Opposition MPs have been advised to build cohesion and come up with coherent messages to push their agenda through Parliament and eventually tilt the tide in their favour.
The advice was given by Zambia’s Leader of the Opposition in Parliament (LOP), Brian Mundubile while meeting his Ugandan counterpart Mathias Mpuuga and other MPs in Lusaka.
Mundubile told Ugandan opposition MPs that part of the reason why Hakainde Hichilema and his United Party for National Development (UPND) defeated President Edgar Lungu at last August’s election lay in Hichilema’s ability to keep his side united.
“As citizens, they could define their own rights, but when it came to party business, they remained united. One of the times we experienced that unity was when we wanted to introduce a bill to amend the Constitution. I was actually driving the process as Government Chief Whip. We tried all manner of negotiations, making concessions to them. We went on for over a year but they were never moved, they showed a lot of resilience,” Mundubile added.
Drawing from his experience from the August 2021 election that led to a change in the balance of power in Zambia, Mundubile advised Uganda’s opposition to take advantage of social media as well as maintain a grip on the youths.
“We believed that we were on the ground and they were on Facebook. We would just dispel them as Facebook politicians. Little did we realise that, through our own efforts, we had taken technology to the rural areas. We campaigned as if there was no technology in the rural areas,” Mundubile said.
Zambia is among the few African countries that have witnessed a peaceful change of governments. In 1991 since 1991 President Kenneth Kaunda handed over to Fredrick Chiluba. Since then there have been multiple changes in the guard.
Mpuuga said Zambia’s experience offers promise and hope to other African countries.
“It is a beautiful experience learning from a group that was in power and lost it to the opposition, and how the opposition outpaced the ruling party then to win an election,” said the Nyendo-Mukungwe legislator.
“The magnanimity of those that have obtained power is very telling when you meet the humility with which they handle and relate with those that handed over to them is for us a whole lesson in history, of course, coming from a background of a country where we have never seen a peaceful transfer of power,” Mpuuga said.