Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Political successors

Political successors
By Editor
Tue 26 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT

In order to guarantee that it doesn't change its colour, a political party must not only have a correct political line and correct policies but must train and bring up thousands or millions of successors who will carry on its cause.

In the final analysis, the question of training successors for a political cause is one of whether or not there will be people who can carry on the political work started by the older generation, whether or not the leadership of that political party will remain in the hands of people committed to its founding cause, whether or not the new generation of leaders will continue to march along the correct road laid down by the founders of the political party.

In short, this is an extremely important question, a matter of life and death for all our political parties. It is a question of fundamental importance to the future of our country.

The Patriotic Front is a bit lucky on this score because its supreme leader, Michael Sata, has a longstanding commitment to developing young leaders. Most of the most effective politicians in our country today have passed, in one way or another, through Michael's political hands.

It is no wonder his political party today has well thought-out, well-planned youth programmes. If they continue on this path, in the next five to ten years, the Patriotic Front will have a good pool of young leaders ready to take over from most of the people we see in the top leadership of the Patriotic Front today, including from Michael himself. We do not foresee a succession crisis in the Patriotic Front when the time for Michael and his current crop of top party leaders comes to step aside. This is so because there is a lot of work going on to develop a new generation of leaders. And this is something that is not being left to chance. From the highest levels of the party down to the grassroots, there must be constant attention to the training and upbringing of successors.

But what are the requirements for worthy successors? They must be politicians who serve the overwhelming majority of the people of Zambia. They must be patriots and not mercenaries who turn against their own country and their own people in the service of corruption, greed and vanity.

They must be good politicians capable of uniting and working together with the overwhelming majority. Not only must they unite with those who agree with them, they must also be good at uniting with those who disagree and even with those who formerly opposed them and have since proved wrong in practice. But they must especially watch out for careerists and divisive elements and prevent such bad elements from usurping the leadership of the party at any level. They must be models in applying the party's democratic centralism, must master the method of leadership based on principle and must cultivate a democratic style and be good at listening to the masses. They must be modest and prudent and guard against arrogance and impetuosity; they must be imbued with the spirit of self-criticism and have the courage to correct mistakes and shortcomings in their work. They must never cover up their errors and claim all the credit for themselves while they shift all the blame on others.

There is need for all our political parties to purposefully train thousands of cadres and hundreds of first-rate mass leaders. They must be cadres and leaders who are politically far-sighted, competent in work, full of the spirit of self-sacrifice and loyal and devoted in serving the nation and their political parties. It is on these cadres and these young leaders that our political parties should rely for their links with the membership and the masses, and it is by relying on their firm leadership of the masses that our political parties can succeed in their work. Such cadres and young leaders must be free from selfishness, from individualistic heroism, ostentation, sloth, passivity and arrogance; such are the qualities and style of work our political parties should demand from their members, cadres and leaders.

Young people are a decisive factor once the political line is determined. Therefore, it is important for our political parties to train large numbers of young politicians in a planned way.

What we see today in the way young people are handled in our politics is a recipe for disaster. Young people are mobilised, bought beer and set on anarchy. They are not being taught any principles; they are merely hired thugs to insult, humiliate and sometimes physically attack political opponents. This is not a recipe for developing young leaders, successors. What this does to a political party is nothing but destruction. This is why most of our political parties don't survive for a long time.

If the Patriotic Front continues to pay more attention to the development of its young leaders, it will, as Wynter Kabimba says, stay in government or in power for a very long time. This is the only way to engender devotion to the party from young people.

Young people are the most active and vital force in society. They are the most eager to learn and the least conservative in their thinking.
We must help young people to understand that ours is still a very poor country, that we cannot change this situation radically in a short time, and that only through the united efforts of our younger generation and all our people, working with their own hands, can Zambia be made prosperous.

It is important to pay special attention to young people because all over the world, it is young people who are actually involving themselves in the struggle to eliminate injustices. They are the ones who most quickly identify with the struggle and the necessity to eliminate the unjust conditions that exist. Therefore, the basic clay of our work must be the youth. We should place our hope in them and prepare them to take the banner from our hands. And we salute all those political parties and political leaders who have arrived at this conclusion and are doing everything possible to train and develop a new crop of leaders in a planned and meaningful way.



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