The four leaders who have ganged up against the opposition alliance are nothing but the “antagonistic four”. They have accused the opposition of trying to use the dialogue for regime change which is laughable when opposition already want regime change except they want the dialogue to ensure justice, free and fair democratic elections. They then foolishly accuse the opposition alliance of omitting issues of fundamental importance. But why is there dialogue and a mediator in the first place? Is it not to sit down with everyone and bring out the issues of fundamental importance? That is why it is a dialogue for crying out loud. That is what adults do, they have open discussion about what is omitted or not.
To understand the opposition in Zambia today, let’s categorize them as follows, the contenders, the commentators, the pretenders and the surrogates. Some of the parties have been formed by individuals who had an alternative vision and aspiration for the country or by individuals who were ejected from other parties. Others merely because they are able to exercise their freedom of assembly and right to serve the country and it is not clear were they stand.
This categorization is key to understanding the credibility, performance and future of such parties. How principled their leaders are depends on which category they fall into. The category and position of a party will determine how the ruling party treats it.
Edith Nawakwi has mismanaged FDD and relegated her party from contender to commentator to pretender. This status is clear from her silence during key political crisis, contentious national issues and non-participation in parliamentary bye-elections. Whatever contentious issues the dialogue is supposed to address, her party has never been a major victim. So it is basically immoral for her to make demands rather than allow her concerns to be considered by the church.
Felix Mutati is literary a pretender as he represents a faction which the courts has not recognize. He is both a pretender and a surrogate. He is not principled enough to accept court decisions and is not logical enough to realize that one can’t serve as a minister when and claim to be president of a rival party at the same time. The unscrupulous nature of such leaders should be an indicator to all Zambia on how devoid they are of integrity and national aspirations.
Winter Kabimba was ejected by PF but still has allies within PF. He can easily be a surrogate, a commentator or a pretender. As a person who put his heart and soul in PF, both PF and Kawimba have a way in which they dance around each other. Kawimba is never bold when attacking PF, which is clearly a sign of a surrogate. Clearly a person who does not know what they want, is insignificant to the dialogue process.
Sakwiba Sikota election loss to HH at the UPND convention was difficult for him to swallow as he had smelled the presidential coffee. He had to lean on the excuse that he was a victim of tribalism despite getting votes from tonga members. This was of-course propagated by UPND rivals, a splinter party ULP was formed which letter partnered with PF and subsequently became a one man party”. Sakwiba is basically against UPND despite which side he takes and will never want to see UPND in power.
Despite the four leaders being experienced politicians, their concerns over the dialogue are very ridiculous and unintelligent. It is possible for the agenda to be limited or open depending on how the stakeholders talk to each other. The agenda can’t hold up dialogue, the secretariat can’t hold up dialogue, a disinterested party can’t hold up dialogue. Only people who prefer violence, court cases, bickering, failed systems, brutal police, compromised institutions are the ones afraid of dialogue. Those standing with them are equally benefiting from our failing democracy infrastructure.
One thing these four leaders have in common is that they have seen no future in their own parties. The success of the opposition alliance will completely doom their aspirations. Frustrating a process which is merely requesting people to talk to each other instead of court cases and boxing rings is the most childish thing Zambians are witnessing from veteran politicians. Whilst PF is clearly afraid of respecting the rule of law and know that failure to stay in power will have dire repercussions. As for the “antagonistic four” they should be warned that if you sleep with dogs, you will wake up with flees in 2021.