By Laura Miti
Not long after President Lungu’s re-election in 2016, I posted that he completely lacked the skill set to rule Zambia. A little later, I stated that he frightened me because I thought, unlike his predecessors, he did not have Zambia’s interests at heart.
Most comments suggested that I was judging the President without giving him a chance to prove himself. I quietly agreed that I might be convicting the man without trial. Try as I might, though, I could not ignore the deep sense of trepidation at Edgar Lungu being in State House.
Anyhow, we survived, if just barely.
I say that only to contextualise my thoughts on the incoming President. I have no intentions of harping on President Lungu’s injurious reign going forward – except to make a point.
Like I did with EL, I will share my pre-perfomance sense of Hakainde Hichilema, as President. We will then see how it plays out.
In simple terms, I find I trust HH’s motivations. I think he wants to advance Zambia’s good. I also think he has depth of character, is a natural leader and technically strong. If it all depended on him, therefore, my sense is we could expect Zambia to be significantly better than where it is now, at the end of his term.
But it isn’t all in his hands, is it?
You see, President Hichilema comes into office via the vehicle of the UPND party. Now, my reading of the new ruling party is that it is, in the main, a mirror image of the outgoing one. UPND and PF – same, same.
Just observing the party from outside, it is evident that UPND has no shortage of individuals whose only motivation for entering political office is to acquire personal wealth. Simply, the core of UPND is as rotten as PF’s was.
Add to that, that there is already a stampede of individuals whose politics are highly distasteful migrating to the UPND from PF MMD and the bushes. They want to continue being connected to the treasury pipeline.
Then, we have the rank and file of the UPND. They, sadly, learnt all the bad habits from PF. Just see how ready they were to take up the places in markets and bustops and, without missing a heart beat, begin to collect illegal taxes from citizens. They have annoyingly put up UPND flags all over😒.
All I am saying is, I think we have a good President in HH. To get anywhere, he, however, will have to clean up both his party and the larger nation.
Mr Hichilema has to make some tough decisions as to who he includes in his core team.
More importantly, once he sets up Cabinet, he will have to watch like a hawk over his Ministers PSes and their connected, to prevent a new set of mansions going up everywhere.
I will end by saying that, for me, a successful Hichilema presidency will concretely change the situation at the very bottom of our society. I want feeder roads graded, class sizes in government schools reduced, fertiliser for subsistence farmers provided efficiently, basic medicine in government clinics, boreholes sank in villages to reduce the hours women spend looking for water.
Small matters that would make a big difference for the majority.
In short, I want a change of government to positively impact the poor, for once. It is for the poor that I voted HH.
I pray he does not dissapoint me.