So on Wednesday, the Opposition Alliance formed just a few months ago made an announcement of the decision to part ways with the People’s Alliance for Change (PAC), a political party headed by Andyford Banda.
Sean Tembo, the president of the Patriots for Economic Participation and alliance chairperson for Media and Finance, told journalists during a briefing the press in Lusaka that the decision to ‘remove’ PAC from the alliance followed a meeting held at Pamodzi Hotel where it was agreed that “there was an infection in the Alliance”.
In his words, Sean claims the alliance only needs credible opposition political parties and that standards regarding the level of credibility of each of the members cannot be compromised.
He said “as a way of guarding against opportunistic infections, the opposition alliance undergoes regular medical check-ups and it was during one of those routine check-ups that the alliance realised that one of its toes had developed an infection and the level of the infection was so advanced that all the efforts to try and save the toe were unsuccessful and the alliance decided to take the painful decision to amputate this toe for fear of the infection spreading to the entire foot and possibly the leg of the Alliance”, in plain reference to the PAC which apparently is being seen as the ‘infected toe’.
We really don’t know whether to laugh or cry on their behalf. Many of us knew from the very beginning that this so called alliance was not going to last. First of all, there has never been a successful political alliance in Zambia. Several of them have been formed before but always crumbled due to some selfish interests.
Secondly, the majority of the members of this so called alliance are complete jokers! We wonder what criteria was being used to invite some of these one-man parties to the alliance. And for this, we knew that the end of this grouping that is seemingly not headed anywhere began the very day it was formed. PAC actually made the decision to leave this alliance some time back but it was just ‘hanging in there’ and waiting for the right moment to jump. For those who may have forgotten, PAC was a strong contender in the 2016 general elections and even beat Edith Nawakwi at the presidential level. That is how serious it was! Anyway, we are not here to discuss the strengths or weaknesses of any party but to make it plainly clear that there will never ever be any opposition alliance which will work in Zambia.
It is clear to see that the formation of this alliance was just about numbers and not quality. If you look at some members, what political value would James Lukuku add to any formation? What political value would Fresher Siwale add to this alliance? And to think that UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, who is the leader of the largest opposition party, took time to sit and agree to having some of these characters in the alliance really beats us. What has gone wrong with him? Has he run out of political advisors and strategists?
For the opposition to be taken seriously by the voters, they must, first of all, show that seriousness themselves. Opposition is a critical part of the overall governance system in a democracy and members of the opposition, therefore, must conduct themselves in manner that will instill confidence in the Zambians that they are “a government in waiting”.