Opportunism in Zambian politicsOur country will witness increased defections of politicians from one party to another over the coming months. A contributing factor to these defections being a speculative element – where those defecting want to belong to a party that will form the next government.

In a country like ours where ruling political parties have unhindered parasitic relationship to public resources, there is no shortage of such opportunistic politicians. That is the only way they can sustain their parasitic livelihoods. Public resources, collected from the tax-paying masses of our people, have become the prime source for the self-enrichment of the ruling elite. Opposition political party politics does not appeal to this group of politicians.

These politicians have become experts at reading the signs of a failing regime and take calculated chances to timely join the political party expected to form the next government. Ultimately, the next government ends up having the same faces and corrupt behaviours of the previous ones. We therefore end up changing names of parties, but not the parasitic politicians and let alone achieving a total transformation of the socio-economic system. The trust of the masses of our people in political change through the electoral process is consequently betrayed even before any vote is cast.

Even private sector institutions have become good at sniffing around and supporting what they perceive to be the next ruling party. These institutions have increasingly become dependant on government for their sustainability. The current volatile macro-economic situation, high cost of borrowing, plus underdeveloped capital and financial markets exacerbate this parasitic relationship. Choosing and supporting the likely winner amongst political parties helps to build the patronage relationship necessary for continued stealing of the taxpayer’s money.

The question I have been asked often by members of the public is why the so-called “big fish” are not defecting to the Rainbow Party! My answer is that our party is the least attractive for this cohort of politicians. First, the Rainbow Party would commit them to its ideology of socialism, which is the complete opposite of their parasitic existence. Secondly, they do not think, and rightly so, that a party whose political basis consists of workers, peasants and the poor will mobilise the required millions of Kwacha to support their election campaigns. Thirdly, they are currently ruling out the Rainbow Party’s chances of forming the next government and opportunistically go where they see better chances. This situation works in our favour, as we do not have to exert efforts trying to manage the ideological contradictions and inconsistences that would arise by accepting such politicians in our ranks. Our resolve in creating a better society should not and will never be compromised by political expedience and opportunism.