Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Zambia’s political Challenges Part Two: ‘The triumph of democracy’

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File:MMD cadres showing their dancing skills
File:MMD cadres showing their dancing skills

By Barnabas Mwansa
Abraham Lincoln once said “Government of the people by the people for the people shall not perish from this earth”. Democracy will always triumph, of course premature democracies are noisy, but not as violent and intolerant as Zambia is witnessing. The rising political intolerance and violence between and within the ruling party and the opposition is non democratic.

Respect for rule of law and abuse of institutions of governance

The values of democracy are tolerance, respect for the rule of law and institutions of governance including the courts and the police. Democracy is a system of rule by laws, not individuals. In this vain institutions of governance must restrain themselves from political abuse.
Custodians of the law must act with impartiality and professional to secure the course of justice and maintain rule of law. The Zambia police are playing to the gallery for failure to perform their duties in line with democratic principles. In a democracy, the rule of law protects the rights of citizens, maintains order, and limits the power of government.

The Zambia police under the deputy leadership of Solomon Jere have abused authority in their dealings with opposition political parties both in the application of an outdated colonial ‘public order act’ and in the enforcement of the law.Dr. Solomon Jere must resign to serve and restore public confidence in the police service. It is a well known fact that his behaviour in most recent months has tarnished public imagine of the police service and the government of Zambia. The police must understand that in a democracy no one may be arrested, imprisoned, or exiled arbitrarily and no one may be denied their freedom without a fair and public hearing by an impartial court.

[pullquote]the current political situation seems to be driven more by the desire to consolidate political power than by the willingness to serve” and develop the country.[/pullquote]

In a democracy, anyone accused of a crime and arrested is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  A person’s guilt must be proved in a court of law, through a fair, speedy, and public trial and not in the media as the case is in Zambia. Only the courts can decide the guilt or innocence of individuals charged with a crime, and only the higher courts can determine whether a law or a government action or policy is constitutional.

PF political intolerance

I believe political tolerance rest on the shoulders of the political party in power. “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit” Mahatma Gandhi.
The PF government has failed to tolerant its opponents and instead they have demonstrated inability in promoting fundamental principles of democracy and inclusive political dialogue. The continued lack of political tolerance and dialogue since PF came into power is a threat to Zambia’s young democracy. The PF government due to its inability to deal with pressure from the opposition have adopted a reactionary approach rather than being proactive and engage in constructive national development debate.

While this may help them prove a point that there are the party in power, it will not take PF anywhere and worse still, it will be to the detriment of the nation development. When PF spend most of the time squabbling with the opposition, development is undermined. JCTR rightly observed that “the current political situation seems to be driven more by the desire to consolidate political power than by the willingness to serve” and develop the country.

Our appeal, if Michael Sata is a true democrat let him create an environment in which effective opposition political parties can flourish. He should not leave it to his overzealous political vuvuzelas like Wynter Kabimba and Edgar Lungu. Zambians voted PF into government to restore political order and reconciliation, maintain peace and stability, both economically and politically cracked down by the MMD government.

Opposition Political Parties Aggressiveness

In fairness, hostility, egotism and aggressiveness exhibited by the leadership of MMD and UPND have not helped resolve political intolerance. In a democracy, the exercise of political power must respect the law, the constitution and the will of the people.The current leadership of MMD and UPND have lost foresight on the role of the opposition. It seems their preoccupation is to make it difficult for PF to govern and deliver development to the people of Zambia. Again as observed the current political situation seems to be driven more by the desire to consolidate political power than by the willingness to serve and develop the country. The leadership of MMD and UPND is ambitious for presidency than visionary for national development.
[pullquote]The leadership of MMD and UPND is ambitious for presidency than visionary for national development.[/pullquote]

Zambia will not develop through political intolerance and/or failure of PF, but by the collective responsibility of all of us. The opposition ought to find suitable and appropriate channels to engage with the PF government. After all, democracy is about debate on important development and policy issues that affect the citizenry and not name calling. Primitive stone aged politics of tribal, regional or frustrating the government in power is long gone.
Mature opposition should demonstrate the ability and maturity to take over from the current government through articulating sound development policy and providing accurate checks and balance on governance and service delivery.
The leadership of the opposition need soul searching and reflection on how best to engage in constructive dialogue with the PF government because no one will develop Zambia within the limited tenure of office provide by our constitution.

There is need to realised that each one of us will only make a contribution to the development of our beloved country. Zambia has a long way to go. Politicians will come and go. But the government of the people by the people for the people shall not perish from this country and democracy will triumph in Zambia.

10 COMMENTS

  1. The chap who wrote this article is a PF cadre. How else can the opposition find other alternatives to engage the PF when the PF has not provided such channels? Doesn’t he know that it is the PF that does not want to dialogue? The author ought to be ashamed of himself for producing such rubbish. We are not foolish. We know it is people like you who are hired to issue propanganda material to try and save face for the rotten PF. Unfortunately, it is not working for you because we know your type and we shall not be hoodwinked by such idiocy. The article belongs to the dustbin; as usual all of them find someone or something to blame for their inability to comprehend how government is run. They are all clueless and can be seen in this propaganda writing. You will never gain sympathy from Zambia

  2. I find it troubling with the comments above. The author only offers insights,into how the marriage between the opposition and the party in government can/should do to enhance the advancement of Democracy in our beloved Zambia. HE is surely NO party cadre…

  3. He starts well and ends up badly. All credible opposition leaders have tasted jail since PF came into power at the instigation of Government. Opposition MPs have been lured into government against the will of these parties which the writer suggests should seek dialogue. They are not even allowed to meet their supporters without being arrested. Who holds instruments of power that if used wisely can create a conducive atmosphere for meaningful dialogue? Is it the opposition or Government? Oh come off it writer!

  4. Jere should go..men and women in uniform should behave like parents not as useful *****s..the pf police has totally failed us..we need a new wing to serve us..PF has failed to govern Zambia..they are too bitter..

  5. Again it shows how shallow Mushota and other contributors can be. First HH when Sata won the lections few weeks later, He and UPND they openly declared to make PF fail to govern. They used ZWD to propergate their unfounded allegations all of which came to be false. Anyone who has followed Zambian politics will agree with me. Chiluba was sent to prison as a trade unionist. Levy to clear. Sata when in opposition several times was sent to prison. Denied to hold rallies as MMD were suppose to be there. As a mature and deligent politician he managed to overcome the obstacles and difficulties that MMD throw over him. He will cancel the rallies and rearrange. He will talk with the people and console them. What has changed so far from the time MMD used the same law to get a permit to hold…

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