The announcement by the Patriotic Front Secretary General that the ruling party will be going to the elective general assembly this July is a commendable fulfilment of the provisions of the Republican Constitution. It shows that the party is willing to adhere to the supreme law of the land as they seek a fresh mandate to govern this country.
Other political parties seeking to form government must emulate the PF and inform the public when they will have their own elective conferences. This process is as important as the general elections because it ensures that leaders are elected through a thorough democratic process.
But while we are commending the ruling party on this announcement, it’s important that rules and procedures are upheld at the convention in accordance with the party constitution. If a political party disregards its constitution, then there is no way it can respect the Republican Constitution.
So, what does the PF constitution say about the elective conference? In order to show the illegalities that have already characterised the planned PF general conference, we would like to quote the party’s constitution.
THE PATRIOTIC FRONT CONSTITUTION
STRUCTURE OF THE PARTY
1) The Structural organization of the Party shall be based on the following democratic principles:
(a) All organs of the Party shall be elective;
(b) All organs of the Party shall unless otherwise stated be answerable and shall periodically submit account of their work to the body that elected or constituted them;
(c) A decision of a superior organ shall be binding upon subordinate organs;
(d) A decision of the majority shall prevail over that of the minority who shall be required to defend such a decision as their own;
(e) Except where it is otherwise provided in this Constitution, the quorum for all Party meetings shall be half of the members who are entitled to attend the meeting.
(1) The supreme policy-making organ of the Party is the General Conference;
(2) The General Conference shall meet ordinarily every five (5) years but extraordinary session may be convened as provided in this Constitution;
(3) An extraordinary General Conference shall have the same powers as the ordinary General Conference;
(4) The General Conference shall be attended by:
(a) All members of the National Council; and
(b) Up to 500 delegates from each province selected in accordance with rules made by the Central Committee;
(5) The General Conference shall have the following functions:
(a) To elect the President of the Party and Members of the Central Committee;
(b) To formulate and revise Party policies and programmes;
(c) To amend, approve or adopt Party Constitution;
(d) To define and orientate general policies for the nation’s development;
(e) To consider and approve National Development Plans.
(6) The voting at the General Conference shall be by secret ballot.
DECISIONS OF THE GENERAL CONFERENCE
The decisions of the General Conference shall be valid and obligatory for the Party and may only be revoked or altered by the General Conference.
ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE PARTY
(1) The President of the Party shall be elected at the General Conference of the Party.
(2) A candidate shall indicate to the Secretary-General of the Party his intention to stand for the Office of the President of the Party not less than one day before the date of the General Conference.
(3) The Secretary General of the Party shall submit the name or names of the candidates to the Central Committee for consideration and where there is more than one candidate the Central Committee may indicate support for one of the candidates.
(4) The Central Committee shall submit the name of the candidate or candidates to the National Council for approval or disapproval.
(5) The person whose candidature for the office is not approved by the National Council shall not be Eligible for election at the General Conference for the office of the President of the Party.
(6) A candidate whose candidature for the office of the Presidentof the Party is approved by the National Council shall lodge his nomination papers with the Returning Officer appointed by the Electoral Commission supported by twenty (20) delegates from each of the Provinces of Zambia attending the General
(7) If more than one candidate stand for the office of the President of the Party, each delegate to the General Conference shall vote for one candidate only and the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes shall be the sole candidate for election to the office of the President of the Republic.
(8) Where only one candidate has filed nomination papers at the close of nomination, such a Candidate shall be declared duly elected President of the Party without conducting a poll.
(9) A member of the Party shall not be qualified as a candidate for the office of the President of the Party unless he has been a member of the Party for five (5) years immediately preceding the nomination and he is qualified under the Constitution of Zambia for election to the office of the President of Zambia.
(10) If the person elected as President of the Party is not elected as President of the Republic he shall continue to be President of the Party until a President of the Party is elected at another extra ordinary General Conference.
As far as we know, the PF constitution has not been changed because it is only the general conference that has the power to change the party constitution. Now, tomorrow we will demonstrate how the PF has already breached its constitution and how the outcome of that general assembly that Mr Davies Mwila announced is poised to produce illegitimate leaders.