Political analyst Dr Alex Ng’oma says the National Assembly should quickly pass the Political Parties Financing Bill in order to control politicians from using money as a tool for winning elections.
And Dr Ng’oma has regretted that Zambia has embraced a culture where only members of parliament, councillors and officials from the ruling party can benefit from public funds.
In an interview, Dr Ng’oma observed that using money to win elections was undemocratic, and that it had the potential to destroy the future of the country and generations to come.
He, therefore, argued that the enactment of the Political Parties Financing Bill into law would effectively end vote buying, which usually characterises elections in Zambia.
“Vote buying has no room in a democracy because it deprives people of the best possible candidate. In fact, this is the reason why the Political Parties Financing Bill must be passed, so that we control the use of money in elections. People must never win elections just because they have the largest amount of money to buy votes or to influence the thinking of people. People must win elections because they have the best agenda for the nation, for their constituencies, for their wards. So, it is extremely important that we do not allow money to determine who wins. Instead, it must be ideas, it must be programmes and it must be projects in terms of manifestos that focus on the needs and wants of the people that must cause people to win an election. That I think is the way to go,” Dr Ng’oma said.
He advised Roan and Bahati constituents not to be enticed by politicians wanting to buy their votes on election day.
“As we approach the 11th of April when people will be voting in the Bahati and Roan constituencies, my advice, really, is that the voters in those constituencies must not be duped by what they can get for today only. Their lives are supposed to be much longer than the gains of a particular day. So, they should vote for ideas. They should vote for a person with ideas that are likely to benefit them for a lifetime. They must not be enticed and bought just because someone is dangling money in their faces and they need that money; that is not democratic! They are sacrificing their future like that and they are sacrificing the future of their children and the future of this nation! It is important to be long-sighted and to do the right thing that must always be done in elections, that is voting for progressive ideas.”
And Ng’oma said it was unfortunate that only those belonging to the ruling party had access to public resources.
“It’s unfortunate but true that a member of parliament from the ruling party will always find it easy to go to State House and ask for something. A councillor from the ruling party will always find it easy to go State House where the money is, apparently, to ask and say: ‘can you give us money for a road, can you do this for us.’ But an opposition member of parliament will find it difficult!,” observed Dr. Ng’oma.