Editor's Comment

Let Zambia shape own democracy


VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina is right when she says Zambia should be given space to create its own type of democracy which is in conformity with international standards.
Zambia has undoubtedly made strides in nurturing democracy since returning to multi-party democracy in 1990.
And in a rare show of magnanimity, a sitting government was democratically voted out of office in 1991 and 2011.
In between, the country has reformed its democratic credentials which has seen the country conduct free, fair and credible elections since 1991 when Zambia restored multi-party democracy.
This has included allowing individuals to form political parties as well as encouraging citizens to participate in the electoral system and the introduction of transparent ballot boxes.
This is one of the few countries in Africa where all manner of monitoring groups are allowed to oversee our elections because we have nothing to hide.
Besides, Zambia is one of the few countries in Africa with freedom of speech, so is media freedom as witnessed by the proliferation of radio stations and newspapers.
Mrs Wina is, therefore, justified in appealing to co-operating partners to give Zambia space to create its own type of democracy.
What matters, as Mrs Wina says, is that Zambia’s preferred democracy would be in conformity with international standards and that Zambia is committed to upholding good governance.
Zambia has demonstrated to the world and Africa that it is possible for an African country to have a multi-party democracy.
The Vice-President told a visiting United States (US) congressional delegation led by Chairman of the House of the Judiciary Committee Robert Goodlatte who paid a courtesy call on her that the country’s partners must give Zambia space to create our own type of democracy but which is in tandem with international tenets of democracy.
Indeed, Zambia is part of a larger world community but its partners should not be interfering in our internal affairs by taking sides in our political affairs.
We are not saying that they should not offer suggestions or make comments, but there must be a limit on how far such remarks should go.
Zambia is certainly on the right track towards consolidating its democracy and is learning from other older democracies.
Going forward, cooperating partners are welcome to help Zambia grow its democracy and one way in which this can be done, is by helping the public understand this tenet of governance.
For instance, voters’ education should be an on-going concern so that more citizens register as voters and cast their ballots during elections.
Zambians themselves, however, shoulder the biggest responsibility of shaping the kind of democracy they want and making it work.

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