The call by a young politician, Prince Ndoyi for young people to ‘genuinely discuss the issue of individuals over contesting presidential elections’ has received backing from the NGOCC who have said the debate should include other political positions.
Ndoyi, the former ZANASU Vice President last week said that there should be a limit to the number of times an individual appears on the Presidential Ballot so as to create opportunities for young people and women to raise in leadership positions in political parties.
He also noted that due to individuals holding to the Presidency of their parties other positions were also rotating among the same individuals there by creating less opportunities for the marginalised as well as affecting the credibility of the checks and balances being offered by the various political parties to government.
NGOCC Executive Director Engwase Mwale said the call by the young politician was a welcome idea but that the interrogation and debate should also include other positions in the political arena.
Mwale said the country should put up a legal frame work that should create opportunities for women and young people without discrimination.
“For me the issue of whether it is Presidential, Members of Parliament and Councillors I think this is something that requires a national consultation so that all political positions are discussed is something that will be legally acceptable by the Zambia people aside from just looking at one position I think that democracy requires that we look at all positions in the political arena to ensure that opportunities are created equally for everyone but without shooting ourselves in the foot with regards to the democratic rights that everyone has in terms of participation at all levels in the political arena.”
Mwale said in as much as it is a democratic right for one to contest as many times as individuals want the country should have a legal frame work that creates opportunities for others.
Ndoyi wants parliament to limit the number of times individuals are allowed to be on a presidential ballot claiming that youths and women will continue to escort others and remain spectators even when they are in the majority adding it is unhealthy to decide the fate of the majority without including them.
Below is Ndoyi’s full post
Let’s Limit How Many Times An Individual Appears On A Presidential Ballot Paper
A youth political activist has called on young people to start engaging in the debate on how many times a leader of a political party should be allowed to be on a ballot paper if their chances of increasing their political space in the country’s democracy is to be increased
Prince Ndoyi, the former Mulungushi University President has observed the need for genuine conversation on presidential candidates so as to curtail what has become common for leaders to hang on to their presidency.
Ndoyi who is now a member of the former ruling party, the MMD, said there are dangers in allowing individuals to continuously contest elections despite them losing because it limits the chances of young people rising to influential positions in their parties.
He notes that since 2001 general elections the country has seen the same individuals appearing on the presidential ballot papers something he said is an impediment to the growth of youth and women leadership in political parties as positions continue to rotate among the same individuals.
“If young people are to see the light of political space in our democracy, we must prudently indulge ourselves into interrogating the dangers of the same faces appearing on ballot papers election year after election. The moral question of whether they have the democratic legitimacy to do so.
“Its almost appalling that from 2001 to the 2016 elections, almost the same faces have been appearing at every presidential race. This in literal sense means someone would have been a leader of a political party for 17years. What does that entail on the ordinary membership, and leadership opportunities within the party?”
He said young people being the king makers should now start to interrogate not only the democratic principles but question the monopoly of political power by those in senior positions of their parties.
“What are we interrogating here; it is the democratic principles, it is intra party democracy, it is the morality in political monopoly, it is the question of competition over democracy, it is the classical phenomenon of how dictators come to power in a democracy, it’s the hypocrisy of a democracy behind bars.
“Normally state democracy precedes party intra democracy, with the assumption that it’s only after a country consolidates state democracy that intra party democracy becomes possible. With this freedom and democratization it must push civil society to encourage ordinary party members to challenge party leaders against the monopoly of party power and functions. We agreed as a people that we shall be governed through democracy but what we perhaps didn’t foresee is this emanating problem,” he said.
Ndoyi said young people should now start looking at the dangers of individuals over contesting elections as well as the selfishness of individual political party leaders who continue to hold on to parties despite being rejected by Zambians on several occasions.
He said the debate should interrogate the reason as to why perpetual candidature of individuals should be stopped as losing continuously stops just being a loss but a humiliation hence turns leaders into “monsters” against their own institutions.
“What are the dangers of over contesting elections? Why are some party presidents so intimately in love with contesting elections? Why the love affair and selfishness with the hold on to power? What is it in elections that makes leaders turn into monsters against their own institutions? Some perpetual presidential candidates claim they lose money in every passing election, why then don’t they give chance to others? What are the reasons why they get richer and richer election after election? Why the greed and wealth accumulation in electioneering?
“As young people we continue to ask when will some of these perpetual candidates bury their selfish ambition for the sake of the others considering the abysmal performance at every election. They thrust into riding on a mandate of the people on the unholy altar of patronage. The truth is they will continue to contest tenaciously in every election period, notwithstanding their frayed abysmal performance.
“The psychological problems for perpetual losing is that losing ceases to be a loss but it becomes a humiliation. These perpetual candidates during another electioneering period, become sacrosanct and vanquished. They must be a source of everyone’s concern. They are wolves in a sheep clothing. There is no guarantee, that they can adhere to a two term system enshrined in our constitution. In reality, the abuse of the electoral process is a recipe for radicalization and extremism and we must guard against it,” he said.
He challenged young people and women to challenge the growing undemocratic tendency within political parties adding that the challenge also goes to other stakeholders to stop burying their heads in the sand and ensure that these dangers are stopped.
He said young people and women cannot cry for opportunities while at the same time not creating space for themselves.
“We challenge civil society and our cooperating partners not to bury their heads in the sand against this evil and it’s dangers. They have a moral responsibility to ask the uncomfortable questions. We must make aggressive but honest effort to halt the growing trend in monopolistic political invocation. Merit, capacity to deliver and one’s glowing credentials should not be the only overriding consideration in electing leaders, but how many times one contests aswell must be an important benchmark at every election.
“We cannot continue to cry for opportunities to lead when infact as youths we must bare the blame. We have allowed ourselves to be used in perpetuating the same political elite around our political class thereby preventing an eminent generational political takeover. Truly some political parties have transformed into UNIP where the party president stood against a frog or no one at all,” he said.
Ndoyi has since called on Zambians through Parliament to find practical means of preventing selfish individuals as it is a way of creating institutions which will offer the much needed checks and balances
“Finally there is need for us to define this through our laws in our Parliament, to find a more practical way to prevent this. We can achieve it when we sincerely and fundamentally lower the flag of hero worshiping and patronage. Only then shall we see enhanced and robust democratic institutions casting the net wider on leadership identification and recruitment. We desperately need credible checks and balances.”