The UPND must tone down on triumphalism rhetoric which is driving tension and uncalled for antagonism.
Nobody knows, except the Zambian collective, who will win the August 11 elections and whoever wins cannot ride roughshod and carte blanche to exercise power without observing the rule of law.
The fact that GBM has joined the UPND does not translate into the capitulation of the entire Bemba tribe to the UPND. Far from it. Voters are concerned with the character and disposition of individuals who seek office before they give them the vote.
For example Wynter Kabimba has a very hard time convincing Zambians on any issue on account of his conduct when he was in office.
Triumphalism, described as the disproportionate or unreasonable celebration of the perceived successes and virtues of a given group relative to other competing groups, is often a source of friction because it demeans contenders.
It may be true that GBM has some royal Bemba connection, but this does not automatically qualify him to be a leader either among the Bemba people or the nation at large. A leader is identified by such qualities as humility, compassion, temperate language and a very strong measure of confidentiality.
A good example is the Chitimukulu – Henry Kanyanta Sosala. For a long time he was virtually banished by President Michael Sata, but the Bemba Traditional Council resolved to ignore the President’s decision to degazette him.
President Sata alleged that the traditional ruler was not properly installed, and instructed then Chiefs and Traditional Affairs minister Nkandu Luo to delete his credentials from the House of Chiefs and suspend all his emoluments and allowances entitled to him.
The Chitimukulu did not fight his own battle. The Bashilubemba, his college of chiefs, stood by him. If they had faltered or relented a different chief would have been installed.
The Bashilubemba stood on a matter of principle although they were at odds with the State. They remained united even when it was not fashionable to do so.
All the candidates who stood under the PF in 2011 must have been aware of the standoff but still stood. The PF received 100 percent support, even though Mr. Sata refused to attend a meeting of the Bashilubemba.
As an intellectual Chitimukulu has always argued his case in an orderly and dignified manner without rising to the bait of intemperance that he was subjected to.
Not a vile or vulgar word – even when these were called for.
That is why it is a very mistaken calculation and analysis to assume that membership to Bemba royalty automatically translates into votes at the ballot box or political popularity. These must be earned by conduct, demeanor and personal character.
In any contest, the wise leave a margin for error or failure. To assume irrationally that a particular group will carry the day is an insult to the electorate. Campaigns provide a fora for the electorate to interact with those offering their services.