For the past two weeks or so, about six interesting activities have unfolded in Zambia.
These include the introduction of tax on internet calls, President Lungu napping at the recent SADC meeting, Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo stint with the four Matero corrupt traffic cops.
Others are President Lungu napping at the Levy Mwanawasa memorial church service, the RTSA speed cameras issue and the ongoing standoff of mine workers for the contractors of mines on the Copperbelt.
Interestingly, none of these issues have been made a serious talking point by the opposition parties.
Slowly but surely, everyone is slowly forgetting about what just happened, just as easily as we forgot about issues of fire tenders and many other interesting events which are now at the back of the people’s focus.
I imagine, had it been Hakainde Hichilema dozing at the memorial Church service of Levy Mwanawasa – he would have been demonized and tagged as a Satanist.
And I imagine, had it been late Michael Sata in opposition, while the miners on the Copperbelt are boycotting work because their employers – the contractors – have not been paid by the mines, any party in power would have been receiving serious punches left right and centre.
Well, the Patriotic Front (PF) is well equipped to contain any noise over anything that potentially reduces political advantage from them.
They have at their disposal, the machinery of human resources to handle the political fire ignited by their actions.
PF appreciates the power of Public Relations (PR) and image builders, something that most of those running parties and aspiring for leadership are yet to learn.
There are many political parties that are making sense today – but they make sense only if one has paid serious attention to them.
If there is no one to tell you about this party and its policies, there is no way you will appreciate what i that party and its leadership offers.
The tendency of most leaders in these parties is running everything themselves. They are the party presidents, spokesperson, secretary general, vice President, youth chairman, media directors among others.
If a party and its leadership have a serious and effective team of image builders, just the internet tax issue is enough to seriously de-campaign for the governing party.
But there we are, the PF are walking straight into the fires knowing very well that those who seek to get power from them are weak in every angle.
In this information age, serious political players elsewhere have appreciated and ultilised extensively the power of PR especially with the upsurge of social media.
Information is moving at the speed of light and disseminating this information is no longer an issue of having to drive to a newsroom and give an interview.
It is easily done at the finger tips. Image building is enough to turn around the political tables – the PF, for example had to commit to some expenditure on Antonio Mwanza, in order to boost their PR or image building team.
Regardless of the some weaknesses of Antonio, he is doing the PF service together with his colleague Sunday Chanda. They are ever commenting on this and that and issuing statements on this and that, thereby setting the agenda for not only for Zambians but the media in general.
The formula in PF is working perfectly well. On government front, the opposition is faced with Amos Chanda, President Lungu’s Press Aid and Dora Siliya Chief Government Spokesperson as well as Minister of Information.
On the party front, the PF have two motor mouths Sunday Chanda and Antonio Mwanza. It’s a kind of combination that no opposition currently is able to match and challenge.
What makes things worse for the opposition is that, these four people are articulate and good at what they do, however arrogant one may say they are.
They have created social media platforms like Smart Eagles where they post so much information of their party and marketing their leaders.
They have platforms like the PF Interactive Forum where they bring many of their party members to offer their plans and make some explanations about this and that.
They have an effective media team that is almost present at every function or activity they engage into.
Look at the opposition – in whole. They only have personal Facebook pages and only rely on the few private owned radio stations, newspapers and TV stations to cover them!
Take Harry Kalaba for example; he has coined a movement and a slogan “Let’s Believe Again”.
Admittedly, Kalaba has with him some potential to steal the show but his failure to put up an effective PR team or Image Builders to disseminate information is drawing him back.
Many people are tired with the kind of leadership from President Lungu, where he keeps people very hungry to an extent that they are cowed down into submission for them to live well.
People end up forced into supporting and sustaining President Lungu’s stay into power. Many people want life to be just life and make sense if at all one is hard working.
Many people want a fair and just society where opportunities, luxuries and resources are not an exclusive monopoly of cadres and those in the close proximity of power.
But there is seemingly no single person giving this hope to people, not because they have nothing worthwhile to offer but simply because those who have been assembled to help them build themselves into significant figures are not doing things the right way.
The author is a Law student with interest in International Law, Constitutionalism and Politics