UPND Presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema lost the January 20 presidential election, and Edgar Lungu gained many valued friends when the former failed to state his position on the much hated cartel.
He particularly estranged a sizeable portion of the electorate by appointing Dipak Patel as his campaign manager.
This action alone brought the specter of the cartel influence in government to the fore.
Many people have not forgotten that it was Dipak who was in the forefront of calling President Levy Mwanawasa a cabbage, (and yet he could comfortably share a platform with Maureen Mwanawasa) and later spearheaded the campaign against second republican president Dr. Frederick Chiluba by word and deed, through the “Chiluba is a thief” campaign.
Apart from calling Dr. Chiluba names, he also delivered documentation of the alleged Zamtrop Account to Parliament. He then mounted a vicious and unbridled media campaign to tear the former head of state’s reputation to tatters and to destroy his legacy.
This puts Dipak Patel in a particular political camp and frame which certainly harmed the prospects of HH, also given the fact that Patel decided on a negative campaign strategy that belittled Edgar Lungu, inflaming sentiments and coming at a time when the nation was healing from the Guy Scott trauma. Few people were prepared to have another of their own insulted.
On the contrary Edgar Lungu was categorical. He was prepared to tackle the cartel.
It must be appreciated that the pain and hurt that the cartel has created in its reign of terror is deep, real and visceral.
People have lost loved ones including parents, the nation has lost leaders and indeed individuals have suffered humiliation at the hands of a small group of people who combined in a lethal campaign that abused the media and the criminal justice system. One such victim was the former Director of Public Prosecutions Mukelabai Mukelabai, who was hounded out of office by the cartel, and who eventually died a lonely death in South Africa.
Like everything else in life, injustice always suffers retribution. It may take time but retribution does come.
Sadly, for a while, it looked like HH was going to delay further the retribution that was due to the cartel, hence a number of people who would have willingly sided with him chose otherwise because they did not want to see a repeat of the President Sata debacle where three senior judges could be removed at the behest of small-time crooks.
They did not want another sponsored presidency. In short, they wanted nothing to do with the cartel.
There is no guarantee that the cartel will be dismantled given the depth and breadth to which it had been cultivated, but there is hope that justice will finally prevail.
It is not the active favour of the current President that people are seeking but indeed they want him to ensure that justice is done. They want a fair inquiry into what transpired with regard to many issues, indeed how a few individuals could hijack State power to prosecute a private corruption agenda that was not only targeted but totally devoid of the normal rules of natural justice.
If HH had promised to stand by the victims of injustice, he would have been assured a vote from many of those who ended up voting for Edgar Lungu.
The truth as they say always prevails, however dire the circumstances may appear and hence the saying about poetic justice.
What people are seeing today is but the tip of the iceberg, more is yet to come when the final details of the workings of the Task Force on Corruption are unearthed.
Zambians will come to learn of the murky details that the so-called paragons of virtue have been involved in. They appear to have championed the truth but were in reality no more than evil peddlers of hate and malice from which they accumulated wealth, privilege and power.
One small Zambian tribe has a saying, “mutuka ala laba, lelo mutukwa talaba” (those who insult forget but the insulted do not forget)
The fight is just beginning.