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How Patriotic Front attracted the wrath of Zambians

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  1. ARROGANCY

The song Alebwelapo was so pompous and arrogant. Instead of appealing to be retained on the mupando, the song was effectively saying ” it does not matter what you wish, we shall continue to rule you.” This angered and motivated a lot of people to stand up and vote the PF out. I know one voter who changed his mind against the PF based in the song.

  1. CADRES

The youth and security wings of the party also cost the PF the 2021 election. They were unruly, criminal ,violent , and insolent. They would constantly insult government officials with impunity via social media videos. They were unruly on roads, disturbing traffic without regard of the people who thought twice about giving a vote the PF ever again. They also extorted people of money at bus stations. They often engaged in murder and assault of each other especially over money.

There is also an elite cadre of the party that was awarded contracts by government. This kind were in the habit of flashing corruptly acquired wealth on social media . There was a period of about two weeks when PF cadres published videos and pictures, standing on loads of hundred kwacha notes while threatening others .And one minister was repeatedly captured on state TV with huge bundles of cash which he would dish out to people. This practice not only fueled jealousy and anger among PF supporters but also the rest of the population.

  1. INSENSITIVITY

By the end of 2019 and start of the year 2020, a number of ministers were shown on television with insane amounts of cash which they were dishing out to people like a millionaire would do. While, this practice cheered those few and lucky ones getting the cash, it incensed the majority who were working hard to feed their children. One party official actually told Zambians to eat sweet potatoes, if they cannot afford to buy bread.

The PF was also giving money to musicians in an attempt to prevent a revolt from the sector. This was happening when retired civil servants were literally dying without getting their benefits.

  1. TRIBALISM

Chishimba Kambwili was a major factor in making people decide to vote PF out of power.

Mr. Kambwili was the strongest critic of former President Edgar Lungu before he rejoined the PF. He had also apologized for making tribal remarks in the 2016 election campaign before he resigned from the government. He declared that if he ever rejoined the PF he should be considered as a mad person. Fast forward to 2021 kambwili he rejoined PF and immediately started the tribal campaign again.

People read between the lines. PF was saving Kambwili from serving jail time and in exchange he was to engage in tribal campaign to distract Bemba’s from supporting HH. But rather than distract the Bemba’s, it angered other the masses . There were also others who felt nauseated by a person who repented of tribalism going back to his vomit. They were others who saw corruption in the PF trading justice for tribalism just to win an election.

4.ZNBC

Two years after the fall of the MMD government in 2011, I met a former MMD minister at Ndola Airport. He complained to me about how ZNBC only covers the PF . I was shocked that he could be complaining about this when his party enjoyed the same privilege before being kicked out. So I told him ” ZNBC does not change, it is you politicians that change. If you want ZNBC to change, you should do it while you are in power.”

ZNBC is to politicians like candy is to a little boy. Although it damages the boy’s teeth, he enjoys the thrill it gives in the moment. ZNBC does the same thing to politicians in the ruling party by constantly and always featuring the same people on television, radio and even social media . But while they enjoy the “candy”, the power gets to their heads and they start feeling invincible. Meanwhile, members of the public who don’t even support opposition parties became frustrated by always watching and listening to the same people over and over and over to a point where they effectively stop watching a public media institution they are charged a levy for.

  1. INFRASTRUCTURE VS ECONOMY

Ask many Zambians what development means to them and they will probably list roads as the most important developmental issue. It is no surprise that every government tries to build roads both in urban and rural areas . The MMD administration before 2011 embarked on a massive road construction project that in one township, a road was constructed so close to a house the owners would take the first step out of the house on the road. But the PF took this drive for roads to a whole new level. I currently do not have statistics of how many kilometers of roads the PF built but you cannot argue that they took road construction to a whole new level.

But it is not just roads that the PF was building. They were building schools, hospitals, power stations and government offices. Every corner of the country was a construction site. But at what cost? Inflation!

The prices of goods and services began to rise. bread, cooking oil, mealie meal, and cement went ever so up.

With the huge appetite Zambians have to construct houses, every time they buy cement, they think about how at one time Cement was priced at 50 kwacha .

What would it profit an administration to build so many roads and buildings, but people cannot afford basic needs. Governments should strike a balance between spending too much money on infrastructure and keeping the price of basic needs low.

  1. AN ECONOMY CENTRED ON THE PARTY AND ITS FRIENDS

The PF created an economy that only benefited those close to the President , ministers and their friends. If a project does not benefit this circle, then that project would not take off. A Zambian based in Australia came to Zambia in 2015 with the backing of Australian investors to build affordable houses for Zambians. He hit wall after wall until he left the country in frustration because ministers would not back his project without kickbacks. Another Zambian had American investors keen to invest in a sugar plantation in western province, it never went far for the same reasons.

But this practice also permeated at macro level, people could see that only ministers, cadres and their friends were enjoying the ‘economy’.

One musician was so brave enough as to publish a video where he insulted Zambians who were suffering saying they should not blame anyone for their suffering. This cost the PF a lot of votes.

  1. THE DEPRECIATION OF THE KWACHA

Although the depreciation of the currency is supposed to give a country an export advantage, this was not the case for Zambia with an import oriented economy. The depreciation pushed the prices of goods and services up. For many Zambians, this was probably the last indicator that the economy had deteriorated to its lowest. The government should support industrialization and exports so that this not only creates jobs and incomes but also earns the country forex in the event of the currency getting weak.

  1. CORRUPTION

Corruption in the PF administration became so endemic, that even senior party officials didn’t see anything wrong with it. Former Second Deputy Speaker Mwimba Malama once declared that ” PF enemies are trying to make corruption look like a serious thing”. But it was not only Mr. Malama, even the party president, once shocked the nation by reciting a Bemba proverb at a public function “he who works in a garden, eats from the same garden.”

The list of corruption-related cases is so long, I don’t need to remind you. However, the PF took citizens for granted and thought they would not remember the corruption as long as they built roads and gave the people cash.

  1. THIRD TERM ?

I’m not competent to argue whether or not Lungu’s participation in the 2021 election was effectively a third term. However, this issue contributed to downgrading PF’s credibility. People considered this an abuse of the courts . Many even within PF were not happy with this development.

  1. KILLING OF CITIZENS

Vespas, Nsama, Mugala, Mapenzi, Mudenda plus 43 other people who died as a result of gassing is another reason that irritated many citizens. Spiritually speaking this also brings a curse on those that claim innocent lives.

  1. INJUSTICE

The police and judicial system was used against PF enemies. Friends of the PF who commit crimes did not see the end of a prison wall as long as they continue to support the party.

Police were also made inept after one officer was fired for beating a PF cadre. This was a clear message to other police officers to leave cadres alone essentially making cadres loose cannons.

The Police service was therefore turned into a security wing of the PF serving only the interests of the ruling party and frustrating the rights of other political stakeholders.

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