The Patriotic Front made its choice for the mayor of Lusaka in prodigal Miles Sampa on Saturday. It is a choice that comes with a lot of baggage. Naturally the Patriotic Front is the frontrunner to retain the seat they held through the deceased Wilson Kalumba. It is for this reason that the ruling party should have exercised more prudency in picking a candidate. Sampa’s credentials devoid of the political drama he has had in the last two years are impeccable. Before losing his way, he had won the hearts of many political observers as a prospective star for the future one who had both the academic and political acumen to one lead pose a strong case to lead this country but he jumped ahead of himself and imagined he had arrived. Sampa spent the post Sata era hopping from one form of self-inflicted political confusion to the next.
Confusingly he formed the National Democratic Focus (NDF) that never essentially took off before discovering the harsh reality of opposition politics. Having lost his political bearings with the NDF, Sampa went to bed the United Party for National Development (UPND) where their union ended up in defeat and the former Matero lawmaker realized even more that he was headed for the political dustbin.
In the heat of his Damascus moment he crawled back to the PF where he was conditionally welcomed and has been literally overworking himself to gain acceptability. But now the PF has opened its arms to Sampa who will carry their ticket into the July 26 mayoral elections. He could sail through with some measure of ease but the precedent set here could come back to haunt the PF.
The party has had members that have stuck to them even when opportunists of all hues and shades have left and conveniently come back when their imagined glories have not materialized. Among the 31 aspirants have been members have given their all to the PF and their loyalty has been overlooked. What then is the value of loyalty if all you get is perpetual snub? What example is the PF setting for its loyal members? Lest we forget even the biblical narrative of the prodigal son did raise these pertinent questions. Maybe Miles’ political purgatory has paid off.