By Trevor Simumba
Just had a very disturbing conversation with a UPND Constituency Chairman from ku komboni that recognised me as I was eating nshima. I cannot name the komboni nor his name as he will be attacked by the praise team. He then called a few other UPND officials to come meet me. He immediately started by asking me what is wrong with your friend? My friend? Yes HH. I said nothing is wrong why would you ask like that. He said boss I know you and what you have done in the past for us. He reminded me he was at the workshop of the NMC of the UPND when I presented on issues to do with debt and the economy. He said remember in that meeting HH introduced you as his friend!
He then proceeded to document a whole list of issues and to state clearly that there is a big problem within the rank and file and so far the response they have received is that “the President has no interest in appeasing UPND members and if they want let them find someone else to replace him in 2026 if they are not happy with him”! If this is true we are in deeper problems than one can even begin to fathom.
There is need for the senior leadership of the UPND to sit down with their members and explain issues clearly to them. Communication needs to be two way. Acknowledge people’s fears and issues and then explain what you are doing and why there is need for temporary pain. Dismissing their views only generates further anger. This Chairman says he cannot face the people in the compounds as they are daily lamenting the high costs of living and the fact that new members defecting from PF are the ones getting jobs. That is the perception. I tried my best to explain but I was shut down quickly. When I pointed out the CDF they said again no one has fully explained it to them and their MPs and Councillors are nowhere to be seen. Instead the connected PF guys are the ones well positioned again to take advantage. This particular Gentleman is unemployed as he lost his job due to being UPND and he was told by the Party that when they win he will get his job back but alas he is still languishing mu komboni being laughed at and ridicule by the community.
He told me point blank that if PF choose well and do not disintegrate into factions then he sees a return for them in 2026 as he and many others like him will remain neutral rather than sacrifice again. He comes from a very big Lusaka Constituency.
I am simply reporting and sharing what I was told. These are not my views but the lamentations of a genuine UPND leader at the community level who is demoralised with how his own party has treated him. I wish I was in a position to help him and many other Zambians living in despair. C’est la vie!