Why not the endless contesting of presidential elections?

41
5,241 views
Electoral officers, agents and monitors inspecting the Ballot Boxes at Rainbow Africa polling station in Livingstone yesterday shortly before the opening of the Polls yesterday. Picture by BRIAN HATYOKA
Electoral officers, agents and monitors inspecting the
Ballot Boxes at Rainbow Africa polling station in Livingstone
yesterday shortly before the opening of the Polls yesterday. Picture
by BRIAN HATYOKA

The current debate over how many times one can contest presidential elections should not be politicized if we are to nurture democracy in our nation. The Bemba have a saying that akafumber ukunona kafuma ku bwaice–meaning the “fat of the mice begins from childhood.” Simply ask my foolish cousins from the East—they know better.

Zambia can be a model of African democracy, but this should begin with the democratization of our democratic processes. As long as political parties remain personal tuntembas, we are nurturing dictatorship. This is the truth that the nation must face.

We now have term limits for most of our institutions including the presidency—something that has forced opposition leaders to question if Lungu can contest the 2021 elections. Such term limits must be enshrined in political parties as well. Proposing it isn’t an attack on any political party, but the same cancer that kills African democracy.
African opposition parties are run as personal tuntembas—it is all about mwine mushi! Let us start with Uganda, Mr. Kizza Besigye has continuously contested and lost four elections to dictator Yoweri Museveni. Aside from many arrests, Basigye has not opened his party presidency to young politicians who would woo the hearts of many Ugandans. Cross over to Kenya—Mr. Raila Odinga has been on the ballot since 1997. Aside from declaring himself the president of the people in January 2018, Odinga has failed to open his party to new and energetic leadership to contest presidential elections. In Zimbabwe, it is the same story—Morgan Tsvangirai has been on the ballot since 2002—only severe illness or death (God forbid) would force the party to look for new leadership. It is this tradition that propels ruling parties into power—opposition politicians are nothing but dictators awaiting their time to rule the nation!

African opposition parties don’t understand politics 101. They believe that after many tries, they would one day become presidents—which is possible by divine appointment. But such reasoning ignores the fact that elections are like soccer. If you play the same unchanged team for every game, the opposition would know how to play it. Good coaches surprise their opponents with fresh players—it is called reading the opposition.  This is because knowing your opponent gives you an advantage—the same with politics.

Generally, ruling parties know so much dirt about the opposition candidates—they know their strongholds as well as their weaknesses. I have repeatedly said HH is a great guy, but PF (as did MMD) know his strongholds – Southern and Western Province. But UPND can easily change this map if its presidential candidate was from another province. It is called growing your road to victory.

HH and GBM are valued for their monies, as one UPND neighbor told me in Mansa. But if money made presidents, he would be one by now. I believe that UPND has very bright minds that would bury PF in 2021—but the party has remained hostage to HH-GBM cult. I am not saying that the duo cannot win the elections, by divine intervention they could. But my question remains—is UPND, HH and HH, UPND? UPND would have a new leader should HH die (God forbids) today. I know that some people don’t see the sense of this question, yet it is critical to democracy.

We cannot expect HH and GBM to rule as democrats once they are at the helm of power—far from it. Democracy begins or dies at home—in our political parties. We saw this with UNIP, then MMD and now PF. Unless democracy is nurtured in opposition political structures, our democracy remains what I have termed in my book Raised Hopes, Shattered Dreams, “elected dictatorship.” Differing with the supreme leader means losing your seat in parliament.

I personally find it unfair for the opposition to accuse Lungu of ruling as if Zambia belonged to him, while ignoring their own undemocratic structures within their own parties. They too rule their parties as personal tuntembas. Is it not Jesus who said, “why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? (Matt 7:3) Only hypocrite, Jesus said can do that—and so is our politicians!

As a nation, we must move beyond tuntemba-politics for nurturing democracy is our task—let us put in place systems that aid the development of democracy in the nation. In the 1990s, we laid foundation for democracy—it is now time to do so for future generations. It is on us to do the right thing—we must nurture democracy at all levels of our political processes.

Opening political space in political parties would allow presidential aspirants to know how to negotiate political differences long before they become presidents. Because our current system is closed, party presidents and our presidents are supreme leaders – to disagree with them is a capital offence that kills one’s political career.
This system would demand change in the way presidential elections are funded. We need a political system that would fund presidential elections for all political candidates who meet certain standards. We must also open space to fund elections on the party level. Where would we get the money for such a system?  The answer is not whether we have the money, but whether democracy is critical to the future of our nation. Money is secondary—it can be found.

By Rev. Kapya Kaoma

Loading...

41 COMMENTS

    • Uyu pastor naena, how can you bring in biblical verses in this? I will start throwing quantrains here.

      8

      4
    • This is like sweeping Zambia’s history under the carpet, a complete misunderstanding of our demographics.

      5

      2
    • But chiluba started pushing for a third term, did he contest several elections before becoming republican president? This hypothesis is discounted based on chiluba even kaunda.

      5

      3
    • I reckon its not HH in context in this discussion, I view it the same with the following additions;
      1. Anyone who loses a Republican Presidential Election should never be allowed on the ballot paper again,
      2. Political Parties/Clubs/Societies and even these NGOs plus Churches and Religious Bodies and/or groupings MUST have a TERM LIMIT in their Constitutions to foster not only democracy but also accountability and transparency, and
      3. Anyone who has been sanctioned before any tribunal, disciplinary set up for wrong doing amounting ordinarily to a felony e.g. stealing clients money, fraud etc but was never brought before Courts of law must not be allowed anywhere near the ballot papers for any public/national/representative election.
      These I believe are key to deter natural…

      7

      2
    • MOST POLITICAL PARTIES IN ZAMBIA ARE BREEDING GROUNDS FOR DICTATORS. LETTING ONE AND ONLY ONE PERSON GO ON STANDING FOR PRESIDENCY FOREVER IS SIMPLY TRAINING THAT INDIVIDUAL FOR DICTATORSHIP. WHAT MAKES YOU THINK IF HH HAD TO WIN HE WILL NEVER BE A DICTATOR AS A STATE PRESIDENT? HE HAS ALREADY BEEN TRAINED IN HIS PARTY AS A DICTATOR SO IT IS ONLY NATURAL FOR HIM TO CONTINUE AS A DICTATOR. THESE ARE THE SERIOUS QUESTIONS ZAMBIANS MUST BE ASKING THEMSELVES. HH IS ALREADY A DICTATOR JUST AS OF NASHALA NEKA PARTY. NAWAKWI WOULD HAVE BEEN BUT SHE SERVED HER SELF FROM BEING A PERPETUAL DICTATOR- WISE SHE WAS.

      2

      3
    • Exercise in futility, being a dull PF cadre is bliss…unfortunately an amendment to the constitution cannot be applied retrospectively. Most worrying is how amendments targeted at an individual can be supported after the lessons of Kaunda and MacTribouy.

      2

      1
    • The only dictator in zambia is Lungu. HH does not qualify to known as dictator because he not been zambian president before.

      The country needs a powerful leaders like HH to make PF accountable.

      1

      3
    • Just put a term limit to these useless MPs. An MP should serve only 2 terms. So all those who have made MP a career should go. The whole lot of these crops who starting MP positions in UNIP, shifted to MMD, now in PF should all expire. The term for MPs is what is sought 2 terms. Ans all those who failed like Davis Chama should never contest again nor be appointed like Mumbi Phiri. This is democracy of wanyawanya. Otherwise, forget the who issue.

      4

      2
    • Please ba LT have a look at the FDD Party Constitution this may be a great lesson for Zambians. The guys then, not this criminal, Nawakwi, really put mind and thought to it construction to avoid what can be avoided. Unfortunately Chifumu K Banda and Anto-Nyoo Mwanza, Potipher Chungu, a Tadpole Mwelwa and Nathan Kabwita succumbed to her witchcraft to technically avoid a Convention. However, its worth interrogation for its objectiveness.

      2

      2
  1. Politicking or just i figment of my imagination.
    Why not present issue based arguments that will foster our democracy. For instance the weak laws that govern the separation of power! Why politician keep rapping our constitution with no consequence! I am no law expert but an Accountant/Environmentalist with a clear conscious about the kind of democracy that should work towards the betterment of our country.
    Politicians should never be allowed to APPOINT or DISMISS any civil servant, be it Service chiefs, Judges, PS, Attorney general, Auditor general even the speaker of the national assembly. We have institution of government that have or should have such authority. It’s because of such lapses IN LAW that we see wide spread nepotism. Why should one or two tribes be deciding the affairs…

    8

    1
  2. Surely a more pressing issue is that we have a president who admits to having LOST the elections twice – yet you Mr called Rev can focus the question the right of a citizen to contest for the office of president as many times as they’re entitled. Your arguments (or lack thereof) make me SICK!! Cry my beloved country! What a sad time in history is our day to share with the likes of you and cheats like ECL, Museveni, Mugabe! You will pay – one day – God reigns supreme still.

    7

    7
  3. Talk about reforms in the electoral process, the tender processes and so forth. Then we will see positive development. Be issue based not ukuba personal. Remember Kunda Vs Chiluba.

    2

    0
  4. I don’t and will never like HH but I will not support taking away his democratic rights. It’s up to his party to stop him from standing if they think he’s lost market value. Or better himself can decide whether it’s advisable to stand. Please this is a non starter.

    14

    2
    • Leaders who never contested several presidential elections in Africa, but later wanted third term or rule for decades :chiluba, mugabe, museveni, kagame, kaunda, gaddafi, mubarak, bongo, yaya jammeh,…. List is endless.

      Based on these leaders this hypothesis is discounted.

      4

      0
    • These leaders never contested several presidential election before becoming republican presidents, but held on to power.

      2

      0
    • @divide and rule. You can’t compare the two. ..seeking more terms is abuse of constitution powers while the subject at hand is talking about taking away the rights of a bonfide citizen of Zambia. By the way your list is not complete. .you left out Kagame, Sassou Ngueso, Eyadema , Burundi and a few more.

      5

      0
  5. If u think the opposition candidate is weak then that is well and good for the ruling class but if they are trying to block him like what Chiluba did to Kaunda in 1996 then they are scared to face him in 2021

    7

    0
  6. The debate is anti-constitutional. The assumption that persistence, determination or perseverance must be removed from politics is ridiculous. There is no need to target HH of UPND in the guise of refining the country’s democratic culture. If one opposition candidate has the support and resources to pursue a political goal, then that is also correct. Following the American system blindly will land you in a ditch. How can you suggest changing the goal post when you were the one who placed it in the same position? Democracy can be an effective system for those that respect freedom and liberty.Take time to repair your guillotine.

    4

    0
  7. Upnd’s are insane. They think that by repating the same failure a different result will be achieved.

    4

    4
    • Then what is your problem with that? If you think HH is a weak candidate, then you as PF should be happy that you will beat him in 2021; but don’t block him from contesting…

      2

      0
  8. Ba LT is trying hard to push this nonsense on people. The author forgets that we in Africa, where those in power never want to leave and its known that they are also great at rigging. We don’t need any laws to prohibit those who haven’t saved, look at George Weah he made it and the country for the first time had peaceful transition. It’s even better when people like HH make it after a long struggle, they will appreciate it more and value the office than the drunkard we have now. He has lowered the position to only insults and threats

    2

    0
  9. In my opinion is that intra party democracy should be encouraged. But it is the UPND problem, why make it the country’s? what is our interest? We all know what happened in Kabwe in 2015. It was Pf its problem not our’s. What is good for the gander is good for the goose. MMD tried and may be succeeded in passing laws that are targeting others such as the theft of motor vehicles and the Degree for presidency ….be careful we may shoot ourselves in the foot. The democracy we want to copy from (USA) is not restrictive at party level. If we are going to copy, lets copy completely……Mwandi, I am just saying, I dont even qualify, I came from the village recently

    6

    1
  10. HH
    Will never accept defeat in 2021. Whether PF win by clear defeat, he won’t accept together with his supporters.

    Zambians if you love peace don’t allow HH to contest on UPND ticket because this will bring civil war in zambia because HH is going to lose whether u like it or not.

    If he loses, there will be war and if he wins he still attack the losers. Careful with HH

    6

    2
    • @DJ7
      I entirely agree with your comment. HH thinks that he can be president based on time and this must be taken very seriously. Already in his rotten head, he believes he won the 2016 elections and based on that he certainly win in 2021. Such obvious signs and deep rooted beliefs are extremely dangerous and if we dont take precautions, the man will do anything to disturb our peace.
      Good point DJ7.

      5

      1
  11. Recycling politician has become a danger to Zambian democracy both in ruling and the opposition parts. Are there no other members or people in Zambia to rule this great nation? people from Kaunda , Chiluba era are the ones fighting for positions in the ruling part and opposition parts. We need to change our democratic process and our constitution that will bar members not to stand for main years. Politics have become a family business now. Let us define our democracy now than later.

    3

    0
  12. ONLY A TONGA MUST LEAD UPND says Sejani. This law is meant not only to enhance the democratic practices but also avoid grooming dictators. People who have successfully lost elections several times like HH, Odinga, Besigye tsvangarai do pose serious risks to the peace and security of the nation. Don’t forget that these people are connected to the powerful foreign agents who normally fund their political campaigns. It is a gospel truth that HH’s political campaigns are funded by the powerful cartel in South Africa which is interested in our minerals. So when HH loses in 2021(which most likely) what can stop this cartel from sponsoring violence in Zambia to help him get into power at all costs. HH knows he needs to pay back to his financiers that is why he does not want to give chance to…

    1

    0
  13. Sick and tired of this nonsense. Let us just break up the country. Let each province go its way. That way we will be assured of only having an Easterner or Northerner as President for our particular region(s). No Tongas, Lozis, Luvales or Kaondes. Let us do it peacefully or violently if we persist in doing everything possible to stop certain ethnicities from ever occupying the Presidency.

    3

    4
  14. Legislation is not applied retrospectively. Every candidate will begin from zero attempts in 2021 after the law is passed.

    1

    0
  15. @DJ7 :I totally agree with you.if we love peace in Zambia,then HH should not be allowed to appear on a ballot paper in 2021 because he will 100% lose but refuse to accept results.the reason is simple,HH thinks that since Zambians faced cholera,street vendors are removed from the streets,farmers were not paid on time,corruption and things like that THEN ZAMBIAN VOTERS HAVE ALREADY REJECTED PF AND VOTED FOR HH!!He is very convinced about this.plus HH thinks that Kambwili will reduce PF votes in 2021 SO UPND CANT LOSE IN 2021!!THIS IS HOW THESE TONGAS CHEAT THEMSELVES!!!hence if HH stands in 2021,expect nothing but war in Zambia from his dull supporters!!someone told me that even a list of DCs,PSs,Diplomats is already written by Kainde before we vote in 2021.SO FOR THE SAKE OF OUR…

    4

    1
  16. When new law is passed , is it going to be in arrears? Thought it won’t look at past presidential elections! From now name should not appear not more than 2 times on ballot!

    1

    0
  17. WELL WRIITEN PASTOR, IN ADDITION TO WHAT U MENTIONED POLITICAL PARTIES NEED NOT BE HELD AT RANSOM BY ONE MAN COS. HE IS THE FINANCIER, LET MEMBERS OF A POLITICAL PARTY PAY SOME CONNTRIBUTION FEE SAY k2 per month per member for 5yrs

    2

    0
  18. I really don’t understand why some people are trying to play down an important motion like this one. Does it mean HH is the only Tonga who can lead UPND, what about Nkombo, is he not Tonga enough? Look at Nevers Mumba, even when the party members have openly rejected him, he still insists that he is the party president. Losing 5 times is not a joke, the man must as well say ” if I can’t rule, no one will “. We have already seen that he is promoting sabotage because he thinks that 2021 is too far hence looking for a possible shortest route to Statehouse.

    3

    0
  19. Kenneth D Kaunda, the great African Statesman, not only laid down the foundation for building a democracy, but did so while fully engaged in procuring Southern Africas freedoms in the pursuit to economic, political and cultural liberties.Those who paint his political philosophy and visionary leadership in negative light fail to grasp the essence of the man. Unity and political diversity were at the core of his pragmatism. None of the pretenders come close. He decisively practiced politics of regional balancing slowly infusing females into govt.
    He commissioned the CHONA constitutional group to gather national input into constitutional reform. The one Party state was his key mistake for listening to Mark CHONA the de facto whisper in his ear. I CAN GO ON. Please dont tarnish KKs name with…

    1

    0
  20. Rev Kaoma if u have a church that you admister you can also leave for others to take over and then regulate laws for term of pulpit

    0

    1
  21. A Rev. na chimbuya chaupuba…..you seem to be crossing your line. Why not leave politics to politicians? You must be talking about God’s plan of salvation for mankind and not partisan politics. Your article is somewhat good but you’re moreless like a fish out of water.

    0

    1

Comments are closed.