It is fine to go in a fight with all plans hinged on winning. But contingencies need to be in place in an event of a loss. However, contingencies should never be at the expense of all our humble citizens. All players go in a fight expecting either to win or to avoid to lose. But because of our experiences of stale mates, we as a human civilization have come up with ways to ensure that one of the contestants takes the day. The winner takes all mantra. In football, when the game ends in a stale mate during a cup final, the game goes for penalties until one team looses the game.
In our political set up, we have flirted first with multiparty democracy with a simple majority winner taking the day, this was then followed by a one party state were people had to slug it out within UNIP. This was mostly to take away the regional divisions that emerged immediately after independence was won. One this is clear, we need a united front to develop our nation.
The one party state on its own is not a bad system as it is currently working in the world’s second largest economy in the world, China. For Zambia, it failed mainly because the issue of succession was not well spelt out and as KK ruled for more terms and consolidated his power, some fought to bring back multi party democracy, that is what the movement for multiparty democracy (MMD) accomplished in 1991.
Again after the first term of office, there was growing resentment and accusations of regional bias, and this even got worse when late president FTJ tried to entertain the idea of a third term. When this project was abandoned, the MMD pick late president Levy Mwanawasa who was seen to be more neutral with his traditional roots coming from the Central province. This also did not go well with top leaders in the MMD at the time and splinter parties were formed. We had UPND formed by late Anderson Mazoka and PF formed by late president Michael Sata who both took on Levy ‘s government, but it was the PF in the end that gained more popularity and formed government.
The PF formed government ahead of the UPND, a party earlier formed. It’s also interesting to note that the two parties all from emerged from the succession disputes within MMD. Again the cycle began and the counter accusations even got deeper. Call for a majority president emerged, for 50+1 and a new constitution. In retrospect, we see all these calls made for changes as just a means by which elite political players have been trying to enhance their chances of ascending to the throne.
With the 50+1, it was expected that there would be real corroboration between various regions in Zambia and that the playing field will be more on policies and ideology. Are we today seeing any change in the regional nature of our politics? We project that the voting patterns will follow the historical and traditional voting script. Both incumbent President Lungu and his main rival Hichilema are unable to thrive other than through appealing to their traditional support bases. It is now projected to be an election to be decided on voter turn out and leader commanding the traditional support from the regions with the highest numbers have a better chance of emerging victorious.
As Zambians with various traditional and sometimes national backgrounds, we should accept that there is no perfect system on earth for the selection of national leaders. What we have chosen for now is a multi-party democracy, the rule by majority vote with 50+1 as an additional measure. We should therefore instead concentrate our efforts on 100% elections monitoring and other safeguards that ensure that the majority decision taken by Zambians on the 11 August is tabulated accurately.
If certain political players are not happy with this system, we have clear legal methods on how lobbying can be done and how the laws can be amended. Otherwise, these divisions will always exist in any imperfect society. We however should not let our country get derailed due to endless bickering and all year and throughout the presidential term of office campaigning. If you asked President Lungu and main opposition leader Hichilema who is winning next week, they both know the answer. Even us as ordinary citizens can now tell the direction of this race. The issue is how loser will deal with their ego and that of their followers. There is life after elections and more so for the candidates, after loosing. It’s not the end of the world, at least for now.