Proposal To Extend The Presidential Term To 7 Years (Rumor)
By Daimone Siulapwa
With rumors flying left, right and center surrounding the amendment of our constitution, it is critical that we publicly address some issues of concern.
In the Zambian context, the proposal to extend the presidential term to 7 years warrants a thorough examination.
While constitutional amendments can be a legitimate tool for governance improvement, it is important to assess the implications, advantages, and disadvantages, especially when considering a longer presidential term.
1. Policy Continuity
A longer presidential term could provide more time for the implementation of comprehensive policies and projects, fostering stability and continuity in governance.
2. Reduced Election Expenditure
Longer terms mean less frequent elections, potentially reducing the financial burden on the country and allowing resources to be redirected towards development initiatives.
3. Focus on Long-Term Goals
With a 7-year term, presidents may have the opportunity to pursue more ambitious and long-term developmental strategies without being constrained by the immediate concerns of re-election.
1. Limited Accountability
Extending presidential terms may weaken the immediate accountability mechanism provided by regular elections. Leaders might become less responsive to the needs and demands of the electorate.
2. Risk of Authoritarianism
Longer terms could increase the risk of consolidating power in the hands of a single individual, potentially paving the way for authoritarian tendencies, especially if checks and balances are not robustly maintained.
3. Dynamic Political Landscape
Politics is dynamic, and unforeseen challenges can arise. A longer term might limit the flexibility needed to respond effectively to rapidly changing situations.
Contextual Considerations in the case of Zambia
1. Zambian Democratic Tradition
Given Zambia’s commitment to democratic principles, any constitutional change should align with the values of representative governance and respect for the will of the people.
2. Public Consultation
Before such a significant constitutional amendment, extensive public consultation is imperative. It ensures that the voices of the Zambian citizens are heard and that the decision reflects the collective will.
3. Presidential Self-Exclusion:
The proposal that any term extension should not apply to the incumbent president demonstrates an awareness of potential conflicts of interest. This provision can enhance the perception of fairness in the political process.
4. One Presidential Term
To avoid overstaying of unproductive presidents, each president must be limited to one 7-year term. That will allow ample time for delivery and reduce the risk if any president becoming too comfortable and authoritarian in the long run, if two terms were given.
Daimone Siulapwa is the Editor-in-Chief of The Voice Newspaper. He is also a political analyst, an advocate for tribal unity and Citizen Economic Empowerment. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org