UNZA lecturer Professor Bizeck Phiri has advised the incoming ruling party not to tolerate any political opportunists.
In an interview, Prof Phiri urged politicians to stick to one political party as opposed to moving from one party to another.
“If you have noticed when people are moving [from one party to another], the language they use is not acceptable and demeaning to the leaders because they are leaving that party. I cannot be in this party because of A, B, C, D. Two or three days along the way, they are back and start apologizing. Now how do people trust such a leader? So as we move forward, let people hold firm to what they believe in. If you join a political party, stick with it. It is better to give advice from within. The best advice is not on public media,” Prof Phiri said.
“When people start joining politics, they should not just join for vying for a political position but must believe what the political party stands for. I always give an example that in Zambia, we are a Christian nation of One Zambia, One Nation. We have quite a number of Christian denominations in Zambia like the Roman Catholic, the United Church of Zambia, Pentecostal churches and so on. So you cannot have a person saying today you are Catholic, tomorrow you go to Pentecostal then again you go back to Pentecostal, what kind of a Christian are you? Every Christian denomination has certain ways in which they view and accord God. The same goes for political parties, when you belong to one, you need to stay there. You cannot be moving up and down. That raises a lot of questions about the individual.”
Prof Phiri advised political parties to desist from accepting political opportunists.
“If you feel there is something wrong, you can address your leadership behind closed doors and advice. People talk about freedom of expression but at the end of the day we must not abuse it by going to undress our leaders in public. That is not the best way to go. Leaders need to go into introspection. Where did we go wrong, how do we rebuild so that come 2026 we are a better stronger and united party and we can ably fight to get back to power? But if you resign saying all sorts of things, that to me is not leadership. We must not accept such and political parties must desist from accepting political opportunists,” he said.
And Prof Phiri said the significant number of independent candidates who had won parliamentary seats called for political parties to promote intraparty democracy and adopt candidates wanted by the people.
“The turnout was very high. Even when you listen to the announcements that are being made the turnout of 62 constituencies that have been made, the turnout was over 75% which is very high. What is significant about the elections we have just had was that we had more youths who participated in voting. If you look at where we are coming from, unemployment was the most challenge among youths. Another aspect we have seen is that there are a considerable number of independent candidates. In most constituencies, a number of independent candidates have gone through because the political parties were ignoring the popular people on the ground and adopting candidates who were not popular. As a result that also cost the parties to lose seats. Political parties need to learn to hold significant interest to issues of intra party democracy,” said Prof Phiri.