Why has Dora Siliya’s defection to the ruling Patriotic Front generated so much tension within the ruling party? Is it really a question of Dora’s past relationship with the PF or a matter of self-preservation among the so called PF bigwigs opposed to this development?
Is Dora the first politician in Zambia to stand opposed to and insult the ideals and governance style of a given party in the morning and later go to bed with the same party in the evening on the same day?
Isn’t this an acceptable practice in Zambian politics which politicians try to defend and justify with all manner of illogical arguments? Why is Chishimba Kambwili et al fiercely opposed to Dora’s move to the PF?
Why are they putting up conditions that were never given to other people who openly and vehemently criticized PF and the leadership of late Michael Sata but later joined his party?
Is this a question of double standards? Sylvia Masebo, the embattled Chongwe Member of Parliament once referred to the late President Michael Sata as a “thug” during the reign of Levy Patrick Mwanawasa. Later, Masebo defected from the MMD, joined PF and was whole heartedly welcomed and appointed as a Cabinet Minister in charge of Tourism by H.E. Michael Sata. What lessons can we draw from the Dora saga and the evolution of democracy in Zambia?
The defection of Dora Siliya, once a senior member of the MMD under Rupiah Banda who also in her own right had been a fierce critic of the PF and late President Sata’s leadership style did not come as a surprise.
One does not have to undertake a painstaking analysis of the Zambian political dynamics to predict the behavior of politicians in given circumstances.
Dora’s move to the PF was expected because soon after the nullification of the Petauke Central Parliamentary Seat which she held, Dora was reportedly patronizing State House in what many saw as a move towards joining the Patriotic Front under the leadership of the late Michal Sata who at a time had shown huge propensity to absorb opposition party members into his party and administration.
Gabriel Nalumambe and Steven Masumba both from the opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy stand out as examples of Sata’s propensity to absorb opposition members.
Secondly, it is not unusual for Zambian politicians to jump from opposition parties to the ruling party in search of power, influence, immunity and dollars.
Thirdly, Dora is a very close ally of former President Rupiah Banda. It is Rupiah’s “technical defection” to the PF during the January 2015 Presidential by elections after the Court stopped him from contest the Republican Presidency on the MMD that has opened doors for MMD members of parliament into the PF Cabinet and party.
If those who are opposed to Dora’s move to the PF today were genuine paragons of virtue, they should have opposed Rupiah’s support for the candidature of President Lungu during the 2015 presidential by elections and even Frank Bwalya’s ABZ marriage of convenience with the PF.
One may argue that Rupiah did not join PF but simply endorsed the candidature of Mr. Lungu.
This too simplistic and laughable; because of Rupiah’s influence, Lucky Mulusa; a man who fiercely criticized Sata’s economic (mis)management and a self-confessed RB boy is now Special Assistant to the President for Project Monitoring and Implementation, Michael Kaingu; a man who tore President Sata’s speech on the floor of parliament is full Cabinet Minister in the PF government today, Frank Bwalya; a man who was taken to court by the PF for describing H.E Michel Sata as Chimbu munshololwa is now “married” to the PF.
When Dora Siliya, infamous for raising her middle finger at the Speaker in protest of PF’s move to remove Rupiah’s immunity joins PF, all hell breaks loose in the PF camp, what sort of hypocrisy is this?
Today, it is surprising that Honorable Chishimba Kambwili, the “handsome dude” says he would rather sell his soul to the devil than accept Dora into the PF. Further, he has gone ahead to put up conditions under which Ms. Siliya could be accepted into the PF; offer a public apology for criticizing the PF and the leadership of President Michel Sata and become part of us. Is this right?
It is not like Mr. Sata was above reproach.
Why didn’t Kambwili or indeed so called true disciples of Michael Sata put the same conditions to Kaingu, Mulusa, and Frank Bwalya et al?
If it’s a matter of principles and moral probity, why didn’t honorable Kambwili sell his soul to Lucifer when RB, a man that PF fought tooth and nail to remove his immunity to pave way for his prosecution for alleged corruption and abuse of office decided to throw his political influence, money and other material resources into the PF campaign in 2015?
Why is Dora being met with such resistance? The issue here is not about Dora Siliya as a person, but the double standards being applied in the management of public affairs.
Indeed Kambwili is rising fundamental questions bordering on integrity and accountability of public leaders, but unfortunately, does so in a misguided manner.
The issue of Dora Siliya has yet again revealed the vulnerability of the Zambian democracy and total disregard of a basic democratic principle; respecting the voice and choice of the majority.
The constituency primary elections rejected the candidature of Dora as can be seen from the results she got; 4 votes against 21 votes for Elias Daka (11) and William Banda (10) repsectively.
Sources from Petauke indicate that the two top runners were compelled to withdraw their candidature for the sake of “harmony” in the party, unfortunately at the expense of democracy.
Disrespecting people’s wishes has far reaching repercussions on political and civic development.
When the leadership fails to recognize and respect systems and structures that have been in place to perform specific functions, people in charge of those processes and structures feel abused, used and useless.
The system loses its relevance and legitimacy. It becomes a farce. Secondly, Zambia is witnessing unprecedented levels of voter apathy due to among other reasons lack of ownership of the governance processes by the masses and their mistrust of those who hold power in trust of citizens.
As things stand now, strong intra party democracy should be the starting pointing of winning back citizens confidence in democratic processes and stimulating public participation in political systems and processes.
As a party in power, though all the other parties are not exempted, the PF should set high standards of intra party democracy.
By Nicholas Phiri