Political parties should now be thinking of how to equip their cadres with negotiating skills so that they avoid violent behaviour as a means of talking to their opponents.
As things stand now, we wonder whether there will be a ruling party in the foreseeable future that will have cadres who will solely adopt dialogue as the means to advance party ideology.
The problem of ruling party cadres adopting some levels of violence to advance their cause has been with us for a long time.
We saw this when the United National Independence Party was in power. When UNIP was defeated by MMD, some of ruling party cadres adopted the all-powerful style of handling their new found power.
This is the same behaviour that some Patriotic Front cadres have adopted in belonging to the ruling party.
The reason for party cadres to behave in this manner is simple.
There are very few cadres who gracefully follow their ruling party when it is defeated at the polls.
Many party cadres jump ship and join the incoming ruling party so that they can continue enjoying the trappings of power.
They do not want to belong to the opposition to continue advancing their party’s ideologies in the opposition.
They would rather be in the ruling party whether they understand the manifesto of the new party in Government or not.
Since Zambians enjoy the freedom of association, those cadres cannot be stopped from joining a political party of their choice.
Today, the cadres can be UNIP, tomorrow MMD and the other day PF.
Therefore, they continue their old habits of applying some measure of violence to announce their dominance.
This is the reason we wish to advise political parties to adopt practical measures of managing their party cadres.
Party cadres should be drivers of political party ideologies as opposed to violent behaviour to intimidate the public and other political parties.
It is lack of alertness of cadres who normally form the grassroots, that some political parties lose elections because they do not understand what is prevailing in their communities.
It is therefore important for political parties to start changing the mind-set of their cadres by developing programmes that can make them negotiators to attract new members.
It is wrong reasoning to think that violence attract new members when it is common knowledge that the practice has negative effects on potential members.
Therefore, political parties have a huge task to make their cadres aware of the reasons behind formation of political parties.