Our New Goal: One Party Participatory Democracy
Kenneth Kaunda, President of Zambia and of the United National Independence Party (UNIP)
Our Party program can only be implemented successfully if it is a people’s program. In a participatory democracy it cannot be otherwise. The masses of our people, the militants, the youth and the leadership of the Party, must help define our goals, understand what they are and the methods we going to use to reach them.
The people, through their Party, have wrested political power and control from foreign exploiters and are consolidating this major achievement in their hands. . . . Having attained independence, the people, through their Party, have proclaimed one-party participatory democracy as the only political system that could safeguard it.
In this we have take parliamentary democracy further. . . In a parliamentary democracy the government of the day regards itself accountable to the governed for what it does, and all citizens have the right to full information and freedom of speech so that they can participate in public affairs as much as they choose through their freely elected bodies. We say this is good, but we believe time has for us to improve on this structure.
We have therefore decided to have the type of democracy which citizens participate not only through their freely elected representatives but also by their own direct involvement in the decision making process. As a consequence of this historic decision the Party has begun to decentralize all political institutions. This is why we are now organizing the village as the most important and effective unit of self-expression by the people for the people (emphasis in the original text). . . .This is what people’s participatory democracy means. In it is the practical meaning of the call “Power to the People,” in which we believe so much.
In the ten years of our independence much has been done in our revolutionary struggle to bring about a man-centered society. The task is long and arduous, yet nothing else can be worth living for. If the Zambian Humanist Revolution is going to succeed, the establishment of such a political order is essential. It is vital there to see that, as we consolidate this One-Party Participatory Democracy, serious thought is continually given to our new system so that, where necessary, we can effect change and strengthen it.
One other point must be stressed. . .if society is going to afford its citizens an opportunity to think clearly about things that really matter, then the Party program through society-individually or/and collectively-must see to it that every Zambian has adequate food, clothing and shelter. This means that we must defeat poverty, hunger, ignorance, disease, crime and the exploitation of man by man systematically. One cannot expect a half-starved, ignorant, under-privileged and exploited person to have the physical or mental stamina to concentrate on spiritual matters. As individuals in this society, we need to and indeed want to understand more and more about Man, what he is, where he comes form, what he is here for and where he is going. (Emphasis in the original)
Excerpted from Kenneth D. Kaunda, Humanism in Zambia and a Guide to Its Implementation (Part II) Lusaka: Division of National Guidance, Government of the Republic of Zambia, 1974, pp 9-11.