By Isaac Mwanza
In some small tiny Island near the Antarctica lives a tribe where the dead people are not buried if the same lived a good life. It is an abomination to bury such type of dead persons. Their bodies must be cooked and eaten among the kinsmen so that their spirit may live in them.
So if you went there and told them that we bury our beloved ones in Zambia, they would think you are unloving and uncaring. But what happens when us Zambians hear this story of the bodies of dead people who lived a good life being eaten? We think those guys are savages, monsters, etc.
This example demonstrates what democracy is about: choices!
In the 1990s, Zambia chose to revert to the multi party participatory democracy. We all have a duty to defend our democracy by showing tolerance to each other’s views..
One may support the Patriotic Front and Edgar Chagwa Lungu, as I do, but that does not mean the others are his enemies. The same should be borne in mind by supporters of Hakainde Hichilema and the UPND that those who hold views against them are not their enemies. Everyone is simply exercising democratic right to choice, which must be respected.
Students and the youth in particular, must learn that democracy is about tolerating one’s choice without making them your enemy. We all brothers and sisters but with a different democratic taste. Our duty is to convince those on the other side to vote with us and not to vilify them.
The reasons why some parties have not managed to form government over the many years is because they concentrate more on preaching to their own members, the already converted ones as opposed to trying to get the support of those who don’t like what they stand for. We treat those who don’t agree with us as enemies but forgetting or not Zambians.
Some diehards of some parties think that only those who agree with them are Zambians. So they see “Zambians” voting for them on 12 August, 2021. This is the first step towards failure. Zambians hold very divergent views. A good number of Zambians may stand with you and another good number of Zambians won’t stand with you. You can not say the ones that stand with you are Zambians and those who tell you that they are not ready to vote for your leader are not Zambians.
At a time we headed towards a make or break elections for both the PF and UPND, I long to see fellow young Zambians use the social media responsibly, not to spread hate during campaigns but convince those who don’t agree with you on why they must vote for your leader, but always remembering that democracy is a matter of choices.