It makes sad reading that fifteen years of democracy in Zambia there are still strong elements of non democratic principles among our political parties.
It appears most of our politicians still lack real education on democratic principles. The continued suspension of opponents to those at the helm of power has been evident in the last 15 years of proclaimed democracy. It appears many in Zambian political parties believe democracy is holding national or parliamentary elections only.
Yet democratisation is not only a concept, nor is it synonymous with multi -partyism. It is rather concerned with certain conditions of things, conditions such as a virile civil society, a democratic society, a free society, a just society, equal treatment of all citizens by the state, an ordered, stable society, a society infused with the spirit of liberty, democracy, justice and equality.
No society qualifies as democratic, representative, and progressive until there is free and voluntary participation of all its citizens in all spheres of life. The human rights of individuals and groups should be protected. Everyone should be allowed to express their opinions and join the political, religious or civil groups of their choice. All people should be treated equally and without discrimination and be given equal opportunities.
It is not only their right, but it is their duty. Citizen participation may take many forms including standing for election, voting in elections, becoming informed, debating issues, attending community or civic meetings, being members of private voluntary organizations, paying taxes, and even protesting. Participation builds a better democracy. In Zambia I have seen this not to have been the case. So long as one threatens those at the helm of power it means ones rights cannot be exercised.
I have noted, as most Zambians may have done so, that Zambia's political parties are still far away from assimilating the principles of democracy. They have often tended to be more divided as a party whenever a convention approaches. A sign that tolerance, openness, accountability, freedom of expression and association, above all, equal opportunities are not their priority but a prerogative of those in control.
The Zambian political parties needs respect for human, social, and economic rights as well as civil rights if democracy is to take hold, for democracy cannot survive in a context of stark polarization among political competitors.
In particular, the MMD has existed for close to 15 years now, more so, claims to be the pioneer of democracy and yet each of it's conventions are dogged by allegations of abuse of civil and political rights of its membership. Does this explain the eventual approach by its leadership concerning civil and political rights of the citizenry countryside? If so, how then can Zambia's democracy flourish when the tenets of it lack it? It is time political parties that claim to be democratic exercised the principles of democracy within political structures.
This implies allowing all members of political parties their civil rights to contest for any position and campaign without fear in their political parties. Other than this, I see no democracy in Zambia. Thence the eventual tramping on NGOs, Media, Opposition and the Civil Society.
Source:ZambiaSossa: Political Party Members' Expulsions