Monthly Archives: August 2016

Divided We Stand: Politics of national cohesion after Zambia’s 2016 elections

By E. Munshya, LLM, MBA, MDIV

The so called divisions we think have emerged in the aftermath of the August 11 elections could be good for our democracy. They show that our democracy is working, and working very well. If the people of Zambezi feel that they are not being heard, there is no better way to demonstrate their displeasure with Lungu than withholding their vote. The people of Dundumwezi also have the prerogative. We must give up this incessant desire to want to control and manipulate the choices that people must make. The people of Chiengi have made their choice and so have the people of Mkaika.

400px-Coat_of_Arms_of_ZambiaThe people of southern province dropped over 500,000 votes for Hakainde Hichilema. The tsunami has shocked some of our people. After the August 11 elections, some of our people are suddenly waking up to the so called regionalism that they think is going to erode our national unity. These fears are unfounded. The people of southern province do not owe anyone an explanation for their decision to overwhelmingly back Mr. Hichilema. Zambia is a democratic country and in a democracy, individuals, provinces or regions have the prerogative to choose the leader they want. It becomes an affront to democracy once we begin dictating how people should vote. Zambia might as well be divided between green Zambia and red Zambia; it is within our democratic character to do so. Political divisions are not bad per se, political divisions must exist in any democracy and in fact, political divisions do exist in all democratic countries on earth.

Democracy never guarantees uniformity. Democracy is an orgy of difference. It is a party of differences. Democracy is a coat of many colours. It is a fabric of mosaic patterns. The patterns might be injurious to our ego, but they are part and parcel of our democratic character in any case.

There has never been any guarantee in our democracy that Zambian regions will vote uniformly. Uniformity of votes is not a character of our democracy. It is a myth to suggest that the voting patterns we saw will automatically lead to national divisions. Well, democracy is chaotic and divisive. The question is what can we do about our political divisions.


Elias Munshya (of the Alberta Bar)

President Lungu has emerged victorious and it is clear that he performed very poorly among the southern, western and northwestern voters. He needs to humble himself and go and listen to the concerns of the people concerned. Democracy is not just about the majority winning or achieving 50% +1, but also about lending our ears to the voices expressed by the minority votes. Those who have not achieved 50% +1 are as legitimate parts of Zambian democracy as those who have achieved the threshold. The challenge here is that if we are to be true to democracy, we must let Lungu and implore upon his party to go and listen to everybody. It will be foolish of the Patriotic Front to do nothing about the clear voices of the people who have expressed displeasure with the status quo. Lungu and the PF must not carry on as if everything is alright. Ifintu tafili bwino, iyo. It is time to listen and listen very well.

Great democracies such as the United Kingdom have their own internal regionalism that seems to make no sense to an outsider. But those divisions should not mean that the UK is less democratic. The UK has a system of respect for regions. In Zambia, we could develop a system of democratic respect for regions. The same Americans who could be lecturing us about the divided electorate have red states and blue states, and no matter how beautiful or handsome you are, not even a tsunami would have Texas vote for a democrat. In spite of this ideological regionalism America remains a beacon of democracy.

Zambia can still be a democracy, and a good democracy even in the middle of regionalism. We should not fear regionalism, instead we must embrace it and leverage it for national development. I am surprised that some are invoking Kenneth Kaunda’s one party dictatorship as a model for uniting the nation. Kaunda’s time is over and he tried to bring the nation together by betraying tenets of democracy occasionally. Zambia needs to unleash its democratic beast that unleashes our great potential.

Regions are pinnacles of democracy and we need to respect them. What we need in Zambia, is an unwavering respect for regional diversity. We are One Zambia One Nation, but beyond that we have no one who forces or dictates to us how we should vote. The voting patterns we saw on August 11 will force us to cooperate with one another. The East must cooperate with the West, and listening to each other is the first step towards that.

The idea that we are now divided among tribal lines is just nonsense. Which tribe does Lungu and Wina belong to for them to win the north? What about Hichilema, how come he won in Mwinilunga? These elections have nothing to do with tribe, they have everything to do with regions and there is only one way to deal with regions: listen to all, respect for all and an appreciation for diversity.


A version of this article appeared in Zambia’s Independent newspaper, The Zambia Daily Nation.

Elias Munshya is a Zambian practicing civil litigation, administrative law and corporate-commercial law at West End Legal Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Learning from King Cobra: Sata, Hichilema and the politics of electoral defeat

By E. Munshya, LLM, MBA, MDIV.

There is no better way to win an election than to win an election. For those who win elections, they win elections by winning elections. Those who want to win an election must win an election by winning an election and not winning a court case. In 2006, Michael Chilufya Sata of the Patriotic Front lost that year’s presidential election very terribly. He lost to President Mwanawasa who commanded a comfortable lead all over Zambia except for the urban areas and Bemba-speaking areas. Sata whined a little bit but went to work. In 2008, he lost again. This time to Rupiah Banda. Sata fumed pouncing all over Mulungushi Conference Centre and the Supreme Court grounds. But for some reason, he held himself back and took control of the narrative. He realized his strengths and weaknesses. He saw his losses and found an opportunity. He went to work. That is the behaviour of a winner.

Elias Munshya New

E. Munshya

In 2008, Sata looked at the electoral map. The urban areas of Lusaka and Copperbelt were in his bag, Bemba areas of Northern and Luapula were also in his grasp, but to win the presidency he needed to turn around a non-Bemba area, so he went for a Barotse offensive. The time for the King Cobra to charm the Barotse had come. Right in the heartland of Barotseland, Sata took a message that the Barotse wanted to hear – a message that would honour some aspects of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964. From 2008 to 2011, Sata worked on his message. Taking advantage of Rupiah’s Barotse lapses, he collaborated with Inonge Wina and Mubukwanu. And boom! In 2011, Barotseland had given Sata the votes he needed to beat Rupiah. Sata’s Barotse votes were very significant in that he did not just do “well” or do “better” he actually won big and got seats right in the Barotse heartland. That is how you win. You learn from your weaknesses, tweak your message, and go for an electoral offensive.

Come 2016, Hakainde Hichilema has an opportunity to turn his loss into something meaningful. Mr. Hichilema insists that he has won the election, but he has not won anywhere else apart from his strongholds of Southern, Western and Northwestern Provinces. He has no Member of Parliament in Bemba areas, no MPs in the East, and certainly no MP in urban Copperbelt or urban Lusaka. Without MPs in these areas, Mr. Hichilema has failed to replicate the Sata strategy of turning a hostile constituency into a friendly electorate. For Mr. Hakainde to win he did not need to just do well in Bemba and urban areas, he needed to have one or two MPs in those areas. Having MPs does not necessarily correlate with winning the presidential vote, but it is very significant in telling us the trends of where the presidency is leaning. It is nearly impossible for a candidate to win the presidential election without some corresponding increase in the number of Members of Parliament. You cannot win the presidency in Zambia without the good number of MPs being on your side, even if the presidential election is a separate election from that of MP.

While it is true that Lungu’s incumbency may have disadvantaged the opposition, we have a long history in this country where the opposition has beaten the incumbent – in both 1991 and 2011. It is doable. Blaming Lungu’s incumbency is not good strategically, Mr. Hichilema must take some responsibility and do better next time around. He is still young. He does have an opportunity to turn things around and if he stayed on, he could scoop 2021.


Hakainde Hichilema

Mr. Hichilema’s continued overconfidence is a put-off. I doubt if anyone stole his votes. I will leave that up to the determination of the venerable Constitutional Court. However, to the extent that we provide for the ruling of the Constitutional Court on this matter, we can safely speculate that Mr. Hichilema lost because Mr. Hichilema lost. No one stole his votes. The urban areas have not yet turned away from the Michael Sata “Don’t kubeba” coalition. That coalition is still intact. Consequently, insulting the Michael Sata urban coalition is not a good strategy for the UPND. The “dununa reverse – don’t kubeba” urban coalition needs to be courted not insulted. All these slights springing up in the media about how poor urbanites will continue living in poverty due to their continued support of the PF and Lungu exposes something that the UPND might need to understand about urban politics. Lungu won because he has won hearts of the suffering poor – the very suffering Zambians in our compounds. Unless the UPND figures out why the urban poor are still voting overwhelmingly for Lungu, their relevance will soon fade. The UPND must stop insulting and shaming urban areas and get to work.


President Lungu

Mr. Hichilema has an opportunity. For a start, he needs to go to both Luapula and Northern and thank this constituency. He quickly needs to capitalize on the election and cement the officials and structures in these areas, as he will need them for 2021. The more time he spends in Lusaka at his mansion and at court, the more time he loses on cementing the support he needs for 2021. For now, unfortunately, the PF has already seized on the opportunity to tribalize Mr. Hichilema’s 500,000 vote tsunami from Tonga areas. He needs to be in charge of the narrative, but the more time he spends in Lusaka the less likely he is to recast the tsunami. If the tsunami is recast and told by the PF, UPND will lose any hope of getting Luapula and Northern in 2021. The PF could take the tsunami numbers and try to convince Bemba voters that HH tried to capitalize on the Tonga tribal vote (this is of course not true, but Zambian politics is not about the truth, but perceptions). Mr. Hichilema stands a good chance, and I hope he will seize the opportunity. Projects that Edgar Lungu wins Zambia’s 2016 Presidential Elections

We made the following assumptions:

  • Some constituencies in Western Province are yet to report. So we are giving HH a 10,000 vote spread for each constituency.
  • Two constituencies are yet to report in Southern Province, we have given HH a 20,000 vote spread for each constituency.
  • Some constituencies in Lusaka have not reported so we have given EL a very conservative vote advantage of about 10,000 for Chawama, he is likely to beat this number.
  • I have separate figures for other candidates, and I have not included them in the above totals. Please provide for at least 50,000 votes for other candidates.


  • CAUTION – These numbers are provisional and are not authorized by the Electoral Commission of Zambia. You cannot rely on them.
Bwacha – 5,000
Chisamba – 7,359 14,638
Chitambo – 9,765 1,037
Kabwe Central – 22,784 11,787
Kapiri Mposhi – 22,509 23,080
Katuba – 4,031 23,705
Keembe – 20,000
Lufubu – 1,742 1,478
Mkushi North – 12,821 7,153
Mkushi South – 5,714 5,040
Muchinga – 10,000
Mumbwa- 10,000
Mwembeshi- 2,226 17,527
Nangoma – 10,000
Serenje- 10,000
113,951 145,445
Bwana Mkubwa – 20,571 7,586
Chifubu – 20,260 8,342
Chililabombwe – 17,003 10,126
Chimwemwe – 21,631 9,740
Chingola – 18,117 14,981
Kabushi – 22,646 6,906
Kafulafuta – 4,988 4,979
Kalulushi – 19,587 11,953
Kamfinsa – 15,480 7,350
Kankoyo – 8,755 4,316
Kantanshi – 14,138 5,175
Kwacha – 24,582 11,632
Luanshya – 16,924 9,263
Lufwanyama – 5,051 9,273
Masaiti – 6,421 7,794
Mpongwe – 6,677 11,297
Mufulira – 11,817 5,399
Nchanga – 16,899 8,568
Ndola Central – 10,000
Nkana – 18,461 8,692
Roan – 12,798 6,753
Wusakile – 18,647 7,776
331,453 177,901
Chadiza – 15,340 4,414
Chama South – 10,000
Chasefu – 17,708 3,641
Chipangali – 19,284 3,502
Chipata Central – 25,857 6,844
Kapoche – 10,000
Kasenengwa – 10,000
Kaumbwe – 9,169 1,084
Luangeni – 16,168 3,724
Lumezi – 16,155 2,952
Lundazi – 22,078 4,975
Malambo – 10,000
Milanzi – 12,171 2,174
Mkaika – 17,087 3,530
Msanzala – 14,321 1,244
Nyimba – 16,559 2,818
Petauke Central – 23,738 1,999
Sinda – 9,278 5,020
Vubwi – 6,023 2,238
280,936 50,159
Bahati – 29,456 1,234
Bangweulu – 24,261 2,396
Chembe – 4,538 996
Chiengi – 13,772 3,760
Chifunabuli – 18,329 2,189
Chipili – 11,354 760
Kawambwa – 12,790 1,416
Luapula – 7,128 1,626
Mambilima – 8,492 1,735
Mansa Central – 23,715 4,589
Milenge – 76,650 1,576
Mwansabombwe- 10,445 1,931
Mwense – 13,823 1,915
Nchelenge – 21,932 5,442
Pambashe – 9,251 1,822
285,936 33,387
Chawama – 10,000
Chilanga – 11,735 15,069
Chirundu – 15,000
Chongwe – 17,605 17,571
Feira – 5,733 2,362
Kabwata – 22,817 11,659
Kafue – 16,914 18,744
Kanyama – 37,720 32,024
Lusaka Central – 30,223 18,259
Mandevu – 59,239 19,033
Matero – 57,222 18,388
Munali – 52,810 27,726
Rufunsa – 10,000
322,018 205,835
Chama North – 13,187 3,803
Chinsali – 23,085 1,676
Isoka – 13,567 4,676
Kanchibiya – 16,355 1,443
Mafinga – 15,745 4,316
Mfuwe – 11,640 929
Mpika Central – 18,079 1,741
Nakonde – 19,963 4,597
Shiwa Ng’andu – 16,168 1,203
147,789 24,384
Chilubi – 20,710 2,416
Chimbamilonga – 10,927 4,260
Kaputa – 11,152 7,979
Kasama – 25,321 9,537
Lubansenshi – 12,963 3,300
Lukashya – 21,017 5,186
Lunte – 10,902 2,696
Lupososhi – 17,362 1,879
Malole – 30,054 4,181
Mbala – 18,356 3,952
Mporokoso – 20,327 4,142
Mpulungu- 10,000
Senga Hill – 14,191 6,418
223,282 55,946
Chavuma – 1,235.00 12,065
Ikeleng’I – 958 12,229
Kabompo – 1,070 12,734
Kasempa – 1,572 19,075
Manyinga – 1,528 13,583
Mufumbwe – 1,923 17,375
Mwinilunga – 1,911 33,801
Solwezi Central – 10,167 36,139
Solwezi East – 1,533 7,987
Solwezi West – 2,067 23,336
Zambezi East – 1,587 15,314
Zambezi West – 1,587 15,314
27,138 218,952
Bweengwa – 327 21,316
Chikankata – 1,023 20,711
Choma – 5,016 47,182
Dundumwenzi – 254 30,810
Gwembe – 20,000
Itezhi-Tezhi – 1,937 23, 422
Kalomo Central – 1,524 37,350
Katombola – 1,410 35,911
Livingstone – 13,162 27,786
Magoye – 875 21,918
Mapatizya- 20,000
Mazabuka – 6,235 31,173
Mbabala – 20,000
Monze – 2,232 39,859
Moomba – 182 13,429
Namwala – 1,251 34,647
Pemba – 428 25,418
Siavonga – 1,429 16,952
Sinazongwe – 2,666 39,633
39,951 504,095
Kalabo Central – 3,058 13,603
Kaoma – 1,065 6,259
Liuwa – 1,776 8,905
Luampa – 2,451 9,691
Luena – 10,000
Lukulu East – 2,768 16,009
Mangango – 2,250 9,720
Mitete – 10,000
Mongu Central – 4,271 28,260
Mulobezi – 2,058 7,353
Mwandi – 1,703 7,682
Nalikwanda – 1,415 9,792
Nalolo – 10,000
Nkeyema – 1,264 10,768
Senanga – 1,661 17,929
Sesheke – 10,000
Shang’ombo – 10,000
Sikongo – 10,000
Sioma – 10,000
25,740 215,971
TOTAL 1,798,194 1,632,075


Elias Munshya New

Elias Munshya

Zambia’s Constitutional Court Ruling on Cabinet Ministers

Zambia’s Constitutional Court Ruling on Cabinet Ministers

Courtesy of our friend Machipisha Mwisho, we now have the Zambian Constitutional Court ruling in the case where petitioners had challenged cabinet ministers’ continued stay in office after parliamentary dissolution.

Please find the ruling below. All you have to do is to download it.

Steven Katuka & LAZ vs AG & Others

On the Elias Munshya Facebook page, I will be going live to discuss the ruling momentarily. The link to the page is


Elias Munshya


Elias Munshya, LLM, MBA, M.DIV. – Of the Alberta Bar