2015 Presidential Elections: Strong Hold, Regional and Tribal voting


Last week I wrote and gave reasons why I think the 50+1 clause is not good for our political landscape. I alluded to the fact that as a country where certain sections of people vote on regional or tribal lines the clause will just bring divisions. I also said that political parties that are on the Zambian political scene because of this will cry the loudest as others will accuse their supporters of being selfish and not voting on merit and deeds done by those in power.

My opinion was said to be one sided and an act of tribalism because I used Southern Province as an example. People questioned why I did not use provinces where other presidential candidates came from. I have done that and please follow this to the end. Please don’t read so that you can reply or comment but to understand. Believe me you will find my opinion of not having a 50+1 clause valid. If you don’t that is your opinion.

Zambia has now 10 provinces and out of the 10 only Central, Copperbelt, Lusaka and Western did not “ sponsor” any Presidential candidates for the 20th January by elections. Meaning anyone who won the province won it because it was a stronghold or a swing province as there was nothing related to tribe or regional voting. I should however highlight that there is also a thin line between what constitute regional/tribal and stronghold characteristics. Some became strongholds because of tribal/regional voting while others became strongholds due to the way the message of the party is received. There are a lot of reasons, however I will stick to those two as I expand my views.

Let’s take Southern Province. Is it UPNDs stronghold or is the voting based on tribe? Trick isn’t it. Maybe let us look at it in this way. In the event that a non Tonga stands on the party ticket is the province going to vote for that person or not. If they give maximum votes to that person then Southern Province is UPND stronghold. But if they don’t. Then UPND is nothing but a regional and tribal party. The founder leader late Anderson Mazoka was from the area and when he ran for President in 2001 he too received maximum votes. We have to wait who the next president of the party will be for us to qualify it as a tribal or regional party. LOL

Another example which can be given is about the ruling party-Patriotic Front(PF). Its founder and first leader late President Michael Sata who came from the then Northern Province before Mpika became party of the new Muchinga province, had to wait for 10 years for him to receive maximum votes from his home region. Many have argued that Mr Sata was Bemba(in the actual fact Bisa) that’s why he got more votes in 2011 from the Bemba speaking parts of Zambia. Okay!! This means that Ba Sata was Ila, Tumbuka, Luvale, Kunda or Swaka before that and he only became Bemba speaking in 2011.

Having said that the question is. Is PF a tribal party? Or do people in Northern, Luapula, Copperbelt and Muchinga vote on tribal lines. In my opinion no. If this was the case on 20th January, Luapula, Northern and Muchinga Provinces would have given maximum votes to either Pule Danny, Nevers Mumba, Edith Nawekwi, Eric Chanda, Elias Chipimo or Peter Sinkamba who are from these regions. However they gave those votes to Edgar Lungu from Eastern Zambia.

For me the above mentioned provinces are PF’s strongholds and not otherwise. This also goes for Copperbelt province. For augments sake. Some people have said that President Lungu got more votes from Copperbelt because he was born there(Ndola). What about Peter Sinkamba who was born in Namwala, Southern Province why didn’t he get maximum votes from there?

It is also important to note that some of these provinces where PF is strong where once either MMD or UNIP strongholds. Well, in the case of UNIP Mmmm! My point is that people have accepted PF in these areas than they have accepted the message and democratic methods from other parties like FDD, UNIP or UPND.

Before I look at Eastern Province and Southern Province where the winner and the runners-up come from. I would like to look at Lusaka, Central, North-Western and Western province. This will help to understand where they lay. Stronghold, Tribal or Region. North-Western is UPND stronghold because if it was not people would have voted for Solwezi born Ludwig Sondashi. Lusaka is PF stronghold while Central is a swing province. I am afraid this will be the case for Western Province too. UPND may say it is their stronghold. Don’t forget MMD is still there too.

Several people said that some voters in Eastern province opted for Mr Lungu because his parents are from there. For me that was not the case. They would have voted for Godfrey Miyanda or Tilyenji Kaunda who has some silent roots from there. So in my opinion Eastern province can not be classified as a region that voted on tribal or territorial lines. Mr Lungu got more votes from there because of the work his government has been doing since PF came into power. The other reason is because of the partnership between a section of MMD the same way HH got votes from some provinces because of the partnership with a section of MMD. Eastern Provinces is MMD stronghold we should remember that.

In Eastern province Edgar Lungu(PF) beat the other candidates by less than half of his votes. He polled 88, 408 votes while others polled a combination of 45, 978 votes with the difference of around 42, 430. This means more than half of the voters who cast their vote in the January election did not vote for President Lungu. So in my opinion the notion that Eastern province voted on tribal or regional lines does not hold water.

In Southern province UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema recorded a landslide victory by polling 272, 182 votes while others got a combination of 27, 364 votes. That is a difference of 244, 818 votes if you are wondering. So in Southern province it was HH verses the rest. Nimwaisa banga.

I will give a thumps up to people in Southern province for turning up in numbers. The question is was it in order to exercise their right or it was because they wanted to put their own in power? I am not saying anything. I am just asking. Questions like this can be answered by themselves.

For me if they turned up in their thousands in order to exercise their right to vote then that is good for democracy. But if it was to send HH to State House because he is from that region then I am afraid it was an act of betrayal to Zambians including the spirit of One Zambia-One Nation.

Bring the 50+1 in the mix, HH might not get many votes from other provinces. About which parties exist due to tribes or regional backing. Or about which parties have a national character that is not for me to say. You be the judge.

The other question is that why is HH so confident that Southern Province will give him another landslide victory. Food for thought.

Joe Mwansa Lombe Kaluba