THE compromise may have bought peace and temporary respite but has done nothing to assuage fears of authoritarianism, which is a threat to libral democracy.
Intra-party and indeed inter-party elections are the essence of democracy beacuse those who feel best suited offer themselves for elective office and in the process make themselves accountable.
What transpired in the selection of Lusaka deputy moyoral election was a total negation of the principle of democracy and free choice.
There must be intra-party democracy if the PF is to exude strength of character and resilience against external forces that would try to destabilise its party structures.
It is a democratic dictate that those who qualify for elective positions are given an opportunity to freely vie for such positions.
Attempts to thwart an expression of aspiration to such elective position by members within the party runs counter to the spirit of democracy and must be fought head on.
And we think the earlier stance taken by the PF leadership as stated by the party secretary general fell short of the expected democratic ethos.
The mere hand picking of a councillor without following the due process was typically dictatorial in nature. It barred those with interest to aspire for such an elective position.
As rightly noted, Councillor for Nkoloma Ward 1, Tasila Lungu, was the one who had her constitutional and democratic right infringed upon knowing that the party had undemocratically decided to back the candidature of Christopher Shakafuswa.
This unpopular decision spontaneously sparked public debate on whether Tasila did not qualify premised on her family ties to the First Family though she is an elected councillor eligible for election to the position of Deputy Mayor according to Article 154 (3) of the Republican Constitution.
It is an established principle of democracy for candidates to offer themselves for elections they are to be held accountable unlike in a situation where an individual is merely handpicked.
We salute Tasila’s defiance against the dictatorial traits surrounding the choice for the deputy mayoral position. Through her bold decision,
intra-party democracy prevailed.
What then led Tasila and Christopher to withdraw their candidature? Were the two intimidated by senior party officials?
We are reliably told that the decision to settle for Roma Ward 17 councillor Chilando Chitangala other than the duo was arrived at a councillors’ meeting.
Of course, this was after the PF councillors received counsel from the senior party officials on the matter. Consequently the earlier contenders opted to step aside for another councillor in the interest of fair play.
That is how Chilando Chitangala was nominated and seconded for the deputy mayoral position for the city of Lusaka.
Probably, calling for a meeting is what should have been done right at the beginning to allow participation of all the councillors in the decision making process as democracy dictates so.
We are concerned that, in absence of party president, the other top leadership failed to do what was democratically correct in resolving a potentially divisive issue.
As an organisation, the PF should not only do the right things when the party president is around. Its modal of operations ought to be hinged on a set of values and principles.
We hope this mediocre and undemocratic handling of issues will not repeat itself within the PF, and that many gallant members shall emerge to shape the party into a truly democratic