UPND president Hakainde Hichilema will pay a high price for allowing every Jim and Jack to join the opposition party in the current election fever, civic rights activist Brebner Changala has observed.
And Mr Changala has said the abuse of former first ladies and their children in campaigns by opposition parties wanting to get elected into State House should come to an end.
Mr Changala said the recent defections to UPND were all aimed at self-preservation.
He said it was a pity that it was the same group of politicians at every election time who crossed from a perceived sinking ruling party to a seemingly potential in-coming party.
“The current defections from one party to the other have become common. When they see their mother party sinking, they jump ship to start a new life. They don’t even believe in the manifesto of the party they are joining, not even the philosophy. They only believe in benefits,” he said.
Mr Changala, however, said what was happening to the UPND was good for the party because the new members would promote intra-party democracy which allegedly has been absent in the opposition political party.
He said he foresaw new members in the UPND demanding recognition and positions as they would refuse to be pushed to the peripheral.
Mr Changala said the UPND had been stable in the past because members stood for a common cause which will disappear with the arrival of new members.
“I don’t see people like the UPND vice president for administration Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba keeping quiet after spending so much of his resources in the party.
“They will not agree to be pushed to the peripheral of the party because they will claim they owned the UPND victory, if the party formed government,” Mr Changala said.
He wondered how the old and faithful members of the UPND would be feeling at that point.
Mr Changala advised Zambians to stop the ‘‘serial defectors’’ who always found themselves in every government because they were in politics for the money, power and privilege.
“Look at Sylvia Masebo, how many political parties has she been in? She was in MMD before she joined Zambia Republican Party and then she went back to MMD; only to join the PF. Now she is in UPND. These politicians are there for their own good: no political morality, no principles,” he said.
Mr Changala, however, bemoaned the abuse of former first ladies and their children for political expediency.
“During these elections, there is another pattern emerging. When a President dies, the widow endorses a candidate. In a worst case scenario, the widow decides to stand to take over from her late husband. This is a very sad scenario.
“We had a situation when Levy Mwanawasa died where the widow endorsed Mr Ng’andu Magande and unfortunately that did not work. But that was not correct. And during 2011, Patrick Mwanawasa was used to campaign against Mr Rupiah Banda and support a rival candidate Mr Michael Sata.
‘‘They used big pictures claiming Rupiah Banda had not lived up to the vision of ‘‘my father’’. We have a similar situation when President Michael Sata died and the widow wanted to stand as a presidential candidate to take over from the late husband.
‘‘And a certain interest group promoted her intention while she was mourning. Now they are using the son, Mulenga Sata,” he said.
Mr Changala, however, charged that Mr Sata left a lot of landmines for President Edgar Lungu as the projects he embarked on were without plans.
He said it was Mr Sata who depleted the US$2.7 billion which the Rupiah Banda administration left as national reserves.