Zambia: CDP - Another Political Party Born

analysis

WHILE some political parties in Zambia are folding up or have faded away for whatever reasons, new ones are being born. One such party is a few weeks old and is called Citizens Democratic Party (CDP).

Like others before it, the objective is the same: To one day lead Zambia and Government.

In addition, the CDP comes with a strong message: That the political parties either in Government or opposition all contribute to the failure or success of a country like Zambia.

The registration of CDP adds to the list of more than 30 political parties in Zambia that exist on the books of the Registrar of Societies.

Some still active and many by large inactive. Many of these political parties go to bed immediately after registration, only to resurface when it is time for elections.

But academician and political analyst, Vincent Mapani thinks the formation of a new party is a benefit of democracy and Zambians should not question such developments because people have been empowered with a right of organisation.

The Zambian laws allow the formation of political parties by people as long as they meet the registrar's requirements.

However, it is worth noting that there are some parties that have been registered in Zambia before and have not brought any benefit to the people in terms of governance.

The only benefits could be on the leaders who may be using the parties to solicit funds from donors.

Being the latest party on the Zambian scene, the question many Zambians might be asking now is how viable or different is this CDP from other political parties that are already existing in Zambia?

In the last six months new political parties such as Mr Elias Chipimo's National Restoration Party (NAREP), Mr Charles Milupi's Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) and now the CDP have been formed.

Everyone should now be wondering what is happening on the Zambian political scene where each day a new political party is being formed.

In every case, the pioneers of these political parties always have a reason for taking the direction that they have and the CDP doesn't seem to be any different.

Recently, Zambia Centre for Policy Dialogue and political analysts, Neo Simutanyi said no political party could come up with anything new at the moment different from what the existing ones have. He said the best idea would be harmonisation of ideas and policies.

Personalities

Maybe one immediate factor that gives the CDP a difference from other political parties that have been formed recently is that the party does not seem to have any strong public figure behind its formation.

The CDP is coming from silent background stamina where people who appear to be little-known are behind it.

While names like Charles Milupi for ADD and Elias Chipimo for NAREP give some Zambians an idea of what a political party they have formed is all about because of their history in the corporate world, the CDP does not have big names.

The CDP seems to have a rather unique way of introducing itself to the public. The party was launched but without a president.

All issues of leadership will be addressed by the party chairperson, Robert Mwanza until such as time when a president is chosen from among the many Zambians that would develop interest in the party after understanding its vision and manifesto.

Others in the CDP executive are Mulenga Chiteba, who is party national secretary, Bob Sampa as publicity secretary, Nyuma Sampa as national chairlady, and Moses Mumba who is the vice-chairperson.

Who then is Robert Mwanza? Of course the name does not come with a direct political tag with it.

Mr Mwanza claims he was just an ordinary Zambian who has not been in any high-profile political or business hierarchy but has now resolved along with his colleagues to form the CDP as an alternative to the current political situation.

Purpose

If there are many political parties in Zambia today, what really is the purpose of having more political parties being registered and adding on to the long list?

The CDP is alive to this reasoning by many Zambians now. The question of value to the people is of paramount importance in this case.

Mr Mwanza explained that the CDP's formation was not for the purpose of the 2011 election as would be alleged by some sectors of society nor was it formed to facilitate the ushering of someone into State House.

Although both the opposition and the ruling party have a role in the development of the country, the CDP also believes that the agenda for the party in government must be seen to be working.

The opposition equally should not be a confined to the critique corner but should offer solid and substantiated alternatives to the governance process.

The CDP has announced that although it has duly been registered, it would not participate in the 2011 presidential elections but would rather participate in the parliamentary polls.

Their understanding is that positive change cannot only be effected from State House but equally at parliamentary level where the party could yield influence from policy implementers in Government.

Manifesto

The manifesto of the CDP is driven by its principle of 'Putting people first'. According to Mr Mwanza, it is not a manifesto of promises but a manifesto of solutions.

The manifesto focuses on key and core issues which once resolved would provide a momentum to solve numerous challenges that Zambia is facing.

The focus area of the CDP manifesto include bringing a revolutionary change in the manner the Government business is being conducted through immediate decentralisation by bringing power closer to the people.

The CDP also seeks a reduction in the size of the central Government and a clear and defined line of separation of powers between the executive, judiciary and the legislature.

According to the CDP, the defining line between the three arms of Government is not very clear, resulting in the lack of transparency and alleged corruption.

The party also looks forward to having a massive and deliberate political and economic investment into the people.

The CDP believes that the strength of its manifesto lies in the practicality of having it implemented.

On administration of the Government, the CDP proposes in its manifesto that it would ensure that all Cabinet ministers Are appointed from outside Parliament and that they would not be Members of Parliament (MPs) as a way of ensuring the separation of power.

The party also has a provision for an elective provincial governor, city and town mayors.

To reduce of corruption caused by the close interaction between the public and the civil servants, the CDP would enhance development of technology in the service provision.

With the CDP in government, the budget office would formulate the Head of State's spending plans and evaluate the effectiveness of every ministry's programme. The CDP would terminate any duplicate programmes that were under performing or seemingly outlived usefulness.

Under the CDP there would be no Cabinet reshuffles for ministers. According to them this would encourage continuity of policy and efficiency.

Change of Cabinet ministers would only be through appointments and dismissals. In the CDP government, the dismissal of a Cabinet minister and the appointments would require the ratification of Parliament.

As part of the cost containment programme, the CDP proposes to reduce the number of ministries from the current 22 in the MMD to 18.

The CDP would phase out the position of deputy minister leaving the permanent secretary as second man in charge of a ministry.

The eight nomination for MPs that are on the discretion of the president would all go to special groups in society such as the youths, House of Chiefs, farmers, civil society, the disabled and the business community.

The economy

Once in government, the CDP intends to embark on a vicious campaign of creating wealth for the Zambians. The programme would involve transferring Zambian wealth to Zambian hands.

This would be done through the provision of affordable loans. Through such empowerments to the Zambians, the CDP also intends to increase the number if jobs. The CDP believes that true wealth creation could only be attained if the resources were let in the hands of the Zambians.

The CDP Government would also review the profit externalisation policy currently in place and ensure foreign firms only externalised about 51 per cent of their profits.

The Government on the other hand would invest in farming equipment through the private sector and the Zambia National Service. Such equipment would be made available across the country for use by the farmers.

Taxes

The CDP plans to broaden the current tax base by ensuring that all areas of the informal sector were included.

In order to increase revenue especially from the informal sector, the CDP government would redefine the business licenses according to the nature and size.

The Zambia Revenue Authority would be equipment with relevant and adequate tax collection technology. This would also reduce on the levels of corruption where Government ends up losing colossal amounts on money.

Social sector

The CDP would keenly look at the performance of the health sector by allocating adequate funds for medical and pharmaceutical research.

They would transform provincial hospitals and health centres into three autonomous healthcare systems.

The Government would also establish a subsidised health insurance system under the Ministry of Health in consultation with the Ministry of Labour, Finance and the selected insurance companies and the pharmacy industry. The cost of medical care for children, aged and unemployed would be met by the Government while employers would meet the cost for those in the high income bracket.

In education sector the CDP would increase investment by way of training more teachers and introduce compensation for them.

The CDP government would mitigate the cost of tuition for college education and increase levels of college graduates. High school graduates would also be offered opportunities to volunteer into teaching service by helping young ones prepare for exams.

The Government would rename the Bursaries Committee National Scholarship Council and introduce the School Adoption Programme. Other key areas of CDP would be the modification of the retirement policy and restructuring the pension board as a way of ensuring that people did not suffer after employment.

Conclusion

Formation of CDP, like any other political party formed recently raises concerns from some people as to what values they would add to the political situation in Zambia.

As stated by Dr Mapani, the challenges of democracies sometimes comes with having limitless choices.

If Mr Mwanza and his colleagues are not satisfied with the caliber of the people in the existing political parties, they surely have a right to go this way. One would only wish the CDP the best of luck as they build the party to levels they envisage to get it to.

Since the CDP is not looking at the 2011 presidential election but the parliamentary polls it is still questionable if they have started strategies of preparing for such a task.

People would also love to know when the CDP would announce the name of its president since Mr Mwanza is just the interim leader.

The nation is watching and keenly looking at this new entrant to the political arena.

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