VIOLENCE can be the voice of the unheard, and the frustrated. Youth unemployment and broken promises of governments, have created a vacuum for violence. Like a deceptive arrow, recycled Politicians have mastered the art of breaking promises to youths, leaving many on the streets since 1991.
Caderisation of our youth, is a curse on our lack of actualised industrialisation potential, and effective job creation. For how long?
Youths have become violent cadres, instead of being productive citizens and captains of
industry. This must stop right now, if violence is to end. A Youth left on the streets, is a potential cadre, and violent person. Frustrated youths, find solace in violent cadrerism behaviour, misdirecting their energy. Who benefits from political violence? The recycled politicians, who are a testimony of broken promises to our youths in all governments.
What are the pathologies of political violence? By definition or simply put, pathology, is that branch of medicine that deals with the study of how a disease develops, causes, characteristics, and nature of the disease. Consequently, its etymological meaning and use in violence, as a disease, is an attempt to underscore the source of it in our society, so as to culture it and remove it, permanently.
Violence, has become a “social-disease” in Zambian politics. Some of the causalities of it are:
Weak leadership and lack of vision. Political leadership, without vision is weak. It finds funded capital in violence, to win over competitors, to compensate for want of vision and purpose.
Leadership is very complex, because it is a spiritual factor more than its antecedents of performances. People are spirits, in a body, and have a soul. Therefore, to lead spirits, one must master the art of human spirits. This is where many global political pundits fail, in understanding the nature of leadership. True leadership, must create opportunities for our youths.
To be given a title, does not entail having leadership qualities, more so, being among leaders making one as such. Titles, crowns, and having cadres around a leader, does not in any way define the quality of leadership.
Positions, do not define leadership. It is disposition of the qualities of purposeful influence, which qualifies leadership. Politicians, are deceived, to think that gathering a lot of people, makes one a leader or popular. Populism, is the greatest danger to true leadership.
That is why, the spirit of the leader creates organisational culture and behaviour. That is true for nations, and organisations, public or corporate.
Violence, is only a symptom of lack of purpose and vision. True leaders, disdain and abhor violence, because purpose and vision drives them.
The world is bankrupt of true leaders, and violence is the result. The root of violence, is weak leadership and lack of authentic vision. Entire whole nations, are led by politicians without vision.
Lack of serious focus on human development
National Development Plans, are rushed, for Externally-driven Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for 2030, Middle Income Country, or Vision 2063, for the entire African Union (AU).
We have violent young people. We have prioritised; infrastructure development, economic development by the text book, without the required human development of our young people.
SDGs are bare minimum benchmarks, not a vision of a country, but a mere guideline. To pursue them linearly, is the folly of any nation.
All development, must start, by the human development of any country. All else, programmes, as nice as they look will be unsustainable, because nations like Zambia, have a very weak human development index.
People in a country, only have dignity, when they develop primarily, to develop the rest of their country, secondary. When this is omitted, national development is deceptive and lopsided. The quality of any nation, is the quality of its people, nothing more, or less. The under-development of the human resource, panders to violent behavior, in youths and homes.
Lack of knowledge and civility in politics
Zambia, has not yet become a knowledge society. Due to social media, we have become addicted to a post-truth society. Mis-information, and propaganda feeds political party spin- doctors, and media directors, as managers of deception.
The Patriotic Front (PF), had perfected this art of deceptive politics, as a mastery beyond the Macavillian order.
A society, whose knowledge base is neither scientifically savvy, nor biblically sound, will eventually find itself competing with violent behaviour of its people. Civility engenders serenity and confidence to opposing views. There is a level of tolerance in knowledge, to see the “otherness” of others. A lack of knowledge kills initiative, alternatives, and frustrates civility, for violence in our politics.
Election centrred undue competition.
The election-centred political orientation, makes political parties weak. The quest to win, and elections, mostly overrides the purpose of winning elections.
Peer-rivalry, results from this concept of winner takes all. Losers must fight their way up. The rivalry degenerates into trivialities, disguised as checks and balances.
Therefore, cherry picking mistakes of the ruling party, becomes the oxygen of democracy, for
the weak opposition, without a compelling vision outside the failures of the party in power, sadly.
Politics become toxically about undue competition, not of ideas, but personality and violence, ultimately. For how long with this mediocrity? Issue-based campaigns do not exist. Politics of populism, replace reason and rational engagement, for violent exchanges of the parties.
Failure to understand the roles of opposition politics
Failure to understand the roles of opposition parties makes for mediocrity. If to be opposition is; to be a fault- finder, pick small mistakes of the ruling party, post every little thing against the incumbent President,
Opposing everything the ruling party and government is doing, and criticising without any contribution, then we have a long way to develop our democracy.
Article (60) of our Republican Constitution, defines the critical role of the Constitutional mandate of the opposition political parties in the nation, which among others is to be; governments in waiting, offering credible checks and balances, dissemination of information (valuable information), and participating in elections.
All opposition political parties, small and big, are creatures of the Constitution in Zambia, and must be respected. The future of any democracy is small parties, as they renew the old ones sooner or later.
The two-horse political race scenario of democratic existence is dangerous, as it creates a dichotomy of politics. Zambia has a social contract of a multi-party system of existence.
A two-party system is dangerous, as it tends to limit participation by lobbyists and vested interests groups from the super-rich, and manipulations of corruption in the democratic process of a country.
We must never kill our constitutional mandate, for a multi-party system of governance and democracy.
Lack of ideal democratic Values
Democracy, is a system of majoritarian governance of the people, by the people, and for the people. It must be contextualixed, and perfected to suit the twists and turns of society. It is about generating consensus, not coercion.
It is about values of people who are in the party. Part of the ideals of a party, must be to nurture the human resource therein, to represent the ideas of the organiarations they belong to beyond cadrerism.
Members of political parties must be cultured and trained in the values of the party, to have effective participation in the national governance. Value-voters, must come from the internal participants of systems of political parties. Party structures must be knowledgeable, not just gathered by giving handouts and money. Violent cadres, have evolved therefrom.
Zambian political parties must build value- voters, not sentimental-voters, through effective membership. People in political parties must have a think tank, from which they raise credible leadership in all levels of party structures.
Ideas dictate values of the party, which influence policy and action, once in government, ultimately. Ideas rule the world. Leaders, without values and ideas, can only pander to violent politics, for they have nothing to offer, but cheap propaganda.
Cadrerism as a reflection of leadership failure
Cadres, are the mirror of their leaders. Violent cadres are tolerated, by the leadership of every party. The Movement for Multi- party Democracy (MMD), started towards their end of rule, on the path that developed a bad culture of
commercialised politics and cadrerism. Today, this monster that came for political expedience of failed leadership, is biting us all, with violence.
The Patriotic Front (PF), learnt the bad art of violent-cadrerism and perfected it in our markets and bus stops killing the local government system completely.
The ruling party was a beneficiary of revenue collected from public institutions, sadly. Now the UPND-alliance, has a challenge of cadres resurfacing defying the presidential pronouncements, sadly.
Spurts of violence by UPND-cadres in the recent past makes sad. Leadership failure generates a tolerance of cadrerism of members of a party. This must be stopped immediately or they will go on the same path with (PF).
The UPND-Alliance, must show the difference from the PF misrule. The degeneration of
violence on the streets of late, is not what the Zambians want. All structures, must act on this violence that is becoming a social concern of many. It is a misrepresentation of the President’s call for social-order, and reconstruction.
Politics of economics, not power needed
Africa and Zambian politics have degenerated into populism, and “power strongman’s” politics. We choose leaders, who are popular, and pay the price of failure in government later. In 1973, late Valentine Musakanya, wrote a letter to the then Republican First, now late President Kenneth David Kaunda, to curb and desist from populist power politics.
Unfortunately, he was as you guessed well, fired from his position in the United National Independence Party (UNIP). Our politics, are not about the economy, but personality cults, that worship and bootlick our leaders, instead of holding them accountable.
Presidents need solid, well-informed advisors, who can challenge their perspective on policy implementation, and intelligence to govern, effectively. Can we do politics of economics? Every Presidency falls or rises on their advisors, being above board to effectively provide what the country needs. Will the UPND-Alliance be non-violent?
Dr Daniel Mvula Shimunza,
MNT Founding President.