Joseph Kalimbwe, a Zambian youth politician who supported the current President Hakainde Hichilema in assuming power, defending him home and abroad physically and on social media platforms, has, without stating any reasons, decided to refrain from supporting the United Party for National Development (UPND) leader.
Hichilema’s rise to power was characterised by massive attacks from Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party members who branded the 7th Zambian President as a western puppet.
He, through democratic elections, defeated former President Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front, a revolutionary party aligned to Zanu-PF.
But Kalimbwe stood firmly with Hichilema, sometimes engaging in bitter, personal and diplomatic wars of words with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba.
After all the fights he fought on behalf of Hichilema, Kalimbwe, a pro-democracy activist, has decided to halt his support for the UPND leader, much to the joy of Zanu-PF.
“Friends, we’ve been offline to recharge, consult and energize. Due to recent events and our collective failures as a unit to return to the masses to inspire and put into confidence a nation living in tough times, we’d like to state that we are putting on hold our support which we have shown endlessly here for the 7th Zambian President.
“We continue to consult and speak to friends, foes, comrades and compatriots both at home and in the region on the building of a youth vehicle that speaks to the collective struggles of our people,” read the statement.
It is believed that Kalimbwe is no longer happy with the way Hichilema is running the country. Opposition leaders, journalists and government critics are being arrested on frivolous charges.
Recently, the former President Lungu was barred from jogging in public.
On November 15, Socialist Party (SP) leader Fred M’membe was arrested on charges of espionage.
Zimbabwe’s top investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono believes that Kalimbwe is deciding not to allow Hichilema’s totalitarian tendencies to drift him away from his principles.
“This is a very sad day for Zambian politics because everyone knows how dedicated Joseph Kalimbwe was to the United Party for National Development and to President Hakainde Hichilema’s administration.
“Hundreds of thousands if not millions of Africans got to know about UPND and President Hakainde Hichilema through Joseph Kalimbwe’s activism on social media driven by him and the youth team behind him.
“He articulated with clarity what their struggle was about, and his solidarity for good causes went beyond Zambia. He was and hopefully remains a cross-border political activist who cares about African people.
“Africa is a difficult place for principled people because the majority of our people support personalities and not ideas and principled objectives.
“So taking a stand can get you ridiculed and insulted, but decent people worry more about what is right and not about what people will say.
“I hope that the issues that have made Joseph Kalimbwe withdraw his support for President Hichilema and his administration can be resolved because it is too ghastly to imagine Edgar Lungu being re-elected due to the Hichilema presidency failures,” Chin’ono said.
“It would be a public affairs duty too for Joseph Kalimbwe to explain in detail the issues that led to this withdrawal because withdrawing without explanation will do more damage not just to President Hichilema, but to the causes that I know Joseph Kalimbwe holds so dear to his heart.
“Wishing you strength and wisdom in the days ahead Joseph Kalimbwe as you shall not only deal with false accusations and insults, but the thought process of how you and the administration can mend fences for the greater good of the Zambian people in the principle of One Zambia, One Nation.”
Former Zanu-PF Masvingo urban legislator Tongai Matutu said: “We told you long ago, Zambians will miss Edgar Lungu. Now the economy is in a total mess the cost of living is now unbearable. The only achievement of Hichilema over the past two years is giving Americans a military base to destabilise Zambians and Africa.”
Kalimbwe earned the support of an X user Addie Mahembe.
“Joseph Kalimbwe has earned my respect. Our struggle should never be about personalities. It should be about principles, values and ideas.
“I’m a strong advocate for an Inclusive, Democratic Developmental States in Africa. Anyone who speaks this language becomes more comrade, and if it’s a party, deserves my vote,” Mahembe said.-nehandaradio