…he has lost presidential elections five times and appears to be geared for another try in August this year.
By Francis Chipalo – Tuesday 9th February, 2021.
I HAVE become reluctant to talk about UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema alias HH because anything negative against him is seen as an attack by his supporters who end up scandalizing their leader’s critics on notable malicious UPND inclined online social media publications. I hope he doesn’t see criticism against him as hatred like his supporters do.
However, fact that HH is a public figure and leader of the biggest opposition political party currently, I feel compelled to offer my opinion with regards his leadership style in the opposition party.
Born 4 June 1962, HH is a Zambian businessman and politician who has been President of the United Party for National Development (UPND), an opposition political party, since 2006.
Following the death of founding party president Anderson Kambela Mazoka in 2006, HH was elected as the party’s new President and he is now clocking 15 years in same capacity.
At some point, HH served as the leader of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), an alliance of three opposition political parties.
In the 2006 election, Hichilema was the candidate of the UDA and ran against the late Presidents Levy Mwanawasa of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) and the then Patriotic Front candidate Michael Sata.
The election was held on 28 September 2006 and Hichilema took third place with about 25% of the vote.
Hichilema ran as the UPND candidate in the 2008 election, which was called following the death of President Levy Mwanawasa.
He came 3rd with 19.7% of the vote. In June 2009, Hichilema’s party, the UPND, formed a pact with Michael Sata’s Patriotic Front (PF) to contest the 2011 election together. However, indecision on the pact candidate, deep mistrust and accusations of tribalism from both sides resulted in the collapse of the pact in March 2011.
HH was one of the two main candidates in the January 2015 presidential election, which he lost by a narrow margin of just 27,757 votes (1.66%) against the ruling party’s candidate who is current Republican President Edgar Chagwa Lungu.
Hichilema denounced the election as a sham and urged his supporters to remain calm.
He again faced President Lungu as the main opposition candidate in the August 2016 presidential election, and he again lost the elections, making him a five – time losing presidential candidate.
Now, from the little information I have gathered, it appears HH is the UPND candidate again in the forthcoming 2021 August 12 General Elections because we have heard little opposition from his party and neither have we heard of any candidate who is going to challenge him as president of UPND.
He has been accused of being a dictator by his competitors who has been at the helm of the party for 15 years this year without allowing others to challenge him. But is it true that HH is a dictator who does not allow other members of the party to challenge him or he simply does not have what it takes to be president? Why has he been losing elections?
I must make mention that I admire his ambitions of wanting to be Zambia’s President but at the same time, I have my own reservations with his leadership style.
I personally do not find HH to be inspiring and maybe that is the reason he has been losing elections in the past.
It is not a secret that HH is leading the largest opposition party but my observations are that the Zambian people might go for a 3rd option in this election away from UPND if the party’s top Leadership does not change strategy otherwise, beating PF in August is not going to be an easy undertaking especially by HH. My opinion.
The author Francis Chipalo is a Lusaka – based Journalist and Freelance Public Relations Practitioner
For comments and contributions, SMS, Call or WhatsApp the author on 0977 203 043