Thinking out loud: Cadre-ism, sexpreneuers, tenderpreneuers and useful idiots!

Filed under: Politics,Special Comments |

By Yona Musukwa

As always, I linked up with friends on Sunday for a chit chat. In the middle of our discussion I pointed out to a friend that while I do not always agree with what he says, I always appreciate his point of view and, I find him a very good ‘CADRE’ of his political party. He took offence with me for referring to him as a ‘Cadre’

While I was very surprised with his reaction, it was a relatively small but telling example of how Cadre-ism or Cadre-ship has come to be misrepresented in our politics.

Let’s face it, in our politics today, the word Cadre – conjures up visions of thuggery and criminality, ill-disciplined and disgruntled, self-serving demagogues who think they are larger than everybody else. No one wants to be associated with the word ‘CADRE’ because it has come to be associated with negative elements.  Hooliganism has come to be infused in cadre-ism.

The Zambian citizenry is neither amused nor impressed with the conduct of political cadres. What subjective and, above all, objective realities underpin this behaviour? Is it a product of poor membership recruitment? Is it a product of the poor political/civic education? Is it because of lack of sufficient political maturity? Is it a product of poverty? There is probably not one answer. Some or all of the above possibilities might apply.

Perhaps this begs the question as to who a cadre is, as distinct from a member. This will help us appreciate the journey one must travel from being a member to being a cadre. The Oxford Dictionary defines a Cadre as a small group of people specially trained for a particular purpose. In political terms a CADRE IS a group of trained and devoted workers.

Therefore, to be a cadre is not an insult, but it is an honour and a badge we must wear with pride. By and large the success of any organisation political or otherwise depends on the philosophy and activism of its cadres. The ability of a political party to deliver development and social change should be seen in the kind of cadres it has.

In reality what we have come to call political cadres are not really cadres. The majority of them are simply Sex-preneuers, Tender-preneuers, Useful Idiots, Political Vultures, Rent-a-Crowd, Self-Seeking Johnny-Come-Lately and Thugs of all types and hue. They are always sniffing around for opportunities to feed, make a killing for themselves. They commit all manner of crimes in the name of their party. To them, these parties are simply used as platforms for their misdeeds. How can such people help their organisation to deliver? How can an organisation be proud of such a disgruntled membership, a useless membership with no value to its goals and ideals? They don’t even read their party manifestoes and documents. Except for empty slogans and sound bites, there is nothing of substance that makes them cadres.

What should define a cadre is ideological clarity, commitment, dedication and the will to change the lives of our people for the better. A cadre should be baptised with the necessary ideological and political tools to persuade and be persuaded.

The message is simple: The cadre has to be the future…or there will be no future #BuildYourCadres!


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