Opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has announced he’ll quit the opposition in 2021 when he loses a sixth attempt to become Zambia president.
Since 2006, Hichilema has made five unsuccessful attempts at the presidency.
The News Diggers have a banner headline announcing Hichilema’s last straw to Plot One.
Hichilema is working hard at the sixth attempt but still struggling with alliances such that his latest marriage with former Patriotic Front founder Chishimba Kambwili is neither here nor there.
A SHAKY MARRIAGE BETWEEN HICHILEMA AND KAMBWILI
A mere by-election in Kitwe about three months ago was enough to expose the fragility of the newly found political love affair between United Party National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema and National Democratic Congress (NDC) leader Chishimba Kambwili.
In the run-up to the Lubwa ward by-election, a series of events exposed the mistrust that exits between Hichilema and Kambwili. Their marriage was somewhat a shock and it was always going to crack. Pretenders thought otherwise.
First, it seemed the two had buried the hatchet and would work together on a political alliance that should, in their estimation, oust the ruling Patriotic Front in 2021.
Kambwili even undertook a trip to Southern Province where he offered a cosmetic apology for his tribalistic and blasphemous remarks he made against Tongas. He had infamously accused Tongas of being stone hearted tribalists that would vote their own ahead of Jesus Christ.
It’s in doubt if he was forgiven for the apology he tendered years after the remarks. But politics being what it is, Hichilema and Kambwili began collaborating.
And the parliamentary by-election in Roan which Kambwili’s pick Joseph Chisala won appeared to be one that had sealed the love affair. They two were inseparable and on course to redeeming the country from their supporters claimed was bondage from the Patriotic Front.
And Kambwili and Hichilema are strong bed-follows, it seemed. Non-entity political parties joined them on the course. Yet, it was just a matter of time. The real deal began to crack.
In Roan, UPND agreed to allow Kambwili and his new party to field a candidate. And they pledged to support to him as an alliance partner. After all, the seat was held by him. Then came the Katuba by-election.
Kambwili obliged to allow the UPND field a candidate. Yet, a mere ward election proved to be the ice-breaker. It was just a matter of time before the true colors showed that the alliance was a marriage of convenience built on quicksand.
Whereas information in the public domain was that the UPND allowed Kambwili’s NDC to field a candidate in Lubwa, activities on the ground were different. The UPND operated a silent treatment until the day of nomination.
In the moment of silent treatment, Kambwili even blew off accusing Hichilema and his party of being hypocrites. Observers who waited for this moment new it was only a matter of time.
Like former president Rupiah Banda once referenced during his days in active politics, such an alliance is like a snake with two heads fight to be number one. And cleary, that is what this Kambwili-Hichilema love affair is all about.
The undertones are clear. In July, the UPND media circulated what was on the mind of Hichilema but crafted it in such a way as to appear anonymous.
In that posting, Hichilema indirectly aimed at Kambwili saying those thinking that after forming a party last night can beat his party in elections in 2021 must wake up from reality. That was shortly after Kambwili mocked Hichilema describing the UPND leader a perennial loser who is now accustomed to losing.
According to The Mast of July 28, 2019, Kambwili said in a soccer competition, there are usually those who come first, second, third and fourth.
“So balya abanensu niba third filya fine, mulebalako (so those our colleagues are third just like that, forge about them),” he said.
Kambwili wondered if one was moving with a colleague and win a soccer game together, they would turn round and say this time we will play as individuals.
“Muli no munobe waingishako tubili, aingishako tubili, mailo waisa umfwa ububi ati iyo ndefwaya nkaingishishe, kuya lusa tefyo (with your colleague, you score two goals and he also scores two but the next day you feel bad and says I want to score by myself, you will lose, won’t you?” Kambwili asked the crowd that responded in the affirmative.
“Balisalile ukulusa, tabafwaya ukuwina. Elo ndemweba icishinka mwe bena Zambia, tapali fye nangu umo pali intungulushi shilya mulemona uwinga cinja cino calo ukucila ine (I tell you the truth, no one among the leader you see can change this country better than me).”
On the record, Hichilema said the UPND policy was never to attack its partners. Yet the message was clear, the two were at loggerheads and would not work together. There appears to be some semblance of sanity in their marriage, but the differences abound.
This is because it’s nothing but a pure marriage of convenience. Hichilema is desperate and wants at all costs to win the 2021 presidential election. It is presumably the last chance because after six losses, his grassroots will be fed up. No one wants to be in the opposition for three decades.
And in Kambwili, Hichilema sees the convenience of bringing the Copperbelt and northern Zambia vote to his side. It’s not the first time Hichilema is making this judgmental error. He has often approached his politics with a high level of naivety.