2019 is firmly upon us, after having had a tumultuous 2018 that left many unsolved political questions. We welcome 2019 and hope that it becomes the year that Zambia breaks new ground. But our beautiful country still suffers from a post August 2016 election hangover, even if it now two years after that bitterly contested election. Political parties are still bickering about who won the August 2016 general elections. Even those that won the elections still remain preoccupied with justifying their victory. And for the losers it has remained a running funeral with every trick pulled out of the hat to justify how they were robbed of victory. Every aspect of Zambian social, political and economic life remains tied to the post 2016 hangover.
Both sides of the political divide have bred attack dogs that have become conduits for attacking opponents with relentless venom. These need no identity tags as they are well known. This should definitely not be carried over to 2019. Those charged with the responsibility of managing the affairs of this country must expend their energies towards not only building consensus but working on tangible developmental aspects as they have been doing on the roads, health and educational infrastructure. After all it is the roads, health posts, schools and food on the table that Zambian are most concerned about. Everything else is secondary. No more cat and mouse aerobatics by political players on the now almost monotonous discourse on national dialogue.
It is a year that it should be made clear whether it is ever going to happen or not? Given the hopelessness with which this subject has been handled with thus far, we may be tempted to ask the question, does the country really need this kind of drama around dialogue? Of course dialogue is necessary in any kind of political environment. It is not a secret that no matter the good intentions of the conveners of this dialogue process, the political players still see it as a point of scoring political points. Therein lies the problem. The original conveners of this dialogue process, the Commonwealth under Patricia Scotland saw through this anomaly and could play no further part in the comical process. In 2019, the country will not afford this kind of drama anymore.
It is a year that if nothing is resolved, then there will even be a slimmer chance of resolving it in 2020 as the focus will be back to elections. 2019 is some form of political watershed that we should all take advantage of and make some real progress to ensure that there are fewer conflict points marching into 2021. Let those that are building roads, hospitals, schools and other structures be given space to do so without unnecessary interruptions, of course where there are questionable activities around contracts, let questions be raised with facts and not mere insinuations and malice. Let the country not lose the opportunity that 2019 presents to make things right again. The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has drawn a reasonable roadmap that although the public may find unconvincing, given their experience with elections but if adhered to, could prove vital in overseeing a less contentious election in 2021.
We wish all our followers a Happy 2019!