By David N Kapoma

Almost every Zambian voter knows by now that our politics are not what we can call clean. In fact most people say politics is a dirty game. If anything most citizens that think they are principled and clean always avoid being involved in politics. Zambia has been on a downward spiral politically in the last seven years or so, and ever since the Patriotic Front (PF) took over the reins of government from the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), things have become far worse. Maybe it’s because the ruling party is looking attractive.

We now have a situation where it has become normal for politicians to belong to two parties and act like it is the new acceptable thing in politics. The last one year or so has been particularly grievous as we have seen ‘unbelievable’ things on the Zambian political landscape. The term “political prostitute” has taken on a new dimension. Let me give a few examples to make the point clear and I do this with no strings attached.

RUPIAH BANDA – The former president it seems became greedy for his own good. Instead of supporting his own party and the candidature of his successor Dr Nevers Sekwila Mumba, he opted to try to impose himself as the MMD presidential candidate in the last election in January. Dr Mumba took the case to court and the Supreme Court ruled that Mr Banda was out of order.

Then what happened shocked us all though we should not have been shocked. The former president went to bed with a party he had traded blows with just 3 years earlier. He allegedly raised money for the PF, donated his campaign truck to him and went round the country campaigning with Lungu while holding up a different party symbol in either hand. This was the probably one of the worst points in Zambian immoral politics. One wonders what back-door deals were made for this to happen.

GEOFFREY B MWAMBA – GBM as he is affectionately known, also one of the richest individuals in Zambia defected from MMD to PF in 2008 and stood as Kasama Central MP during a by-election. He won the seat and later in 2011 became Defence Minister under the Michael Sata government. Then he suddenly resigned from PF claiming it was due to the Chief Chitimukulu controversy, although subsequent events suggested otherwise.

Today he is United Party for National Development (UPND) Vice-President but wants to remain a PF MP and is fighting his expulsion from PF in court. On one hand, he claims to be very popular in Kasama but he clearly doesn’t want to go for a by-election. He wants to have his cake and eat it.

As Bembas say,”Cimbwi afwile intanganano”. GBM cannot make up his mind which party he wants to belong to and stick with it. His seemingly “marriage of convenience” with UPND makes one wonder whether he hopes to take over from UPND president Hakainde Hichilema if UPND loses the 2016 election. The reality is that his chances of taking over UPND are as good as a Southerner taking over PF. Next to zero.
FELIX MUTATI – The honourable threw his weight behind a presidential candidate from a rival party, the UPND. He went all over the country campaigning for Mr Hichilema and to this day, he apparently sees nothing wrong with that. He is now trying to get the MMD presidency from Dr Mumba and if he succeeds, he will end up campaigning against the same UPND he supported in January 2015.

After watching the MMD disintegrate from the sidelines and contributing to its demise, he now says he will stand as Lunte MP on the MMD ticket with 26 others and he is ready to stand as MMD President at the next convention. I don’t even understand what I have said here but that’s just how complicated it is in reality.
Could it be that honourable Mutati is secretly negotiating with both PF and UPND to be a running mate in the event that MMD comes out third and become king-makers under a 50%+1 electoral system? Because Zambian politics have long been known for these “double tobela” maneuvres.

SYLVIA MASEBO – Seasoned as she is I think she takes the prize for biggest political “muselela kwakaba” of all time. She was first elected as Chongwe MP on the Zambian Republican Party (ZRP) ticket in 2001. 5 years later, she stood on MMD ticket and then stood on PF ticket another 5 years later in 2011. From all indications, she is going to stand on UPND in 2016. FDD or Rainbow Party in 2021? 2026?

DORA SILIYA – Probably the sharpest political tongue in Zambian politics, while in MMD she regularly traded political blows with PF leaders including former President Michael Sata himself, even inventing new names for her political opponents. I must say she is very good at this. Before we knew it, she went quiet as MMD Spokesperson and now she is a PF Central Committee member and Minister in charge of Load-shedding in the PF government. All this despite Information Minister Chishimba Kambwili saying that he would rather sale his soul to the devil than embracing Siliya in PF. Today the two honourables seat together in cabinet meetings. Indeed in Zambian politics you don’t need to have permanent enemies or friends.

RICHARD KACHINGWE – As National Secretary of the MMD at the time, he got a bright idea to remove Nevers Mumba as MMD President. Where he got such powers I do not know. A few slaps and kicks later from my best friend, he was out of MMD. Rumour has it that he was the one who gave the list of MMD financial donors to opponents in exchange for a nice brown envelope.

BOWMAN LUSAMBO – Do I even have to say anything about my good friend? I think we all know what is going on here. Like my friend Antonia Mwanza, he is a potential powerful political animal we are yet to see.

MUHABI LUNGU – Very well spoken and articulate politician. someone as good as a father and big brother to me. Enough said.

KABINGA PANDE – One day he was in a meeting to suspend Dr Mumba as MMD President and choose RB as MMD candidate for the January 2015 election. The next day he was busy condemning the very meeting he himself had chaired the day before and then he threw his support on the UPND. Today he is still in MMD, waiting for which side of the fence to jump to.

FORDSON MALISHINYI – The most popular Solwezi West MMD candidate withdrew from the September by-election race at the nomination desk with the MMD Spokesperson Raphael Nakacinda standing next to him with his mouth wide open in shock. What a joker! He was later accused by the MMD leadership of having been called to Plot One the day before to receive a large brown envelope and the man gave up on his dream of becoming a member of parliament.

MIKE MULONGOTI – One week he is holding up “The Hour” symbol, the next week he is holding up a fist. This self-proclaimed “king maker” who is nothing more than a political clown seems to be only interested in getting a political job. He complained about not being given a job by late president Sata, formed his own party and then said he regretted supporting PF. Looks like Lungu is not in a hurry to appoint him either.

RICHARD KAPITA – The former UPND Vice-President decided to jump ship after accusations of financial impropriety surfaced in UPND. Now he is a PF Central Committee member and in line for a job from President Lungu.

The list is endless and I can write several volumes on this. The point I want to make is that we can do better than this as Zambians. We cannot continue electing into office morally bankrupt individuals and hope to have a better Zambia for us and our children and their children. These muselela kwakaba politicians are only interested to go where they can eat the most and have no principles. We cannot progress as a nation like this.

I am worried and concerned as this kind of politics is not inspiring to the young people and the next generation. Brown envelopes, as popularized by late Michael Sata, have taken over Zambian politics. It seem there is no escape from them. Maybe I should also get a large brown envelope from someone!

I agree with Dr Mumba and many others who say that Zambian politics must change for the nation to go forward. The political immorality and filth is too much. The good news is that we have a chance to make things right in the coming election by carefully scrutinizing everyone on the ballot. We must insist on a proven track record of a good moral standing, rather than electing corrupt and morally bankrupt candidates.
Bane vote wisely in 2016.

David N Kapoma