Grand Coalition-UPND: A marriage of distraction

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By Joe Mwansa Lombe Kaluba

 

Civil Society Organisations(CSOs) have been known to be a “voice” for/of the people. In the development and consolidation of the democratic process it can be affirmatively said that the civil movement has played a big part especially in Africa. We have multi-party elections in most countries partly due to the pressure from CSOs and other stakeholders.

 

It is important to note that despite some of them starting as Non-Governmental Organisations(NGOs) who centred on service delivery most of these so call CSOs have now crossed the bridge and become governance and political commentators. In the recent past I think most of you will agree with me that most groups which were vocal on girl child education, poverty eradication, HIV/AIDS Gender Based Violence or consumer protection have all become political activists or economic analysts.

 

I understand that there is a thin line between governance or fruits of democracy and the elements I mentioned above. But I think most people or organisations have crossed over due to either the blending of support or the shift of funding by most donor organisations. Most funders are focusing on programmes and activities related to development cooperation, governance or transparency. This is evident by the number of organisations working or seeking to work in these areas.

 

With this development I have the opinion that most local organisations and individuals working in the governance and political cycles are either doing it for others or for their own selfish motives. My point is that I have a lot of reservation for some of these CSOs or groupings who think they speak for the people. I have always noted that there is a thin line between the work or rather the role of the Civil Society and that of political parties especially those in opposition. Sometimes it is difficult to understand who does what.

 

Zambia has seen political movements in the name of pressure groups and social movements working together to make a political statement. We saw this before the first multi-party elections in 1991 and during the anti third term campaign in 2001. But we are not in 1991 or 2011 we are in 2015. Zambia has made good progress in terms of democratic and political evolution. What is now remaining is for us to work on consolidating that.

 

We are doing better than a lot of countries not only in Africa but also on the global level. Therefore, any group or anyone who is going to hide in the name of speaking for “Zambians” may have a different agenda. I know we have been talking or going back and fourth in the quest to enact a constitution that well stand a test of time. I think for the first time we are very close to that. A lot of people have sensed that. Even people who always rejoice in misfortunes of Zambians or government can sense this. In this regard in the name of speaking for the people ( which in the actual sense it just a selfish few) they will try to make sure that we don’t have a constitution soon.

 

We have waited for this documents and I would like to see it given to the people. We have had a number of constitution commissions, technical committees and assemblies about three or four since the advent of multi-party democracy in Zambia if I am not mistaken. The problem is I think the people who claim are speaking for the people have found a way to make money on the expense of the constitution not getting done. Why do I say so. If you take a closer look at some individuals they have been in almost all the commissions or assemblies. So as long as the constitution is not given to the people some will make a living on that. We had the Oasis Forum now we have the Grand Coalition. Who knows we may soon have the Social Media Alliance.

 

I am not saying all the people in the Grand Coalition are not up to the task. There are people who are very passionate and want to have a constitution like all of us. However I have reservations for some groups and individuals. The Grand Coalition states that it is representing and speaking for the people. My question is which people? And who tells the GC that people want them to speak for them. In my understanding I think Zambians have representation through the National Assembly or Parliament. I think in their right they are the only ones who can make that claim unless they are compromising with the task at hand.

 

If the GC is claiming to be representing or speaking for the people they should ask the likes of UPND MPs who walked away from the physical voting a few years ago to pay back the money during the Constitution Assembly. UPND MPs got allowances but stayed away from voting. How do you get paid and fail to finish the job. This is what I call hypocrisy. The GC may have had good intentions but I think those elements have been compromised.

 

People or organisations who had different opinions either left or were kicked out. Only those who agreed with the people funding or representing opposing views to the government remained. It can be seen that the GC is in a marriage with those people opposed to the current government and the UPND is one of those groups. I don’t know who is fooling who here. Zambians spoke during submissions and debated at district, provincial and national level. If nothing from the draft will be tempered with, how we adopt the document matters less.

 

I have confidence in President Lungu, the government and parliament. I believe they will do the right thing. Zambians elected these people. Let not people who just chose and anointed themselves to talk on behalf of Zambians cheat people. The GC is a group of people made up of Zambians who are also represented by MPs in the house of parliament. So when they say they are speaking for the people which people are we talking about here? People need to ask a number of questions like. Who is funding the GC and why? Don’t tell me it is because they want a constitution soon.

 

My advise to members of the GC is to be careful with the marriage they have with the UPND.. What happens if you don’t have the same goal? Who walks away or who is kicked out of the Grand Coalition-UPND Marriage? Or maybe it is just a marriage of convenience, distraction or ukulilapo.

 

Please be focused and put the aspiration of all Zambians first. Let us move together and leave politicking behind.

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5 Responses to Grand Coalition-UPND: A marriage of distraction

  1. What about your equally cadre running Zambian Voic?
    which people are you representing yourself if not your party.
    Grand Coalition and UPND are the ones that truely represent people’s views pf mps represents selfish pf views period.
    According to you it doesn’t matter what process is followed but kwena you are for sure a shameless pf cadre. 90 days which you promised willingly without a gun being pointed at you mwafilwa now you want to bring in issues which dont make sense. enjoy while you still can time is fast running out for your party.

    ZAMBIAN
    December 2, 2015 at 7:23 pm
    Reply

  2. I don’t know why the party I support UPND and the GC couldn’t support the few no contentious clauses to be passed by parliament. I feel they should have done what MMD has done unless there is something I don’t see now. We need the running mate clause now before elections to consolidate the opposition. In the past, opposition party attempts at going into elections together failed because of lack of trust that the running mate will really be vice president and not sports minister of worse still be deliberately frustrated soon after elections so that he can pull out of the unity government and then the president shares all positions with his party members. This clause would have sealed a deal e.g. HH president and Nevers Mumba or Felix Mutati Edith Nawakwi or as Veep by the law nit just convenience. We need the 51%+ 1 vote so that the ruling party does not just score 1 or 2% more and claim victory. All these work to the advantage of the opposition.

    Harry
    December 3, 2015 at 7:45 am
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  3. I think we should wait for third reading when every item in the Constitution will be debated to see why UPND and others are opposed to this process. This is where the PF will now show you which clauses they don’t agree with and it will be too late for most of you to lament. We have been there before. Why do people rush to discuss allowances whenever such things come up? Is it a secret that MMD did remove or amend some of the clauses before presenting the bill to Parliament? In that case should the UPND MPs have betrayed their conscience to vote for something that was not right just because they received allowances? Is it the reason why most PF MPs are mute in Parliament because they receive allowances? We are in a multi party system and parties have the right to agree and disagree with any Government program at whatever stage. No one should be vilified for disagreeing with Government. That’s what multi Party politics entail. We are not 1n 1973, we are in 2015. Bravo UPND and CSOs for not selling your souls for a pen.

    Blackbird
    December 3, 2015 at 8:26 am
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  4. UPND and GC both belong to CSOs and reserve the right to speak their mind in whichever way they deem it right. If you are doubting them, its your right as well to do that but you wont change the truth. and the truth is UPND and GC belong to CSOs, and their duty is to speak for the voiceless masses whether you believe it or not, and whether you doubt them or not. PIECE OF ADVICE: ALWAYS TRY TO BRING CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM IN SUCH FORUMS EVEN WHEN YOU ARE A PF CADRE.

    chanda
    December 3, 2015 at 11:15 am
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  5. Don’t worry about this marriage of distraction, What G Nkombo said is enough to send the UPND into extinction.

    Big Tribe
    December 3, 2015 at 2:09 pm
    Reply

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