Zambian opposition political parties have a lot to learn from the painful lessons offered by the faltering revolutions in the Arab world, where the very promising Arab spring has wilted into political stagnation because there was no common purpose.
Factions and disparate civil groups came together to ouster despotic regimes without first charting a course in which their common purpose would be served.
As a result, when the despot fell, the schisms peppered over by a common zeal and fervor ruptured, giving rise to new conflicts from which most of the “new” nations have failed to recover.
Tunisia considered to be the cradle of the Arab Spring, has suffered enduring major economic reversals and it is unlikely that these will assuage in the near future.
In Libya, the worst nightmare by Colonel Muamar Ghadaffi who prophesized the break up of the country into tribal fiefdoms has come to pass. Fault line based on religious, tribal and sectarian interests undermine any effort at creating a centralized functioning Government.
In Egypt the military option was the last resort to stave off the ascendancy of a conservative theocracy that threatened to roll back the liberal gains made by years of struggle resulting in the removal of President Hosni Mubarak after a restive period that witnessed civil uprising, revolt and bloodshed.
These sacrifices should have paved way for a more democratic, economically resilient and socially equitable society which embraced the values of liberalism.
Sadly this has not been the case. Egypt and Tunisia have witnessed the virtual destruction of the tourism industry which accounted for a large percentage of the country’s employment and therefore national wealth creation.
The lesson to be learnt is that political activism must be supported with a clear, discernible and calculated intention to bring about social, economic and political change.
The challenges facing the opposition are clear- among them being the enactment of a new constitution, which must form the basis for common action to create a level playing field, for all actors.
We have a very serious concern that fractious political interests pronouncement are receiving mileage in reactionary media to drive deep and irreconcilable differences within the opposition that will preclude any effort at common action.
It is our hope that the opposition and civil society will transcend their differences to forge a unity of purpose beyond the differences that have developed during the current by elections campaigns.
It must be realized that common action at this very critical time of our political life is much more important than ephemeral gains at the ballot box.
It has been said that if opportunity does not knock build a door and indeed success is where preparation and opportunity meet.
Time is now for the opposition to rise to the occasion or forever rue their missed opportunity.