Zambians ready to defend democracy-FODEP

Zambians are proud of their multiparty democracy and will not give up or dilute the values and principles of a multiparty parliamentary which they are embraced in 1991, says Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) executive cirector MacDonald Chipenzi.

Commenting on the just ended by elections Mr Chipenzi said the voices of the people in Mkushi North, Chipata Central, Kafulafuta and Solwezi East showed that their preference for a mixed parliament as opposed to one dominated by a single political party had been overtly demonstrated from the electoral results.

“It is clear from history that Chipata Central since MMD’s fortunes started waning after the 2001 elections, the constituency was dominated by opposition politics until after 2006 during late Levy Mwanawasa’s reign while the constituency is known for not having an MP to serve for more than one consecutive terms.

“Solwezi East, like Chipata Central, has been associated with opposition politic until 2006 when reclaimed it from the opposition. For Mkushi North, the constituency for a long time has been in the hands of the ruling party,” said Mr Chipenzi.

He observed that the decision by the people in Chipata Central was an indication that the voters could not be swayed, intimidated despite parading chiefs, district commissioner and Police high command at public rallies during the campaigns to canvass support on behalf of the ruling party’s candidate.

“This in itself another sign of people’s values in supporting effective checks and balances. Further, the continued participation of chiefs and civil servants in partisan politics indeed requires reflection from the political parties for them to respect the Constitution which clearly forbids the involvement of chiefs and civil servants in partisan politics through all form of platforms,” he said.

Mr Chipenzi noted that the involvement of traditional leaders in partisan politics either through direct campaigns or sharing same political party platform with a particular political party exposed the traditional leadership to ridicule disrespect among its subjects.

“The loss of a Pf candidate supported by Paramount Chief is one clear example of an exposure of people’s defiance against their traditional leader. However, this is a demonstration that voting is a fundamental democratic right, which cannot be influenced by any form of intimidation or coercion.

“We reiterate our appeal to traditional leaders to e above partisan politics and preside over their subjects in a non-partisan manner as their responsibilities cut across partisan interests. Further, traditional leaders should be in the forefront in the defence of peace and the Constitution,” he said.