|File photo|: Ziba launched the AGA initiative|
Oct. 22 (Zambia Informer) ----- The African Governance Architecture (AGA), a three-year programme and a brainchild of ActionAid, intended to bolster good governance with full participation of the citizenry, especially among the youths, has taken off in earnest in Zambia with political parties meeting to redefine their roles.
The one week meeting which attracted almost all the country’s political landscape that met in Lusaka during a tax and decentralization training workshop which also embraced presentations on Decentralisation as well as Government Resource Planning Systems (GRPS) learnt that some political groups do not exist in tandem with the people they seek to govern because of artificial or governance induced barriers.
Dubbed: “Tax and Decentralization” Training Workshop the indaba adduced information that some of the existing political groups have not absorbed their involvement with the electorate while others needed more information on how they could seek recognition with the people they seek to give them mandate to rule as Governments in waiting.
A presentation by ActionAid Governance Officer, Geoffrey Sizala on Decentralisation in Zambia and how the Government seeks to ‘devolve power’ to the people and allow them to determine their course of destiny with the leadership merely superintending, it was learnt there were information lapses on the need for co-existence between the governments in waiting and the people they seek to govern.
Many opposition parties, either exist in isolation awaiting the campaign period ahead of the scheduled elections while others are yet to understand the essence of decentralization in a democratic system and what the benefits of both the would be rulers and the governed are.
While amended constitution of 2016 places greater emphasis for Zambia to decentralize its operations, placing various structures and responsibilities of the local people to enable them play an active role in the running of the country as enshrined under Article 147/48, it emerged that there is urgent need to orient most political parties so that they continuously co-exist with the people before, during and after elections during which time a bond is created.
“You the governments inn waiting, should not wait to be reminded what is the constitution, you need to be well versed with the law so that you take the front role in educating the people in your own communities,” Sizala said.
“You needed to be with the very people in their hard times so that they recognize your presence and you also must appreciate some of the challenges they go through and that makes it easier for you to understand each other, let’s not meet the people only during the time of campaigning,”
Sizala called for increased inclusion of various political players in the democratization of political groups, especially championing the 50-50 gender parity noting that Zambia, like many African countries has imbalances in leadership representations at decision making levels yet both sexes are capable of performing well, but one is marginalized for various reasons.
“Political parties need to be inclusive in decision making especially the 50-50 gender parity so that you embrace every member and never leave anyone behind if we are to ensure there is effective administration of our people in our political parties.”
During deliberations, it was learnt that many of the political parties’ lack of proper organization and co-ordination stems from lack of creativity in matters that affect their communities including failure to participate and understand the desires of the people either at Parents Teachers Association (PTA), Ward Development Committees (WDCs) and District Development Committees (DDCC), which are all people centered and meant to better the lives of those government or would be governed.
“We are the vision carriers….we are the leaders and all our success in political parties will be determined by the amount of information we share with the people so that they understand what they want from us and what we need from them should they vote us into power.” Sizala added.
However, various political party representatives noted that although the decentralisation policy may have come into place, there had been a lot of secrecy in the manner those in power carry out their work.
Often times, the opposition players are either sidelined or are not informed of what is happening in various communities, as a yardstick for the rulers to win political mileage.
The political parties pledged to continue playing an active role in various governance related matters as well as fully grasp the constitution and all its contents as preparedness to take over government.
They realized, according to some of the resolutions that often times, the opposition are shunning at election time because the electorate often mingle and mix with those in leadership with an exclusion of opposition leaders.
Other participants supported the development where councils should be independent of political party inclination and instead be free from political affiliation to allow them embrace all the people in the communities they serve.
On 6 Oct. ActionAid launched a three year 2017-2021 blueprint which seeks to redress some of the governance shortcomings with recognition for active participation in governance by the youths.
ActionAid, the global civil rights and poverty eradication campaigner under the programme seeks to impart wider awareness on civic matters and enhance participation in the governance of the country especially among the youths.
Launching the European Union funded AGA project, minister of Justice Given Lubinda commended ActionAid for seeking to entrench people’s participation in the governance of the country.
And Action Aid Zambia Country Director, Naluca Nganga Ziba said the launch is aimed at mobilising civil society support for the implementation of the African Governance Architecture (AGA), a mechanism for enhancing dialogue between stakeholders that are mandated to promote good governance and democracy in Africa.
The project has been embraced in seven countries including Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania, in which ActionAid operates, is a yardstick for entrenching the desires and aspirations international bodies including the African Union shared values.
The AGA is structured around a normative framework that is set up by the AU shared values. To this effect, it is based on objectives and principles that have been defined in various AU shared values that member states have signed and ratified such as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).
It is Action Aid’s fervent hope that Zambia indeed other governments that have signed treaties of such nature-bordering on good governance as espoused under the AGA principles will seek to domesticate the charter for it to attain its relevance.
“ÄctionAid Zambia is of the view that Its time Zambia completely domesticated this charter to ensure constructive promotion of good governance and democracy” she stated.