A problem a day seems to be created in Zambia. What is unfortunate is that nearly all of these problems are man-made. As a nation we are now facing a potential crisis as a result of the decision by the Registrar of Societies to de-register Zambia’s second longest-serving political party, the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD). The crisis is not that there will be fewer opposition parties. The crisis will result from the possible diversion of resources to conduct by-elections for nearly half of the seats in our Parliament as well as in wards whereMMDcouncillors are currently serving as elected officials. In a nation in which over 4 million people are unemployed; where safe drinking water for many communities is a luxury and where people die because of poor or non-existent healthcare, this would be a tragedy of truly dramatic proportions.
If the decision of the decision to de-register the MMD proves to be based on the facts outlined by the Registrar of Societies, the public must take the MMD to task for not being responsible in following the law. This lack of respect for the law could put tremendous strain on our finances as a nation essentially making every Zambian pay for the irresponsible behaviour of a Party that had been clothed with far too much power for far too long.
Sad though this development is, it serves as a timely warning for all political parties including the Patriotic Front whose turn at the wheel of power, so far, leaves much to be desired. It is a timely warning against complacency and broken promises; a timely warning against aimlessness; indeed a timely warning against any attempt by the government of the day to draw the public’s attention away from its failure to live up to people’s expectations. They may get away with it now, but in time, such complacency will return to haunt them.
NAREP accepts that the law must be followed and professionalism must be upheld. However, those in authority must seek to find a way to avoid unnecessary expenditure that will arise from holding 53 (or more) constituency by-elections, not to mention the numerous ward elections that would also need to be held. In any event, the law as it stands provides an opportunity for redress and if money is owing, the MMD must do everything within its power to settle what is due to the state and avert a constitutional crisis. After all, it is questionable as to whether Parliament would have any legitimacy to continue to function in the wake of such a massive and sudden reduction in its ranks. Make no mistake about it, this is no small issue. An ordinary Zambian, whose father succumbed to kidney failure because the renal unit at UTH is underfunded, asks why we should have to spend billions on by-elections when there are so many other pressing priorities that for some among us truly are a matter of life and death.
In the event that the de-registration stands (which is unlikely, given that there is no basis under the law on which the Registrar of Societies can deregister an organisation for non-payment of statutory dues) and there is a need to hold by-elections, NAREP is ready to contest all parliamentary seats in order to offer alternative leadership with a vision of how we will create jobs for our youth, provide quality healthcare for our people, and construct decent infrastructure and provide support for Zambian business men and women who, if properly supported and encouraged, can drive sustainable prosperity for all. We will do this so as to avoid recycling the leadership and the problems of the past.
It is time for the PF administration to get its act together and give people the leadership they believed they voted into power.
National Restoration Party