With the political campaigns for the forthcoming August 11 general elections gaining momentum, it is imperative for the electorate to carefully analyse all those aspiring to lead our country.
Interestingly, not only should the leadership qualities of the presidential hopefuls be under scrutiny this time round, but also those of their running mates.
From the onset, it is important to underscore that a running mate is a person running together with another person on a joint ticket during an election. The term is most often used in reference to the person in the subordinate position such as the vice presidential candidate running with a presidential candidate.
Going by the weight of importance attached to this position of the running mate, who is undeniably the president in waiting as articulated in the Constitution, the calibre of the candidates standing as such is a big factor in determining which presidential candidate would emerge victorious.
We are utterly taken aback at some of the candidates who filed in as running mates to presidential candidates. One particular case in point is that of Edith Nawakwi’s running mate, Reverend Clement Mwanza, whose adoption has raised eyebrows because he is deemed as a stranger to the Zambian political scene.
“I wanted to come in the FDD as an MP in Msanzala but the issue was that I did not have the original copy of my NRC and tax clearance certificate,” Rev Mwanza said. Does this mean that there were no other eligible, old, card carrying members of the party to be adopted as running-mates?
We are fully cognizant of Ms Nawakwi and her party’s right to decide on who they thought was well qualified to be picked as her running mate going into the August 11 general elections.
However, the drama, intrigue, suspense, and controversy surrounding his adoption is what raises more questions than answers as to whether there was a democratic discourse to arrive at that decision, bearing in mind that should Edith Nawakwi be elected Republican President on August 11, Rev Mwanza would become the Vice President of this great nation.
Foremost, this is the man whose bid to contest the Msanzala parliamentary seat on the FDD ticket hit a snag because he did not have the correct and requisite original documents such the National Registration Card, academic certificates and tax clearance certificate.
As if the Msanzala experience was not dramatic enough, Rev Mwanza did not have the original documents with him on the day he was filing in nominations as Ms Nawakwi’s running mate. It took the party president holding a nearly one hour long closed door meeting with the Electoral Commission of Zambia officials to enable him file in his nomination. This puzzle is yet to be figured out as to how that was allowed knowing that he was turned away in Msanzala constituency.
Shockingly, when Rev Mwanza was asked on his campaign strategy, he said he had not launched his campaign because he was waiting for instruction from Ms Nawakwi on how the campaign programme was going to be conducted. We wonder as to whether he even knows the party manifesto. Let alone, has he bought into the vision of the party?
Later, the Reformed Church of Zambia through the secretary general Dr William Zulu clarified its position, stating that Rev Mwanza violated article 43 of the church’s constitution which stipulates that any minister (pastor) who wanted to join politics must step down from his position in the church.
Really, it is such sharp turn of events that worry the electorate as to whether such candidates are equal to the mammoth task to run the affairs of our country.