WE understand why some aspiring candidates are angry and disappointed that they have not been adopted by their various political parties to stand in this year’s election.
There was so much at stake. Many of them have for years yearned to represent their constituencies in Parliament and have been preparing for this occasion. Some of them are indeed very popular among the grassroots, good party organisers and effective community leaders who would make wonderful Members of Parliament.
Others have spent a fortune to ensure they are adopted. They had somehow wormed their way to the top echelons of the party hierarchy in Lusaka and were certain of being picked but were not. Many bought their way onto the adoption lists. They bribed officials from the lower organs and managed to climb their way through the primaries even though they were unpopular or little known.
In all at least 5,000 aspiring candidates must have applied for adoption in the various political parties taking part in the August 2016 election. It was a huge number against only a few hundreds of MPs, executive mayors, district council chairmen and councillors. And only one presidential candidate from each party. No doubt many knew they would not make it.
What these aspiring candidates who have not been adopted should understand is that they are not losers. They failed to make it because the positions they were vying for were too few. Besides, this was an intra-party contest and there had to be many who stood to be disappointed.
The policy-making bodies of these parties had a tough time to choose who would represent them in this historic election which will be held simultaneously with the National Referendum as well as the fact that the presidential candidate must win by a 50 percent plus one vote.
All these factors put extra pressure on party leaders not only to follow the wishes of the grassroots at primary level but also find the best candidate who will not only pull in more votes but one who is ideal for the major national tasks ahead.
In this day and age of gender politics, the parties had to balance the equation and adopt as many women as possible. The problem being that in many of these constituencies the men were better known by virtue of the historic nature of our politics. But this had to change. Women too had to come to the fore even though they were not better known in their communities.
Those aspiring candidates who failed to make it this time therefore should not despair. There are still many opportunities in the future. For those who belong to the party that will win the election, there are many ‘‘rooms in my father’s house’’. They can still be given other responsibilities even though they have not been elected.
The lesson from this adoption process is that contestants must learn to give and take. They must be totally committed to their parties and accept whatever the outcome of the intra-party adoption exercise. They must now join the campaign trail and help their parties sell the candidates of their choice. They must stop complaining, protesting or travelling to Lusaka to air their grievances. It is too late.
True blue-blooded members of the party are those who dream for the success of their parties whether or not they have been adopted. They only want one thing – that their party and especially their presidential candidate – must make it to State House.