By Gershom Ndhlovu
For any democracy to be worthwhile, any system, organisation or country needs a tangible a worthy opposition with a purpose whose members would not sell their souls for three pieces of silver. Such an opposition should be patient to serve in its role as the opposition.
The opposition needs to be coherent and united, speaking with one voice and holding principles that are as true to self as needle is to the pole. It is unfortunate that none of this is true about the state of Zambian politics. We seem to have opposition parties who do not seem to have a purpose of being in the opposition nor the heart to serve the brave masses who put their faith into voting a would–be toothless opposition.
This is so because while we could have had a very strong opposition in Zambia that should have been able to give the ruling party MMD a good run for their money and give them a torrid time in terms of checks and balances, we instead have an opposition whose members who only look for opportunities of how to make or milk more money from politics.
What with all those opposition MPs who were appointed to Cabinet in the late President Mwanawasa’s first term? What about those involved in the current National Constitution Conference fiasco where the amounts being paid to them are obscene to the point that they are ready to sell their souls and ditch the fundamental beliefs and stand of their respective parties just for the personal monetary gains?
It is sad that we have politicians who are so impatient to be in power that they are ready to dine with the very devil they fight. My observation is that all this immature predisposition from the opposition only serves to empower the ruling party MMD which would have easily been obliterated by a better organised opposition.
Right now the Patriotic Front party is embroiled in some very uncomfortable in-fighting where the party president is ready to lose or risk losing parliamentary seats just because of money-hungry dissident MPs within the party. It beggars belief that we could have leaders ready to sell their souls for any sort of enrichment regardless of whether their principles are violated .
What is happening in Zambia now is sad and forms the basis why we have a lot of our politicians trekking to courts to answer criminal charges because the love of money forms a bigger attraction for their entering into politics. Selfless service among the politicians is a non-existent term and it has been replaced by unspeakable arrogance.
It is no wonder that our members of parliament are able to vote for themselves huge inflation-busting salaries and allowances when people are losing jobs in the wake of the global economic meltdown, crop failures among peasant farmers and other economic and social maladies affecting the rest of the citizens.
It is also surprising that opposition MPs, notably from the United Party for National Development are in the lead calling for government to control the media when on the contrary, they should be calling for full media freedom. A free media is complementary to the watchdog role of the opposition.
We have a need for a total revamp of politics where the opposition will feel proud to be in opposition and will serve as an eye and advocate for the people to the government in power rather than share spoils with the government. We have a scenario where the government is so detached from the people and we have come to accept it as normal way of life which should not be.
Zambians need to take the 2011 elections seriously by examining the type of leadership they want for themselves, not a leadership that just contributes to their further suffering while feathering its own nest.
Recently, veteran politician and erstwhile diplomat Vernon Johnson Mwaanga, who is the parliamentary chief whip, dismissed a proposal by the delegates at the ongoing National Constitution Conference (NCC) that people appointed into the diplomatic service should be ratified by parliament.
Mwaanga’s response was that ratification of such appointees was not the practice in the Commonwealth. I know from my junior secondary school civics that
It is needless to say, however, that
The Commonwealth is a colonial vestige which the former British colonial countries are better off shaking off.
It is not difficult to see that
One should probably wonder why the
It is high time other member countries in
There is no point for politicians such as Mwaanga to always refer to Commonwealth practice when we, ourselves, can set our own precedents, in this case by subjecting diplomats to parliamentary ratification before they are posted out of the country.—(Mueti Moomba contributed to this write up).