THE Southern Africa Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes says recent squabbles in the ruling PF highlight the need for the party to take greater control over its structures and members across the country. SACCORD executive director Boniface Cheembe however hailed the party’s practice of holding countrywide provincial elections to put new leadership in place.
“The squabbles and conflict that has been experienced in the last few weeks in the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) as the party engages in provincial elections and other democratic processes in preparation for the convention in 2020 is an indication of the need for the party to take much greater control over its structures and members across the country,” Cheembe said.
“It is encouraging to see the party practice democracy by holding countrywide provincial elections to put in place new leadership. The exercise of holding elections means that the party is leading by example, as a ruling party, to show other political parties in the country on the need to hold democratic elections and this is something that is welcome and must be supported by all democracy loving Zambians.”
Cheembe however noted that democracy comes with own challenges that must be addressed amicably and peacefully by the party putting in place strong conflict management procedures and systems.
“This is important because differences will always emerge in a democracy and it must never be about whether conflict or differences will arise but rather once they do arise how can they be peacefully resolved? This is certainly the case at the national or party levels. An example of where democratic elections have provided a challenge are the provincial elections for the Eastern Province of Zambia where incidences of political violence have been reported and have since been addressed,” Cheembe said.
He appealed to the PF to remain resolute and steadfast in its continued quest to remain democratic by proceeding with the holding of provincial elections.
“Such are challenges of democracy and sometimes such challenges may act as a factor to demotivate democrats from holding elections and thereby retrogress on major scores achieved on ensuring that political parties remain democratic which is important to having a democratic country as a whole,” Cheembe said.
“We therefore appeal to the ruling PF to remain resolute and steadfast in the continued quest to remain democratic by proceeding with the holding of provincial elections as well as any other democratic practices/processes that they would like to embark upon as a party notwithstanding the challenges.”
Appealing to the PF secretary general Davis Mwila, Cheembe said conflict management mechanisms must be popularised among party structures and membership so that there is order and discipline. Cheembe stressed that when conflict arise it does not lead to political violence and polarization of the party thus the need for management mechanisms.
“In addition, these conflict management mechanisms must be able to quickly address any fallout that may come about because of elections and the different camps that emerge in the party due to elections,” said Cheembe.
“As a ruling party the PF must lead by example and once the office of the secretary general ensures greater investment in internal conflict management systems it will go a long way in promoting more unity and harmony within the party.”