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Monday, April 19, 2021

Skyrocketing Cost of Running for Public Office is making Easier for those with Money to Manipulate Election Outcomes

Columns Skyrocketing Cost of Running for Public Office is making Easier for those...

By Fred M’membe

As the August 12, 2021 elections are nearing, we seem to be increasingly witnessing an increase in donations from politicians in the governing party. Why? What are the consequences of these donations on our politics and elections?

There’s no doubt – and I can state it with absolute certainty – we will all pay the price for a political system and elections dominated by money and donations. In truth, these donations are nothing but bribes.

The increasingly skyrocketing cost of running for public office is making it far too easy for those with money to manipulate election outcomes. When a political system is twisted to serve those who can pay the most, the ripple effect is profound. It hurts our multiparty democracy and the political plurality of our nation on every level.

This problem is real and it calls for effective ways to fight the negative effects of money-based multiparty democracy and elections.

If we don’t tenaciously fight this practice the poor of this country will never be able to set themselves political goals and achieve them; the poor will not be able to be elected as councillors, members of parliament or even as presidents.

We need to return the control of our political system to the voters. This can only be achieved if the voters themselves own the elections.

I urge all citizens of good will and their organisations to help educate the public on the problem of money in our politics and elections and ways to take action. There’s need to expose corruption and other abuses of our political system and seek the necessary changes to the way things are done. There’s need for our people to be helped to use their power to counteract the power of money in our politics and elections.

There are real drawbacks to the current interplay between money and politics. Perhaps more than overt corruption, the current system breeds cynicism and apathy – two enemies of multiparty democracy. If Zambians feel like they don’t have a voice, then all sorts of people – potential voters and potential candidates alike – don’t get involved because they don’t think they can matter.

And important policy differences are obscured by the patina of money and donations. And candidates are forced into a never-ending cycle of money which greatly favours incumbents over even the most worthy challengers.

If the Zambians want to get money out of politics, it’s time to take our elections back. Voting is the most powerful form of expression that a single citizen has. When citizens vote, politicians have to listen. We must improve voter turnout and engage within our communities to combat the undue influence of money in our multiparty political dispensation.

There are many things each one of us can do to fight the impact of money in our politics and elections.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Who cares. Politicians are always stealing and can afford it. Mmembe has a problem with paying that is how he lost The Post news paper. Akaso Ch!kala uyu.

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  2. American electeions is also measured by who has raised lots of money for campaigns. They talk of millions of dollars. Here tu ma K100 fye balefolesha.

  3. Gay fred, enough of your nonsense. We are tired of hypocrisy. People like you who join politics out of anger and revenge are a waste of space. Its Friday so don’t annoy me.

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  4. Lungu is also using lots of money to bribe voters with bicycles and buses.Money that is from suspicious sources.

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  5. Fred and other opposition leaders, work on ensuring that voters have confidence that their vote will remain secret. The politicians who give them money for votes have a tendency of telling these potential voters that they will give them more money once they show evidence that they have voted for their party and candidate. You need to compel ECZ to make sure that when a voter goes into the ballot box, they dont carry their phone. Crooked politicians who bribe voters ask voters to take a photo as evidence that they voted for them before paying more money to these voters. To avoid money induced voters, you have to do more than just crying that our multiparty democracy has been eroded by money from ” rich politicians”. Poor people are threatened by such politicians and think they can be…

  6. KZ YOU ARE ONE BIG ANNOYANCE YOU TALK THROUGH BUTT
    YOU HAVE NO IDEA OR DIPLOMACY IN ANY OF YOUR BLOGS
    GIVE ME YOUR FAT CHEQUE AND FRINGE BENIFITS AND I’LL EDUCATE YOU IN THE ART OF SUBTLE EFFECTIVE BLOGGING
    YOU ARE CAUSING YOUR PARTY MORE DAMAGE THAN GOOD
    WHICH PLEASES ME NO END !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    BUT I DO BELIEVE IN A FAIR FIGHT !!!!!!!!!!!!
    AND THAT IS WHY I ACCORD YOU THIS OPPORTUNITY

  7. Fred and other opposition politicians, to avoid money induced voters, you have to do more than just crying that our multiparty democracy has been eroded by money from ” rich politicians”. Poor people are threatened by such politicians and think they can be killed if they dont vote for the one who gave them ” free cash”. Reassure such voters that if a politicians threatens them after giving them money to vote for him or her, there a law to protect them. Explain to all potential voters as you campaign that they are entitled to cast their votes secretly. If any politicians pushes them to show evidence on who they voted for, they should be able to report such incidences.

  8. Sad to see that some don’t even try to get what Fred is saying and instead jump up and down with about hypocrisy, not being poor and other personal nonsense.

    The point I think is about all the possibly good leaders out there who cannot afford the game so stay out. This is what robs Zambian democracy of its vitality – no way for the poor guy (let alone poor woman!) to step up. There is also a problem of voters who look only for handouts than good quality governance. The Economist just published an article on how the high cost of African politics is undermining democracy and governance around the continent. That may be where Fred got his idea and is something we should all be concerned about.

  9. @ Spuds.
    People might have a personal grudge or opinion about Fred. But what he had written and brought to our attention makes worth a read.

    Africa is a very rich continent. All African countries have ample resources. The problem lies on the people leading the countries. They want to assume power till eternity, enrich themselves and can’t take any form of criticism or accountability.

    In Zambia’s case we have a president who is a convicted thief. Corrupt to the bone. The fool has destroyed this beautiful country. Now he wants to assume power at all costs because he knows his day of reckoning is round the corner.

  10. I find it inadequate for Fred to just write “There are many things each one of us can do to fight the impact of money in our politics and elections” without stating even one of the things he will do to fight the impact of money in our politics and elections. What has Fred done to address the high nomination fees for various political candidates? Amidst poverty, how can voters be stopped from only looking for handouts instead of the so called good quality governance? Addressing the problem of high cost of politics and how it undermines democracy and governance cannot just be through stating the problem. One needs to dig deeper in order to seek viable solutions. We need to also reinforce and reform institutions that promote democracy and good governance. Most institutions dont have…

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