By Masinga Khumalo
Looking at what the UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has achieved in life, both in and outside politics, I have nothing but admiration for the man. To me it doesn’t matter whether HH wins the 8/11 presidential elections or not, he is a great man with an exemplary record.
This is a man who came from a poor single parent household in a village in Monze, but he overcame all barriers in his childhood to become one of the most accomplished corporate managers, very successful entrepreneur and now a firm and focused politician.
Unlike most successful people in Zambia who started with what their parents left, HH had to start from scratch, building on his gains through hard work. The man is a role model in all areas; as a family man, businessman and politician.
I also like his spirit of perseverance. In Tonga they say ‘kalya uzumanana.’ Indeed there is no substitute for hard work & there is no substitute for patience and acceptance. And I am very sure that God will grant HH his wish of wanting to lead this country and making mother Zambia a better place for all of us, our children and other generations to come.
HH might have attained the world stature of a Churchill, a Disraeli, or Obama were he born in another country.
HH is accused of not being humble because he is not poor. He is accused of being arrogant and having a know-it-all attitude because he is more knowledgeable than the average Zambian politician.
His critics, who seem to be motivated by other things other than quality leadership, have always claimed that HH is a failure because he has failed to win presidential elections on 4 occasions, but I disagree with them because I see success where they don’t see it.
In politics, only KK and Sata could be better than HH, but even these two can not beat HH in quality and ability to deliver development. I believe if HH is given an opportunity to lead this country he will leave a record as good as that of late Levy Patrick Mwanawasa or even better. This is something which scares a lot of PF members; they fear that the achievements of their people will be dwarfed by HH’s achievements if he is given an opportunity and that will completely change the political landscape in Zambia.
HH has managed to achieve what most leaders of political parties have failed to do. While Edgar Lungu took over a ruling party, HH took over an opposition party which he has still managed to hold together for 10 solid years. I shudder to think of what would have become of the Patriotic Front if they lost elections in 2015 , not even Edgar Lungu would have remained in the party. What holds PF together today are the jobs they are still able to share in government. PF leaders have no mantle to stay where there is nothing to ‘chew’ And even with incumbency on their side, we still witness government officials leaving PF to join the opposition UPND.
Many opposition political parties in Zambia have died (or are dying) but UPND has remained strong because of the man HH. Those who left UPND and formed their own parties after Mazoka died have gone into political oblivion; others have since returned and re-joined UPND. This points to one thing; HH was the right man to take over from the late Anderson Kambela Mazoka.
Of course I won’t buy into the notion held by PF cadres that Lungu is better quality than HH because the later has never been a Minister or any public officer. Why? Because even people like Davies Mwila are ministers but these cannot be said to be better than even the author of this post. Edgar Lungu had a relative, Michael Sata, who gave him a ministerial job while HH has never had such an opportunity. A political appointment made due to patronage or relations does not amount to merit.
Yes Edgar Lungu did beat HH in the 2015 presidential by-elections even when Edgar just campaigned for a short period of time; but our friends who float such shallow statements forget that , in 2008 Michael Sata lost to RB after Mwanawasa died despite Sata having been an opposition leader since 2001. Just like RB , EL benefited from the sympathy vote as well as the popularity of his predecessor.
I have nothing but praise for the man HH, and come 8/11, he is very much assured of my vote.