April 11, 2021
Zambian politics is headed for inclusiveness going by the gesture exhibited by the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party at their just ended conference.
For the first time in the history of Zambian politics, the ruling party opened itself up to the opposition, who were invited to the table as observers.
By allowing opposition leaders in attendance to follow proceedings of what was otherwise meant for the PF family members, the party has shown its transparency.
The act has demonstrated that the PF transcends above partisan politicking and is ready to partner with other political parties to foster development.
Like they say, a united family that works together develops confidence and trust among itself for stronger sustainable prosperity.
Regardless of the number of registered political parties, Zambia is one country with one people that have co-existed from time immemorial.
Inviting opposition leaders to the conference may have been a noble gesture but giving them a podium to stand and address the gathering was momentous.
If cadres from different political parties could see their leaders share the same platform, interact and chart the country’s way forward, they (cadres) would not engage in violence.
Opposition National Democratic Congress leader Chishimba Kambwili is right to say there would be no political acrimony and violence in the country if political parties held conventions and invited other parties as a way of promoting inter-party dialogue.
It is true that a closed political party may appear to be harbouring intentions perceived to instil uncertainty to outsiders.
PF has shown to the outside world that it has nothing to hide and remains open to encouragement and criticism.
Compared to the last convention, which almost divided the party, this year’s conference can best be described as exemplary.
We all remember how tense that PF conference, held in Kabwe back in 2015, was. It left the party with more cracks and in the process scattering senior members.
Lessons must be learnt from representatives of invited guests from, among them, foreign and local political parties who expressed gratitude and solidarity for the inclusive nature of the conference.
Evident from speeches delivered by the African National Congress of South Africa and ZANU-PF of Zimbabwe, Zambia’s neighbours appreciate the role it played in the liberation struggle.
It is that recognition and respect from Zambia’s neighbours that should inspire her to conduct herself in a manner befitting a peacemaker.
In attendance was a representative from Communist Party of China (CPC), a party which has demonstrated inclusiveness in the governance of their country.
Much as CPC, founded almost 100 years ago, has ruled China for a long time, its conventions are always graced by opposition political parties, some of them with totally different ideologies.
With the opposition in attendance and checking out CPC’s policies, China has not only developed greatly but does not know any political violence.
For them to have maintained peace and development, Chinese must have realised long ago that opposition means offering reasonable checks and balances and never throwing of stones.
We are, therefore, hopeful that from now on, Zambian politicians will learn to open up and include even those seen as ‘enemies’ in the development agenda.
Going forward, let this gesture open a new chapter of inclusive participation in the running of the country under the motto ‘One Zambia, One Nation’.