THE ERA OF POLITICAL SAINTS IS OVER IN ZAMBIA
I was surprised to read in the Daily Nation, January 19, 2016 issue that a new breakaway political party from the PF, to be called the Democratic Front Party (DFP), has been formed and is likely to be launched this week.
Obviously, Zambia is no longer a de facto one-party state. Following Miles Sampa’s resignation from Government, DFP has been formed by his loyalists.
Although it is tainted by its association with the cartel oligarchy, it appears to be attracting disgruntled PF members of central committee in droves.
Even if it does not do particularly well in the 11 August elections, it marks a critical moment for Zambian democracy: the first time since 2001 that there would be a viable alternative for voters in the regional cocoons of Northern and Muchinga provinces. This is calculated, no doubt, to underscore the perceived laxity or reluctance to balkanize the country into ethnic blocks as exclusive fiefdoms of narrow-minded, xenophobic chieftains masquerading as presidential candidates by a Lungu-led PF.
Albeit, the DFP hopes to undermine and weaken the PF to make it impossible for the ruling party to garner the required 50 per cent plus 1 vote in the first round of the presidential polls.
Perhaps there is relief to this, in the lowered expectations Zambians now have of their leaders. One way or the other, the era of political saints is over in Zambia. Now it has to come to terms with the fact that it is ruled like everywhere else in Africa, by flawed and self-interested men.
The long-standing rivalry between Sampa and Lungu and their respective factions in PF which goes back to the succession wrangles after the late president Michael Sata’s death, means that everyone is tainted.
No one any more carries the liberator’s aura of a Kenneth Kaunda. Probably, that is the essence of Zambia’s new Constitution.