Dr Ludgwig Sondashi has formed another political party after leaving MMD called Forum for Democratic Alternatives (FDA). The broad aim apparently is to give Zambians choice, but this quote from the Daily Mail wont help Dr Sondashi's cause or that of fellow politicians vying for the highest office :
Dr Sondashi said his children and wife, Virginia, have been suffering ever since he resigned as Cabinet minister from the previous governments. “I want to go to State House to enjoy with my wife and my children because they have suffered following my resignations from previous governments. I want my wife to be first lady also,” Dr Sondashi said. He said his wife rebuked him on several occasions when he resigned from his positions in government but that he assured her that one day he would make it to State House.
Dr Sondashi's announcement comes hot off the heels of another recently formed party by Fred Mutesa (Head of Development Studies, UNZA), the Zambians for Empowerment and Development (ZED) party. A great acronym "ZED", with the apparent vision of seeing "Zambians empowered and our nation developed and that will help improve their living standards". I thought UNZA lecturers are also civil servants e.g. no different from teachers or nurses? Are they really allowed to take part in politics this way? Would be good if someone can shed light on this. Also let us not forget the recently formed Leftist Progressive Party, but now appears to have collapsed as its leader has joined the new FDA party.
I find this all very interesting and probably very healthy for democracy. The Anti Voter Apathy Project (AVAP) disagrees and have appealed to the National Constitution Commission (NCC) "to adopt a clause in the draft Constitution that would allow a political party to have more than one thousand members before it could be registered...having this type of laws [in the constitution] would automatically bar many...family political parties that were just formed when few people came together..".
I have a natural preference for laws that alter behavior in a positive way without reducing the choices of others. People should always be free to congregate as they wish and form as many parties as they like as long as tax payers don't have to foot the bill for their activities (regular readers will know I have a deep seated opposition to public funding of political parties). What is important is to ensure that voters are fully informed and parties are operating within a contestable electoral system. We have written much on this issue in the past, suffice to say AVAP would do well to focus on that rather than turning themselves into advocates of draconian restrictions.