There is one lesson that Zambian opposition parties must learn from the largest world democracy- India, and this is that an opposition alliance based on the right principles can work and work very well.
The victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India is the collective victory of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) that was led by the BJP.
The alliance worked because it espoused a common vision – a vision that promised change from the dominant Congress Party which had ruled India since independence.
Although BJP is principally known as the Hindu nationalist party, it secured support from Muslims, Christians and other groups because it embraced a message of hope that transcended beyond simply wrestling power from one party to another. Indians are seeking far much more fundamental changes in the economic, social and cultural status of the country.
That is why we agree that any political alliance in Zambia should not be simply based on removing the Patriotic Front from Power, but must aim at creating a more fundamental political, social and economic climate.
In other words the first vision of an alliance should be to create a new environment in which Pangas, violence and jaundiced judiciary will have no place. We must create a culture in which all citizens will exercise their inalienable constitutional rights without fear.
We must create an environment in which the Judiciary will be answerable to the law, the Police will be accountable to the law, the Anti Corruption Commission will be answerable to Parliament and the public service will be an instrument of change and progress.This is not the case under the present environment. There is absolutely no chance of free and fair campaign for the 2016 elections. The pangas are not far from the scene and already we have lost three lives in the run up to by- elections. If violence will not put down the opposition then the courts will do so.
We agree with Dante Saunders and Elias Chipimo that our country needs a respite, a moment of reflection. We should not hurtle from one state of confusion to another when it is within our power to create a lasting democracy that will stand the proverbial test of time. One of the reasons why the BJP leader Narendra Modi has won is his commitment to the fight against corruption. As Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat he brooked no corruption. He valued integrity among officials who served around him and was quick to act when allegation of graft emerged. He led by example in disciplining erring Ministers and public officials.
We therefore would expect that the General Masheke alliance should be embraced by all the opposition parties not for the purpose of throwing out the Patriotic Front but for the purpose of working together to create a democratic environment.This is an environment in which principles of democracy, good governance, non-violence and respect for human rights will prevail.
The starting point is a good constitution which should be enacted before political contestation starts. If an interim Government a after 2016 is not the answer then the parties must find a more viable solution to ensure that 2016 will be a defining year for our democracy. The criminal justice system will be run with people of integrity, andthat remove the an alliance can work in a democracy where a level playing field exists.
With nearly 850million voters the Indian elections have proved that the will of the people can dominate
The will of the Zambian people for a new constitution can be realised if the coalition makes it a priority to ensure that all like minded institutions and individuals are brought on board the drive towards the second liberation – The constitution.