Thursday, July 15, 2010

A pact that lacks honesty, sincerity will not work

A pact that lacks honesty, sincerity will not work
By The Post
Thu 15 July 2010, 04:00 CAT

Josef Brodsky, Russian-born poet and Nobel Prize winner, once wrote, “A free man, when he fails, blames nobody.”

It is true as well for the leaders and members of the PF-UPND pact who, finally, must take responsibility for the fate of the election alliance they themselves have chosen to forge among themselves. In the end, they will get the pact they deserve.

The problems they are facing in their pact today are self-created. But it would seem whatever problems they face, however self-created, will be blamed on others who are not even members of their pact or political parties.

The ruling MMD has every right to wage a political campaign to discredit the PF-UPND pact just as much as they do with individual opposition political parties and their leaders. This is a multi-party political dispensation where competition for power is allowed.

And one way of doing that is to continue hammering at the weaknesses, real or potential, of your political opponents or competitors. And the MMD has been doing a very good job on this.

They have mobilized opportunistic chiefs and all sorts of dubious characters to help them do this. They can only do so with opportunistic and dubious characters because this is all they have.

They are simply utilizing the human resources available to them in the best way they can. And this pact will succeed or fail not because the MMD is despised, but because they are understood, supported and trusted.

Some pact leaders, especially those from the UPND, have even gone further to accuse The Post of trying to break the pact. How is this possible? Are their memories so short? Have they forgotten how much coverage The Post has given this pact to date?

Have they forgotten how much platform the Press Freedom Committee of The Post has given this pact? Probably, this has made them think that The Post is part of their pact and should do everything to promote the pact.

The Post is not part of the pact or for that matter part of any political party in this country. And for this reason, The Post is not bound by any agreement that political parties enter into among themselves.

What is also surprising is how The Post, or even the MMD, can influence a process that is being driven by the top leadership, the cream of PF and UPND.

Their disagreements over adoptions of candidates cannot have anything to do with The Post or even the MMD. It is simply an internal pact matter that is decided by a selected group of their best leaders.

If The Post has so much influence that it can singlehandedly direct what these leaders should do, then the problem is not with The Post but the quality of leadership within the pact.

It is not The Post that told them to field candidates in Kaoma Central or Chadiza in competition against each other. And The Post is nowhere near their negotiations to resolve these matters.

By trying to transfer responsibilities over these matters to The Post and other people, they are actually undermining themselves in the eyes of our people; they are simply telling us about how inadequate they are to run the pact, their own political parties and probably government after that.

There is no way The Post can think for all the leaders of the pact and direct them on what to do. It is not the responsibility of The Post to build the pact or indeed to destroy it. That is the responsibility of its members.

Moreover, The Post was not created to be public relations officers for the PF, UPND and their pact. Both the PF and the UPND are far much younger than The Post, they were founded many years after The Post was launched.

If age was anything to go by, The Post can claim to have seen more political happenings in this country than most of the pact members. As an organisation, The Post has been in existence longer than PF and UPND and it has learnt something over the years.

It seems the pact leadership wanted The Post to be covering up their inadequacies. The Post can’t do that. What did they expect The Post to do over their competing with each other in Kaoma and Chadiza and the problems they had over who should field the candidate in Luena? Did they expect The Post to hide all these pact problems or failures to the masses of our people? What would the people of Zambia think of The Post if later on they were to discover that actually, the pact has had problems, it’s only that The Post was not telling them what it knew?

The Post will never allow anyone to get away with the clichéd catechism which tempt all who become part of an apparatus. We will remain intolerant of hypocrisy and humbug and we will not be intimidated by those who are discomforted by the razor sharpness of its thrusts.

It’s okay to agree with them but the day we disagree, then we are called all sorts of names even by people whose standards do not measure up anywhere near ours.

Hindsight, that most infallible – and sometimes irritating critic, will surely demonstrate how utterly unreal their expectations are. Not for the time in the politics of our country did the optimism of will displace the pessimism of intelligence leading, to an heroic failure.

But heroic failures – as long as we don’t plan for them and we learn not to repeat them – have their own way of contributing to ultimate success. It could even be said that absolute victory in a political contest is more often than not the climax of a long series of defeats in the course of which political steel is tampered.

There also has to be recognition that conviction and wit are not incompatible. We all have a duty to give quiet integrity and intellect to political life in our country.

The strong and caring direction The Post has given to the needs of our people, especially the poor and needy, are all worthy great honour and it will not profit anyone to try and smear at that.

It is time our politicians learnt to take responsibility for their failures. The truth is that the management of the affairs of the pact has been very poor leading to the many challenges and problems they are today facing.

And these have nothing to do with The Post coverage or its editorial comments. If any of our stories is factually incorrect, let them put the record straight by bringing out to the public the truth.

If our editorial comments are erroneous, let them give us their views so that the public can contrast and choose what to take and what to discard.

What the leadership of the pact needs to realize is that their pact is not a machine that runs by itself once the leaders sign a memorandum of understanding between PF and UPND.

A pact, especially the electoral one they have entered into, needs the commitment of the leaders of PF and UPND and their members and supporters who must accept the inevitability of compromise in such a political formation as well as the necessity for honesty and sincerity.

We say this because a political relationship based on attempts to deceive, cheat, swindle another can never work. The pact members need to learn the importance of pursuing their goals within the pact in an honest and open manner and ultimately how to live in a political environment of diversity.

Without being able to take responsibility, they will not be able to resolve the many challenges and problems facing them today.

And without honesty and sincerity, it will be impossible for them to agree on which party should provide the presidential, parliamentary or ward candidate. Again, if they fail to agree on these issues, they will blame The Post.

But what has The Post got to do with their adoption differences? This just goes to show that they have serious problems which are being compounded by their lack of honesty and sincerity.

Without a reasonable level of honesty and sincerity, they will not even be able to measure their individual worth or popularity correctly and truthfully.

The biggest problem of the leadership of the pact lies in their dishonesty, in their failure to accept responsibility for their decisions and actions.

And this is why we have consistently advised them that no true pact can be built on the shifting sands of evasions, illusions and opportunism. Let them blame us for their failures, and let them take credit for all their successes – as long as they succeed to deliver meaningful political change to our people, we will take everything they throw at us with pride and honour.

And moreover, things like these don’t bother us. We have lived with this type of hypocrisy, injustice, malice for 19 years and we are still there doing our work the best way we can. And to borrow from Fidel Castro, we say, condemn us. It doesn’t matter. History will absolve us.

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