UPND Needs To Fix Its Party Structures as a Matter of Urgency
By Daimone Siulapwa
The UPND currently finds itself at a critical stage that demands immediate attention and decisive action.
The essence of any successful political entity lies in its organizational strength, and UPND must acknowledge that most of its structures are in disarray and there is an urgent need to rebuild them before irreparable damage is caused.
As it sets its sights on winning the 2026 elections, one of the important elements that could tip the scales in its favor is the strengthening of its party structures countrywide, which seem to have become defunct, including its secretariat.
Party structures are not merely administrative organs; they are the pillars that uphold the entire network of a political organization. For UPND, the importance of these structures cannot be overstated as they are the party in government and they need solid structures to deliver on their mandate.
Party structures are also the backbone of any political organization, serving as the vital channels that connect leadership with the grassroots.
Unfortunately, UPND has been facing a substantial erosion of its structures in all provinces, exposing a glaring neglect by its leadership, particularly the Secretary-General Batuke Imenda and his deputy Gertrude Imende.
It is either the two have outlived their usefulness or lack financial support or both. This neglect has resulted in discontent among party members and a serious weakening of UPND’s national presence.
Elections are not only won on the voting day; winning begins at the grassroots level where all party structures start. UPND must recognize that the strength of its party structures will always and directly correlate with the strength it will have at national level.
By nurturing and empowering its structures in every region, UPND can ensure that its message not only reaches but also resonates with voters across the diverse landscapes in our country, more especially in regions considered not to be their strongholds.
Whether UPND likes it or not, lessons can be learnt from the Patriotic Front (PF). The PF’s success in the past can be attributed, in part, to its strong structures and party mobilization efforts and the continuous relevance of its structures to its cause, not only to be used by the elite to win elections, but to carry them along as important partners after winning an election.
UPND must recognize the importance of emulating these strategies to solidify its base and regain lost ground.
As the current point of observation, it is dangerous to have structures, which are disoriented; uninformed, unsupported and unguided, such a scenario creates an opportunity for discontentment and loss of belonging by party members.
Strong party structures foster a sense of loyalty among members. A united front is indispensable for success in any electoral endeavor. By cultivating a cohesive and committed network at all levels, UPND can navigate the challenges posed by political adversaries and present a formidable force that resonates with the electorate.
Elections are not just about policies; they are about mobilization and strategic campaigning. Strong party structures provide the infrastructure needed for efficient mobilization efforts. This can easily be proven by analyzing the in-roads that have been made countrywide by Fred Mmembe’s Socialist Party in a very short period of time.
The time is now for UPND to embark on a comprehensive mobilization strategy that rejuvenates its party structures and addresses existing issues. Going back to the grassroots is not just a recommendation; but it is an urgent necessity.
This involves acknowledging the concerns and grievances of party members, mending internal divisions, and ensuring that the party’s presence is felt at all levels of our political landscape.
Furthermore, Politics in its essence is a game that requires financial resources to be available. UPND’s leadership and other key figures must wake up to the stark reality that political parties cannot thrive with no cash or on handouts alone.
Adequate resources are essential for the functioning of party structures, and someone must take the lead in mobilizing these resources and not wait for the party president to lead.
Too many UPND leaders are sleeping, they will wake one day to a party that has no structures or committed members.
UPND members must be given a good reason to stand out for the party and campaign for the next elections. They will surely not do it on an empty stomach or just promises for a better future, they have heard that before, this time cash will have to be on the table, remember cash is king.
While in government, UPND cannot afford to offer excuses for financial constraints. Politics is inherently linked with financial backing, and without it, the party risks fading into political obscurity.
The claim that UPND cannot mobilize resources is flawed, considering that they are the ones running government.
Looking at Western and developed countries, it is evident that significant financial investments are made to realize political ambitions.
UPND must recognize the importance of having solid financial backers who not only support the party financially but they also stand to benefit through business patronage, there is no such thing as a free lunch.
While acknowledging the need for financial support, UPND must approach fund mobilization transparently and ethically.
Openness about funding sources and expenditures is vital to maintaining the trust of the electorate and demonstrate a commitment to democratic principles.
As things stand today, the fate of UPND hangs on its ability to confront the current challenges head-on.
The leadership, particularly HH and the Secretary-General, must wake up to the urgency of rebuilding party structures and implementing effective mobilization strategies.
Daimone Siulapwa is the Editor-in-Chief of The Voice Newspaper. He is also a political analyst, an advocate for tribal unity and Citizen Economic Empowerment. Send your comments to email@example.com