Habasonda calls for ‘system’ to manage cadres

THERE must be a system to manage political cadres, says political scientist Lee Habasonda.

During a stakeholder orientation and consultative meeting on enhancing transparency and accountability in the electoral processes in Africa project organised by Panos Institute Southern Africa, Habasonda wondered why cadres were being allowed to be more powerful than institutional offices.

He cited incidents where cadres were seen to be powerful by sharing plots or public officers being transferred after clashing with ruling party cadres.

“There must be a system to manage political cadres. They threaten with violence free and fair elections,” he said on physical safety of the electorate, electoral sites and voting materials.

Habasonda, who is a PHD fellow at the International Centre for Non Violence at the Durban University, said Zambia was inherently a discriminatory state.

“We need to see how we can restructure the state. The public order Act is old and is still used to stop political activism. In Zambia, the problem is not the law, it is a fundamental problem,” he said

He said crowd control in Zambia was very poor.

Habasonda said there was need for personal integrity by each and every actor in the electoral process.

He said there was need for a paradigm shift from a force based orientation to resolve electoral disputes towards non-violent approaches.

Habasonda said there must be clear communication and transparent procedure for implementing the electoral process.

He said the media must promote collective common good and value and not private and partisan interests.

Habasonda said electoral and security officials must perform their duties independently in an imperial and professional manner.

He said the safety of electoral stakeholders and the integrity of the electoral process was as good as the integrity of those tasked to manage the process or contribute to its course.

Habasonda said once honesty and integrity along the chain of duty were abrogated, everyone was exposed to insecurity including risk to property and livelihood.

AFIC (Uganda), Panos (Zambia), Gambia Press Union (Gambia) are implementing a project titled Enhancing Transparency and Accountability in Electoral Processes in Africa on the basis of The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa.

The objectives of the project include to promote citizens access to information in electoral processes in Uganda, Zambia and The Gambia, increase citizens’ participation in electoral processes and enhance disclosure and responsiveness of election management bodies and political parties of the three countries.

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