Democracy is about numbers.
That is why the current standoff in the Movement for Multi Party Democracy (MMD) is taking away from the major premise of democracy.
Clearly the ruling party (PF) is quite satisfied with the current feud as it has reduced the cohesion that would have eaten into the final tally when the vote will count. That is why many pundits see the mendacious hand in the fracas.
Ideally the two parties in the current wrangle should have taken the most logical position of sitting around a conference table, but for some reason this did not appeal to the antagonistic party that seems determined to play out the differences in the public gallery.
This strategy most certainly favours their opponents who will receive rich pickings from disaffected members and those who saw hope in the former party as a possible successor to the PF. For as long as the differences continue this eventuality is not only remote but will become non-existent as the party may simply fizzle into shadow existence in the same manner as UNIP has done.
Sadly UNIP has never recovered from the loss of power, suffering at some point internal divisions fuelled from opponents who made it their strategic option to perpetuate differences and thereby cripple the party from ever regrouping as a force.
That strategy worked and UNIP has never recovered. The master tacticians have never left the political scene. If anything they have assumed even more prodigious status from which they have even more power to wreak more havoc to unsuspecting parties.
In the UNIP case huge sums of money were invested in the scheme in which very senior officials were involved. They were later exposed for the scoundrels that they were.
Politics and democracy in particular is the art of numbers however contrived. These numbers come in many forms and yet result in the same experience.
Our current system of representation uses the one past the post electoral system which has resulted in three minority Presidents assuming office. The reason is simple; our country is multi dimensional in perspective and therefore totally oblivious to some of the more dangerous divides that characterize most African countries.
The MMD won a landslide because it received support as a redemptive force. Many Zambians saw hope and a future in a party that promised liberalism and change of course from the socialist policies as enunciated by the former ruling party.
Since then, there has been a creeping fragmentation, seemingly assuaged by the 2011 elections which saw President Michael Sata galvanize and rekindle the vision, hope and spirit of the Zambian people with a promise of more jobs and more money in people’s pockets and more jobs.
That vision resonated across the country and gave the PF victory.
The moral of the story is that Zambia is not tied to any specific region, ideology nor indeed class. Zambians will respond to a message that gives them hope and promise. Such a message will not come from a divided party that can hardly hold together.
The sooner the MMD puts its act together the better because time is running out, 2016 is neigh!