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HOLD CONVENTIONS, PARTIES TOLD

… AVAP says endorsements are an affront to intra-party democracy

By Bennie Mundando

STOP hiding in endorsements to block others from contesting some positions within your rank and file because holding conventions is now law, the Anti-Voter Apathy Project (AVAP) has said.

Speaking to The Scoop yesterday, AVAP Executive Director, Richwell Mulwani, said his organisation was perturbed by some political parties which were blocking certain members from contesting party positions on account of sole candidacy, thereby defeating the spirit of intra-party democracy.

He said now that holding conventions by political parties was no longer a preserve for individual political parties, all political parties must hold their conventions before the August elections where all leaders must be subjected to an election for them to be given a fresh mandate by the members and not through endorsements.

Political parties need to ensure that they hold their conventions in a very transparent and accountable manner.

We know that political parties have challenges in terms of holding conventions where key positions like that of party president and Secretary General are normally not contested because of the issue of endorsements.

We want to see a situation where all the positions in these political parties are contested by party members so that democracy can be strengthened because in an event that political parties fail to compete in an election, people start questioning the integrity of such political parties,” Mr. Mulwani said.

He said giving leaders a fresh mandate was not only important for democracy, but also ensured that political parties did not go into oblivion and turn out to be defunct institutions once their founders retired from politics.

It is now a requirement in the Zambian Constitution that political parties have to hold conventions.

We expect that all political parties are going to hold conventions and elect their leaders, those that are going to compete in the coming elections.

We get worried when we hear the young people saying they have endorsed certain candidates and that no one must compete against such a candidate at the convention.

Sometimes we see a lot of intra-party fights where they want to bar other people that have divergent views when it comes to the adoption process.

We want to appeal to political parties to open the doors for all those that want to contest at presidential, parliamentary, and any other level so that democracy thrives in this country,” he said.

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