AS Zambia battles the coronavirus pandemic that has hit the world, it was pleasing that some of the country’s political players – opposition – publicly came out to offer solidarity to the government.
It was a far cry from the “go-it-alone” attitude that some have adopted in the past. Not just because they were in the opposition but ostensibly because they did not want to be seen to work with the “enemy.”
The “enemy” in this case was in the form of President Edgar Lungu and the Patriotic Front government. That resistance had its genesis in the 2016 elections which results they disputed, and never recognised the government born out of that poll.
Yesterday, all that hostility appeared to have been pushed into history as several parties, among them the country’s largest opposition party, the United Party for National Development (UPND) pledged to work with the government as they made material and monetary contributions to the Covid-19 national fight during the daily update on the pandemic.
The UPND, which was represented by its national chairperson, Ms Mutale Nalumango has previously never been one to associate itself with the ruling PF.
UPND president, Hakainde Hichilema donated 300 thermometers, 50 boxes of liquid soap, 100 boxes of hygiene soap and 100 boxes of Yebo soap.
Ms Nalumango, who announced the donations said Mr Hichilema was also donating 200 bags of mealie meal and meat for people who were in quarantine and for medical staff.
“In times like this, let us put our political differences aside and fight this pandemic with a united front,” Ms Nalumango said.
New Congress Party president, Peter Chanda donated K75,000 and 1, 000 bags of mealie meal as Zambia Republican Party president Wright Musoma also offered a K50, 000 and 1, 000 bags of mealie meal.
Zambian DNA organisation also donated K50, 000 and 700 bags of mealie meal.
Bread of Life Church presented a K100, 000 cheque for the purchase of I.V. Fluids to the Ministry of Health.
The Zambia Union of Nurses Organisation donated 500 litres of diesel valued at K7, 755 for field activities and material goods such as masks and sanitisers worth about K14, 000, among others.
But even as we applaud the political parties that made a contribution yesterday, we hope the gesture will not be their last because no one knows when Covid-19 will run its course.
What is important is for all stakeholders to recognise the efforts that the government is taking in trying to stem its spread and appreciate the work being put in.
We are glad though that the UPND president, who initially tried to go it alone through the distribution of hand sanitisers has realised that it won’t hurt his political cause to work with the government.
Perhaps, all political players should listen to the Evangelical Youth Alliance (EYA) that the unity of purpose exhibited by politicians towards the fight against the Coronavirus is commendable and this must trickle down to tackling other challenges we are facing as a country.
EYA executive director Moses Lungu said it was gratifying to see political players embracing each other towards a common cause of curbing the disease from spreading through donations, that this is the kind of atmosphere that leaders must inculcate in their followers that despite differences on principle, politicians could still be useful towards national development by putting their partisan interests aside.
In a nutshell, this is no time for anyone to be playing to the gallery so as to be “noticed.”