Friday, July 13, 2007

Ruining Sikota’s political career

Ruining Sikota’s political career
By Editor
Friday July 13, 2007 [04:00]

There is a mistaken belief among our politicians that those in opposition cannot see eye to eye with the ones in the ruling party. It is also a general practice that politicians in the ruling party should not recognise or respect anything coming from the opposition. That is why Patriotic Front president Michael Sata is quick to say that President Levy Mwanawasa has destroyed or ruined Sakwiba Sikota's political career by reconciling with him. As far as Sata is concerned, Levy and Sikota should continue beating each other with a live snake if Sikota has to have 'a strong opposition leg' to stand on. The two should continually be at loggerheads with each other.

Like we have said before, there is nothing wrong in people reconciling. To reconcile is to become friendly with someone after estrangement or to re-establish friendly relations between two or more people, to settle a quarrel or difference or to make compatible two apparently conflicting things.

This is a good thing to do for people who find themselves in such situations. This is because there is not a river that flows without a sound just like every home has its quarrels. Even hoes that dig together often knock each other. People who live or work together at times do quarrel. This is normal human living.

But when it comes to reconciling, the reconciling parties should reconcile in good faith. Reconciliation should be genuine. And this is the concern of many people because in most cases politicians do not seem to engage themselves in genuine processes of reconciliation or dialogue. In fact, politicians declare that in politics there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies. For them, principles do not seem to matter. It is political expedience that matters more.
And so if it suits Sata to embrace Katele Kalumba and pose for a photograph with him for his political mileage, he will do that with pride and without realising that Katele's hands are dirty. But when it doesn't suit him, Sata will be the first one to say Katele should not do this or that because his hands are dirty. These are the inconsistencies that our people are concerned about.

Levy and Sikota can reconcile, and this is good, but for what consideration? This is the key question. If Levy and Sikota have reconciled for public good, that is welcome. But if the two have reconciled to promote their personal interests under the guise of serving the public, then that is unacceptable. If that is the case then it is not only Sikota's political career that will be ruined; even Levy's political career will equally be dented because he will be exposing himself as a political schemer or engineer who wants to compromise citizens for his own good.

Before that is established, we should be encouraging people to reconcile and work together for public good. This is what we believe in. That is why the other day we criticised Nevers Mumba's so-called reconciliation with Levy because we sincerely believe that it is, or was done, in bad faith. And the bad faith was displayed in Nevers' lies. He denied ever asking anyone to re-introduce him to the MMD for the purpose of reconciliation when there are people who can attest to this.
As for Sikota and Levy, of course, it will not take long for our people to tell whether or not their reconciliation is genuine. In saying this, we are not suggesting that Sikota should become blind to the good things that Levy and his government are doing. We expect that in representing his constituency and the people of Zambia, Sikota will be objective and give credit where it is due and criticise where criticism is due.

This is because the role of the opposition is to offer effective checks and balances to the government if good governance and democratic principles are to be upheld or realised. Where he praises when criticism is due, obviously our people will know what sort of reconciliation Sikota had with Levy. Clearly, it will not be the reconciliation to serve the people but one to serve himself or Levy.

If Levy and Sikota's reconciliation is meant to serve and benefit the people of Livingstone in particular and the country in general, we expect to see more benefits accruing to the people and not to Sikota. Sikota should account for his actions, otherwise he will be trashing himself as a political turncoat and a selfish politician who will go to any length or depth to satisfy his unbridled appetite for power.

In fact, it's tricky for both Levy and Sikota because they are not only politicians but also well respected lawyers.

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