Chipimo’s hard political lesson

Filed under: Politics,Special Comments |

By Brad Ley

There are so many lessons we can draw from Elias Chipimo’s stint on the Zambian political arena but what certainly stands out is Zambian politics for the opposition parties are viciously brutal and not for the faint hearted.

I vividly recall a radio interview in 2010 when Chipimo formed NAREP. The interview was on radio Phoenix and most callers kept asking him why he chose to form a new political party instead of joining an already existing political party. His response was clear and succinct, “we have come here to perform a different type of politics”.

Clearly, Chipimo hadn’t fully grasped and understood the nature of a Zambian voter. Chipimo was of the view that if he went on a podium, spoke intelligently and offered savvy laced alternatives, he would sweep the Zambian voter off his feet. He was dead wrong.

Despite his eloquence he only appealed to a young and educated demographic of the Zambian populace. He dismally failed to engage the poor and rural voters and these form the majority of the Zambian voting pool. In a nutshell, Elias Chipimo was aloof.

This explains his partys failure to even have an elected councillor under their name despite being on the political scale for the last 9 years. NAREP has had no representation in parliament since formation.

Running an opposition party in country like Zambia is no easy task. Ask Sakwiba Sikota. Edith Nawakwi, Fred Mmembe, Winter Kabimba, Miles Sampa etc. You need to be flexible and have the relentless ability to reivent yourself to be relevant in Zambian politics.

More still, running a political party is very expensive. Just because HH has managed to keep the UPND afloat for all these years doesn’t mean anybody else can. You would be shocked to find out how much money has been spent so to keep the UPND in existence for this long. You need to have a strong financial backbone to sustain an opposition political party.

Most importantly, you have to be a team player to manage a political party. You need to be accesible and value the input of others. Everything cannot be centered just on you alone.

Finally, in order to be a good leader you have to first learn to be led. Elias Chipimo rushed to form a political party. He should have joined an existing political party and rise through the ranks. Imagine HH or Edgar Lungu having a sharp and vibrant mind such as Elias as his vice.

I certainly hope this is not the end of Chipimo’s involvement in the Zambian political sphere. I still believe he still has a valid contribution towards the political and democratic emancipation of this country.


One Response to Chipimo’s hard political lesson

  1. Brilliant piece! Spot on!

    Chama Kamukwamba
    September 3, 2019 at 2:32 pm

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31