FRED M’membe has warned President Edgar Lungu and the PF that their quest to win elections by all means is dangerous.
The Socialist Party leader asked both President Lungu and Lusaka Province minister Bowman Lusambo to explain what they mean when they say they will win by all means.
“This desire to win or retain power – have a third term of office – at any cost by Mr Lungu and his disciples is dangerous and frightening. From my very limited military studies and experience, I learned that victory at any cost is dangerous. We were taught that victory must be measured by its sustainability over time,” Dr M’membe said. “Mr Bowman Lusambo is saying that ‘whatever it takes we are winning the general elections’. What does this mean? The other week his boss, Mr Edgar Lungu, was saying those who want to take over from him as presidents of Zambia should wait for 2026 or 2031. How should this be interpreted?”
He said winning could also be a double-edged sword.
“We shouldn’t also forget that early in his presidency Mr Lungu warned Zambians that he would crush like a tonne of bricks anyone who tried to stand in his way,” he said. “Overcoming a foe, joined by many enraged citizens – whose survivors would only regroup with hardening resolve to carry on the war – doesn’t constitute a true victory. Winning, it can be argued, isn’t quite all it’s cracked up to be. Despite our preoccupation with victory, winning is often a double-edged sword.”
Dr M’membe said President Lungu was expected to understand the ‘win-at-all-costs’ attitude due to his military knowledge and experience.
He called for the need to find common ground as one of the tenets of democracy.
“Though the exact nature of our political problems might be unique, it’s certainly not the first time in Zambian politics that we find ourselves in a place where it’s much easier – and a more certain path to electoral victory – to destroy one’s opponent rather than attempt to find common ground, or at least mutual respect,” said Dr M’membe. “We still remember how Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe and UPP were treated, detained in prisons and their party banned by the UNIP government. Of course, some things are worth fighting for – at critical moments in our history we’ve had winners and losers. A functioning multiparty democracy not only has, but needs more viable political parties, not a triumphant victor and an opposition left hopelessly vanquished.”