By Lucky Mulusa
Warning: The demise of political parties and the tendency by individual political players to jump from one political party to another, promotes the laundering of political misfits
It is strange how in Zambia, we inadvertently sustain bad political leaders through our insatiable appetite to encourage defeated political players to cross over to the latest ruling political parties.
This happened when UNIP was defeated in 1991 and history seems to be repeating itself after MMD lost power to the Patriotic Front in 2011.
“Jump ship! The MMD is dead!” is the advice many in MMD have come to be accustomed to.
“It (MMD) is a corrupt and violent and arrogant party! Zambians will never vote for the MMD again!” Many others advise.
And indeed election results show that Zambians are warming up to the idea that the MMD is dead. What with election results in Wusakile, Chililabombwe, and Mpulungu were we as the MMD scored an embarrassingly single and double digit results when new political parties such as NAREP were scoring three digit results and beating us into relegation zone!
When you don’t change political parties as per the commentators’ advice, you are deemed politically naïve and unable to read the mood of the people. The question is, should we join politics ostensibly to be rewarded with ministerial positions and to be close to control of state resources? Or should we join politics because one has ideals one would like to further with like minds? If your ideals are rejected by the people, then review your package, sharpen your communication and get your party elected.
As the MMD our inability to effectively counter these proclamations has made them sound gospel truth about the status of the MMD and it is almost coming to pass that the MMD is indeed dying. Many members who seek guidance from public opinion have indeed moved on and left the MMD.
So what do we need to do as the MMD to survive? We need to do two things: Reinvigorate the leadership as per peoples’ demand; and reactivate structures. Thereafter, embark on massive public education about the importance of ensuring that the MMD does not die. We also need to retain membership and reposition ourselves to be of relevance to changing environments. The ANC of South Africa did not die with the advent of the wind of change and the abandonment of socialism, but simply remodeled itself from a socialist party to a neo-liberal and overlapping social cosmopolitan political party.
In the MMD we are also silent to daily assaults that we are dead and that this is the end, we will never bounce back. The MMD is also accused of being a corrupt and violent party.
The question is can a party be corrupt or violent? Has the MMD appeared in any court of law for violence or for corruption? If the answer is no, then how come there have been corruption and politically motivated and violence related cases in our courts of law? Who have been convicted?
The convicted have been individual human beings who were members of the MMD. It is a paradox how the same people become clean when they defect from the MMD to go to other political parties. If you care to check, you will notice that all those who were drivers of violence in the MMD and UNIP, from the beating of Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe to the panga hackings in Kanyama, and being behind bus stations’ and markets’ related violence never took the tag of violence to the new political parties they went to join compared to the tag they left behind for the MMD. Equally, those that stood accused of corruption in the MMD are no longer in the MMD but belong to other political parties and are seemingly clean. Mention individuals accused of perpetuating violence or corruption under the MMD rule and I will show you which parties they now belong to.
It can therefore be argued that as matters stand the MMD should be considered to be habouring the least number of political misfits now than other political parties. It should also follow that if political parties can be considered to be violent and corrupt, then the MMD is the least of them all given the migration of the alleged corrupt, the arrogant, and the violent to other political parties.
Currently, there are so many Zambians who are disillusioned with the current political platforms. Not everybody who hates PF likes UPND. These Zambians are expressing a desire to see political parties with productive strategies to develop the nation. The Katuba by-election showed us that political parties with a constructive message are a rare breed in Zambia. Many campaigned on ethnic grounds while others simply opened their mouths because that’s what they needed to do anyway. Yet despite the MMD possessing the most potent message about itself, its achievements and the road it crafted to prosperity, it allowed that message to go unpublicized. This is our biggest failure. While the enemy reminds the general populace about our failures, we fail to counter that with our achievements. The MMD can provide the best alternative given the need not to create new political platforms nor encourage political prostitution.
Lucky Mulusa is former MMD MP for Solwezi