YALI president Andrew Ntewewe contrary to public perception, his organisation is not PF-aligned.
And Ntewewe says Zambians must support the motion of limiting the number of times a presidential candidate can contest to avoid anger and bitterness in those that have lost elections.
In an interview, Ntewewe said if the PF moved away from concepts of democracy, his organisation was capable of criticising them.
“No we are not PF. I would like to place it on record that as YALI we have clear principles and values that have ever motivated the positions that we take up. For instance if a political party is not entrenching democratic governance in the way it is handling matters in the political party, they will say ‘no they are not agreeing with us’. YALI is dedicated to its principles of democracy. We have had problems before with the PF on issues of human rights. And we are very happy that at least they were able to offer Zambians an opportunity on the bill of rights,” Ntewewe said.
“If the PF, for instance move away from the concepts of democracy, we are going to have a problem with them. If they go on the path of abusing people’s rights, they are not going to be our friend. So we are not friends of the PF, we are not going to be friends with any political party in Zambia. We are only friends of ideals for democracy and human rights. Our friendship is based on principle.”
Ntewewe said YALI did not agree with UPND on issues of democracy and human rights.
“For UPND, one of the biggest challenges we have with them, is that they have not been practicing intra-party democracy. And that is what we were formed to do, to ensure that we fight for democracy. In terms of human rights, UPND are on record as having told Zambians not to participate in the Referendum of 2016, which was for people’s human rights. Up to now UPND has not apologised to the Zambian people for drawing us backwards in achieving the Bill of Rights which the people of Zambia would have been very happy about. So if you look at this you are going to understand that, yes we do not agree with UPND but it does not mean that they are our enemies, no. We don’t agree with them on issues of democracy and issues of human rights,” he said.
And Ntewewe asked Zambians to support the motion to limit the number of times losing candidates could contest elections.
“What we have been campaigning for is that we want, in our quest to create space for young people in decision making, to limit the number of times someone appears on the ballot. And it surprises us that UPND are the ones that are coming out very strong. It is not only HH that has been on the ballot paper for five times. We have Edith Nawakwi who has been on the ballot paper almost five times as well. Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda has been on the ballot paper for more than four times,” he said.
Ntewewe said the clause should be put in place because political parties were not democratically governed.
“What we are saying is that our political parties are not governed democratically and that is reason why we believe that we should put in place that clause. If the motion is supported you can contest elections for instance, three times then if you have not managed to win the election, you give space to others. We wonder why this is difficult for people to understand because the political party is now a creature of the constitution. In fact the people that are opposing us are saying ‘allow a candidate to contest indefinitely’. In particular, UPND have told us and have given us Article 79 of their constitution which says ‘a president can contest elections indefinitely’. This is what Zambians fought against in 1990. They fought against this because [Kenneth] Kaunda had been office for 27 years and he believed that only he, himself can be the President of this country,” he said.
“For 28 years Zambia has continued to be at peace, Zambia has seen development and a lot of advancement because we have had five different Presidents. All of them coming with their new thinking, new imaginations and new energy. This is the same principle which we want applied to the political party that if somebody serves their limited period of time, they leave and pave way for others so that others can also bring in new imagination. Right now UPND can believe that the only person who can lead the party better is HH. But the reality is UPND has so many other young people, citizens with better ideas that can lead that party better and ensure that the party becomes a key vehicle for democracy in our country.”
Ntewewe said it was greed and personal ego for someone who had lost elections five times to still want to stand.
“Of what use would it be if the people deny you and reject you five times and you still want to go back? It means that you are not standing on the platform where you are looking at the public good, its about your personal ego and greed. All we are saying is that the young people of this country must be able to support this progressive motion because it creates spaces for young people and it reduces anger from those that loose elections. Because when somebody looses one time, two, three times, eventually they will become very angry and bitter with everyone. That is what we want to avoid. We are nurturing a situation where individuals become so angry and bitter at the fact that people have denied them,” said Ntewewe.