Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Politicians Reflect On Zambia's Post-Independence Era

By Paul Shalala
The Golden Jubilee logo

As Zambia celebrates its golden jubilee, it can not be denied that politics has been an integral part of its last 50 years.

To gain independence from the British, Zambian freedom fighters grouped together into political entities to free themselves from colonial dominance.

In the first 8 years of the country's independence, multi-party politics flourished but in 1972, the constitution was changed to the one party state until 1991 when the country reverted back to multi-party politics.

In its reflection of the Golden Jubilee, the Foundation for Democratic Process  says Zambia's politics are not yet mature due to a colonial era constitution.

"We need mature politics devoid of violence or intimidation. Our institutions to support democracy are still weak," said macDonald Chipenzi, FODEP Executive Director.

And Tom Ngenda, an economics lecturer at Cavendish University in Lusaka says political parties have over the past 50 years crafted their party manifestos from their initial socialist inclination to the current economic appeal to voters.

"In the past, political parties used to craft their manifestos in such a way that they wanted to get into office. Now the parties have manifestos that appeal to people to vote for them so that they can bring economic development to Zambia," said Ngenda in an interview at his office.

For the ruling Patriotic Front which has been part of Zambia's history in the past 13 years, Zambian politics has evolved for the better.

"We have alot to celebrate as a nation. We have come a long way politically and it is time the nation got united and celebrated the golden jubilee together," said Edgar Lungu, Secretary general of the Patriotic Front.

But opposition political parties have different views on how politics have impacted the nation since independence.

"There is nothing to celebrate. Fuel prices are high. The cost of living has gone up. Basically, we have nothing to celebrate as a nation because we have no economic independence," said Hakainde Hichilema, President of the opposition UPND.

Mr Hichilema's sentiments are echoed by Zambia Development Conference President Langton Sichone.

"How can we celebrate the so called Golden Jubilee when we still have an old colonial constitution? We have nothing to celebrate in the last 50 years," said Sichone.

The main celebrations for Zambia's Golden Jubilee will be held at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka where various activities will take place.

Both military and civilian performances will spice up the event which has attracted several leaders from around the world.

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