The demand by the PF top brass that UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema should reprimand his vice president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) for his vulgar language, is a strong warning to the UPND leaders that political dynamics are changing fast and leaving them behind (Sunday Nation, April 24, 2016).
GBM is the kind of a person UPND can ill-afford at this time. The country’s economy, five years after the end of the MMD rule, is languishing due to low commodity prices on the London Metal Exchange. GBM has capitalized on the resultant discontent.
The populist policies he champions – including retribution and pursuing former State presidents – would be disastrous to the UPND in the unlikely event that it forms the next government.
UPND would bankrupt the State and deter the foreign direct investment needed for growth. The latter would undo progress towards taking the vindictive poison out of Zambian politics.
However, in the absence of well-articulated alternatives by the UPND to address gaping inequalities in the nation, it is no surprise that GBM’s ideas have been gaining traction within the UPND. He’s filling a vacuum that more sober UPND politicians have failed to fill.
The disciplinary action the PF leadership now demands is as a result of GBM’s controversial vulgar outbursts, which is a test for the UPND president.
Simply removing him from the UPND top position will not be enough. Even though UPND’s establishment has been drifting and is becoming more a patronage network than a channel for fresh ideas.
Since becoming UPND vice president, GBM has spent time on irrelevant issues such as who succeeds Edgar Lungu as president and who fills other top positions in the unlikely event of UPND’s forming government.
His other pet subjects include being late Michael Sata’s kingmaker and pursuing former State presidents do not address youth unemployment and HIV-AIDS, to cite a couple of the most pressing challenges facing young people in the post-MMD era.
The youths need jobs, skills, further education and mentoring in business and in many aspects of their lives to participate meaningfully in society and compete in the ruthless economic environment.
What GBM has been able to offer thus far is noise full of threats and insults. So, when will the UPND leader condemn GBM?