Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Riding on others
By Editor
Tue 14 Jan. 2014, 14:00 CAT

Charles Milupi, the president of Alliance for Democracy and Development, says there are political parties that want to get into political alliances for the sole purpose of riding on others.

Milupi says he is aware of some political parties and leaders that were not in existence to serve Zambians, who want to use any opportunity to project themselves as being more popular than others.

"We will not be ridden on by anybody. If someone feels that his political party is so big, let him go ahead and win elections. It will not be the end of the world if we are not part of the next government and the world has not ended because we are not part of the current government. 'I must be president, I must be that'. If you are driven by becoming president, it means the motive for which you want that presidency must be questioned," says Milupi.

The issue of pacts is not new. We have heard of pacts before, we have seen pacts before. Unfortunately, very little, if not nothing, has come out of these pacts.

In 2006, the UPND, UNIP and FDD went into an electoral pact and lost - coming third behind MMD and PF.

In 2009, UPND initiated a pact with PF. That pact failed and the reasons for its failure are well known to the Zambian people and need no further disquisition. Some of the things Milupi is saying are what led to the failure of the UPND and PF pact. And there are also partly the reasons for the poor election performance of the 2006 UPND, UNIP and FDD pact.

Even in 2011, there was an unannounced pact between the UPND and the MMD. The two cooperated in a number of ways to ensure that the PF doesn't win. But the PF won.

Clearly, a pact in itself guarantees nothing. It offers instead the opportunity to succeed as well as the risk of failure.

These pacts seem to be brought about by only one desire: the desire to win power. That will to win power is the one idea that they hold in common. But with the passage of time, that will prove an insubstantial glue. The signs of division start to grow.

There is much more that is needed for a pact to be successful than just the will to win.

And moreover, when one looks at the pact that is being suggested today principally between MMD and UPND, there can't be a pact there. What is being advocated is an agenda being championed by Rupiah Banda and those close to him to handover the MMD to the UPND leadership of Hakainde Hichilema as a continuation of the relationship that was established in the run-up to the 2011 elections. This is the arrangement, the take-over of MMD by UPND, that Andrew Banda is championing on behalf of his father. Of course, together with the MMD, some one-man political parties can also be persuaded to be swallowed, to subject themselves to Hakainde and UPND's hegemony.

If they all accept to subordinate themselves to Hakainde and UPND, there will be no problem and the marriage will last long. This is because there is no pact Hakainde and UPND will accept to enter into without them leading it.

Of course, this whole UPND, MMD pact is being championed without much contribution and participation from Nevers Mumba. By the time Nevers wakes up, he may find himself left alone.

There is really no pact here. It is simply a take-over, a swallowing and annihilation of the MMD. Anyway, it's not difficult to destroy something that one never created. Very few, if any, in the current leadership of the MMD can be said to be part of the founders of that party. Rupiah came into the MMD in 2006. And fortunately for him, Levy Mwanawasa nominated him to be a member of parliament and vice-president of the Republic. This was even before he had officially terminated his membership of UNIP. This being the case, it is not difficult for Rupiah to dismantle MMD and give its parts to his newfound friend Hakainde. Rupiah sincerely believes his survival and those of his close associates is dependent on Hakainde becoming president in 2016.

Probably he hopes that Hakainde will do for him and his followers what he himself did for Chiluba and his associates. And today, all is being organised for handover to Hakainde and UPND to enable them win the 2016 elections.

This is the type of pact, if one can call this a pact, that Andrew is advancing on behalf of his father, and on his own behalf. This is a pact to serve personal ends.

Clearly, this is not a pact being advanced on the basis of common values, principles, standards and aims. It is simply political expedience at play - no principles. It is simply a belief that with a pact, they can win since they believe that on their own, they can't make it. But pacts have lost before. The Patriotic Front won on its own, without a pact. Hakainde used to claim and boast that no single opposition party could defeat the MMD on its own. Can he say the same today? Probably now he believes that no single opposition political party on its own can defeat the Patriotic Front. Can this be true?

Again, it seems to be a game of simply wanting to win an election and be in power. But sometimes power is not won that way.

No true pact can be constructed on such a weak foundation. No true pact can be built on such shifting sands of evasions, illusions and opportunism.

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