Rotational leadership – An Alternative to National Unit

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MCC meeting at State House

MCC meeting at State House

By Rev Malawo Matyola

How do you feel to have a president from your region? I have asked this question to as many people as I could; especially those that are from the ruling region – most of them have given me an honest answer.

They had several phrases to express how happy they felt for a president to have come from their region. I further asked a Mr. Lungu who of, course share the same surname with our current President on how he feels to share the surname with the president. It was very clear that he felt great to share names with our President. The surprising part is that even though the President does not know them they still feel a strong bond and connection to the Presidency through tribal and regional connection.

 

I have a number of people how they would react if they hear someone insulting their tribe or name? The answers I got received were obviously? “React badly”. This is because every human being has a sense of belonging and this is demonstrated through your name and tribe. It is unusual and yet go on as though nothing was missing. it’s great and human to have a sense of belonging. A person who has lost this sense risk losing the value of life and relationship with fellow human beings. There is power in the name and tribe of any person. It is natural to react to any remark focused on belittling another persons’ name and tribal. This has been demonstrated in many other places. It was a catalyst for the fight of independence in many colonies.

 

In my earlier article (One Zambia One Nation – Are Tongas and Other Regions Voting for UPND Tribal?) I did propose a rotation leadership as a basis of nurturing unit in our Country Zambia. Of course, others feel this is a wishful thinking. In our promotion of a one Zambia one Nation, it would be great to accommodate all region in order for them to feel the joy or a strong bond or connection through the rotational leadership. It is unfair for other regions to always feel outside the presidency bond.

The challenge with humanity is their inability to accurately place themselves in the shoes of the disadvantaged. You want the good feeling to continue in you and not in others. Others feel it is not possible to have a rotation leadership because in Zambia we have so many tribes and that this model does not promote democracy – it is my considered view that rotation leadership should be blind to personality or individuals and time. I would want to call it accommodative democracy meaning that it is democracy that is facilitating fairness by ensuring that every region is given an opportunity to rule individuals must be flexible to accept that this may occur in their time or the time to come when they are no more. This is something we do for now and for posterity.

 

Levy Mwanawasa

Levy Mwanawasa

It is a fact that Mwanawasa was a rejected hero when he was alive. It was only after his demise that praises were showered on him. In fact, his appointment as successor to Dr. Chiluba brought division in MMD. Not knowing what was happening behind the closed doors one would ask why Mwanawasa was unloved by his peers?  What offense did he commit? I have the similar questions for UPND and the search for Mazoka’s replacement after his death. I would not be far to think that the selection of Mwanawasa as successor to Chiluba was a clear loss of the sense of belonging or bond to the presidency by the ruling regions or tribes.

This is the cancer which requires a remedy. Therefore, I am proposing my Rotational Leadership view or what I now call accommodative democracy model as an option for unit in our country. In the absence of this option or any other accommodative option I am afraid the cancer may grow bigger to the destruction of the one Zambia one Nation concept. Then the unit we have enjoyed will slip through our fingers.

 

UPND Members

UPND Members

Tasila Lungu (r) with PF Supporters during a match past

Tasila Lungu (r) with PF Supporters during a match past

I have reservations to think that UPND or is it PF is accommodative to the rotation leadership – my personal view is that the two parties are on the extreme side of the model. My view is that it may not be attainable to expect a Tonga PF presidential candidate and a Bemba UPND presidential candidate competing. I may be wrong but my prediction is that in case such a thing happens there is a likelihood of break away from either parties.

Part of the crowd that attended Nawakwi's rally

Part of the crowd that attended Nawakwi’s rally

Edith Nawakwi

Edith Nawakwi

My view is that such break away would be necessitated by natural feeling of having lost ownership. In my view the political party that has made a transformative change of leadership is FDD – it managed to move presidency from a male to female. This to me is what the other two have failed to achieve and I wouldn’t mind subscribing to such a flexible political platform. To me FDD demonstrated accommodative democracy that gives hope than the thinking that only males or certain region are capable to rule this nation.

 

It is natural and not tribal to feel good and happy when a person from your region is a president. Further, it’s great and comforting for one to know or be assured that in time a person from my region will one day be President of Zambia.

Barrack and Michelle Obama

Barrack and Michelle Obama

The rotational leadership even if people may not subscribe to it now, gives a natural sense of belonging and may help cultivate the spirit unit and purpose for national development. One can ask, do minority and marginalized groups in America feel more part of their country after Obama’s presidency than before? My guess is yes. Hilary has come forward if I should prove my point.

In concluding, I submit we don’t take this matter lightly. The earlier we begin confronting this issue the better.

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15 Responses to Rotational leadership – An Alternative to National Unit

  1. Dr Matyola,

    I agree with you. This is an aspect of affirmative action necessary in peace building processes. This aspect can be embedded within political parties and in the national constitution.

    Genuine power sharing is crucial in strengthening democracy in Africa. This is the reason why the post conflict solution of Governments of national unity have been more successful than the Somali and Afghan model of political-religious Jihad that depend on Fatwas rather than national consensus.

    Zulu Mthakathi
    September 17, 2016 at 9:42 am
    Reply

    • The idea is a traditional idea. It is a non-democratic method of succession.

      Many of our chiefdom use that method for succession of rulership.

      That means even when no one is ready of capable to lead in a particular lineage they have get someone from there automatically as long as their turn has come.

      Now, unless we wish to throw away our democracy, we cannot pursue this route.

      The issue is this; how do you come up with all contenders coming from one region in a given election?

      Because if you are going to allow people from different provinces to stand, how do you ensure that people bear in that people from provinces whose turn is yet to come are not given the vote?

      Remember also that a sense of belonging does not start and end at region, but district, chiefdom, tribe, clan, etc.

      So,.once you introduce such a concept, how do determine where peoples feeling of belonging will start and end.

      Will you stoo people when the start to demand rotation at tribe level, at village level, at clan level, etc?

      Let us not go in reverse gear. It is time to progress, we can not go back to the chiefdome setup times.

      It is time to get people who are ready to lead, and we vote for them based on merit as they sell themselves.

      I know that sometimes people come up with ideas based on how they feel at a given time, not foreseeing what the ripple outcomes would be.

      Peace of Zambia
      September 17, 2016 at 3:35 pm
      Reply

  2. How do you decide the rotation? It is not only SP that votes for UPND? It is the whole country. Otherwise they would not win elections. UPND has won twice but dribbled.

    Those provinces that give UPND highest votes should be considered as strongholds and not voting on tribal lines. It is not only SP where UPND gets highest votes. In 2001 UPND got highest votes in five provinces out of 9. In 2006 elections it lost 4 provinces. In 2011 it regained one. In 2015 and 2016 it regained 2 more provinces.

    What is important is for PF not to divide people on ethnic ground. EL and Frederick Chiluba are major culprits in championing tribal division using public media. Post Newspaper are also culprits. In fact Post Newspaper is the one that made it stick in people’s mind

    muntu
    September 17, 2016 at 9:54 am
    Reply

    • Couldn’t agree with you more my friends.

      JUSTICE
      September 17, 2016 at 11:15 am
      Reply

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  4. that kind of thinking rev malawo is not right. what is required is just to vote for someone basing on his or her ability to deliver and not on tribe.and its like rev malawo u ve already concluded that for someone from the other side of the country to rule,there shoud be a rotation system.that is dangerous and can even bring tribal wars.tongas, lozis,kaondes,luvales etc etc would be fighting for presidency when their turn comes in that region while the bembas, bisas, ngonis, tumbukas etc etc would also be fighting for the same when the turn for their area comes.
    PLEASE PLEASE REV MALAWO STOP STOP ADVOCATING FOR THAT DANGEROUS ROUTE

    hbhb
    September 17, 2016 at 12:07 pm
    Reply

  5. This is a very important observation and recommendation. But unfortunately, it was written in terrible sickening English! Probably that is why very few comments have come forth. Why not write in vernacular and ask someone to translate for you dear writer? By the way, if the way PF and UPND teamed up could be enacted in Parliament, that would be wonderful. What I mean is if a presidential candidate of a party is say Kaonde, he can’t have a Tonga running mate. The Northeast-Southwest axis is a frightening reality. I know Central province may look tricky but you know it is also divided into Tonga-speaking and Bemba-speaking regions. At the end of the day, what we want to achieve is national unity, peace and development.

    Patriotic Luapula Dweller
    September 17, 2016 at 12:39 pm
    Reply

    • … and you think only your English is perfect, my foot! Go back to school and stop ridiculing your friends you fool.

      dimitri
      September 17, 2016 at 9:15 pm
      Reply

  6. Rotation may be a good ideal like ? what happened in Nigeria in 1999, but look at de institutions – the state institutions must be strengthen to pass decisions based on de merits en constitutional obligations as opposed to individual , party affliction en corruption.whether Tonga or Bemba – de merits of de case must decide.

    robert sulamoyo jr
    September 17, 2016 at 1:34 pm
    Reply

  7. Nonsense. Just how do you place the boundaries of the so called region? Provincial boundaries, chiefdoms or what

    Panda
    September 17, 2016 at 1:45 pm
    Reply

  8. I would go for each province voting for their leader of choice and these selected leaders form the senate where the national leader is selected.The selection of the leader at the senate does not involve voting by the provinces. This way balance would be maintained. The senate would be the governing body as opposed to the current cabinet. Just a thought

    PKM
    September 17, 2016 at 4:05 pm
    Reply

  9. “The challenge with humanity is their inability to accurately place themselves in the shoes of the disadvantaged. You want the good feeling to continue in you and not in others. Others feel it is not possible to have a rotation leadership because in Zambia we have so many tribes and that this model does not promote democracy – it is my considered view that rotation leadership should be blind to personality or individuals and time. I would want to call it accommodative democracy meaning that it is democracy that is facilitating fairness by ensuring that every region is given an opportunity to rule individuals must be flexible to accept that this may occur in their time or the time to come when they are no more. This is something we do for now and for posterity”.

    The quote above from the article sums it all. I come from the block/region where presidents have come from i.e. Northern/eastern but i put my self in the shoes of those who come from the other regions/blocks that had never had a president. I would also feel bad if i came from regions where they never had a president. In short i agree with the writter of the article.
    Those against are more likely to come from regions that have had presidents before and are just selfish.
    Electing presidents on merit is okay but it becomes a problem is presidents are coming from the same region.

    sakala
    September 17, 2016 at 9:36 pm
    Reply

  10. It appears we were rushed into multi partisim. Why not revert to 1 party state where all candidates belong to one party. In that case we can pick our leader on merit and not on party lines.
    Now I understand why Kaunda went that way. We condemned him too fast.

    Kalunga Fred
    September 18, 2016 at 1:49 pm
    Reply

  11. Why don’t you agree with this proposal. How can people who lose elections for being unpopular, pathetic performers continue leading? stealing votes? Awe! We definitely need to stop the theft of votes. Let’s start putting performers in office and not wako ni wako basis, like that old man believes in.

    kKatak
    September 18, 2016 at 3:41 pm
    Reply

  12. educative article indeed.

    kilobo
    September 20, 2016 at 8:57 am
    Reply

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