The loss of the Chilanga parliamentary seat is a shock to many, even to the winners themselves- The PF, yes there were questions on the selection of the candidate by many people both within and outside UPND. I too had my fair share of criticism to the party in my article entitled “HH, GBM & The Central Committee lack Morals- for adopting an adulterer and a murder accomplice in Charmaine Musonda. Not only that but there was utter confidence in the Upnd camp since they were seat holders that they would easily retain the seat with pronouncements of ‘Bazamuziba Yesu Ba PF’ which means PF will know God as they would lose elections, sadly it is Upnd Bamene Bamuziba Yesu.
Many claims will be made by Upnd on why they lost, ranging from perceived violence by the PF to manipulation by The Electoral Commission of Zambia in favor of the ruling party the Patriotic Front, but all these are pseudo as the real reasons are these;
- Wrong Candidate/ Wrong timing.
Whatever it is, it should be agreed by all that the UPND made a grave mistake in picking Charmaine Musonda, yes she may have done well during the primaries against former MP Keith Mukata in 2016 but to select her after prolonged negative publicity of her adulterous affair with him was wrong. Not only that but to select her a month after her married boyfriend to whom she was an accomplice in his murder case was sentenced to death was wrong timing, people still had fresh thoughts about her issue and had mixed feelings about it.
- Grassroots Disapproval.
While there were claims of “she was chosen by the grassroot” the result has shown otherwise, the apathy and small number who voted for her in comparison to the last elections who voted for Keith Mukata tells a story of disapproval. If the grassroot really picked her, they would have voted for her and not Maria Langa.
- Poor Political strategies.
While the term “under five” has ceased to be heard among Upnd’s political opponents after their great performances in the last two elections against President Edgar Lungu, it is clear that the political strategist in UPND are still under-fives compared to those in the Patriotic Front. Here is why; while the Upnd was first in announcing their candidate and excited about picking beauty with questionable morals, the PF played a game above them, selection firstly a woman against another woman, a commoner who lives the same life as the voters, someone they could easily approach and relate to, they also picked a woman with nothing negative that the UPND media team could write about. Had the PF selected a man against Charmaine and it would have been a walkover for the UPND by sex sympathy but sadly UPND were outsmarted politically by the PF.
Moralists and Keith Mukata sympathizers effect.
Hon. Keith Mukata may be incarcerated but he still has influence among Chilanga voters, and those who support him (his friends, colleagues, family and relatives) didn’t either vote or voted against Charmaine as revenge for her role in Keith being sentenced to death. The independents too, mostly believers in ideologies and morals who unlike party cadres assess candidates opted to also refrain from voting or voted for The Patriotic Front in the name of morality. However small their number was it added to the PF and deducted from Upnd.
- Chilanga Tribal Composition.
Unlike most towns south of the capital Lusaka, the tribal composition of Chilanga district, just like Kafue and Livingstone presents a tricky case for any political party, something the Upnd should have considered but alas they didn’t. Chilanga, Kafue and Livingstone have a very mixed tribal composition “cosmopolitan” that are not so swayed by tribal allegiance as is done by other towns south of Lusaka which are predominantly Tonga, the tribe Upnd leader, Hakainde Hichilema comes from and who have always voted for the Upnd regardless of who is adopted by the party, the mixed people in Chilanga opted to vote above tribal hence the Upnd’s loss and PF winning.
All In all this election loss now shows that the top leadership, Hakainde Hichilema inclusive handpicked Charmaine Musonda against the wishes of the Chilanga Populace and the result has been an utter rejection, something the party should take a leaf from if they are to win elections in cosmopolitan areas, and also in their preparation for the 2021 general elections.
Lastly elections are over, Chilanga people have a new Parliamentary representative in Maria Langa, and all we can say is congratulations and all the best to you Honorable as you represent your people.
Mbanga, Irvine Ilukui.
United States of America.