ZAMBIA CENTRE FOR INTERPARTY DIALOGUE (ZCID)
The Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue, (ZCID) would like to respond to the statement made by our veteran politician and ZCID founder Trustee, Honourable Vernon Mwanga carried by the Daily Nation in yesterday’s issue and the Lusaka Times this morning alleging that ZCID has become moribund and is no longer serving the purpose for which it was established.
Hon Vernon Mwanga further , and rightly so, goes to say he hopes ZCID would soon be resuscitated [so that it can take up its rightful position in the promotion of multiparty democracy in Zambia PARTICULARLY in the area of political party strengthening].
While we want to believe that Honourable Mwaanga’s motive for such a statement could be noble and well intended; we feel we should clarify certain issues for the sake of the members and the general public.
We wish to ask Honourable VJ Mwaanga and others, Trustees and members, some questions;
1. Who should resuscitate ZCID? Is it not the very members whose interests the organisation represents?
2. How can ZCID grow strong if members don’t take keen interest in what is happening to their organisation?
3. How can ZCID be strong if each time there is an issue, the very trustees run to other organisations with money instead of channelling such resources to ZCID?
4. When they say ZCID has become moribund who are they referring to? Who is ZCID anyway? Is ZCID not managed by the very political parties who are claiming that it is no longer visible?
5. Whenever, we request for audience, it would take weeks before we receive a response and sometimes there is no response at all. However, each time a foreign organisation requests for similar audience, they are given express service. So in this case who is making it difficult for ZCID to operate efficiently?
The problem of ZCID is not structural nor management. It is funding and everyone knows that. For four years after the Dutch left Zambia, ZCID experienced serious financial challenges with staff going for years without salaries. Very few people bothered to even know where their staff were operating from.Management made every effort to engage with members and trustees some of whom are very influential, including honourable Vernon Mwanga, to solicit for support.These efforts yielded very little.
Some of our own members were heard in some meetings declaring that ZCID was dead when they were supposed to champion the plight of the organisation. The responsibility of making ZCID relevant lies with the parties including fundraising for activities. ZCID is now on the rise thanks to the resilience of a few committed members and Trustees who took it upon themselves to prevent this noble and important platform from dying a natural death. Until recently ZCID could not organise interparty dialogue meetings at high level due to lack of funds.
However, the organisation has been able to achieve a lot through lobbying and advocacy and also through meetings of Secretaries General who hitherto continue to meet under the ZCID banner.
Significant changes are taking place on the legal front because of such engagement. It is not all the time that the organisation has to hold public spectacles to deal with issues. Sometimes more is achieved in private than in the public.
The following is a snippet of the activities that ZCID has successfully implemented in the recent past. These have been implemented with the full knowledge and participation of the political parties.
1. Despite these difficulties, ZCID was able to launch the Political party code of ethics. We also co-hosted the political party summit on political violence
2. ZCID facilitated the political party discussion around the content of the draft constitution. From this meeting the Political Parties Compendium on the Constitution was launched which outlined the consolidated political parties position on the contents of the constitution. This document was submitted to government through the then Vice President, Dr Guy Scott.
3. ZCID facilitated interparty discussions around political party financing which largely led to the adoption of this part of the constitution. Through this consultation a ZCID position paper was submitted to Ministry of Justice. Currently ZCID is sponsoring this bill to go to Parliament. The drafting is underway and we expect this bill to go to be passed once parliament resumes sitting.
4. ZCID in partnership with NIMD facilitated travel of representatives of UNDP and Patriotic Front to the Africa Regional Conference on the theme “Political Parties in the technological era”. This was aimed at giving the leading political parties in the country to meet with leading political parties from other countries to share experiences.
5. Working with NIMD and international idea, ZCID organised a training workshop on Interparty Dialogue, IPD which was held at Southern Sun.
6. Working with NDI, ZCID supported the conducting of a public opinion survey to give political parties researched information in order to promote issue based campaigns. The data from this survey was presented to political parties who appreciated very much.
7. Following the baseline survey, ZCID working with NDI organised policy development workshops to build the capacity of political parties to conduct participatory policy development. These workshops were held successfully.
8. ZCID working with NIMD has received funding for the implementation of a polling agents training programme to train 27,000 poll watchers. These trainings are scheduled to start in a matter of weeks once the materials are ready.
9. In the next few days ZCID/NIMD will be conducting strategic planning workshops for political parties to help them prepare for the elections
10. ZCID is also working with the National Democratic Institute, NDI to implement political party capacity building programs which will be tailor made according to the needs of each political party. Currently, ZCID and NDI are conducting an assessment of political parties to determine their needs. Afterwards ZCID/NDI will meet with each political party to design tailor made training programs.
11. Finally, ZCID is currently organising the National Democracy Stakeholder’s Summit to be held from 29-31 March, 2016 at Government Complex. This Summit will be an annual event on the Zambian calendar. Currently, the process of constituting a steering committee is already in place.
12. ZCID will in the next weeks launch a massive anti political violence campaign using both mass media, and social media.
13. Finally but not the least, ZCID provides a quarterly opportunity for political parties to meet and interact through quarterly Board meetings and such other consultative meetings whenever need be.
We sincerely appreciate flag carriers such as Hon. VJ Mwaanga who continue to remind the whole country how important it is to support ZCID. ZCID is a neutral non partisan framework in which all political parties on either side of the political divide are comfortable to engage. ZCID will not promote and or get involved in efforts or platforms that go against this principle.
We wish to implore our members particularly political party presidents to take keen interest in what is happening at ZCID and to support their own institution. The ZCID board and secretariat are very proud to announce that ZCID is on an unstoppable upward trajectory. The future is bright for us and we wish to thank all who have supported us with our current funding.
ISSUED BY: CAPTAIN WALUSIKU LIAMBELA
ZAMBIA CENTER FOR INTERPARTY DIALOGUE