In the 2001 elections, Yobert Shamapande a former UN official (now adjunct professor at Columbia University) who returned to Zambia mid 2000, after many years abroad, high on a combination of audacity and hope (result of many years in Diaspora) dared to contest the presidency. After dispensing most of his pension fund while canvassing around Zambia in an effort to woo support, he only managed 9,481 (0.54%) votes of that elections final count. In hindsight, he blamed his dismal performance on a failure to resonate with the common voter and a late entrance to the Zambian political arena.
Prof Chirwa on the other hand may have time and the audacity of hope, as allies but can he resonate with the fisherman on the banks of Lake Mweru in Luapula or the marketeer in Chawama compound in Lusaka?
Can he speak the language of fish and impwa?
Can he pull up an Obama speech ?
I know Prof Chirwa holds impeccable credentials, however I have not heard his manner of speaking nor do I know his personality. I truly hope his bold declaration that “he will not be bruised” will hold true after the 2011 elections.
As Eastern province MMD chairman Mr. Mangani says
“Yes, he may be well educated. But politics are different from academic qualifications. In politics you don’t need to brag. Politics will terminate his education and become a nobody within a short period of time. It is very normal and this is what is happening in the Zambian politics and Africa at large,”
Kashikulu wishes the Profesori good luck and prays he has a very thick skin and very deep pockets indeed!