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Why HH Must Not Be President!

By Charles Nyirenda

We have heard quite a lot from the praise singers of Hakainde Hichilema lately.

hh5In fairness, I think it’s time that we now heard from the silent majority on the other side – those who will not be voting HH. Those who understand that we must avoid Mr Hichilema from landing in Plot 1 under any circumstances.
Firstly, let’s forget about the ridiculous things being said and focus on what’s true. Accusations like “HH is a satanist” or a “free mason” are absurd, and it distracts us from focusing on the urgent and legitimate concerns about Hichilema’s background.

What we really need to be worried about is the established history of HH and his known character flaws, his party’s ability to legislate in parliament, his history of selling (and then benefitting from) Zambia’s national assets, his foreign financing, tolerance for corruption, and yes, this one you know well, his issues surrounding tribalism and unity.

Zambians Don’t Like HH

Attached is a graphic that has been circulating Facebook. It shows HH’s declining performance over the past three elections, trending down from his best result at 25%, getting and lower and lower each successive election.

There is a very simple reason behind HH’s failure as a politician – people don’t like him; they don’t connect with him.
A Zambian president must have the common touch. He or she may hold the highest office, but they remain a public servant, one that should have empathy for the people, to know how to listen, to deeply care for their welfare, and to put the needs of the nation above themselves and their family, tribe, and province.

Hakainde Hichilema regrettably does not possess these qualities. I have spoken to numerous people who spend the day in his team, with full access to him, and very few if any have managed to forge any close personal bond. Hakainde Hichilema is cold, very cold. He does not easily experience joy or affection. He has no sense of humour to speak of – his smiles are always forced for the camera, and his laugh is stiff and manufactured.

HH’s reputation for bullying behaviour

There is nothing wrong with being shy or unfriendly, if this happens to be your personality. In fact, some people may like the idea of his “always business” demeanor. But a lack of interpersonal skills for a president can be very dangerous – it leads to poor decisions. For example, what kind of man exactly would try to use somebody’s own son against him, as HH did by pulling Andrew Banda onto a stage to attack his then-opponent Rupiah Banda? This is just politics – you should be able to win because you are the better candidate – not because you have to rip apart somebody’s family. Ask yourselves: what kind of man does that?

Then again, look at him filing a lawsuit against that ridiculous Bishop who criticised him at a rally. But is this really the best response to your opponents? Why give the man more credibility by suing him? The proper response would be to prove that everything he says is wrong and to prove that indeed the moral high ground belongs to you. Can you imagine what kinds of abuses of presidential defamation are going to come from HH if he were elected? He would likely make Michael Sata’s deplorable record seem like child’s play.

No Constitution under HH

We must not allow Hakainde Hichilema to become president because his party lacks the parliamentary seats to pass laws, and appears to have no interest (or ability) to build coalitions with other parties. What this means is that the UPND will be extremely unlikely to pass a new constitution, especially one that would place certain limits on presidential powers, and instead we would likely see a repeat of what was conducted under the Patriotic Front (PF) – an endless succession of unnecessary by-elections forced through the courts to take back seats.

With no new constitution, and a vengeful party seeking to “sort out” all kinds of imagined historical grievances and bent on seizing more and more power, HH would be overwhelmingly focused on keeping UPND in power beyond 2016 – perhaps for the next 20-some years.

Violence, Repression, and Division of Zambia

As a young and untested leader who is deeply unpopular among voters in several key provinces, Hakainde Hichilema will be likely to unleash the Public Order Act, and send the police to beat his opponents into submission. He has said that he would not use the Public Order Act, but he has not said that he would abolish it. The reason why is that he plans to use it, and to use it very aggressively to consolidate his authority.

There is also HH’s known record of intolerance for criticism freedom of speech – just watch how the UPND cadres will pile on and savagely attack me for writing this article, threatening death to my family. Just imagine what will happen when Hichilema’s employee, Lloyd Himaambo of Zambian Watchdog, is made Minister of Information!

What kind of unity do we imagine will result of this? Instead under an HH presidency we would have a deepening civil conflict, a country deeply divided along regional and tribal lines, and an increased possibility of the use of violence by the state against citizens. That’s why it is so hard to believe HH when he talks about unity – he simply has shown no level of brotherhood with other Zambians, instead placing the Tongas first and everyone else second.

UPND backed by the cartel

Then of course, we have the issue of the economy. As an author who recently wrote on Zambia Reports in favour of the HH candidacy argued that he has a “proven economic track record” because of his business career,” there are some major questions as to whether the fact that Hichilema is a wealthy businessman if he knows how to run a country.
For all the boasting about his “neoliberal economic policies,” those really don’t mean much if Hichilema is going to give into corruption – which in today’s Zambia, I am talking about the cartel. Edgar Lungu, for example, has very directly addressed the corruption of the cartel, indicating that he would no longer allow people like Fred M’membe to defraud Zambian taxpayers by stealing millions of dollars from the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ). But HH has remained mysteriously silent, while M’membe’s Post has made it increasingly clear that they have made a corrupt deal to back the UPND and prevent a Lungu presidency.

The recent meeting of Maureen Mwanawasa – who is touted as one of HH’s star endorsements – with M’membe this week cements the deal. UPND is now the party of the cartel.

Meanwhile, Rajan Mahtani, the alleged godfather of Zambian corruption and former financier of the PF, is believed to have build secret ties to HH – he is a co-investor in the Zambian Watchdog website according to the blogger Proud Aushi Musamba, and his former cronies Dipak Patel and Felix Mutati now occupy key posts in the campaign team. If the next government were to undertake a serious anti-corruption drive, Mahtani would stand to lose out big – he illegally owns more than 50% of Finance Bank, and he has defrauded and forged his way to steal control of multiple companies which could be reversed under a rule of law government. In HH, he sees another proxy he can control, just like he did with Michael Sata.

Zambia is not for sale

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we must be very very concerned about Hichilema’s history of selling out Zambia’s national assets and then benefiting from their sale. I am not saying that I have evidence that the sales of Lima Bank, Intercontinental Livingstone, or Roan Antelope Mining Corporation of Zambia (Ramcoz) were illegal – but I am saying that there are lots of unanswered questions.

What we do know is that HH has built a staggering personal fortune from these transactions, and currently holds shares (at least the ones that we know about) in both Intercontinental as well as Anglo American Corporation, (which purchase, which just got two new licenses in North Western Province. Can’t we all agree that this is a fundamental conflict of interest? To own shares in companies that you yourself privatised? It is not just improper, it is immoral – and this is exactly why we should be so concerned about all the foreign money and South African conspiracies backing the HH candidacy. Where did the helicopters come from? Who is paying the million-dollar image makers from London spotted around the Lusaka hotels?

HH has not yet lost my vote completely, but he would need to act quickly. Here are a few things he could do to completely prove me wrong, and compell me to write an apology and a withdrawal of this article:

Swear on the bible to dissolve the Public Order Act, removing it from the books
Swear to repeal the law on presidential defamation (no more suing your critics)
Swear to fight corruption and specifically investigate the illegal activity of the M’membe-Mahtani-Nchito cartel
Divest all your shares in companies related to privatisations as well as mining in Zambia

But do you believe that HH is capable of this kind of humility? No, that’s what I thought.

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Comment:

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  11. justines says:

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  12. Ericko B says:

    You shameless psychopath. You dont have anything to do with your time. Who the Hell are you to tell us who not to vote for. Do you buy us what to eat. Go and tell the people you feed. As you can see no one commented on your rubbish.If you call me a satanist, I will sue you. It is not my fault that you are poor and due to my hard work am rich. Let him sue that Fake Bishop. Thou shall not Judge thus sayeth the Bible. It was him who was insulted not you.Just sit down.

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