Columnists Features

One President, one party at a time

MUSAKUZI

Analysis: ROBBIE MUSAKUZI
LAST week when the conference addressed by President Lungu came to an end, I watched with amazement at the number of local and foreign dignitaries who lined up to pay homage to the President after a very impressive and productive press conference.
To my chagrin, many leaders from the major political parties were not in the queue, which meant they did not even attend this important national press conference.
I kept on wondering what could be the reason for this when so many dignitaries from some of the most powerful nations in the world; the USA, China, Russia, European Union, Britain and United Nations and the list goes on, could find time out of their busy schedules to attend this important national press conference.
If these foreign dignitaries could consider the national press conference an important event worth attending, I wondered what the leaders of our local political parties and Non-Governmental Organisations thought this event was all about.
Is this not where our political parties and NGO leaders are making mistakes when they belittle everything that that the Republican President is doing.
The leaders of most of our major political parties need to humble themselves and realise that as a country there can only be one President, one leader and one ruling party at a time.
It is this arrogance that is causing most of these opposition political leaders not to be in tune with the Zambian people.
As an opposition political leader aspiring for national leadership there is political mileage to gain by appearing at a function called by the Head of State.
Where are the advisors and mentors of some of these opposition leaders to advise them to be magnanimous and rise above narrow and parochial partisan politics and become national leaders?
But then, when you look at the people who surround some of these opposition political leaders, you wonder what advice they can give.
Zambian opposition leaders must learn one or two things from the United States of America Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump who has never held any political office but has risen to become the undisputable leader of the Republican Party and serious presidential aspirant, Donald Trump has risen to this level because he has embraced seasoned and enlightened advisors.
Advisors who have advised him how to retract whatever tantrums and political mistakes he has made.
Zambian opposition presidential candidates need to learn from Donald Trump and surround themselves with people of substance to stand a chance of ever becoming Republican Presidents.
The wise say ‘Birds-of-the-same-feathers-flock- together’.
To be surrounded by insincere, arrogant, boastful and pompous people who have no fear of God does not inspire voters who are needed to win a national election. All over the world, national elections are not won by party supporters alone but by the number of independent and non-partisan voters a candidate can be able to attract.
Independent or non-partisan voters or unaffiliated voters as they are called in the United States are citizens who participate in elections but do not align themselves with any political party.
In the past, it was believed these independent voters were people who were less interested in specific elections issues and were often poorly informed about issues and could easily be manipulated by politicians.
However, current development studies indicate that independent voters are very enlightened and usually vote on the basis of deeply ingrained beliefs, attitudes and loyalties. These ingrained beliefs, attitudes and loyalties have very little to do with the level of education one has attained.
Politicians in Zambia must know that the majority of independent Zambian voters want a candidate who has very strong Christian beliefs, attitudes and loyalties even if we are not a perfect Christian nation.
Based on this, every presidential candidate in Zambia must be wary of supporters who exhibit beliefs, attitudes and loyalties that scare away these independent or non-partisan voters.
These are the lessons learnt from the landmark multi-party elections in 1991, 1996, 2000, 2006, 2011 and presidential by-elections in 2008 and 2015. Any aspiring presidential candidate, together with his or her advisors who cannot look back at these elections and learn lessons will never win an election in Zambia.
There are a lot of other lessons to be learnt from these past elections. It is amazing how politicians in Zambia are not learning lessons from the past. In any area of human endeavour, real progress and development can only take place when people and nations learn from their past mistakes and successes.
In Zambia, this is why development is eluding our country because lessons are not being taken seriously and the country is not building on past mistakes and successes.
Every presidential candidate seems to have their own vision about development for this country, instead of new ideas and policies to achieve the national vision. Where is the national vision upon which we must premise our national development?
Why are we not saying this present government has given you a school or a health centre or nice road and when we take over we will improve this province or district or school or health centre, in this way and that way. The common opposition language in Zambia is let us remove these people and begin with us.
The author is a PhD Student in Management and Development and works for Ministry of General Education.

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