HH now extending the “UPND One Party System” of Southern Province to the rest of Zambia
By Chris ZUMANI Zimba
16th December, 2023
1. On 12th December, 2023, renowned Zambian historian and academician, Dr. Sishuwa Sishuwa published an empirical article: “Zambia is at the verge of becoming a One Party State “. I agree with him in entirety looking at President Hakainde Hichilema (HH)’s political actions and deeds today;
2. My additional take is that HH is already running a “One Party System” for the UPND in Southern Province and now desires to extend it to the rest of Zambia since he is a Republican President. Here is the how:
3. In Southern Province, we know that UPND is practically the only political party that is “allowed” to openly exist, freely campaign but and ‘does not’ generally give space for rival parties to compete;
4. From the days of Anderson Mazoka in 1998 when this ruling party was formed to 2023, UPND has won all presidential elections in the “Chindu Chaitwa” province-only UPND. So far, this pattern is only peculiar to Southern Province;
5. Even when Mazoka died in 2006, Ackson Sajani and other Tonga elders led team of “Chindu Chaitwa” crusaders into Monze with a clear slogan of “Only a Tonga can succeed a Tonga” and that’s how HH was anointed as New Party Leader at Mulungushi in Lusaka;
6. Look, I attended the 2006 UPND 2 days Convention at Mulungushi in Lusaka as President of the University of Zambia Political Science Association (UNZAPOSA) with my team of observers. So, l speak with naked facts of what really happened and how HH became Makoka’s successor;
7. In Southern province, anyone who has contested with either Mazoka or HH such as Levy Mwanawasa in 2001 and 2006, Rupiah Banda in 2008 and 2011, Micheal Sata in 2011 and Edgar Lungu in 2015, 2016 and 2021 has been badly defeated and whitewashed. Clearly, Southern province votes UPND with a one party signature;
8. Apart from Livingstone central that is somehow cosmopolitan and has sometimes voted independent or opposition MPs, Southern province is the only region in Zambia that has consistently produced most UPND MPs and councilors since 1998/2001 to date as we speak;
9. Ironically, since 1998 when this party was founded to to-date, Southern province is the only region where results of presidential elections as well as parliamentary and local government polls are widely predictable or known before people vote in favour of UPND candidates only;
10. The most outstanding vote signature of Southern province for UPND was in 2016 when opposition HH then got away with ‘abnormal votes’ against a sitting president, Edgar Lungu who got practically ‘nothing’ in Dundumwezi constituency;
11. In 2016, Dundumwezi constituency in Kalomo District, with a voter turn out of 79% gave PF and Zambia’s President, Edgar Lungu 252 votes against his main rival, UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema who got 30, 810 votes. Empirically, this was naked testimony that Southern province votes UPND as a symbol of “one party system”;
12. During the 2001, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2021, it is widely reported that many if not most MMD and PF poling agents were chased and beaten out of most rural polling stations across Southern Province and thereby left UPND agents to “monitor and facilitate” voting on their own;
13. According to the Democracy In Africa (DIA) report by Nic Cheeseman and Nicole Beardeworth for 15th August, 2021, the last Presidential Election Results still confirms and validates the overt existence of HH and UPND’s One Party system in Southern province;
14. A sample of presidential results for 2021 in eight constituencies of Southern province reveal the same old UPND monopoly one political party realities: Mapatizya gave HH 29,859 while ECL got 620; Pemba gave HH 29,470 while ECL got 320; Dundumwezi gave HH 27,883 who ECL again got 262, Chikankata gave HH 29749 while ECL got 966; Sinazongwe gave HH 48,334 while ECL got 1,683; Namwala gave HH 34,992 while ECL got 1,376; Kaoma gave HH 17,886 while ECL got 2,725 and Nangoma gave HH – 18,775 while ECL got 1,424.
15. In Southern province, UPND cadres make the place so inhabitable for other Zambians who do not support their party. Non UPND Zambians especially those with names from Eastern, Luapula, Northern and Muchinga provinces live in phobia, fear, trauma and at risk for their lives during and after elections in most parts of this province;
16. For instance, in 2015 and 2016 national elections, the announcement of ECL’s victory and defeat of HH saw houses for many PF supporters, Easterners and Northerners burnt down in Namwala-HH’s home district, Choma, Itezi Tezi, etc with hundreds being harassed, beaten and threatened to migrate to their ethnic regions. Some death were recorded too. Again, this political behavior is only peculiar to Southern province as a UPND one party signature;
17. Therefore, to think that HH wants to introduce a one party system in Zambia is correct but an understatement of our past and current political realities since 1998 when UPND was formed in terms of what is happening in Southern province; and
18. For the past 25 years, UPND has already succeeded to creating a “one party system” in Southern province and now that HH is in power, he is just using the same “Mapatizya formula” to extend the monopoly party system everywhere.
How is HH exporting and extending a “One Party System” to the rest of Zambia?
1. The practice of arbitrary arresting, harassing and assaulting key opposition leaders and critics is now rampant and abnormally normal in Zambia today under HH;
2. Outstanding political opponents or rivals of UPND and HH who are being routinely targeted, arrested and politically eroded from existence include former ruler Edgar Lungu, Fred Mmembe, Sean Tembo, Chilufya Tayali, Given Lubinda, Edith Nawakwi, Saboi Imboela, Harry Kalaba, Bowman Lusambo, Emmanual Mwamba, Chishimba Kambwili, Kasonde Mwenda and Raphael Nakachinda being classical examples;
3. The UPND government is openly sponsoring political chaos, leadership divisions and destroying other rival political parties by creating internal spoiler factions. The case of spoiler faction under Miles Sampa, Chabinga, Antony Mumba and their Judas Iscariot peers in destroying the main opposition PF is visible for everyone;
4. The UPND is brutally weaponizing ECZ for itself as seen in the Kwacha and Kabushi for Malanji and Lusambo as well as in the upcoming bye elections where mainstream PF led by Edgar Lungu is being banished systematically to savagely favour a UPND sponsored PF faction of Miles Sampa;
5. Scale up in abuse of public offices and weaponization of state Institutions against political opponents. The case of Hon. Joseph Malanji, Hon. Bowman Lusambo in 2022 parliamentary by elections will remain a legacy story for the UPND’s destruction of the PF and opposition parties in Zambia using ECZ and the judiciary;
6. Now, the UPND is reported to be extending the same opposition destructive scheme into Socialist Party, NDC, PEP, FDD, EFF and any other meaningful opposition party with the same aim of destroying or weakening them in order to create a Southern province one party system;
7. HH’s New Dawn government has formally banned any political gatherings in form of rallies or public meetings for all opposition political parties in Zambia. Since August 2021 and apart from during bye elections, all known opposition parties such as PF, Socialist Party, PEP, EFF, FDD, NDC, etc have been openly denied permit to hold public meetings anywhere in Zambia by the police apart from the UPND itself;
8. Threatening actual closure of independent media outlets for covering opposition leaders or government critics. Hot FM is a classic example when IBA threatened to ‘close them down’ this year if they continued to host government opponents and HH’s critics like Dr. Sishuwa Sishuwa;
9. Recently in the case of EFF’s Kasonde Mwenda on the Copperbelt, the police made it clear that all opposition parties and leaders will no longer be allowed to hold media briefings without the prior notification and approval of the Zambia police. In other words, UPND is curtailing divergent views and closing up on freedom of expression and media engagements; and
10. Clearly, systemically and gradually, the New Dawn government of HH has set the executive, legislature and part of the judiciary on course to run this direction and everyone is being tutored to enforce and implement this new authoritarian political direction for Zambia to suit the “one party system” of Southern Province.
Therefore, just as UPND does not allow any meaningful political challenge and competition in Southern province since 1998 where they have practically created a monopoly one party system for themselves, HH now as Republican President believes that he can succeed to do the same at national level where UPND is the only party and Bally is the only worshipped political king for all and in all provinces.
But will our citizens and international partners allow President HH to destroy our hard earned democratic legacy and let him to become our “janza kumbele “ Adolf Hitler just like this?
Dr Chris ZUMANI Zimba is a Political Scientist, Researcher, Author & Consultant specialized in Comparative Global Governance and Democratic Theories. He holds a PhD, MA, BA and Cert in Political Science. Zimba was President Lungu’s Political Advisor from December 2019 to August 2021.