Some former republican presidents wondered why they were voted out of office; and some opposition leaders also ask why they don’t form government despite an initial high following of supporters. But such former republican presidents and some opposition leaders don’t consider the role political party cadres play in promoting or destroying an image of a party.
Political party members and their cadres both in ruling and in opposition parties contribute greatly to promoting or destroying a political party’s image. However, it appears little do both party leaders and their cadres know that any bad or good behavior of political cadres destroy or promote the image of the party concerned respectively; be it a ruling or opposition party.
Encarta Dictionaries define ‘member’ as somebody who belongs to; and participate in a particular group by birth or by choice. Usually, members have party membership cards.
But the same Encarta Dictionaries define ‘cadre’ as tightly knit, highly trained group of people. From such a definition of a cadre, one might ask: ‘What training do political cadres have in our country? Were cadres in Zambian political parties trained in political violence related activities? With such a definition of a cadre, do the so-called political cadres in Zambia really qualify to be called political cadres?’
Someone is wondering why this writer through this article is coming out openly on issues that are perceived to be sensitive. Yes, these are issues which most Zambians don’t seem to be courageous enough to talk about for whatever reasons.
And because it’s said that truth pains, most people; especially those in advisory roles; and those seeking jobs from higher authorities don’t want to hurt them by telling such authorities the truth about the situation on the ground. But it’s the same attitude of hiding the truth from authorities that sustains immorality and illegality in public offices against public interest. And in the process, certain vices which can easily be controlled get out of hand in our society.
Sarcastic language, hatred and political violence have been high among politicians and their cadres. Regularly, political leaders and their cadres are involved in insults and political violence related issues respectively.
Now, if we don’t talk against such vices, our country might soon be in political turmoil from such common hatred and political violence.
But abusive language and political violence related vices start small with political cadres; and how their top leadership reacts to such hooliganism and illegality. Or is it that top political leadership starts such vices?
If we don’t tell our politicians that we don’t like this and that, how can they know that what they do or what is happening doesn’t or isn’t serving public interest?
If we tell President Edgar Chagwa Lungu what PF cadres are doing which injure members of the public, if he wants, he will take corrective action against his PF cadres. If President Lungu doesn’t want to do so against any PF cadre or PF group of cadres, that’s his choice. But what does one achieve if he or she doesn’t address other people’s observations on the perceived negative things accordingly?
Politicians should know that political parties, regardless of whether it is a ruling or opposition party, win popularity through being concerned; and therefore, addressing public concerns. Harassing citizens, sarcastic language and political violence related vices distress members of the public.
If one supports UPND or PF or any other political party of one’s choice, it is better to find ways to inform higher authorities of the concerned party about what many people are saying for or against that party before it is too late.
By the way, don’t party presidents get astonished when each advisor tells them that they are very popular among the electorate; but when elections come, they get voted out of office or they don’t form government?
These are practical issues for political members and their cadres involved in vices against public interest; and not telling party top leadership how the ordinary person, who is also a voter, feels about what political leaders and their cadres say and do; and what majority electorate plan to do in the next elections.
Some former ruling parties were labelled highly violent and corrupt. Sarcastic language, political violence and illegalities are among the vices which many citizens and potential voters don’t like in political parties.
For example, issues related to illegal land allocation among some ward councilors and some political cadres where corruption has been reported to be high can damage a good image of a ruling or opposition party.
In markets and in bus stations, citizens also experience various harassments from some political cadres which might have a negative bearing on a concerned political party; especially during elections.
Party cadres challenging or having running battles with the State Police prove that such a political party has no regard for the law.
Don’t under estimate the peaceful nature of majority Zambians. Zambians, by nature, are peaceful people. And if you want to brand your political party as a violent party; be assured that you will lose many votes from many voters. Don’t specialize in what many others hate most.
Already, while some political parties aren’t in aggressive political campaigns now, most citizens are already discussing how frustrated they are with the behaviour of some political cadres; and in the process, some potential voters are making or have made up their minds; and are influencing others on which party to vote for in the 2016 presidential and general elections.
In political violence, it’s not only the party cadres involved in such vices who lose out when they are murdered or disabled but the concerned party also loses a good image in the eyes of many voters.
The reported allegations of cases of high political violence between the two major political parties: PF and UPND are issues which respective top party leadership should take seriously as we approach 2016 general elections.
For political parties, note that many electorate seem to use Eastern province’s Cichewa proverb which states: ‘Ukadya nshawa imodzi yowola; ulabvula zonse ziri m’kamwa’; meaning, if one eats one rotten groundnut together with many other good ones, all pieces of groundnuts in the mouth taste rotten; and such a person spits out all such rotten tasting groundnuts.
The few or many political cadres who are involved in illegal allocation of land and who participate in political violence are tarnishing the good image of the party they belong to; and in the process, repelling many votes against their respective parties in the forthcoming presidential and general elections.
In politics today, it’s a high risk for a party to have many people known for violence or to have many people known for engineering and managing political violence.
Hence, even when forming political alliances, avoid doing so with politicians known for violence or with such political parties; or else people might describe your party as birds of the same feather flock together in engineering political violence or whatever vice it’s known for.
Considering the potential negative effects of political cadres’ political violence, President Lungu and other party leaders have promised to restrain their cadres from any involvement in political violence.
Well behaved party cadres promote a good image of their respective party while badly behaved ones erode the good image of their party.
It is hoped that President Edgar Lungu and the PF and Hakainde Hichilema and UPND won’t fall in the boots of some former ruling and opposition political parties who lost popularity; and were voted out of government or were sent into political oblivion even before forming government respectively because of being perceived as having many political members and cadres highly involved in some malpractices.
Political parties should have disciplinary code of conduct and procedures; and keep a watchful eye on each political cadre’s behaviour and utterances to the members of the public and to fellow politicians within or outside the party.
To achieve this, each political party should have selection criteria for its members and of party cadres. The belief that politics is a game of numbers; and bringing anyone in the party as a member or as a cadre has, and will continue proving a big political risk to many political parties.
Thanks to Catholic Bishops for organization and mediating political violence related Political Indaba with the three church mother bodies where President Lungu and Mr Hichilema and their respective top party leadership were present.
It’s encouraging that President Lungu has assured the nation that he won’t have sacred cows in fighting against political violence; even among PF cadres. President Lungu has promised to lead a peaceful nation. Encouraging is also HH’s appeal to President Lungu that, as the latter is the Head of State, he has the power to stop political violence regardless of where it comes from.
While accepting such a responsibility to end political violence in the country, President Lungu has appealed to all governance stakeholders such as traditional leaders, the church, the police and the community members to ensure that political violence is stopped; especially as we approach August 11, 2016 presidential and general elections.
Therefore, it is better for a party to remain with few disciplined members who neither get involved in illegal land allocation nor in political violence. Such political party members and cadres promote a good image of the party; and in the process, attract many votes for that party in any election.
Cell: 0977/0967 450151