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It is now official the contest is on!!! As we prepare for the up coming by-elections to elect the next CEO of the Zambian Enterprise, one thing remains certain and that’s we are going to have a new president within 73 days. We expect every contestant to give the election their best.

 

The smart people of the Zambian Enterprise have a choice to make and we at the Zambian Chronicle want to give a synopsis of what our choices are likely to be with a brief description of each candidate.

 

MMD’s Candidate – Rupiah Banda.

 

Mr. Banda is a former Zambian diplomat and Foreign Affairs Minister in the first administration whose current age is 71. He is a former UNIP member of the central committee (MCC) with significant pull from Eastern Province. In fact it is believed that the Late President would not have won the last elections without Rupiah Banda’s input from that province thus him being made trustee of the MMD after the 2006 polls and consequently awarded the number 2 most powerful position within the MMD franchise. He (RB – as he is commonly known) has been sitting VP since 2006 and is currently the most qualified and experienced candidate among all aspirants. During the nomination process leading towards his adoption as the presidential candidate for MMD, he was solidly backed by another former diplomat and one of the architects of Zambian democracy, Vernon Mwaanga. Mwaanga is seen in many circles as the Zambian Carl Rove and is a serious power broker in Southern and Western provinces of Zambia. His campaign manager is Benny Tetamashimba who holds significant sway in Northwestern and Central Provinces. It would be presumptuous of any one to speculate on RB’s chances at the presidency this time around but intellectual honesty dictates to the fact that this year’s election is the MMD’s to lose. Following the sudden departure of Levy (MHSRIP), the MMD is going to get a sympathy vote and Rupiah Banda is likely the next CEO of the Zambian Enterprise.

 

UPND’s Candidate – Hakainde Hichilema.

 

Mr. Hichilema succeeded the Late Andy Mazoka (MHSRIP) founder and first presidential contender for UPND in a hard fought battle. Sammy, as his close friend and associates love to call him, won his party’s presidential nomination (2006) in a hard fought skirmish. The encounter was so bitter it broke the party up with an offshoot of a new party led by the former VP of UPND, Sakwiba Sikota MP for Livingstone District. Sakwiba’s new party United Liberal Front or Party (ULP) had a bad showing at the last general election but Sakwiba still managed to keep his MP seat to every one’s surprise. In an effort to avoid a vote split during the 2006 contest, Hichilema managed to successfully form an alliance of three parties (UNIP, FDD and UPND) called Zambia Democratic Alliance – ZDA. He was the alliance’s presidential candidate and was endorsed by Zambia’s first President Kenneth Kaunda but still fell short of the presidency by splitting the opposition vote with PF’s candidate – Michael C Sata. A former UNZA student and an MBA graduate from the UK; Sammy at age 46 is a millionaire in hard currency (the only millionaire in this contest) and is seen as a rising star in Zambian politics. He sits on several boards and is currently the Grant Thornton chief. Sammy has the most executive experience having served on many boards many of which he actually chairs. He is also the most youthful, making him the choice of most Zambians with higher education even though most of them reside outside the country and can not vote.

 

PF’s Candidate – Michael C Sata.

 

King Cobra as he is usually referred to is an astute politician with significant pull among the Zambian middle class. At 71 years of age he is populist by nature has the backing of the common man on the street; furthermore is viewed as a national hero when it comes workers’ plight having worked as a railway man and trade unionist before. He is the most politically savvy of all contenders and he is well-known for his “can do” attitude. As self-made politician, he has served in both parties by means of ministerial positions with class. He was first noticed by former President Kenneth Kaunda who promoted him from police officer to constable after leaving the railway man job. From constable, he was made Mayor of Lusaka and he immediately turned the city around bringing international standards to the fore. He was also Minister of Health among other cabinet positions and during his tenure all medical personnel had a blast working for him. Married to a medical doctor, he seemed to know what made health matters tick in the nation. During the multi-party democracy enterprise, he left UNIP to join the new movement – MMD. He was a staunch supporter of FTJ’s third party bid and was confident Chiluba would thrust him into the presidency should things go wrong. When FTJ’s bid fail to come through and was passed by for Levy and he decided to form his own party PF. Seen as a maverick by the international community, he is usually not the choice of foreign dignitaries and suffers a serious image problem.

 

UNIP’s Candidate – Tilyenji Kaunda.

 

Tilyenji Kaunda is 54 years old and is the current president of the United National Independence Party of Zambia. He was appointed as party leader in 2001, succeeding Francis Nkhoma. His father, former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda, was the president of the UNIP from 1960 to 2000. He has also campaigned as a candidate for the office of president of Zambia, running in 2001; in 2006, he served as chairman of the short-lived UDA, which floated Hakainde Hichilema as a coalition candidate for president. He is slated to run for the presidency for the second time in 2008. Under his leadership, UNIP has been a laughing stock with its peers as he is seen as visionless and seriously lacks political prose his dad had. It is believed that he would not do much in terms of having any impact on the polls. To serious political observers, this will be a moment of truth for UNIP as they look at how badly they might perform thus take a serious look at their leadership to replace it with more viable individuals before the 2011 elections.

 

Other contenders might be of less significance at this time and we have tentatively omitted them for that reason. We believe the above might have a reasonable short at the presidency.

 

We also believe that it will be in every one’s best interest to keep peace and stability in our nation during this period the best way we Zambians know how …

 

For all the political contenders we want to wish all of them well as they get ready to rumble, just remember that Zambia is greater than any single one of us.

 

We are the Zambian Chronicle know that the smart people of our enterprise will come up with the right individual needed for this care-taker period until we have general elections in 2011.

 

Live Long & Prosper; that’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion.

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