“A call for strengthening intra-party dialogue in the Patriotic Front (PF)”

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FODEP is concerned with the weakening of intra-party dialogue in the PF, a party that has been entrusted with the electoral mandate up to 2021. Political parties are the bedrock of democracy. Therefore what happens in political parties has a major bearing on the growth of democracy in the country.

The growth or detriment of democracy in any country can first be seen by the way political parties handle their intra-party governance issues. From the way intra –party conflicts are being handled in the PF, there is a clear-cut exhibition of weaker traits of democracy.

Article 60(2) (a) of the amended Zambian constitution clearly states that “a political party shall promote the values and principles specified in the Zambian Constitution”. The word “shall” here connotes a duty or mandatory obligation on any political party, in this regard the PF to uphold the principles and national values of the Constitution of Zambia provided under Article 8(e), which are good governance and unity. From the continuing happenings in the ruling party, there is a growing concern for all Zambians.

The escalating intra-party conflicts in the PF leave much to be desired. If such intra-party conflicts can be exacerbated to such unprecedented levels barely few months after the 2016 general election, one tends to wonder as to what will happen prior 2021 election as preparations for adoptions of candidates shall commence.

President Lungu’s public announcement concerning his eligibility to stand in the 2021 election also points to the fact that there is weak intra-party dialogue in the ruling party. Clearly, no one needs to tell you that, that announcement was directed to PF party members who harbor the aspirations to vie for the PF elective positions and eventually republican presidency as President Lungu still desires to stand in 2021.

The ruling party has a duty to promote national democracy and that should first be seen from the way they handle internal party matters. As FODEP we firstly, would like to encourage the PF to inspire intra-party dialogue devoid of using suppressive methods because the capacity of the party to handle their intra-party conflicts at party level gives people the confidence that they will be able to handle national issues, to encourage competition within the party as it is a fundamental element of democracy which also helps develop new ideas within the party and eventually within the country, and uphold the provisions of Article 60(2)(a) and 8(e).

FODEP wishes to remind the PF that the memories of the 2015 dilemma in adopting a candidate after the demise of President Sata are vivid. The intra-party division that ensued almost left serious political imprints on the party.

To this effect, we call upon the PF to adhere to the democratic tenets spelled out in republican constitution by embracing competition of ideas, unity, dialogue and tolerance of divergent views.

Issued by:

FODEP Executive Director

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