By Joe Mwansa Lombe Kaluba
Opposition Political parties together with Media Institutions, Civil Society Organisations(CSOs) including Faith Based Organisations are an important element of our democratic process. A sane opposition helps to provide proper checks and balances. A balanced Civil Society and Media helps to aid that democratic consolidation. However, we live in a world where any group that is not in government sees itself as an opposition. Hence in most cases you find a very thin line between political organisations and those that are not. The only difference though is that only political parties seek elective office which is directly link to them being a very important part of that political landscape and democratisation.
In my last post I wrote about individuals who I thought would be possible President Edgar Lungu’s Running Mate(RM). In this post I thought of doing one about the possible RM for Hakainde Hichilema(HH) of United Party for National Development(UPND. Unlike Lungu, HH has to pick someone who can help him sell. As we all know this will be the fifth Presidential attempt by the UPND leader. HH has become like that product in a shop or market that people keep looking at without buying it and all what the seller does is to dust it everyday. That is HH for you. So in this regard his choice of RM is very crucial. He has to pick someone who will help him sell before he gets expired politically.
So what is HH looking for in his RM or dancing mate? The other question to be answered by HH should be. Can I win these election? Depending on what Hichilema’s answer is-this will determine his choice for his RM. I think HH is looking for as pointed above someone who can help sell him. In my opinion this is the toughed election UPND under him have ever taken part in. So not only for their leader the party will push for someone who should probably take over from Hichilema after losing elections a record five times. So it’s not easy as many UPND supporters think. Okay!!
The Contenders: Lungu has not given us the name but he has hinted on having a woman as his RM. HH has not. So male and female alike are all in it. Please note this is my own political opinion and it does not what so ever indicate the position of individuals including the position of UPND.
1-Jacob Jack Mwiimbu will be 57 on 23rd July. A Lawyer by profession the Monze MP holds a Latin Legum Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Laws) commonly know as LLB among other qualifications. The MP for Monze since 2001 was in the papers a few weeks ago refuting media claims that old UPND members want him to be the running-mate. I have been to Monze many times and the town is growing very fast. However the question is. Is this due to the MP’s influence or is it the central government together with the traditional leaders who are influencing that? Mwiimbu is a senior member of the party and he knows UPND in and out. But the question is do I see him as a RM to HH? I do but this will depend on the influence of the party membership.
2-Canisius Banda- He is a Medical Doctor by profession. The former Deputy Director of Technical Support Services -Health Education at Ministry of Health is the current UPND vice president for political affairs. He is seen as a loyal member of UPND. Banda though disappointing in his political pronouncements is in my opinion one of the brains we have in Zambia. For me the doctor is a failed politician. In the actual sense he is not a politician. However, we don’t only need politicians to govern or contribute to the development of our country. CB knows as much as everyone that the chances of him being picked for that RM slot are not all that high. But you never know. Politics can sometimes be unpredictable. So it might be Canisius Banda as HH’s dancing or running-mate.
3-Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba. The accused owner of a Mortal Combat Gym in Lusaka and former or current Kasama MP depending on how you look at it will be 57 on 15th March. With the clause dictating that all aspiring candidates should hold a Grade 12 School Certificate or equivalent. GBMs educational credentials have been questioned not only by outsiders but also those within UPND. However according to National Assembly records only “Form V” is indicated as his qualification. It does not however tell us if he has a certificate or not. In short if one puts married on their marital status it doesn’t mean they have a Marriage Certificate. The other point to note is, before January no one was asked to show papers for their qualifications before filing in of nomination. Hence it is only GBM who knows which certificates he holds. The former Defence Minister is eyeing for that RM place which he thinks is a very big opportunity for his shot of being Republican President. For me this is where the problem is for the old membership. We have seen how aggressive GBM is in campaigning for UPND. For me he is so sure he is the chosen one. In my opinion the chances of GBM being HH running-mate are 50-50 especially after his Mortal Combat Gym saga. The question is in the unlikely event that HH snubs him what will be his reaction? Food for thought.
4-Mutinta C Mazoka. The Pemba MP will be 67 on 20thApril. She holds a GCE and a Certificate in Agriculture. Mazoka was very influential in the election of HH as party leader in 2006 when the so called “democratic” party held their last convention. The question is why would Hichilema pick her as running-mate? It may be to repay that faith and debt she put in him. Or maybe it will be for helping to sell him the way she did 10 years ago. MCM has a lot of influence in both UPND and Southern Province. So that might force HH to pick her.
5-Gary G Nkombo- The Mazabuka Central MP turned 51 on 1st March. A Businessman and Educationist, GG has been seen as a long time successor of HH. In the actual fact after HH’s failed Presidential bid in 2011 there was word that the opposition leader should leave his position or rather hand over the party presidency to GG. Just like Mwiimbu’s RM rumours. UPND trashed the gossip. I consider Nkombo as one of the most intelligent leaders of our generation. But I sometimes question his saneness especially on national matters. Nkombo has the ability to help develop our country even if he is an opposition MP. Do I see HH going for him as a possible RM. I think yes.
Who are the other possible contenders? Ephraim Kaang’andu Belemu Mbabala MP who will be 48 on 30th July. He holds a Diploma in Marketing and a Master in Business Administration (Tourism). The other is Sylvia Masebo Chongwe MP 2001. She will be 53 a day before women’s day. The former Minster of Tourism holds a Bsc in Banking and Finance.
As politics are full of surprises. With the courtship between the Post Newspaper and HH. It will be no shock to see Miles Sampa who turns 46 a day after Christmas become RM to HH. The ambitious former Deputy Minister of Commerce who holds a BSc in Agric. Economics and an MBA-Money Market is in very good books with the paper. The other possibility is former Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba who turned 58 in January. Kabimba a University of Zambia Law graduate is also in very good books with the Post Newspaper which HH asked to cover his campaign not so long ago. However, looking at the personalities of these two it remains to be seen if Sampa or Kabimba can work under HH.
We are in March meaning that August is getting closer. The date of the election is known. People must hence start to know who is running for election. Most importantly we long to see those running-mates. Let me know what you think. Who does Hichilema pick? William Banda perhaps?