I am not a fan of communists, but there is one ardent communist who has left an impression on me, David Van Wyk. One wonders where this soul is nowadays.
Way back in 1994, when David wrote on holding regular elections and otherwise in the then government publication, Seipone/The Mirror, he stated that there is noting wrong if somebody is elected for the umpteenth time in the same leadership position provided that that organization holds regular, free and democratic elections.
The problem, according to David, is when such person or persons remain in office even beyond the term of office set in their constitution (if they have one) and make no effort to hold elections.
He argues that failure to hold regular elections is just like not changing your clothes regardless of how long you wore them. Imagine remaining in the same underwear for as long as you owned it; or never changing socks!
Washing one’s clothes regularly or taking them to them dry cleaners gives one a feeling of freshness regardless how long one has owned and worn the clothes. The rub is on having them cleaned.
Holding regular elections of office bearers regardless of how long they remain, as long as the elections are authentic, gives such officers a fresh mandate. The organization also gets revived but if the same faces remain in the same offices without ever going for a new and fresh mandate the organization will go moribund.
Leaders should not fool themselves that followers want them in those positions without calling on the followers to demonstrate their allegiance by voting for them at party congresses. What followers say in a conversation is different from what they will say at the ballot box.
The youth league of the UCDP will, like the mother body early in the year, hold their elective congress in August. It is hope the Women’s League will follow suit. The leader of the party, Mrs Matladi, alluded to this on Saturday, 25 June 2011, when she addressed the Federal Council.
One hopes that if these elections are held under free conditions and are inclusive, they will bolster the image of the party and breathe new life in the party that is tottering at the moment when one takes into account the results of the recent local government elections.
The youth league elections should have the dynamism one expects of youth. Whoever may be eyed for election should be people who if elected will serve the interests of the league in particular and the party in general.
Democracy, especially in the United Christian Democratic Party, should be a norm rather than an exception. The word “democracy” in the name should not be used in vain or to fool people while in effect members of the party fool themselves by not living what they say they are or stand for.
There is much that our party can learn from even our greatest and hard core opponents like David Van Wyk. We should strive to learn and take a page from those who are wiser than us in other fields.
Without free, regular and fair elections there is no democracy.
Sent by: Sipho Mfundisi
Deputy President: UCDP