Zambia needs new, tolerant political culture – Habasonda

University of Zambia Political Science lecturer Lee Habasonda says Zambia needs to invest in a new political culture which respects and tolerates divergent views and the right to associate freely without fear.

In a statement, Thursday, Habasonda stated that it was saddening that violence had become a tool for political participation and recognition, adding that the youth had become sacrificial lambs for the sustenance of the interests of the country’s political demagogues under the umbrella of democracy.

“Clearly the country needs to reshape the socialisation of young people particularly in politics so that the country can hold on to the political moral campus of non-violence that was held by the founding heroes of this country. It is saddening that violence has become a tool for political participation and recognition. Indeed, it is difficult to fathom how youth empowerment and democracy will survive in the present situation where, youth are given the position of thugs and yet they are celebrated and admired in the political sphere. This attitude sustains political violence in our country and unless drastic steps are taken to stop it we risk entrenching both the militarization and criminalization of Zambian politics. This will in turn undermine Zambia both as a tourist and an investment destination. Youth have a duty and responsibility to ensure that this does not happen to our country. They must denounce political sponsors who abuse them,” Habasonda stated.

“Zambia needs to invest in a new political culture which respects and tolerates divergent views and the right to associate freely without fear. In Zambia today young people in politics have become so base that they determine the rights which citizens must enjoy particularly in markets and bus stations. This is not an encouraging trend and it is imperative that responsible authorities engage the youth and create more order to allow for sanity. Regular orientation and enlightenment of the youth is more critical now than ever before. The youth day is also important to reflect upon because the adults too have a role in their conduct. It is not far from the truth to suggest that the youth have become sacrificial lambs for the sustenance of the interests of the country’s political demagogues under the umbrella of democracy in which in most cases, youth are given the impression that they are fighting for their rights and yet they are being used to promote individual interests inimical to public good and a peaceful society.”

Meanwhile, Habasonda warned that whilst choosing to be seeds of violence today, youths should understand that they were laying a dangerous foundation for their children.

“Hence the message to the young people is that they must be on alert and aware of their actions because they are targeted as the instruments of perpetuating violence due to their vulnerability to money and other gifts. I urge them to say ‘no’ to causing harm on another person. Politics is a service for humanity. It is important to ensure that any move to champion for the solidification and sustenance of youth empowerment and democracy in Zambia must first consider the unhooking of youth from every mechanism of political violence, to focus them towards appreciating political diplomacy and meaningful dialogue in resolving political problems,” stated Habasonda.

         

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