What type of multiparty democracy is this?


“In Zambia today, politicians are busy scheming on how they should win elections, how they should stop that one and that one but they are not telling us as to why they should win those elections,” says Harry Kalaba.

Our politics are being hijacked by a comparatively small number of people who seek to dominate the debate by screaming the loudest and threatening everybody else with the power of the state they control. They insist on conformity to their agenda. They demonise dissent and consider all political opponents their enemies. Fear is their favourite tactic as they try to divide and impose their hegemony on the whole nation.

True leadership will not be measured by the ability to muzzle dissent, or to intimidate and harass political opponents.

There’s really no need to get into a stand-up fight with any political opponent. Each has his or her own views, people know or should know what they are, they can agree or they can choose to disagree. It’s not worth it every day wasting time just rubbishing everybody else.

You don’t win public confidence by every day trying to abuse, harass, intimidate, humiliate, frustrate political opponents.

Nobody ever won public confidence, trust and support by spitting at his or her political opponents every day.

Edgar seems to be writing a playbook on how to utterly use and abuse our criminal justice system, the intelligence and state security agencies to attack and spy on political opponents.

Today, the police and the intelligence services are busy everywhere following Hakainde Hichilema, Chishimba Kambwili, Harry Kalaba and leaders of the Socialist Party trying to find out who they are talking to and what they are talking about and report back to Edgar and his minions. For what? Is this the job of the police, the intelligence in a multiparty democracy?

All this today seems a fair game. And questioning this behaviour by state agencies and government actors is seen as something terrible and must be ostracised. Sadly, they do not care as they have no moral code other than to retain power at any or all costs. They have turned the police and the intelligence services into units of the ruling Patriotic Front and are using them as apparatus to harass and spy on political opponents.

If you have the police and the intelligence services operating in anything less than a neutral and non-partisan way, then that is unacceptable and is contrary to the norms of a multiparty party political dispensation.

But we know that our police and intelligence services have a long history of disregarding this neutrality. Over the last 27 years of multiparty politics, they have failed to meet their mission of neutrality, bowing to political pressure from the ruling party and its government. Eventually, that won’t only be used against political opponents but the whole population.

That’s what happens when a leader rejects the rules and guidelines civilisation has created over the centuries, refined through time with its backbone grounded in democratic values.

How can you expect people that are consumed with power and mentally or spiritually dominated by corruption and evil thoughts to have any sense of ethical boundaries? We are seeing a corrupt tandem of thieves racing towards a dictatorship.

In a country where people sense, quite genuinely, that their freedoms have been taken away by an abusive and corrupt clique, people may start to feel powerless. Ernest Hemingway warned, “You can wipe out your opponents. But if you do it unjustly, you become eligible for being wiped out yourself.”

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “At times, one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid.”

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