“THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE PATRIOTIC FRONT (PF) GOVERNMENT IN SEVEN YEARS (2011 – 2018) GUIDED BY VISION 2030 FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF 7NDP
By Hon Davies Mwila_
The enhancement of Democracy and good governance internally and externally is a crucial component of the Patriotic Front Manifesto as we implement the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP).
The 7NDP is a building block formulated to meet the goals contained in the Vision 2030 which is a long-term plan that expresses the aspirations of the Zambian people to live in a strong and dynamic, middle income industrial nation that provides opportunities for improving the wellbeing of all.
Vision 2030 embodies values of socio-economic justice underpinned by the principles of: Democracy and Good Governance among others.
A robust and coherent constitution is pivotal to Democracy and Good Governance.
*PF ENHANCING DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE ON THE NATIONAL STAGE*
It is in this regard that His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu having assented to the National Dialogue Bill on 9th April 2019 is scheduled to launch the National Dialogue Forum (NDF) on April 25th 2019.
The National Dialogue Bill is a significant milestone as it paves way for the establishment of the NDF whose mandate will be to propose amendments to the Constitution in a transparent manner with maximum citizen and stakeholder input.
Proposals for amendment will also include historical contentious aspects such as the Electoral Law, Public Order Act and Political Parties Bill.
In line with the Law, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has appointed Professor Muyunda Mwanalushi a venerated academician as chairperson of the National Dialogue Forum subject to ratification by the forum.
Another luminary, Mr Patrick Chisanga, has also appointed as Secretary to the forum by the Secretary to the Cabinet. Mr Chisanga brings with him vast experience in leadership and governance issues. His ratification will also be subject to ratification by the delegates to the forum in accordance with the Law.
The Patriotic Front Government of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is committed to a transparent and participatory process; self -seeking saboteurs, enemies of progress and malicious detractors of the process will not be condoned.
We find it tragically ironic that some opposition political parties that have institutionalised dictatorship and do not practice internal democracy, and shun dialogue amongst themselves with their own Vice Presidents, are portraying themselves as the patron saints of democracy and exclusive fountains of wisdom in good governance. Their need for intra-party democracy and internal dialogue appears to be more desperate than dialogue with others. They need to wash their hands before they can lecture others about clean hands. It is strange that these same political Party’s _Life Presidents_ are vitriolic in their opposition of the National Democratic Forum.
Those who will stay away should therefore restrain themselves from casting aspersions against those who will participate. The Zambian people do not subscribe to constant petty bickering and splitting of hairs; but they want the Governance and Electoral reforms as soon as possible and the Patriotic Front through the leadership of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has facilitated the necessary legal frame work.
It is also worth noting that during a recent sitting, the Patriotic Front Government through Cabinet Chaired by President Edgar Lungu also recently approved for publication and introduction in Parliament, the Electoral Commission of Zambia – ECZ- (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
The objectives of the Bill are to revise the functions of the Commission and revise the procedure for the removal of a member of the Commission. The proposal to amend the current ECZ Act is aimed at adopting international best practice regarding the functions of the Commission. This is particularly significant because the Act is currently silent on the qualifications and security of tenure of the members of the commission.
It is vital for the Commission to be streamlined and harmonised with the Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016, for purposes of clarity and ease of reference.
This just goes to show how the Patriotic Front Administration under the guidance of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu- a Senior Lawyer himself is committed to addressing, by consensus Electoral Reforms, Public Order Act and other historical contentious aspects of our country’s Constitution, in order to enhance Democracy and Constitutionalism in Zambia.
PF AS A PARAGON OF INTRA-PARTY DEMOCRACY
However, it is not just on the national stage that the Patriotic Front Government of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is committed to enhancing Democracy and Good Governance.
It has after-all been said “Charity begins at home”.
The credibility of a political party’s democratic credentials is ultimately a function of the existence, extent and functionality of its intra-party democracy and internal governance systems.
As we have stated before, Patriotic Front stands heads and shoulders above every other political party in Zambia not only in terms of our commitment to Good Governance and Democracy on the national stage through avenues such as the National Democratic Forum; but also in terms of our uncompromised devotion to Intra-party democracy as well.
Patriotic Front is *THE ONLY PARTY WITH ELECTED STRUCTURES AT VARIOUS LEVELS NATION-WIDE. WE ARE THE ONLY POLITICAL PARTY CONDUCTING INTRA PARTY ELECTIONS.*
As His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu highlighted in his opening speech at the recent Elective PF Copperbelt Province Party Conference:
“Let me remind you and through you, all our members across this great nation that as Patriotic Front no one can dare challenge us when we say we remain Zambia’s most Democratic Party, incomparable to none. Show me a Democratic Party in Zambia and I’ll show you Patriotic Front!”
“Patriotic Front, at an intra-party level has always gone back to the people to renew its mandate. All structures from the Section, Branches, Wards, Constituencies, Districts, Provinces and Central Committee are subjected to regular and free intraparty democratic elections, a feature so alien in some Parties which still enjoy life Presidency.”
The President of the Patriotic Front – who is also the Head of State further said;
“Even when the darkest cloud hovered over Patriotic Front after the death of our colossus, President Michael Chilufya Sata, it was intraparty democracy which birthed his successor in the name of Edgar Chagwa Lungu. In other Political Parties, just my name which comes from a different part of Zambia as that of our founding leader could have prevented me from standing here today as your President. It was not tribal or material consideration that got us to be here today, it was the values we have held on to as a Party since inception: Oneness beyond tribe, religion, gender or colour. If Edgar Chagwa Lungu, with an Eastern heritage could contest in intraparty elections and succeed Michael Chilufya Sata, a northerner, then every Zambian from every tribe can be assured that Patriotic Front has a place for them to aspire and contest too.”
President Lungu’s observations are sober reminder of what holds the Patriotic Front together-democracy.
While some political figures have cooked and manipulated their party constitutions to ensure themselves an _“indefinite Tenure”_ in their personalised political party that has never held any intra party elections for more than two decades, PF is constantly driven by entrenched democratic principles at all levels, in all parts of Zambia.
And while Tribe, Region and Ethnicity is an institutionalised determinant of leadership in some political parties, Patriotic Front has stimulated a sense of ownership and belonging by the majority poor and ordinary Zambians across the social strata nationwide.
PF is fervently committed to the Rule of Law and Constitutionalism. We look forward to the National Dialogue Forum as it will enhance existing political stability which is a prerequisite for attracting local and foreign investment and generally improving Zambia’s socio-economic environment.
As we look to attaining the goals of Vision 2030 through the implementation of 7NDP, Zambia under the Patriotic Front Government of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is enhancing her credentials as a truly democratic state governed by the rule of law.
The Author is Patriotic Front Secretary General