The impending arrest of Hakainde Hichilema & the backwardness of Zambian politics

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By Irvine Mbanga

The serving of a police call out to opposition United Party for National Development president, Hakainde Hichilema to appear for questioning over an alleged crime of inciting citizens to riot over the rumoured sale of Zaffico by the Patriotic Government through the Zambian Police is not so shocking considering the recent political retrogression that has characterised our national’s politics.

Firstly, it has to be agreed that the reference of Beacon of Peace and Model of Democracy bestowed upon our country Zambia is a fallacy and an illusion as our country is far from being either of the two as I will explain below..

– True, we have never experienced war, most of us citizens have probably never heard a gunshot but this is far from peace as internal political intolerance and persecution has been the order of the day since the Kaunda days through to the current reign of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu as seen by the many detentions of political opponents, one of the most notable being that of UPND president in 2017 over flimsy treason charges, an incarceration that lasted over 120 days.

– While elections have been held every five years, there hasn’t been transparency as can be evidenced from the numerous rigging allegations and the malhandling of election petitions by parties in power, even the 2011 election that produced a winner from the opposition was marred by irregularities and an unwillingness by the then incumbent president Rupiah Bwezani Banda to relinquish power even after it was apparent he had lost to.late PF leader Micheal Chilufya Sata.

While, the current impending case of the arrest of Hakainde Hichilema has drawn interest and seems to be the hottest discussion by citizens, some seeming happy about it and others worried about it, there seems to be a miss on the real issue and a focus on a drop side issue which is the backwardness of our politics as a country, and the following evidence proves it..

1. Political parties are all intolerant of divergent views as can be seen from beatings opposing politicians receive at the hands of others they oppose or speak against, PF and UPND are open culprits – the Kambwili and Tayali case cited.

2. The personal nature of politics, where politicians attack each other’s personal lives and not on ideologies (Party media teams are bent on personal fault finding and character assassiantion rather than single out political failure; Chanda Chiimba, Chilufya Tayali and the UPND’s Zambian Watchdog cited.

3. Politics where presentation of manifesto is not demanded of by the electorate as long as they are fed for a day or two during campaigns.

4. Politics where parties resort to violence to win seats even if it means injuries or deaths to people they intend to lead.

5. Politics where voters decide beforehand who they will vote for in five years’ time regardless of performance by another party.

6. Politics of belonging by tribe or related tribes and not principal; a case of South-West vs North-East.

7. Politics were those in power even when found wanting can not resign on principle or national interest.

8. Politics where expensive constitutional reforms are carried out only to tailor constitutions to suit individuals in power.

9. Politics where constitutions are for those in power and not the people.

10. Politics where the focus of ruling parties is retaining power and not delivering to the people.

11. Politics where the same politicians circle around the political scene for decades in different political party for convenience and voters don’t care.

12. Politics where political opponents are disparaged and considered useless when in another party but offered high positions once they defect to opposing parties.

13. Politics where contesting candidates are not obliged to debate on who has the most applicable solutions.

14. Politics where corruptions is only cited in opposing parties.

15. Politics where the survival and progress of political parties is one man and not group driven.

16. Politics where the solutions of the country are man and not ideology centred.

17. Politics where politicians without members are considered presidents and accorded political platforms.

18. Politics were parliamentary seats are personal to holder, held for decades by individuals.

19. Politics where people vote for parties and not respective individual candidates.

20. Politics where politicians can mentally coerce them to vote for candidates or make voting decisions.

21. Politics where voters worship politicians who should seek their votes.

All said, we may be considered a model for democracy and a beacon of peace by the outside world but we are far from it and are backward politically, we are rather a nation in Ape Politics, a nation with a jungle type of politics without intelligence. If we were civilised, arrests of political opponents wouldn’t be there.

Mbanga, Irvine ilukui.

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31