PF, UPND rivalry healthy for democracy – SACCORD

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 14:03:04 +0000

By Mailesi Banda

AS LONG as the apparent animosity between the Patriotic Front (PF) and the opposition  United Party for National Development does not degenerate into civil war it is healthy for democracy, says the executive director for the Southern African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD), Boniface Cheembe.

Mr Cheembe said there was need to ensure that the competition between the two leading political parties did not result into political unrest.

Mr. Cheembe said it was important that despite holding different political views the country remained peaceful.

Mr. Cheembe explained that the rivalry between the ruling party and the major opposition political party was not new in Zambia as it had been part of the political tradition for a long time. He said there was need for stakeholders to maintain peace regardless of their differences.

“It is imperative upon all the political stakeholders to play their role in ensuring the democratic base is broadened and that everyone is able to freely express themselves concerning the political situation in the country without being intimidated,’’ he said.

Mr Cheembe urged the media to provide the right message to ensure democracy thrived in the country. “The media has an important role to play in a democracy; if they represent the views of the people accurately they will be helping improve democracy,’’ he said. Mr. Cheembe said that providing checks and balances could be mistaken for animosity if not well articulated.

“The attacks by the opposition on national issues could be mistaken for animosity but it is their way of providing checks and balances to the executive to lead the nation correctly,’’ he said.

He announced that to foster democracy, SACCORD has launched a project to help the growth of a healthy democracy and was calling it ‘‘Broadening the democratic space’’ aimed at providing citizens with a platform to participate in national affairs.


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