President Edgar Lungu’s working visit on the Copperbelt was a disaster in many ways.
This was the President’s first visit to the Copperbelt Province in 2021. The province has been a bastion of PF support over the past years. Being the first trip, it was planned to provide a good start for the President’s and his Party’s campaign towards the August 2021 elections.
However things have changed. The people of the Copperbelt need change. President Lungu and the PF are now becoming history. People were not willing to attend Presidents Lungu’s meetings. His ministers and cronies had to resort to bribes to mobilise a resemblance of presence and support. This effort didn’t work in Mufulira and it ended up being a huge embarrassment for President Lungu and the PF establishment.
As a Socialist Party we are today the fastest growing political power on the Copperbelt. Increasingly, more people see in us the alternative to the failed experimentation with neo-liberal capitalism that has sent thousands of workers jobless on the street and is today failing to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
Secondly, the trip came at huge cost to the Zambian taxpayer. The entourage was big – involving hundreds of vehicles from Lusaka and the Copperbelt. Three choppers and the presidential Jet were also assigned. The defence and security deployment was massive. The habit of dishing out brown envelopes continued. Its is an extremely reckless way spending the taxpayers money at a time that millions of Zambian lives are at stake due to the pandemic and with a health system that is poorly resourced.
Thirdly, the trip also reminded us of the retrogressive role played by the Civil Aviation Authority and our Zambia Airforce. The two institutions have in the past been used to constrain political opposition leaders’ air travel during election campaigns. We are in January – still a distance from the official campaign period, but this form of rigging and intimidation has already begun! We are cognisant of the immense difficulties the two institutions work under. However short term political appeasement has eroded the confidence of the masses of our people in these two key national institutions. The Zambian people have to win back these two institutions; President Lungu and the PF must go! The damage they are causing is irreparable.