MacDonald Chipenzi writes
The Failure by the Ruling PF to Field a Ward Candidate in Mungwi District
It may be exciting news to the opponents and sad to the affected political party. But we must all look at this development from holistic angle and interrogate it further.
Firstly, finding Grade 12s with full school certificates in rural areas has not been an easy job for political parties and even companies operating in rural areas leading to importation of candidates and workers from towns respectively.
This is in fulfillment of the provisions of Article 153(4) (c) which stresses that “a person qualifies to be elected as a councillor has obtained, as a minimum academic qualification, a grade twelve certificate or its equivalent”.
Investigations in the failure by the ruling party to field a candidate reveal that, actually, the preferred candidate did not have proper Grade 12 certificate or its equivalent as required by law.
The cause of such failures by political parties to field candidates is the detachment of political parties from the electorate and members in between elections. Many political parties only wake up from the ‘political slumber’ on hearing of a by-election. This is the time when they form structures, identify and recruit candidates.
The loyalty of such individuals is not gauged or tested by any tester. The individuals themselves are not even known by the party and its leadership at local level, in any case, most of these parties have no structures at ward level and the provincial teams rarely get to those levels.
Consequently, some political parties have suffered misfortunes such as disappearance of candidates as was in Kasenengwa for UPND and Chilanga for NDC and another case in Solwezi, failure to file in nominations due lack of credible papers of the adopted like the recent PF candidate in Mungwi and arrests due to forged Grade 12 certificates.
So with these ‘sangwaapo candidates’ identified, recruited, adopted and who contest the election just to fulfill a fixture, anything is very possible and political parties will continue to cry foul either for internal system failure or accuse opponents of ‘buying off’ their candidates.
some have suggested that political parties should pre-identify, recruit and adopt potential candidates ahead of time. However, fear of losing those candidate on nomination day to the opponents or just an abrupt disappearance is high. Today, we hear of candidate kept under lock and key only be unveiled on the nomination day. This should help us interrogate this as to why?
This is why this electoral cycle (2016-2021) has witnessed a lot of incidents of resignations of councilors, discovery of forged grade 12 certificates possessed by aspirants among other challenges.
If this issue of Grade 12 certificate is not interrogated seriously before 2021 general elections, the same scenario will characterise the post 2021 general elections. Grade 12 certificate is the elephant in the electoral room at ward level.