Not allowing the Democratic Party to field candidates has set a very bad and dangerous precedent


By Fred M’membe President of the Socialist Party

Not allowing the Democratic Party (DP) to field candidates in the January 20, 2022 local government and parliamentary by-elections has set a very bad and dangerous precedent. All that one needs to destroy a political party is to sponsor some factions within it. And if each of the factions presents a candidate for nomination then that political party will not field a candidate. And it is not difficult to create such a leadership dispute in a political party that is in the opposition. This seems to be the case with the DP. But is it totally impossible to determine the authentic leadership of DP?

This precedent if allowed to stand will destroy our opposition political parties and consequently our multiparty political dispensation. The destruction or weakening of political parties is an assault on our multiparty democracy itself. I say this because political parties are the main gatekeepers for candidates to participate in elections. Parties therefore have great influence over the degree of our people’s political participation at local and national levels. Political parties determine which candidates are nominated and elected and which issues achieve national prominence. They decide who will be adopted as their candidates in elections.

As intermediary institutions, they link the state and civil society, translating the policy preferences of citizens into political action. Individuals with political ambition are likely to seek out leadership positions within political parties.

Clearly, political parties are essential institutions of democracy. By competing in elections parties offer citizens a choice in governance, and while in opposition they can hold governments accountable. When citizens join political parties they are exercising their basic democratic rights. Participation of citizens in political parties offers unique benefits, including opportunities to influence policy choices, choose and engage political leaders, and run for office.

The Socialist Party supports the development of a vibrant, accountable and inclusive multiparty system that offer citizens meaningful choices and opportunities for political participation.It is said that if you take a dim view of our political parties, you’re in sterling company. It’s with some trepidation that I want to speak up in defence of political parties.bnhu4df nmmkkkkikko9

For well over 57 years, they have played a key role in our representative government. We shouldn’t forget that it was political parties that fought for our independence and created the Zambia we are very proud of.

They are the best stage I know for broad economic, political, and social change. It’s hard for me to imagine a Zambia without them.

For the most part, our political parties have excelled: they accommodate different interests, opinions, and views. Our system does not have enough consensus-building mechanisms; the parties are crucial to this.

Of course, more than building consensus within a party is needed. Our parties also play a lubricating role in the mechanisms of democracy. They get out the vote and educate voters. They teach many thousands of ordinary Zambians what the nuts and bolts of democratic participation look like. They choose and promote candidates who are worthy of holding public office. They play an important role in funding elections, financing the system, and giving candidates a platform. In short, they’re a personnel system for government office.

To be sure, Zambians divide rather sharply on their support of political parties — not just on which they support, but on whether to support them at all. Many avoid identification with them. Others become ardent loyalists. Still others follow them regularly, but not slavishly. At the moment, more people define themselves as independent than as a member of one or the other party.

In Zambia, party building has been a challenging and critical component of democratic transition itself. Strong parties serve democracy, and there has long been a relationship between robust, stable party systems and successful democratic and economic outcomes. Political parties continue to be central to our democracy. Money and partisanship, however, do not make for strong parties. What makes today’s politics so volatile is the precise combination of weak parties and strong partisanship.


  1. Us in pf already knew that hh is a ruthless dictator. Why do you think we failed to work with him in the infamous alliance? You cannot trust that evil man

  2. You mean the party where Kalaba was merely invited to be its Presidential candidate for the August 12 elections and after August 12 he decided to stay on contrary to the original invitation plan

  3. The Electoral Commission of Zambia has refused to take sides in the DP’s internal squabble. Why the whole of Fred M’membe and Saboi Imboela cannot see it that way, I do not understand. Why are people always imagining things?

  4. The only reason why they think like that someone is paying for destabilisation of a party is because THEY did it to others. Perhaps Mmembe knows how to pay people to destabilise the opposition. MMD suffered the same fate after they lost power. Is it too soon to forget the RB v Mumba saga? The only person who survived that went on to become a minister and is not Spokesperson in PF. PF is the biggest destabiliser of other parties. If HH wanted to destabilise parties he would have done so before he won.

  5. THE SAINT – Zambian democracy is still in its infancy..its just so easy to fund destabilisation look at Nakachinda all he needed was a job to cause trouble in MMD whilst eating with PF.

  6. Kaizar Zero your PF was allied with high inflation,low GDP growth,high debts and huge incompetence.Oh …and 2018 cholera epidemic.

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