Feeling rather bored and, frankly, quite irritated by all the loud noises about the Kabushi and Kwacha by–elections, I found myself wondering just how much the PF had reformed, rebranded and changed for the better, in the past one year since they were handed a most humiliating defeat in the 12th August, 2021 National Elections. I decided to visit the PF Constitution to use it as a yard stick, in my evaluation of the PF. The difference between what their Constitution says and the quality of the membership and leadership of the PF is like day and night!
The true test of how mature and serious any political party is can be shown by how it handles its own internal weaknesses, how it learns lessons from defeats and setbacks, and how it always strives to live and operate according to its philosophy, principles and values. Such an organisation inevitably is judged by the quality of its programmes, strategies and tactics, and of course quality of members and leaders. A starting point to learn about any organisation is its constitution or basic rules which govern it.
I will be quite happy to be corrected, if it is confirmed that I am reading from a wrong copy of the PF Constitution. Article 1 (ii) of the PF Constitution miraculously states that the philosophy of the party is to be guided by “humbleness and self – criticism”! As I write this, my hands are shaking with convulsions of laughter which engulf my whole body as I try to make any connection between “humbleness and self – criticism” and the behaviour of Bowman Lusambo and Joseph Malanji, before and after the August 12th, 2021 elections.
There is absolutely nothing “humble” nor any sign of the capacity to self-criticism and learning from past experiences by Lusambo, Malanji and the entire PF. To the contrary, they are some of the best examples of lack of humility and incapacity to self-correct!
The second and only other philosophical orientation of the PF in their party constitution is: “The militant organisation of revolutionary peasants, workers and intellectuals.” My low IQ has failed to find any relationship between loud, arrogant and conspicuous consumers and suspected criminals Lusambo, Malanji and the PF and anything resembling the “militant organisation of revolutionary peasants, workers and intellectuals”. I see a political party in the vicious ruthless grip of personal political and economic power hustlers.
Our national social and economic poverty is inseparable from our moral and spiritual poverty; they in fact reinforce and facilitate the reproduction of each other! And, as is well known, desperate people and individuals, do tend to do desperate things. Article 4 of the PF Constitution includes the dubious assertion that the Party “shall fight for the eradication of Capitalism, with its offshoots; poverty, with its offshoots of Hunger, Ignorance, Disease, Crime, Corruption and the exploitation of man by man.” Both Malanji and Lusambo are petty capitalists being pursued by crime fighting organisations on suspicion of possession of property believed to be proceeds of crime.
At this point, my laughter was turning to anger, very fast. We, the majority of Zambians, are taken for unthinking fools. It is impossible to connect the behaviour of these top leaders of the PF to the constitution of their political party. And it is not just these two clowns – the entire reign of the PF was characterised by creeping authoritarianism, self-enrichment, corrosion and destruction of state institutions, corruption on a grand scale and erosion of our democracy – these evils accelerated with the ascent to power of Edgar Chagwa Lungu. I am not aware of any Zambian who ever attempted to hold the PF accountable to their own party constitution. It is clear that their contempt for their own party constitution was reproduced in government: they lost the elections last year, very humiliatingly, precisely because they were a law unto themselves!
Article 13 of the PF Party Constitution deals with quality of leadership. Article 13 (i) says a leader “Must be selfless and prepared to spread the benefits of independence to all citizens without regard to tribe, race, colour, sex, religion, region of origin.” It was during the period of the PF in government that Zambia became extremely polarised along tribal lines. Zambia actually experienced violent xenophobia. As for spreading the benefits of“independence” there is no doubt that Edgar Lungu and his close friends in government all got more than their fair share as they sank the bulk of the Zambian people deeper into poverty.
In pure Orwellian terms, Article 13 (ii) boldly announces, that “a leader must not use his official position for personal or private gain or benefit or practice favouritism contrary to the purposes for which he holds the office; or engage in any corrupt practices or receive any secret income, accept bribe or participate in any criminal activities.” At this stage my anger was turning into a burning rage. I know I am quite stupid; but I am not an idiot. The PF could have won the elections quite easily last year. All they needed to do was suspend, investigate and apply party discipline to all the individuals in the PF who are now publicly known to be criminal suspects and are being investigated for crimes. And Zambia would have been spared an agent of neo-colonialism.
Genuine members of the PF could have caused Edgar Lungu to be dismissed as president of the PF and therefore made to vacate the presidency of Zambia. It is impossible that anyone among the leaders of the PF would not have known about the mass looting and plundering of Zambia’s finances and natural resources that was going on, by the PF. Edgar Lungu himself is on record, when he was president, openly talking about the industrial level corruption and looting of state resources. At the very least, there would have been mass resignations from the PF in protest at the rot inside it. This did not happen.
The PF Constitution in Article 13 (iii) explicitly states that “a leader who indulges in any of these prohibited practices shall be deemed to have himself created conditions for his removal from office” There you have it! It is self-evident that the PF were a lawless, anarchical, unconstitutional organisation, by the prescripts of their own constitution. There was no mass membership movement in the PF to stop those who were using their official positions for personal or private gain or benefit or practicing favouritism contrary to the purposes for which they were holding office; or engaging in any corrupt practices or receiving any secret incomes, accepting bribes or participating in any criminal activities! To the contrary, violent PF party cadres were elevated to a supreme political position, in the country.
This is not a problem of the PF members and leaders alone as such, it is a problem of all of us, Zambians, and the entire political system and its electoral mechanisms by which government as the main means of making personal money changes hands. We have a political system suffering from extreme moral poverty: our politics are not driven by high moral values upon which public service can be based, rather, instead they are driven by ruthless competition for personal survival, for personal enrichment. Our political parties therefore go through the charade of producing constitutions, manifestoes and such similar fake documents because they need to meet the Registrar of Societies requirements for registration, and because these are every day fake practices of political parties: not because they actually believe in what is contained in them!
Ultimately, to confirm just how spiritually empty and soulless our politics have become, both Malanji and Bowman have been picked by a “repentant and rebranded” PF to stand in Kwacha and Kabushi, in spite of the criminal charges hovering around them.
Whatever else we must do, we need to sort out both the Zambian Constitution and all electoral laws to make very clear that whoever causes a vacancy to occur in parliament or the presidency of Zambia must not be allowed to stand at least for the duration of the term of that parliament. This way, our political clowns at least will be aware that they will not be allowed to punish us twice in the same term of parliament.
(Send comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org)