Editor's Comment

Policies do matter

THE switching of political allegiances cannot be ignored. Especially not in an election year and when these loyalties involve bigwigs. Any such change of camp is often an indication of the direction in which the popularity pendulum is swinging into.
With some notable senior members of the United Party for National Development (UPND) leaving this opposition party to join the governing Patriotic Front (PF), the key question is: Why?
The answer might not be straightforward for all observers, but what should be certain is that there is something that is irresistibly attractive in the PF.
Conversely, the departures from the UPND could be that the opposition party is failing to meet the aspirations of its members and supporters.
The starting point for any political party to get and grow membership is setting policies that citizens agree with.
The parties have manifestos which guide them to create and implement policies as well as to further an agenda.
The PF came into prominence with its pro-poor agenda, low taxes and more money in people’s pockets as their theme for their campaigns in 2011.
Since then, the PF has walked its talk and has performed comparatively in the 10 years it has been in Government.
It has taken infrastructure development to every corner of the country through its philosophy of not leaving anyone behind.
For a party which suffered heavy defeats in the South-West of the country, some might have expected it to slow development in areas where it has little or no representation.
But the PF has continued its nationalistic approach by taking development projects to areas where it has no Member of Parliament or councillor.
This approach, evidently, is winning the hearts of non-members. This is why the PF is now gaining ground even in areas perceived to have been no-go areas.
People are now beginning to appreciate the honesty of ‘not leaving anyone behind’.
For a long time, defections to the ruling party from the opposition, especially the UPND, was mainly from the lower organs such as section, branch, constituency and district.
Such defections were sometimes laughed off as being stage-managed.
But the latest defections of former party spokesperson Charles Kakoma last week and Mbabala Member of Parliament Ephraim Belemu to the PF yesterday have sent a loud message about the attractiveness of the ruling party.
Mr Kakoma and Mr Belemu were longstanding UPND members whose departure from the main opposition cannot be ignored.
The UPND might try to water down the impact of these defections, but surely the opposition party should know that these are heavy blows.
All those that have been joining the PF in recent months have been saying that they are attracted to the party because of its policies and its commitment to serving every citizen, regardless of their political affiliation.
So, policies do matter. From the heavy odds of being an opposition party, the PF rose to rule the roost because of its attractive policies.
We hope all other political parties will realise this.
With Parliament set to be dissolved next month, more are likely to follow suit in endorsing President Edgar Lungu’s leadership ahead of the August 12, 2021 elections.

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