Zambia must consider the left-right political spectrum – the mast online

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[By Gregory Kaputula]

Article 60 (1) (a) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Law number 2 of 2016 provides that a political party has the right to disseminate information on social and economic programs of a national character and its ideology Politics.

2 (b) says that a political party must have a national character; while (c) says that a political party must promote and defend national unity. Of interest in this article is the statement that; “A political party in Zambia has the right to disseminate information on national social and economic programs and on its political ideology. “

An ideology is a set of opinions or beliefs shared within a nation or social class. Very often ideologies refer to a set of political beliefs or a set of ideas that characterizes a particular group of people in a nation. Political ideologies are sets of ethical ideas about how a country should be run. This set of beliefs influences the way people think, act and see the world. Capitalism, populism, libertarianism, conservatism, communism, socialism and Marxism are some of the most common political ideologies. Left-right analysis is based on socialism, communism, Marxism, capitalism, conservatism and libertarianism.

The importance of ideologies in politics cannot be overstated. Ideologies are ideas whose finality is not epistemic, but political. Thus, an ideology exists to confirm a certain political point of view, to serve the interests of certain people or to fulfill a functional role in relation to social, economic, political and legal institutions.

Zambia has over 30 registered political parties. The number of registered political parties has steadily increased. And as if that wasn’t enough, former finance minister Felix Mutati launched his political party called the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on October 12, 2020. However, despite this large number of registered political parties, only a few- some are credible and take part in the elections, the rest only exist on paper while the noisy smaller ones are mainly substitutes for the ruling party.

Ideologically, the majority of political parties registered in Zambia are oriented towards capitalism. Only two of the registered political parties can be considered as oriented towards socialism. Interestingly, capitalism oriented political parties continue to proliferate on the scene and one wonders why they cannot join the already established capitalist parties since they share the same ideology.

In fact, apart from the two socialist political parties on the scene, the others share the same ideology-capitalism. Maybe the only difference has to do with the faces of the leaders or presidents who run these political parties.

This phenomenon raises fundamental questions; why don’t new capitalist parties like the newly launched MDC of Mutati join existing ones? In asking this question, I am not fighting or in any way questioning the rights and freedoms of individuals to form political parties and enjoy the fruits of multi-party democracy, but I really find it hard to understand why because that the existing capitalist political parties continue to have plenty of space to welcome all those with whom they share their beliefs and values.

With the current developments in the political arena, I am of the opinion that Zambia is making a bold decision and considering entering the left-right political spectrum. Zambia must seriously consider jumping to the left-right side of politics. In my opinion, this is how the political industry in Zambia will be sanitized and effectively serve the citizens. It is either one belongs to the left wing or to the right wing.

The political terms left wing and right wing originated in the 18th century during the French Revolution. They were invented on the basis of the seating arrangement in the French National Assembly. Those who sat to the left of the parliamentary president’s chair supported the revolution and a secular republic, and opposed the monarchy of the old regime. People on the left were in favor of radical change, socialism and republicanism, that is, a strong French Republic instead of a monarchy.

Those who sat on the right supported the institutions of the Ancien Régime monarchiste or Ancien Régime. The stronger your opposition to radical change and your desire to preserve mainstream society, the more to the right you were. Tradition, institutional religion and the privatization of the economy were seen as fundamental values ​​of the right.

Various social problems divide the left and the right. In general, the philosophy of the left believes in “one for all and all for one”, turning to the government to support the citizens. The right wing, on the other hand, believes that supporting individuals is not the most effective way to optimize government resources, and therefore relies on the private sector and NGOs.

According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics, in liberal democracies the political right is opposed to socialism and social democracy. Right-wing parties generally support liberal democracy, capitalism and the market economy (although government regulation still controls monopolies), private property rights, and a limited welfare state as the government’s provision of education, national security, public order and medical care. They support conservatism and economic liberalism and strongly oppose socialism and communism.

The term “extreme right” is used to describe those who are in favor of an absolutist government, which uses state power to support the dominant group and often to criminalize other groups. Right-wing politics represent the view that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, generally supporting this position on the basis of natural law, economics, or tradition. Hierarchy and inequality are seen as natural results of traditional social differences or competition in market economies. The term right-wing generally refers to the conservative or reactionary section of a party or political system.

If you describe someone with their ideals or activities as being on the left, you just mean that they support the ideas of socialism, communism or Marxism. Socialists and Communists are sometimes referred to as leftists. Leftist politics support social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social orders and social hierarchies. Leftists “claim that human development flourishes when individuals engage in cooperatives and mutually respectful relationships that can only thrive when excessive differences in status, power and wealth are eliminated.

The main mandate of socialist parties around the world is to promote and anchor socialist values ​​in the people. Generally, the left is characterized by an emphasis on ideas such as freedom, equality, brotherhood, rights, progress, reform and internationalism while the right is characterized by an emphasis on notions such as authority, hierarchy, order, duty, tradition, reaction and nationalism.

The fundamental differences between left and right ideologies center on the rights of individuals versus the power of government. Leftist beliefs are liberal in that they believe society is best served with an expanded role for government. People on the right believe that the best outcome for society is achieved when individual rights and civil liberties are paramount and the role and especially power of government is minimized.

The expanded role of the government espoused by the left includes compensation programs such as social security, universal health care, access to food, free public education, low unemployment rates, strict environmental laws and other regulations on industries while right-wing ideology favors market-based solutions to the problems left-wing government programs aim to address.

The left wing believes in minority rights, economic equality, environmental protection, expanding educational opportunities and social safety nets for citizens. The right wants a limited government presence at the national and local levels while encouraging individualism, individual freedoms and personal property rights. The right wing is a proud supporter of nationalism while the left wing opposes the concept. The right wing believes in native roots while the left wing believes in respecting all roots. Economically, the right wing establishes capitalism while the left wing focuses on socialism and communism.

Left and right are two antithetical terms which, for over two centuries, have been commonly used to signify the contrast between ideologies and movements that divide the world of political thought and action. The terms are mutually exclusive in the sense that no doctrine or movement can be both left and right. They are also exhaustive in the sense that a doctrine or a movement can only be left or right. However, the two terms of an antithetic distinction are supported because if there were no right, there would be no left, and vice versa.

Political parties are often described as being left, right or even center. What is clear is that the left tends towards equality and the right tends towards inequality. In Zambia, very few registered political parties have clear ideologies such that it is difficult to tell whether a given political party belongs to the left wing or to the right wing.

Apart from the Socialist Party of Zambia and a few capitalist parties, the majority of parties have failed to clearly identify with the ideologies available in the market and have done little to educate their members and citizens on the ideologies of the market. their choice. It appears to these parties, political ideologies are neither here nor there. The Zambian Constitution is clear; “Political parties have the right to disseminate information on social and economic programs of a national character and its political ideology.

The sooner political parties in Zambia embrace the concept of left-right political spectrum, the better for all. This change will help to clean up the political environment and reduce the duplication of political parties that share the same values ​​and beliefs but want to operate individually and independently. You have to see the left on one side and the right on the other.

The author is a development activist and social commentator. Send a comment to: Gregory. [email protected]


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