrating and from which they can pick the pieces, assemble and integrate them in their own party and build a much bigger party for themselves. For UPND, this is not an alliance to strengthen and preserve MMD and the collective. It is an alliance to finish off MMD from within and inherit its remains.

But again this is a wrong assumption for UPND. They never learn. When a political party dies, there is nothing to benefit from it politically. When a political party is dead, its political prospects die with it, and no one can benefit from it. UPND will only benefit something politically from their alliance with MMD if this alliance strengthens it. But so far, we are not seeing any signs of MMD being strengthened by this pact. All that we see are moves by UPND to weaken MMD, assume hegemony over it and take it over.

A political alliance or election pact founded on such practices will not win them the 2016 elections. A congregation of weakened political parties will not produce a strong political alliance or election pact. It will simply produce a seemingly bigger grouping but a weak collective. Adding two parties does not necessarily mean that two is bigger than one.

In saying all this, we are not in any way attempting to put a stop to this alliance. We are simply pointing out the challenges, the problems, the difficulties that need to be overcome if this alliance is to succeed in its objectives of winning the 2016 elections."

Clearly, there is no one betraying Nevers and MMD. It is Nevers and MMD who are betraying themselves by getting into arrangements or schemes they don't understand. It is their sheer political inexperience and immaturity that is betraying them. Rupiah is making them dribble themselves without them realising that they are being used.s

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