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MR. MICHAEL SATA’S PATRIOTIC FRONT

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In picture: Mr. Chishimba Kambwili at a Patriotic Front rally in Chiwempala on the Copperbelt in 2001 with the PF President Mr. Michael Sata (back to camera).

MR. MICHAEL SATA’S PATRIOTIC FRONT

The term Patriotic Front was earlier used by the two sister liberation political parties that fought for Zimbabwe’s independence, the Zimbabwe Africa National Union- Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) headed and by Robert Mugabe in Mozambique and the Zimbabwe Africa People’s Union-Patriotic Front (ZAPU-PF) headed by Joshua Nkomo in Zambia and Mr. Sata coined the name of his party from these two.

The Patriotic Front (PF) was formed by Mr Michael Sata as a breakaway party of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) after the President Frederick Chiluba nominated Levy Mwanawasa as its presidential candidate for 2001 elections. Mr Sata was a very influential man very close to Mr Chiluba in almost the entire reign of Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD).
The Patriotic Front was formed as a political party in 2001. In 2000, after Chiluba lost a bid to change the constitution to allow him to stand for third term, Mr. Michael Sata thought he would be endorsed as the MMD presidential candidate. At a secret ballot, Chiluba personally nominated Mwanawasa and voted for him to be the presidential candidate. Angered by this turn of events, Mr. Sata quit the MMD and founded the Patriotic Front (PF). At the same time, notable figures like Christon Tembo, and Edith Nawakwi formed the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) party and Godfrey Miyanda formed the Heritage Party. Mr. Sata became leader of the PF and was its presidential candidate for the 2001 general elections; he received 3.4% of the vote, finishing seventh out of the eleven candidates. In the National Assembly elections the party received 2.8% of the vote, winning a single seat, Lupososhi constituency which was won by Emmanuel Mpakata making him the first Patriotic Front member of parliament.

The late creation of the Patriotic Front in the election year of 2001 contributed highly to its dismal performance in those elections. After the 2001 elections, Mr Sata did not rest but continued to campaign for PF and he gained a lot of support over this period. Mr. Michael Sata was the presidential candidate for the 2006 and 2008 Presidential elections in which he came second with results having been morally challenged by many as not being free and fair.
The Patriotic Front won the next presidential elections of 2011. Mr. Sata was sworn in as republican President and brought in a new flare of hope and new vision to Zambian politics with the support of many. He promised to end poverty for the poor by “putting money in their pockets” and this caught up with them.

Unfortunately Mr. Sata was caught up in ill-health and only ruled for three years. He died in October 2014 and his mantle was passed over to his former Minister of Home Affairs Edgar Chagwa Lungu. When Mr Sata left for medicals in the United Kingdom in October 2014, he left the presidential instruments of power with Edgar Chagwa Lungu and this he did even on other previous occassions. Supporters of Mr. Lungu interpreted this that Mr Lungu was Mr Sata’s choice because of the confidence he had displayed in him. When Mr. Sata died, scuffles arose between pro-Lungu supporters and other camps that were in contrast to this notion. As per Constitution Mr. Guy Scott took over as President for the period until elections. The Patriotic front needed to choose a new President, many came up forward to try and stand as PF presidential candidates, but Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, supported by the PF chairperson Inonge Wina took the lead in support. He won a nomination through a controversial general conference and his nomination had to be ratified through the courts because of legal challenges. Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu stood as the party’s presidential candidate in 2015 and won and was sworn in as President. He also stood and won the 2016 elections but brought the reign of the Patriotic Front party started by Mr. Michael Sata to an almost tragic end when the Patriotic Front lost by a difference of almost 1 million votes to Mr. Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND) in the 12 August 2021 Presidential elections and bringing to an end the Patriotic Front (PF) reign on Zambians. The Patriotic Front is now rebranding and preparing itself for the next elections in 2026.

In picture: Mr. Chishimba Kambwili at a Patriotic Front rally in Chiwempala on the Copperbelt in 2001 with the PF President Mr. Michael Sata (back to camera).

Source – Zambianobserver.com

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