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Letters: Is HH a dictator or he simply does not have what it takes to rule Zambia?

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  • However, the 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 to his leadership style in the opposition party.

Dear Editor,

UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema alias HH has lost presidential elections five times and appears to be geared for another try in August this year.

I have become reluctant to talk about Mr Hichilema because anything negative against him is seen as an attack by his supporters who end up scandalising 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, the 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 to his leadership style in the opposition party.

Born June 4, 1962, HH is a Zambian businessman and politician who has been president of the UPND) since 2006.

Following the death of founding party president Anderson Kambela Mazoka in 2006, HH was elected as the party’s president and he is now clocking 15 years in the seat.

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, Mr 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 September 28, 2006 and Mr Hichilema took third place with about 25 percent of the vote.

Mr Hichilema ran as the UPND candidate in the 2008 election, which was called following the death of President Levy Mwanawasa.

He came third with 19.7 percent of the vote. In June 2009, the UPND, formed a pact with Mr Sata’s Patriotic Front 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 percent) against the ruling party’s candidate who is current Republican President Edgar Chagwa Lungu.

Mr 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 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 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 third 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.

Stay blessed

FRANCIS CHIPALO.

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