By Prince Ndoyi MMD Youth
We received the news that PF will go to a general conference this year in June/July as announced by their SG Davies Mwila as a resolve by the PF Central Committee. We have also heard that UPND will hold theirs in March this year, while MMD will hold theirs in May, this is good for our democracy. The legacy of our DEMOCRACY cannot be dismissed in explaining the state of the Zambian society today and all political parties must face their own responsibilities in building this democracy.
In the case of PF my almost immediate reaction is that the PF must be commended for strictly adhering to their party constitution in the face of calls by some Copperbelt MPs that the party forgoes the conference because President Lungu was the right and sole choice.
PF as a party on this one has demonstrated leadership on the practice of intraparty democracy, this should equally be applauded by all well-meaning civil society organisations and political activists. They have scored on this one.
Moreso, President Edgar LUNGU as party President has shown bravery to subject his candidature for 2021 before the general membership of his party. It is often said in politics among African leaders that once the incumbent declares candidature, his declaration cannot be challenged. But President Lungu has overcome the temptation to bulldoze his way against a democratic requirement even after the constitutional court cleared his eligibility question that was before it.
President Lungu and the Patriotic Front must be commended for being on the right side of history and setting the right precedence for the growth of our democracy. Democracy especially intra party, is no longer a choice but a constitutional requirement in Article 60 of the 2016 Constitution.
It is in this difficult context in a difficult economic time and a perceived division in PF that the PF and President Lungu have chosen to go to the general conference to face a dual task: to preserve the unity of their party and to remedy the dissatisfaction of a growing proportion of their members through a democratic process.
It is uncommon, and we wish to hear voices encouraging the PF and it’s leadership to make the general conference as open and transparent.
Internal democracy in political parties, also known as intra-party democracy, refers to the level and methods of including party members in the decision making and deliberation within the party structure. Intra-party democracy is usually known to nurture citizens’ political competencies and/or producing more capable representatives which in turn ensures that the party produces better policies and political programs.
Although the view that “parties should practice what they preach” is commonly shared, there are also skeptics who might argue that too much democratization may hinder parties to keep their electoral promises and also dilute the power of a party’s inner leadership.
THE QUESTION I HAVE IS, WITH THE COMING ON OF ARTICLE 60, WILL ANY POLITICAL PARTY THAT HAS NOT HELD A CONVENTION AS REQUIRED BY THEIR CONSTITUTION AND THE REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION BE ALLOWED TO FILE IN WITH ECZ AND CONTEST 2021?