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Zambian leaders tip Uganda’s opposition MPs on performance

Zambia’s Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP), Brian Mundubile, on Thursday told Ugandan Opposition MPs to embrace oneness and forge a united front in parliament, as a way to emerge triumphant against the ruling regime.

He said this while addressing Ugandan opposition MPs led by the LOP, Mathias Mpuuga in Zambia.

The Ugandan MPs arrived in Zambia on Wednesday to learn and share experiences on how the Opposition can effectively execute its mandate of keeping the government in check.

He told MPs that building cohesion and having coherent messages among opposition forces in Parliament, is the best way for the opposition to push its agenda through Parliament and eventually tilt the tide in their favour.
Others in the delegation were; the Chief Opposition Whip, John Baptist Nambeshe, Shadow Ministers Muwada Nkunyingi (Foreign Affairs), Asinansi Nyakato (Minerals and Natural Resources), MPs Godfrey Saazi (Gomba East), Juliet Kakande (Masaka City) and Fred Ssimbwa (Nakifuma).

Mundubile, who served as Government Chief Whip in the previous Patriotic Front (PF) party-led government, told the legislators that part of the reason why Hakainde Hichilema and his United Party for National Development (UPND) defeated the then incumbent president, Edgar Lungu in last August’s election lay in the former’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, “Mundubile told the Ugandan legislators.

“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,” he 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 the social media as well as maintain a grip on the youths.

“We [PF] lost that election because the youths endeared themselves to the opposition then [UPND]. They used social media very well; we were still in old school. 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 since 1991 when its founding president, Kenneth Kaunda, handed over power to Fredrick Chiluba which, according to Mpuuga, 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 Mathias Mpuuga.

“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,” he added.

The delegation also had an interaction with the Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia, Rt. Hon. Nelly Butete Kashumba Mutti, who encouraged the Ugandan legislators to work towards strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries and parliaments.

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