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Observations: Sata’s 2016 Presidential sole candidacy

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By Barbrah Musamba Chama Mumba

The current debate on the endorsement of President Michael Sata as a sole candidate for the 2016 presidential elections resonates so well with the late President Frederick Chiluba’s 2000 -01 third term bid.

At the height of the third term bid was the incumbent president though championing it he was not for it.
The current debate has many permutations which are very interesting.

The Patriotic Front as a political party was formed and registered in 2001 by decoy persons on behalf of Michael Sata when he lost the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy’s (MMD) National Executive Committee presidential nomination election bid to the late Patrick Levy Mwanawasa.

President Sata did not agree with the adoption of Mwanawasa, a person he said he could not work with.
The adoption of Mwanawasa was preceded by the third term bid. During the third term bid it was assumed in public circles that President Sata was campaigning for it but it is believed that he knew it was not a workable project and was doing it for his own ambition of becoming the next president of Zambia.

The third term bid project was also used to gauge who was loyal to President Chiluba and it is also believed that Sata used it to weed out those who were thought to be his rivals in succeeding Chiluba.
The people that he thought could be rivals included the late General Christon Tembo and Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda.

During the third term campaign, Chiluba never came out in public to support it but sent out filters to gauge whether the idea was worth pursuing. Sata as campaigner of the bid never out rightly endorsed it but put it to the will of the citizens as the ones who would have ultimate say to the idea and that he would go with what the people would say.

The campaign died when there was overwhelming evidence that it could not be pursued as there was strong opposition from within the MMD and the general public. This led to the suspension of twenty two MPs who included the then Vice President Gen Tembo and former Vice President Brig Gen Miyanda and senior cabinet ministers and ordinary MPs.Eventually the twenty two resigned to form the FDD and the Heritage Party.

The twenty two were suspended from the party and barred from attending the convention by party secretary general Michael Sata on the pretext that they lacked loyalty.It is believed that the third term bid was orchestrated by Sata.

Coming to the current scenario, the endorsement of President Sata as the sole candidate for the 2016 elections was started by Willie Nsanda and then followed by Judge Ngoma. Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, popularly known as GBM, is the third person to endorse the campaign.

When the first two championed the endorsement it did not bring any furore from those opposing it not until GBM joined the campaign.

It is believed that the opposing side is being backed by a cartel that is looking at the continuity and longevity of its business interests and is looking for a weak candidate whom they can control and can be at the helm for at least another ten years.

It does not see this as being possible in the current minister of finance whose age hinders the lifespan of the of their business interests.

A GBM presidency will dent and deter its business interest and political hold on the arms of government because GBM is a strong person who does not need the cartel for his survival.

There is a strong opposition to the championing of the sole candidacy of Sata for 2016 coming from the cartel camp, they give a flimsy reason that it is too early to do so and that GBM is actually launching his own presidential.

Ironically, GBM does not dispute the fact that he has presidential ambitions but can only do so when Michael Sata accomplishes his two term eligibility.

Opposition to the sole candidacy of Sata in 2016 raises two questions: Does the cartel know or speculate that Sata’s health is failing and that he may not stand for presidency in 2016 and if not why should it oppose his sole candidacy if it claims to support him?

Sata as the chief architect of the third term bid could also be the person at the helm of the 2016 sole candidacy project to see through people’s schemes and enjoying what is going on.

GBM as minister for defence launched his Sata 2016 sole candidacy bid in Kasama and went on to pronounce the same in Mongu and Livingstone while on official business. Could the President be oblivious to his defence minister’s, being number three in line of succession in case of an eventuality, pronouncements?

The PF as a political party was formed with so many loose alliances to help dislodge the MMD and a private media viciously campaigned for them to protect its business and political interests for its long term survival.
The cartel campaign against MMD started when their preferred presidential candidate, Ng’andu Magande, lost to the then vice president Rupiah Banda.

It is no surprise that there are divided camps within it with one camp trying by all means to have a stooge in plot one for their own expediency, otherwise the Sata sole candidacy should not cause problems if they all genuinely believe in him.

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