The inevitable has happened in Thailand. After months of political turmoil, the Generals have decided to oust civilians in order, as they claim, to restore order and introduce major political reforms before holding the next elections.
This follows the failure by the yellow and red shirts to strike a compromise that would have seen civilian leadership continue.
Thailand politicians have done a great disservice to the people of that country who would have expected them to subordinate individual interest to national demand.
We have absolutely no faith in the military guiding political evolution and development. Nowhere in the world will the military metamorphosise into a civilian regime. The training and character of the military is always authoritarian and therefore at odds with civil politics which is the art of adversarial politics.
The very manner in which the military attempted to bring about reconciliation between leaders of both the pro-government “Red Shirt” and People’s Democratic Reform Committee, or PDRC, factions by detaining them inside an army club was a recipe for failure.
You do not force a compromise; it must be reached through reason, logic and dialogue in order to achieve a meeting of minds.
Democracy is about compromise and accommodation and not coercion and dictatorship0- the route the Military took by declaring martial law which obviously impacted on democratic practice. With martial law, which removes or suspends the constitution, the very characteristic and properties of democracy were removed. The eventual outcome in the name of a coup was inevitable.
While it may be excusable that the army took timely action to restore the security situation the subsequent actions do not bode well for democracy. For start they have shut down the country’s main television stations, they have closed down a number of radio stations accusing them of planting the seed of division and General Prayuth Chan-ocha has even gone as far as warning newspapers to desist from publishing material that will destabilize the interim period in which the Army hopes to create the requisite reforms for a cuivillian Government.
Obviously these are not the measures that will contribute towards robust debate and dialogue that is required in the establishment and creation of an environment that supports democracy.
As Zambians we must count ourselves lucky that our democracy is thriving in spite of the glitches that have become apparent, many over such oppressive laws as the Public Order Act, Section 67 of the Penal code and of course the defamation act which have the paralyzing effect of limiting debate and dialogue.
That is why it is important that opposition parties must come together and create a vehicle that will ensure a post 2016 political climate.
Zambia has pioneered in multi party democracy and every effort should be taken to promote this position.