University of Zambia (UNZA) political science lecturer Lee Haabasonda says if the political situation in Zimbabwe remains tense, it will have a spillover effect on neighbouring countries including Zambia.

And Haabasonda says the involvement of coercive apparatus like the militants into political affairs is unhealthy and a danger to democracy.

In an interview, Haabasonda expressed concern that there would be an influx of immigrants of the political situation in Harare degenerated.

“However, should the situation in Zimbabwe deteriorate further we anticipate spill over effects in the neighbouring countries. There will be movement of people along the border lines and obviously this could lead to destabilisation. Once there is mass movement of people this has a whole range of impact economically, socially and otherwise,” he said.

“We anticipate that the collateral damage arising from the military interference in Zimbabwe will be minimal. However, the solution lies squarely with the Zimbabweans.”

Haabasonda noted that there were several lessons that arose out of the crisis in Zimbabwe and encouraged Zambia to learn from that country.

“The crisis in Zimbabwe is largely a case of failure of internal democracy within the ruling ZANU-PF. The push to personalise state power as though it were a family affair is almost always misdirected and undermines competitive politics. Failure to allow for open competition within political parties give a false sense of security and leads to poor judgement by those who feel political power belongs to them. Clearly Mugabe took democracy and its processes for granted. Therefore, Zambian political parties can do well to learn to encourage internal democracy so that they do not live under false security that all members agree with them and that they can expel members without due processes being followed. There are certainly consequences for short-changing democracy and for ZANU-PF this has backfired,” he said.

“The desire to stay in power at the expense of the greater majority of the people of Zimbabwe has cost Mugabe and the lesson for us from this debacle in Zimbabwe is that it is important for political leaders to put the interest of those they govern before their own. Democracy is about alternation of power and African leaders including our own should learn to allow others to rule instead of believing they are invincible and must rule until they die. Indeed, African leaders must learn to leave the stage while the audience is still clapping. Clearly overstaying in political office almost always ends tragically.

says the involvement of coercive apparatuses like militants and the police into political affairs is unhealthy and a danger to democracy.

And Haabasonda has advised Zambian politicians to encourage intra party democracy within their various political parties to serve the country from finding itself in a political crisis like what is happening in the neighbouring Zimbabwe.

Commmenting on the political situation in Zimbabwe where the military took over power on Tuesday last week and confined that country’s leader to his House, Habasonda told News Diggers! in an interview that Zimbabwean sodiers should have resorted to more civilised ways of removing President Robbert Mugabe from office.

“Many commentators in the region and afar have been apologetic about the military interference in Zimbabwean politics almost to the disregard of constitutionalism. Although Mugabe may have overstayed in power, people must encourage more civil means of change through reform and dialogue, this is the culture of democracy. The tendency to integrate the coercive apparatuses especially military, intelligence and police into political and civil affairs is unhealthy and dangerous in a democracy. While this strategy works against the opposition in the short term, it is clear that in the long run it can equally turn against the ruling party itself as happened to Mugabe. Therefore, there is need for Zambia and other African countries to depoliticise the state security apparatuses by promoting professionalism and ethical conduct,” Haabsonda said.