No Real Winner in the 2015 Presidential Bye Election- By Dr. Sam Phiri

No Real Winner in the 2015 Presidential Bye Election
By Sam Dr. Sam Phiri
 
With only four constituencies to go, it is clear where the slim majority of the votes have gone. At this stage, Lungu is leading HH with about 12, 000 votes from (so far) the 1,566,680 votes between them.

The fact of the matter is that neither Lungu nor HH has really won this election.
Instead, they are saddled with a divided nation. A nation not only split along the gorges of political party predilections, memberships and cultural differences, but also between ethnic or language groups’ loyalties.
This situation begs for statesmanship and not triumphalism nor the promotion of sectional interests, or thinly-veiled self-congratulation.
If Lungu and HH have the best interests of the nation at heart, they should already have set aside their political and campaign differences and be in negotiations on how to manage the coming 18 months as the transition period, from where the frayed country is today, to a more democratic and participatory society.
Foundations should be laid now for more cohesive, issue-based campaigns and less ethnic-group based in 2016.
This period should be a changeover that consolidates nation pride, harmony, character, distinctiveness and “One Zambia, One Nation.”
Both Lungu and HH should take lessons from the Kaunda and Nkumbula of 1963 who jointly handled the transition from British rule to independence.
They should also soak up the lessons of 1964 that brought together two dissimilar and unrelated territories of Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland into the new Zambia.
Lungu and HH have one thing in common and to their advantage: they are a new breed of highly educated politicians, grown and bred into the soup of cosmopolitan post-independence Zambia.
They therefore, are optimally placed to meet the challenges of modern Zambia more than the past cohort of leadership of the past 50 years that ended with Sata.
They need to openly hug each other, bring their factions together and work for a new constitutional bargain and peaceful co-existence for the next 18 months.
Assuming political power on a vote difference of 12, 000, does not necessitate the keeping out of the 50% of the political interests that did not vote for you.
Although it could be tempting for Lungu to revert to ancient autocratic, supercilious and draconian measures so as to hang on to political power and maintain a smokescreen of stability, that cannot be long lasting. It will just be a facade.
This election has cast off those frames of mind and domination practices.
The result is a firm refutation of the old patriarchal presidentialism and “winner-takes-all” mentality. Instead it says: “Let’s look at ourselves in a different way.”
One hopes that Lungu and HH will see it that way. If, unfortunately, Lungu will be so ill-advised as to resort to force rather than persuasion, he will have failed his prospective and impending legacy as a reformer and a modern day statesman.
The spirit and disposition of the nation has passed beyond those rapids.
Mr. Lungu: Please read the mood and the vote correctly.