‘Degree clause on president will cause aparthy in 2011’

A political analyst on the Copperbelt has predicted increased apathy in the 2011 tripartite elections if the first degree requirement for a presidential candidate would be endorsed and adopted into the Republican Constitution.

Mr. Isaac Kanyanta says the first degree requirement for the republican presidential candidate should not be a constitutional requirement but instead should be left to political parties to handle.

He said some members of parliament and majority of the Zambian electorate were not first degree holders which should serve as a warning sign that academic papers were not always the yardstick of measuring one’s ability in leadership.

He called on the NCC Commissioners to take an inventory of all the African presidents from both the economically struggling countries and those who were powerful and look at their presidents’ academic qualifications.

He said Political parties were better placed to practice such segregation as an in house cleaning arrangement than putting it in the republican constitution.

Mr. Kanyanta added that first republican president Dr. Kenneth Kaunda though only Form Two managed to render extraordinary political, material and intellectual help to all the neighboring countries during the political liberation struggle.

He added that the few heads of State summits that were attended by Heads of States should not be used as an excuse for a segregatory clause to craft its way into the republican constitution.

He said no Head of State was compelled to take a position at the Summit of Heads of State when they did not understand the matter fully.

He added that majority of the Summits were not even taking a position on many issues because it was the collective wisdom of Heads of States that the official communiqué carried after the Summit.

Mr. Kanyanta agreed with the NCC lone Commissioner Mr. Joseph Mubali who opposed the Clause as political parties could best handle the matter when choosing the persons they wanted to float as presidential candidates.

Mr. Kanyanta said Zambia did not need an academician for a president but a leader with a vision, who was principled and morally upright because he should be an embodiment of Zambian values and cultural beliefs.

He added that academic qualifications were not synonymous with wisdom because many graduates were roaming the streets in the pride of their papers when those with wisdom were busy making money in the midst of academic arguments on the performance of the national economy.

He said the informal sector was booming with people without degrees but full of wisdom and when such people are excluded from entertaining presidential ambitions, they could easily persuade their likeminded less qualified academically to shun the 2011 elections which would increase levels of apathy and reduce political participation by a larger margin.

Mr. Kanyanta said the people of Zambia were the best judges through the ballot box whether to vote for a degree holder or a school leaver in whom they have seen the required leadership qualities that would help to steer the nation to higher political, economic, social and cultural attainments.

He said the segregatory Clause would create “the animal farm situation” in the political life of Zambia where some citizens would be forever denied their birth right to aspire for the presidency of the land.

He called on the NCC to consider the feelings of the people who would be injured by such a provision adding that not many educated people with degrees take an active role in the political life of the Nation.

He said majority voters were from the uneducated lot living in underdeveloped Townships and if such a clause passed, they would feel like tools being used to favour some educated Zambians with degrees at their expense.

Mr. Kanyanta added that majority of the Zambians would not want to be used by degree holders for political gains and expediency when they were also entitled to the same human rights of aspiring for the republican presidency.

He said leadership was about service and not just prestige of academic parlance and exclusive pride over the electorates.

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