Hakainde Hichilema, the opposition UPND leader, will exit the political stage when he loses the 2021 elections. It will be inevitable. His party members are already fatigue and this, he hopes, is the best chance possible to get to Plot One.
In 2021, Hichilema would have been at the helm of UPND for 15 years.
Here is how he will be remembered for.
Hichilema’s Assassination Claims Outstrips Election Defeat Record
Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has lost presidential elections five times. The UPND leader has since his ascendance to the helm of the long-time opposition party equally made outlandish claims his life was on the line.
Those statements, either directly by him or his officials, are now at a record seven time, two more than the number of times he has lost the election.
The latest claims by Hichilema and his officials that the ruling party attempted to assassinate him were made on Saturday.
Hichilema attended the Chakwela Makumbi traditional ceremony in Chongwe on Saturday at which the presence of Patriotic Front supporters dwarfed their UPND counterparts.
Both political party leadership were invited by senior Chief Nkomesha Mukamambo II and their supporters used the opportunity to flex their popularity in the peri-urban area.
In a soap-opera like description, UPND Zambezi East lawmaker Brian Kambita claimed Patriotic Front supporters attempted to take Hichilema’s life.
Kambita praised the UPND team for what he claimed was a perfect operation to safety for Hichilema.
“We have played them in their own game, leaving them stranded,” the law maker writes.
“The president is now home, safe. We have even gone to have late lunch after ensuring his safety. We used a long gravel route to exit at a time they least expected.
“They thought we were still around, but we were gone! We had a big group of the boys, a convoy of about 5 vehicles which left at a calculated time.
“I was last to leave with Hon Mulusa, and we caught up with them in the safe place. We planned it well.
“We have intelligent, dedicated individuals, and we can assure you, no one can harm our principal just like that. That is why we accompany him.”
This reads like a novel. But that’s what paranoia is. The UPND of Hichilema behaves and walks in the fear of its own shadows. It explains why they have lost a record five elections with the same leader at the top of party.
This is another assassination claim by Hichilema and his supporters that doesn’t make sense at all. By today’s count, Hichilema has made more assassination claims than he has lost the election.
He assumed the UPND presidency in 2006 and in the same year lost the race of Zambian president to Levy Mwanawasa.
He lost to Rupiah Banda in a presidential by-election and was third in the 2011 presidential election behind
Michael Sata and president Banda.
In 2015 Hichilema lost to President Edgar Lungu in a presidential by-election and he repeated his dismal performance a year later.
Between 2006 and now, Hichilema has made more assassination claims than the number of defeats he has suffered.
Since 2014, Hichilema has cried assassination. It’s nearly half a decade, Hichilema’s assassination claim still grows weaker and weaker.
In fact, it exposes the UPND leader and his supporters as purveyors of inflammatory statements. They use these statement to create a fertile ground for the international community to join their planned strategy of elections rigged.
It seems Hichilema and his supporters are competing in scoring records for wrong reasons – losing elections and making false assassination claims.
On April 15, 2014, Hichilema held a press briefing at which he claimed President Michael Sata attempted to assassinate him.
This followed an encounter with suspected ruling party cadres at Sun FM in Ndola. State House was prompted to react
Then State House spokesperson George Chellah accused Hichilema of exaggerated outbursts alien to Zambian politics.
‘‘He doesn’t surprise Zambians and the President because assassination is not Zambian and his claims are laughable and extremely exaggerated.
“Mr Hichilema thrives on inflammatory remarks. He thinks he can improve his political party by provoking the Head of State,’’ Mr. Chellah remarked advising Hichilema to carry out a self-introspection and desist from preaching hatred.
Mr. Chellah was right; assassination is alien to Zambian politics. There has never been a known politically motivated death of a politician in more than 20 years.
Granted, there have been cases of political violence and supporters from both divide succumbing to death, Hichilema has had free ranging political space in the country.
As if his 2014 claim was not enough, Hichilema repeated his allegation but Chishimba Kambwili – then as chief government spokesperson, but now friend – described the UPND leader as a non-factor dismissing his claims on October 2, 2015 by exonerating President Lungu stating that the head of state was not a heartless leader who would
consider killing Hichilema.
In December 8, 2015, a website linked to Hichilema titled Kachema Kontolola detailed claims that the ruling party plotted to eliminate Hichilema.
“The PF are so determined to hold on to power by whatever means to a point where they care less if HH lives or die”.
“This revelation to kill HH has been exposed by Innocent “The Commando” Kalimanshi or Inno for short, who has been the leader of the PF thugs at Intercity and in charge of executing most of the violence we have been witnessing from the PF until yesterday when he was arrested on assault charges …”
It further went on to claim “The Assassination idea was planned by Mumbi Phiri and Kaizer Zulu to assassinate HH while he visited Mongu. But when Inno did not fully oblige to this, Mumbi and Kaizer were so enraged that they decided to dispose Inno off,” the Hichilema machinery reported.
On December 18, 2016, another UPND sponsored publication claimed a Zambia Police Commissioner Bothwell Namuswa had
confessed to being assigned to assassinate Hichilema.
“We had a meeting at which we resolved to disrupt the court proceedings of the petition by provoking the UPND supporters at the courts. It’s was then decided and ordered by State House Special Assistant for Corruption Kaizer
Zulu to fire a live bullet at the UPND President Hakainde Hichilema and kill him.”
“Kaiser Zulu was very clear that Lungu thought Mr. Hichilema had a strong case that can nullify the presidency and the only way to stop him was by killing him with a live bullet through causing confusion,” Namuswa, according to the Zambian Observer, told his family members.
In April 2017, Hichilema’s wife, Mrs Mutinta Hichilema, joined the bandwagon narrating in an interview how her husband was nearly assassinated.
“They never came to arrest Hakainde here, they came to kill and they are still determined to kill my husband. Anyway my God is watching. The same God that saved my husband that night is the same God who is going to save him even now,” Mutinta told journalists.
In February 2019, Hichilema emerged with another claim after a stage-managed scene in Sesheke. It’s now eight months later, the UPND is again pushing forward this assassination claim.
With the assassination claim counting at seven now, the UPND are way ahead in their lives such that defeat in 2021 will not match the record for falsifying events.