By Patson Chilemba
PF deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri says the 2021 general elections will be a walkover for the ruling party, because opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema missed his two opportunities when the ruling party was at its weakest.
And Phiri said opposition alliance chairperson Charles Milupi is getting to the realisation that he cannot be led by a fellow old man, the same argument she said Hichilema used on the late Michael Sata.
But UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said the issues Phiri was talking about were in the past, saying Zambians have since moved on and are being motivated by the urge to remove the ruling party from power over their failures to keep promises to the people.
Speaking with Daily Revelation, Phiri said as far as the ruling party was concerned, the 2021 elections will be a no contest.
“If you are a politician like me you would sit, relax, because when PF was threatened was when Michael Sata died. That time we were at our weakest point, the one who was acting as president (Dr Guy Scott) abandoned his own party,” Phiri said. “We had influential people who went to HH, if God had endorsed him to become president he missed two opportunities. When Mr Sata invited him that he could be his vice-president, when he refused that Mr. Sata was an old man who didn’t know how to use a computer, that was the first opportunity he missed.”
Phiri said when Sata died, the giants of the PF, with their money and political experience joined hands with the UPND, but the party still emerged victorious.
“That was the second opportunity, this time ni porridge. Just wait and see, if people didn’t believe what happened in Mwansabombwe and Lukashya in addition with the 10 ward elections, which we have been winning and those who think every Zambian is so poor it’s only them who can afford a bag of mealie meal,” Phiri said. “All these people, all of us we can sell our vote for K20 and mealie meal, come 2021 you are going to see, and I am just clad that now UPND has started conceding defeat.”
But reminded that MMD president pastor Nevers Mumba has raised issues with the recent elections, accusing the ruling party of engaging in massive rigging, Phiri said those were very serious allegations and the PF will legally take on the pastor in his individual capacity
“So he will have to prove,” she said.
On Milupi’s recent assertions that the opposition alliance were having difficulties agreeing to an electoral pact as some alliance members had insisted that “if you want to work with me, you have to work under me”, something he said would not work, Phiri said Milupi was just realising now.
“Us we were in an alliance (pact), especially with a party which values itself with their leader as the only person who can rule over an alliance. That’s how with PF it didn’t work. And it’s good that Mr Milupi has realised that, and I don’t think if Sean Tembo is also being called PF surrogate now,” Phiri said. “He was the first one to complain as such. That’s why he left. So I am not in an alliance and PF is not in any alliance with anybody so I can’t speak and I can’t know how Mr Milupi feeling.”
However, the PF entered into an alliance with the Mutati faction for the 2021, and acknowledging the same after being reminded, Phiri said the alliance is finishing in 2021.
“I am sure you can see that us we are very mature because we don’t con people. That’s why still have Raphael Nakachinda with us, even when they take each other to court, because at that time MMD was broken into two,” he said.
But asked why the UPND could not use the same argument now to leverage its standing in the alliance as the biggest opposition political party, in the same manner the PF argued in 2011 as the biggest opposition then, Phiri said both parties argued for leadership in 2011.
“There was nothing like that. Was Mr Hakainde more experienced that Mr Sata? When he invited him to come into an alliance he refused because he has his ways, he refused and it was in the public domain that he refused because he believed Mr Sata’s was born an old man and he didn’t even know how to use a computer,” Phiri said. “That time Mr Hakainde refused because he was perceiving himself to be president Obama, because he was young, he thought he will remain young, now he has grown old, may be that’s why because Milupi believes he has become old, he doesn’t feel an old man should take advantage of another old man.”
Asked if the PF was looking to embrace Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) leader Milupi, Phiri said: “We cross the bridge when we reach there. Will cross the bridge when we get there…African politics are dynamic so I can’t predict. Who ever thought Chishimba Kambwili could work with HH. Who? Who? Nobody so African politics are dynamic.”
But Kakoma rubbished Phiri’s assertions, saying the people were more concerned with the PF’s failure to keep promises and deliver to the Zambian people.
He said Zambians were not focusing on whether Hichilema should have been in an alliance with president Sata, saying that was in the past and the people have since moved on, going by the vote tally the opposition leader increased in the 2015 and 2016 elections.
Kakoma said it was the UPND’s considered view that Hichilema actually defeated President Lungu in both elections, only that the elections were stolen, in the same manner the ruling party was stealing by-elections.
“The walkover she is talking about is actually a walkover for the UPND,” he said.
Kakoma said the ground in the PF strongholds of Copperbelt and Lusaka had shifted, and that it was unheard of for the UPND to get votes in thousands in Luapula and Northern provinces.
He said the rampant bribery the ruling party engaged in during by-elections would not be replicated in the general elections, saying it had become customary for ruling parties in Zambia to win by-elections but get walloped in general elections.
“She’s just day dreaming,” said Kakoma. -Daily Revelation