Zambia’s Wasteful By-Elections in Perspective

By and large, Zambia’s political landscape has in the recent past witnessed a rise in number of preventable and unwanted by-elections especially at parliamentary level.

The recent Mufumbwe, Livingstone, Mpongwe, Kapiri-mposhi and now the looming Feira, Solwezi East and Kafulafuta parliamentary by-elections speak volume of how rotten, contaminated and hopeless our political system has become of. How many more parliamentary by-elections are we going to have before 2016?

Sadly, the basis and circumstances as to why these by-elections are held, reveal the gloomy picture of the political standing on the part of some of the lawmakers given the mandate to run the affairs of our country.

Greedy, selfishness and the lust for acquisition of enormous wealth on the expense of the majority poor has become a norm and taken centre stage of our political culture. In as much as we appreciate the provisions in our current constitution vis-a-vis, freedom to choose and belong to any political party of choice, politics of the “belly” as attested by one political relic in the current government has seen our country loosing billions of Kwacha´s for unnecessary and useless by-elections.

For a small growing economy like ours, spending monies on an unplanned and budgeted activities will not help us in any way but rather have a severe ripple effect on the general welfare of the people. The large sums of money spent on these by-elections and campaigns could in one way or the other be used for construction of social services such as schools, health facilities, roads as well as to some extent help mitigate the recent fuel hike and the erratic power supply.

As if not enough, our government will again lobby for more monetary assistance from the western countries for the so called developmental activities. Why can’t the government channel the same money spent on these by-elections to fund projects that will benefit the poor masses? Are we not ashamed? It is really a paradox that a poor Europe and America vis-a-vis natural resources availability could still be feeding a rich Africa and Zambia in particular.

In as much as we appreciate and espouse working together of opposition political parties with the ruling government so as to foster development, It is in my strongest opinion that any responsible and mature government of the people by the people for the people should not concentrate on dividing the opposition by way of wooing it´s members of parliament for unjustifiable government positions so as to keep itself in power in perpetual and weaken the opposition, but rather, it should focus on formulating sound economic policies that would uplift the living conditions of the citizenry and eventually that provides a basis upon which to win trust and the mandate to rule. Alas! The situation at hand seems far from reality and difficult for one to comprehend.

In conclusion, very often, I tend to wonder whether the idea of relinquishing one’s opposition parliamentary seat in order to join the party in government has any value per se as alleged by some of our law makers. The cost that comes with it is indeed mammoth to comprehend. For as long as poverty continue being our companion, the very fundamental tenets of our constitution that provides for freedom of association to any political party of choice will always crush with the selfish and greedy personal needs of the people given the mandate to rule and better our social, political and economic welfare.

Lee Elias Tembo contributed this article via email to Zambia Reports – the author is solely responsible for the content of the article, which may or may not reflect the views of the owners of the website.

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