Please allow me space to share my thoughts on the just ended election.
I am an MMD member who worked closely with UPND in the last campaigns. I feel I need to shed a bit of light in the bottlenecks UPND had in managing themselves during the just ended election.
First we must all condemn the UPND administration especially the Secretary General and Elections Manager for mishandling the whole process of anti-rigging.
While we applaud the Campaign team for putting up a spirited fight and managing the Presidential campaigns successfully, the back office went to sleep. I do recall in one paper where the PF even bragged that even if they went to sleep, they would still win the election. UPND never took that statement seriously.
There was no ant rigging scheme in place and the PVT was in shambles if they had one anyway.
There was no intelligence gathering around the PF planning teams of Mwamba and Chungu (the rigging master planners) so as to know the enemy’s strengths and strategies. Wrong people were placed in polling stations as polling agents. Sometimes even illiterate fellows who can hardly read or write. To others the Polling agent’s job was an economic fund raiser and the people in it had no clue what to do afterwards. The top leadership could not provide leadership as what the Polling agents’ duties were. If and when a certificate is signed, where does it to go next. These are the intricates which made UPND relaxed and thought that the election was an easy game. They forgot to understand that their competitors had planned issues miles ahead.
Another big problem in UPND is the role the old members are playing. They throttle down uprising young brains in managing the affairs of the party especially at lower levels – Districts and Constituency. They want to hold to positions at the expense of rising dynamism in the field. If they started with Mazoka, what makes them think the 2001 ideas are still applicable today? Sometimes also the relatives to the President interfere in the running of the party at these levels. It’s very unfortunate. The management protocol in UPND also appears to be in disarray. Any level can take a problem bypassing structural levels to the higher authorities who appear to be comfortable with that. Decisions are made at any level without due regard to the levels of authority. This entails lack of discipline among members. It’s a feeling that it flows down from the Secretariat. It requires serious and urgent attention.
I feel the best UPND can do for now as we embark on another campaign journey for 2016 is to overhaul the Secretariat. If the office holders can’t voluntarily surrender, they must be forced out and active brains take up the mettle. A convention may divide the party if called upon and not very carefully planned.
We from MMD who were involved in these campaigns feel a sense of belonging to UPND now. We must move in more aggressively and ensure delivery of true leadership in 2016.
Well, they say once beaten twice shy. I hope UPND has leant a big lesson here.