Editor's Comment

Chance to work hard together

WITH the mayoral by-election and 13 other polls behind us, it is time for political parties to get back to the drawing board as the country seeks to continue growing its democracy.Considering the disappointingly poor voter turnout, each political party and other stakeholders have a responsibility to draw lessons.
While democracy is about numbers, it is also about giving more people the chance to participate in the electoral process.
The 15 percent turnout in some cases is an indictment on our young democracy and confirmation that while we may be among pacesetters in Africa, our multi-partism is still fledgling.
There is still chance to get back to the starting point and find out what they did not do right during their campaigns. In short, it is time to introspect.
Winner of the mayoral seat, Miles Sampa of the Patriotic Front polled 81,936 votes against his closest rival Kangwa Chileshe of the United Party for National Development who had 36,753. The total votes cast were 133,392 out of 839,027 registered voters.
Looked at another way, the percentage of voters who participated in Thursday’s mayoral election stands at only 15 percent.
But we cannot take away the fact that the more people participate in an electoral process, the more successful an election is said to be.
While the outcome of an election may be due to a mix of factors, it also has to do with how much the political parties put in to woo voters.
The post-election period is not a time to cry ‘foul’ but to carry out a serious inner search and get to serious work. It is not a time to call each other names.
Parties that will participate in the 2021 general elections must start now. There is no resting for the political parties because they have a duty to ensure our democracy thrives.
The voting process provides the electorate an opportunity to express themselves and it is a matter of concern when a smaller percentage of voters ‘speak’ in the voting process as we have just seen.
Political parties have about three years before the next general election to engage voters and woo them to their side to make our democracy more successful.
To their advantage, political parties in Zambia have access to the media, a platform they can use to explain their policies, as we have seen before.
Political parties have the privilege to hold rallies without any hindrance, as long as they meet the requirements that guard against disorder.
They have the chance to engage voters on a one-to-one basis as a way of convincing them about their policies.
Such strategies can contribute to the democratic growth of our nation and we hope they will be exploited to the maximum by political parties during this period.
Each political party has an obligation to contribute to the democratic process in a positive way so that the ideology grows and becomes more entrenched in our nation.
The political arena is a platform of amassing numbers and we urge political parties to stick to clean politics and work in harmony with other parties.
That is why our nation practices the multi-party democratic system which gives all political parties a chance to exercise their freedom of association.
We are comforted by the fact that all parties have accepted the outcome of the election and are ready to work with the new mayor in an effort to make Lusaka a better place for all.
The level of maturity is very encouraging and perhaps an indication that Zambian politics can outgrow mediocrity so often on display.
Politics of name-calling, hooliganism and utter criminality belongs to the dark ages, which Zambia let decades ago.

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