President Lungu with his running mate Inonge Wina
A running mate is a person running together with another person on a joint ticket during an election. The term is most often used in reference to the person in the subordinate position (such as the vice presidential candidate running with a presidential candidate) but can also properly be used when referring to both candidates, such as Barack Obama and Joe Biden were running mates in 2008 and 2012.
Running mates are typically chosen to balance the ticket geographically, ideologically, or personally, as when the staid New Englander John F. Kennedy was matched with the folksy Texan Lyndon B. Johnson in 1960. Or, in 1984, when male Walter Mondale was paired with female Geraldine Ferraro. The object is to create a more widespread appeal for the ticket.
Presidential candidates from smaller states sometimes choose a vice presidential running mate from a state with a large number of electoral votes – as when Walter Mondale of Minnesota (10 votes) selected Geraldine Ferraro of New York (then 36 votes). It is preferred, but not legally required, that the running mate be from a different state from the presidential nominee, because each elector can vote for no more than one candidate from his or her own state. Running mates can also be chosen from swing states in order to boost a candidate’s chance of winning in the state.
Some few weeks ago, we saw Think Tanks from different political parties (esp PF and UPND) analysing how small the Western Province vote is when the Electoral Commission of Zambia announced new numbers on the voters Register. The premise was that Western Province would ordinarily give the vote to UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema while Northern Province, if harnessed well, would also give the vote to President Lungu.
President Lungu has finally picked his running mate from Western Province. My take is that it was easier for him to pick mama Inonge than have the headache of picking any other person. He may also have picked Mama Inonge to balance up or gain the votes he can from Western Province where Government has done a multi million dollar Mongu – Kalabo road. If President Lungu manages to get the Western vote or at least increase his numbers by 20 percent as compared to the last one without dwindling the Northern and Muchinga vote, then he is somehow safe.
HH with his two Vice presidents before the press conference
Now all eyes are on HH. Realistically, HH is expected to pick his running mate from northern side of our country as we already have candidate from East (Edgar Lungu), West (Inonge Wina), South (Hakainde Hichilema) and now remaining with North. If HH manages to pick a Northern running mate and increases his vote in Northern Province, Copperbelt and Lusaka by at least 15 to 20 percent, he will give a very tough battle to EL and be very safe too.
On the other hand, it also suits the PF to have Mutati cause Nevers Mumba who has paid part of nominations fees sleepless nights and the probability of disqualifying Nevers from contesting when ECZ would have rejected his nomination. That will leave MMD with no candidate, in effect getting the little numbers EL needed without the trouble of either thinking of Nevers or Mutati. RB’s presence at both Mutati election and EL rally tells a lot. FTJ would have called it political engineering