Tuesday, 27 January 2015

4 Reasons Why MMD Must Survive

The election to choose the sixth president of Zambia has gone. We can finally get back to normality for the next 18 months at least before we are back to the drama once again. Congratulations to Patriotic Front's Edgar Lungu for emerging victorious. It is almost quite difficult to wonder how a party that had been in power for nearly three years was so close to exiting the doors of State House. Despite there being 11 presidential candidates on the ballots, do not be deceived this was a two-horse race. It was between Edgar Lungu and Hakainde Hichilema, of Patriotic Front (PF) and United Party for National Development (UPND) respectively. But what happened to the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD)?

The MMD is the party that ushered in multi-party democracy in 1991, it was the party at the helm of the nation for 20 years. It produced, in my opinion the best president Zambia has had in the late Levy Patrick Mwanawasa. He will be the man, upon which all future presidents shall be measured. It was also during their reign that a lot of ruin occurred. Corruption flourished, unemployment increased as a result of the collapse of significant industries, manipulation of the constitution and many other sins. When the party president, Dr. Nevers Mumba does the post mortem of these election in which he managed a paltry 14, 609 votes which represented 0.8% the results will be extremely uninspiring. The MMD came in fourth and did not even make a blip on the election radar. It is a shame, the signs are reminiscent to what has become of the United National Independence Party (UNIP) that continues to cling to past glory. MMD must find a way to continue on and this why.
MMD President Dr. Nevers Mumba
Checks and balances

It will be a sad turn of events if MMD follows the route of oblivion. It is important that the party find a way of resuscitating itself from the coma it has entered. Zambia is still a young democracy, and every ruling party needs checks and balances. The UPND needs help to do so, it cannot manage this herculean task on its own. The MMD can be one such party, which has an added advantage that the UPND does not have. The MMD was once the ruling party, therefore it knows the ins and outs of government operations. It still has the largest proportion of seats in parliament for opposition members that still makes its a significant factor.

Four-Party State?

The ballot paper this time had 11 candidates, we all know that over half of them were time wasters and just increasing the length of the paper. I would like to see the list of political parties in this country trimmed to say four significant parties with distinct policies and approaches to the country's development. I believe that the MMD can be one of those parties. It already has a foothold and is known by the majority of Zambians. Parties need to prove that they have longevity beyond their term in office. The MMD would be a perfect example for that, I think UNIP is beyond resurrecting. It would be some story if it were to return in power in the future.

Unity's Sake

The MMD is not viewed as party that is supported by particular provinces. It has a broad appeal across the provinces. These elections showed a clear divide in the voting patterns. All parties including the MMD can help bridge this divide. The leaders have a very important role to play in ensuring that it still remains 'One Zambia, One Nation'. The party already has structures in the grassroots from 20 years in power and these are the ones that the MMD can utilise to preach unity.


The MMD are the party that won elections after the one-party state. From then on we have had multi-party elections. Zambia's journey to a democracy cannot be complete without the mention of MMD. It would be great to have the party that began the ball rolling still in existing into the future. In fact, they can be in a position to be the party that others parties look up to. They have been in this game for so long and with the exception of UNIP no other party have been in existence longer than them.


Many celebrated the dismal performance of MMD, but it was difficult for me to be one of them. I would not like to see Patriotic Front disappear when a new party comes into power. I would like to see them continue in existence. Perhaps the performance is diminishing my hope of having a nation that has fewer consolidated and stronger political parties. That will allow Zambians to align themselves with the party specific policies and this would make for some entertaining politics. So yes, MMD must live and not die, they must now find a way how.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Are You Recording This Conversation?

Make the above question part of your New Year's Resolution. Judging by last year's events where we had Hon. Chikwanda, and Hon. Sichinga recorded, it would only be anticipated that more secret recordings are going to pop up in the near future. Early this year Hon. GBM's recording emerged. The strange part about the recordings that have surfaced is that they all involve politicians with someone who they know. A friend kind of person, who they can share their opinions with and hope that what the converse will not be broadcast to the whole nation. I guess they did not receive the memo. Now in 2015 we may be forced to start scrutinizing our friendships.


Hon. Chikwanda and Sichinga recordings were about the government and at that time the health of the late president Michael Sata. While for GMB it was about to his admission of pangas being found in one of his vehicles. For the general public receiving these secret recordings is wonderful because it is the few occasions we get to hear politicians speak the truth and share their honest opinions. The other side of me tells me that it is an absolute invasion of privacy. There are too many people who what to behave like Sherlock Holmes investigating the dirt on individuals and trying to create some scandal. The question that needs to be raised is how far is too far, and what shall we deem as acceptable. The fact that the politicians are unaware that they are being recorded means that the person recording did not get their consent. The questions are leading with the pure intention to get a response.

This is the point where I would require my lawyer friends to explain to me. Is it legal to go around recording secret conversations of people and joyfully distribute them to the nation. At this point I should mention that we should not mistake these recordings for investigative journalism. None of the people involved were journalists. I would have liked to also know what the motives behind the recordings were? Where people being used as pawns? Was someone getting paid? Where they being blackmailed to get the recording? I would really like to know.


Today it might be politicians, as long as it isn't me it may be fine, but what happens if when I become rich and famous (soon and very soon), a friend decides to release an incriminating recording he took ten years ago. The next question will be, who is to say that it should stop at voice recordings. The next thing we should brace ourselves is the emergence of videos. Imagine going to a hotel and the owner has video cameras in all the rooms, would we deem that acceptable. When we book a hotel room among the many things we expect one of them is privacy. The fact that these recordings where not gotten in public can't we not deem that invasion of privacy even though they are politicians?


At this point the best recommendation is to take stock of your friends. Who knows some of them might be recording your conversations and stocking them up for future use. My friends might just get shocked when all I start talking about is the weather, the dogs in the street, the cars passing by and nothing personal or my frustrated opinion. Before, I start any phone conversation the first things out of my mouth will be, "Are you recording this conversation?"