Political analyst Dr Alex Ng’oma says opposition political parties in Zambia are divided and fragmented and they cannot offer meaningful checks and balances to the government of the day.

On Monday, outgoing NAREP president Elias Chipimo announced his decision to retire from politics, saying he wanted to serve the country in other ways.

Reacting to the announcement, Dr Ng’oma said while Chipimo’s resignation should not be used to judge the state of the opposition in the country, they remained deeply fragmented and divided.

He said Zambians deserved a strong and constructive opposition political party as an alternative, credible government-in-waiting, but lamented that there was none at the moment.

“We have to be careful not to use Elias Chipimo’s move as a way of judging the opposition. I think that would be unfair. He is simply a free moral agent, who by the Constitution of this country, is free to found a political party, to deregister his own political party or to move own to another party. He is completely free to do that. But generally, I think that the opposition in this country is so divided, so fragmented that it cannot offer meaningful checks and balances to the government of the day. And that is a disaster of our time. And one would wish that we didn’t have too many political parties. One would wish that we didn’t have politicians with blind ambition. They don’t even know where they are going, but they would stand up and say ‘I want to be the President of Zambia,” Dr Ng’oma said.

“And they are forever criticizing! You will never hear them suggest anything constructive or anything positive that the nation should do. That is the disaster of our kind. They lack focus! And that way, they can’t provide proper checks and balances to government. The people of Zambia deserve a strong and constructive opposition, but they don’t seem to have one at the moment. If it was focused, it would actually pin-point the weaknesses are and pin-point what should be done to correct the situation. Nobody is offering anything. People are just criticizing and they are asking international communities to put pressure on us. No solutions whatsoever!”

He, however, pointed out that the outcome 2021 general election remained difficult to predict as anything could happen in politics.

“2021 is very, very far away and you never know what changes can take place. Changes that can alter the fortunes or misfortunes of a particular political party. So, I would not want to comment on 2021 because of what I know. In politics, things can change in one week depending on what some parties do, and that I think should be a reasonable way to look at it,” said Dr Ng’oma.