(continued from last week)
By Gregory Kaputula
16. Governance: Good governance and authentic democracy are possible only in a state that has rule of law, and on the basis of a correct conception of the human being. They have to be built on the basis of justice and moral values, and have to look to the common good. They demand a correct understanding of the dignity and rights of the person. When in government, the Socialist Party is offering to: (i) emphasise democratic constitutionalism as ultimately, the foundation by which a society, through the clash and compromise of ideas, institutions, and individuals, reaches, however imperfectly, for truth; (ii) promote coalition building as the essence of democratic action. Coalition building teaches interest groups to negotiate with others, to compromise, and to work within the constitutional system.
The Socialist Party, when in government, is promising to see to it that all people constantly bear in mind that theirs is a poor country. To reduce costs, State House will be an office and not a residence. The president, vice-president, and cabinet ministers, will take care of their homes from their salaries. Cabinet positions will be reduced through amalgamation. Some ministries will become departments. Under local government, the Socialist Party believes in devolving power to local communities. The socialist government is promising to allocate extra funding to local government. They will also review and reform council tax and business rates, and consider new options to ensure local government has sustainable funding for the long term.
The Socialist Party, when in government, is also promising to improve efficiency and accountability of public oversight institutions – the National Assembly, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Drug Enforcement Commission, the Financial Intelligence Centre and the Public Protector – through capacity building and increased funding. Everything possible will be done to ensure that these institutions perform their oversight roles independently, efficiently, and effectively. And given the importance of a credible free press to both development and democracy, the Socialist Party is promising to remove all constraints on press freedom, and create a more favourable financial, economic and political environment for the media to survive and prosper.
17. Programme for securing peace: The primary duty of any government is to protect and defend its citizens. The Socialist Party is promising to change the defence and security doctrine of the country. The best-defended country is one where every citizen is a warrior – ready to defend territory, property and life. Defence is too great an assignment to be left in the hands of an ill-equipped army with an inappropriate doctrine. Under its programme for securing peace, the party is promising the following: (i) ensure that our armed forces are properly equipped and resourced to respond to wide-ranging security challenges; (ii) the socialist government will commit to effective UN peacekeeping, especially within the context of Pan African peace-keeping missions; (iii) commit to a procurement process that supports job creation and the growth of the Zambian defence manufacturing industry; (iv) ensure entry borders are kept safe by immigration and Zambia Revenue Authority officers through cooperation and the collective border decision making of each security unit; (v) depoliticise the police by retraining officers to ensure that effective public safety becomes a priority through safe policing, and; (vi) establish an anti-white collar crime unit to fight economic crimes, such as drugs-related offences and corruption.
The party is promising to champion conflict resolution and dialogue, negotiated settlements and peacekeeping missions. The socialist government will ensure that there is no political violence perpetrated by cadres or law enforcement agencies. Peace will become the order of the day. The Socialist Party government will provide jobs and end poverty. This will reduce anger, stress and (structural) violence.
As we discuss the Socialist Party manifesto, we should also take interest in the importance of social contracts. NGOs, politicians and citizens have a pivotal role to play in raising awareness in electorates about making politicians accountable to their campaign promises. Electorates have a role in making politicians accountable by making politicians sign social contracts against their promises. Malcom X once said; “Anytime you throw your weight behind a political party that controls two – thirds of the government, and that party can’t keep the promise that it made to you during election time, and you‘re dumb enough to walk around continuing to identify yourself with that party, you’re not only a chump, but you‘re a traitor to your race.”
On August 12, 2021 Zambians will have a chance to cast their vote and choose their next president, members of parliament, mayors or council chairpersons and councillors. This manifesto sets out how the Socialist Party will transform Zambia when voted into office from 2021 to 2026. Indeed, in a society anchored on the values of equity, honesty, humility and solidarity, this manifesto is more than capable of bringing about Justice, Equity and Peace. It is a manifesto of the humble, by the humble for the humble.
I cannot wait to peruse more 2021-2026 election manifestos by other political parties in Zambia.
The author is a development activist, law student and a social commentator. Send comment to: gregory. kaputula @gmail.com