You are currently viewing Zambia’s 2016 elections: the aftermath

Zambia’s 2016 elections: the aftermath

Analysis: JOE KALUBA
A POLITICAL system that boasts to be a multiparty democracy must be aware that being such means that there is competition among political opponents.
In every competition, be it in sports, art or politics, there is always a winner and a loser. But I think in contemporary politics democracy must always win. And if we want to see a much consolidated democracy the people should come first.
In this year’s elections, from the nomination day through the campaign period and I think up to the voting day, we have learnt or are still learning a lot of things for the first time in the history of our democratic era. I think the past three months more or less have been characterised by a lot of things that I may term democratic challenges and lessons.
Just like in every competition, individuals, political parties, civil society organisations, the media, professional bodies, law enforcement agencies, traditional leaders and faith-based organisations (FBOs) among others, have found themselves in what I may term as chameleon challenge.
I say this because this election has brought out a lot of things from people or groups. There has been a lot of provocation and finger-pointing from different directions. Emotions have changed like a chameleon. In some cases I think people or rather groups have been selfish in most of the actions done in this vein.
It is said that elections come and go. In all this, however, the most important thing is how we as a people behave before, during and after elections. I have always echoed that we only have one Zambia and we have only one nation. We the people of Zambia, regardless of our individual or organisational political affiliation, must work hard to make that One Zambia, one nation work.
In my opinion, political party leaders and the media have a big role to play in this regard. People will listen to what the two say or dictate. Responsibility is key. Selflessness is fundamental. Putting people first is cardinal. If you are a politician or media institution and these things are not central to your cause, whatever it may be, then you are just a flop, selfish and a cheat and, more importantly, this makes you a threat to our democracy and nation.
You don’t want to be the reason why people lose their lives. Neither do you want to be the reason why our democratic consolidation is being threatened.
When voting is done emotions take over everything. Losers will want to be winners. Winners will seek to defend their win. It is the two camps who will break or build our peace. It is the loser who might seek to be selfish. The winners might also want to credit themselves with the hard work put in.
My concern, though, is how we as a Nation handle this aftermath. As we know, in every competition there are losers and winners. Despite this, though, fair play should be the spirit in the aftermath. Whatever these elections have brought out shows how we are as a people. What is needed is for us to know how to deal with it.
We must stay calm and know how to manage our emotions. Those who are calling others names, mind what you say. You don’t want to be the reason we have hate in our country. We have seen a lot of damage caused in this election. Politicians and the media have done their part in building and destroying. People, groups and regions have been taken advantage of. As a people we are not left out, on this vice, too.
We the people, especially on social media, can try to or rather seek to do our part to promote the spirit of One Zambia, one nation. Being emotional, hypocritical or using threats will not help us. We will just end up creating a time bomb. Let us now burn our differences and throw the ashes in the river. Failure to do that will be a big loss and challenge for our democratic process and the building of that One Zambia, one nation.
Congratulations to the winners and those who did not make it at presidential, mayoral/council chairperson, parliamentary and ward/councillors levels. We hope you learnt a thing or two. Regardless of age, sex, tribe, creed, race or political affiliation we are still One Zambia, one nation.
The author is a PhD candidate – Political, Gender and Transnational Studies at the International Postgraduate Centre (IPC), Faculty of Social Sciences a t Goethe University, Frankfurt.