In the last few weeks I have been asked countless times whom I will endorse in January’s Presidential by-election. I did indicate a while back that endorsement then was quite difficult as nominations had not taken place yet. Now that the nominations have taken place, here is my considered view.
It is not a secret that I detest the PF with a passion and not because the MMD lost power to it, but because under late President Sata, we saw a clear failure of leadership. The order of the day has been deceit from the very top of the PF Government. But I also did mention in a ZNBC TV interview, some months ago, that PF problems were not unique. Our democracy is still so fragile that many of our political parties are quite challenged when dealing with opposing views. In fact the PF wrangles witnessed recently are small compared to the MMD succession disputes of 2001, which led to the birth of the PF.
The Post Newspaper recently referred to Zambian politics as being about ‘ichimwela’. Clearly, that is what has led us to the leadership and system failure witnessed recently. The courts have had a field day in trying to address our political challenges which are clearly a reflection of our constitutional lacunas. Usually, we just hear about the 50+1 discourse on the constitution. However, our constitution lacks in many areas including the question of whether we should have costly by-elections in the event of a Presidents death. This argument is premised on the fact that a winning candidate and his Party receives a mandate from Zambians for a 5 year term. That was in fact our argument as the MMD in 2008.
In Zambia, power is totally vested in the president. This means that at the change of whoever is occupying the presidency, almost 10% of top government jobs in the cabinet, ministries, foreign missions, parastatals, (and these are the most paying) must change overnight. What that means is expenditure on the outgoing personnel, and equipping the new personnel not just with salaries but settling in allowances but with new vehicles as outgoing personnel buy of personal to holder vehicles. This change of government costs tax payers millions of Kwacha at the expense of other needy areas such as hospitals etc..
In view of the above, one has to reflect very carefully on whether a change of Government, less than two years, before a general election is really the best thing for Zambia. We all know that our treasury is broke and expenditure on this by-election and possible change of Government will make things even worse.
In my considered view, the above is enough for the PF to be allowed to continue until the next general election. Of course, one has to accept that the PF incumbency already gives them a head start. But most of all, in the last crucial weeks, the PF will have 81 MPs on the ground, with the UPND at 27 while the MMD is already split. PF only beat MMD in a general election when they fielded candidates in the whole country in 2011.
I am not saying it is clearcut for the PF, considering the promises by President Sata in 2011 and the current farmers crisis. But when all is considered, I believe the continuity of the PF at the moment is the mostsure way for our country to have stability until the next general election. I will emphasise though, that Zambians expect to see a new PF, that is less violent and more tolerant, more inclusive, respects peoples freedoms and most of all, shows commitment to enactment of the constitution. We don’t want empty promises but an attitude of dialogue on critical national matters.
My friends, this is my considered view.
EDITOR’S COMMENTS: We have always respected Siliya but the thinking above is clearly twisted. She says the treasury is empty so we assume PF made the treasury empty unless she is saying her government MMD emptied the treasury. If the PF made the treasury empty, is that the reason honestly they should be allowed to continue? We thought people are voted into government to make sure there is money to run the country? Now Dora wants people to be retained because they have finished the money????
She says power is totally vested in the presidency so whoever wins will replace ministers, diplomats and parastatal CEOs. But Edagr Lungu will do the same. He will bring his own ministers. Even if he retains some of Sata’s officials, it does not mean that they will not be getting paid. We certainly agree that PF is based on deception. Nothing has changed and nothing is likely to change. If PF wins, this deceit will be taken to another level.Why not just join PF without trying to justify indefensible things?