By the end of this morning Mkaika constituency will have a new member of parliament.
It may be Mr. Phiri from the PF or indeed Mr. Phiri from the MMD . Whichever the case we shall have a Phiri representing the constituency.
A Phiri by any other name is a Phiri.
This is the nature of Zambian politics. The more things change the more they remain the same. That is why by-elections are such complete and total abuse of public funds because they do not represent any substantive, ideological or existential change to the nature of politics or development in the nation. If anything they are a superficial reaffirmation of our growing political discordance.
The much touted benefits are nothing more than an imaginary ruse intended to give the ruling party its much needed majority in Parliament which we now know is intended for the cartel to assume absolute power.
Sadly as the case has been in Mkaika the cost of these by-elections is high both in terms of the financial outlay, loss of life in some cases and the injuries suffered in the violence that has always characterized them.
In Mkaika horrendous injuries were reported from the clashes experienced. People were abducted and others went into hiding for safety of their person. Officials that should have witnessed counting of ballots went into hiding in fear of their lives.
This should not be the case in a country that claims democracy credentials, a country in which the rule of law flourishes and indeed a country in which law enforcement agencies operate freely and without favoritism
So far more than 33 by-elections since the PF came into power of these 12 were results of defections mainly to the ruling party while others were by death of sitting members of parliament and 9 by court nullification.
This number is only a fraction of the total number that can arise if nullifications through petitions as prayed by the PF are granted by the High Court and later Supreme Court.
For all practical purposes these by-elections are intended to change the status of the hung parliament which the nation produced at the 2011 presidential and general elections. The fear as expressed by the opposition is that the PF is slowly but sure inching towards creating a one party state where it will enjoy absolute power.
That is why it is now worrying that the infighting within the PF shows a great propensity for a division that could easily result in political implosion with the resultant disarray of our tenuous and still very nascent multi party democratic dispensation.
We have a duty as a nation to defend our gains by engendering a robust, sustained and courageous resistance against current attempts by a few individuals intent on subverting democracy for their personal, financial and material gain.
These interlopers have gained a foothold in our Judiciary, Executive and Legislature from which they are clawing at every possible straw to subvert the entire system to their gain. That is why these by-elections are not only a danger to the economy of the nation but also a threat to the delicately balanced integrity of our socio-economic and judicial pillars of governance.
Without integrity Zambia may slide into a typical banana republic where the rule of law and justice mean nothing.