Definitely it will be hiding our heads in the sand if we don’t recognise that there are concerns within the party and that we must deal with those concerns.
I have been very critical, especially of the media, who think that differences within a party is something unusual. You should remember that each and every one of you has got unique and different political opinions from your neighbour.
Everybody has got his own opinion. What parties do is simply to aggregate all our opinions and create a common denominator. But we have as many differences as we are in this room and these are political differences. And each one is passionate about their views. So arguments, contradictions, quarrels even, in a political party are perfectly normal and expected. If there is pulling and jostling in a political party, that is what parties are about. They are about politics, they are about dynamism. What makes the difference is how you manage those differences.
Since I am now some kind of elder, I hope I will fall in that elders’ forum (the party’s constitution was amended at the conference to, among other things, create an elders’ council), I can give you a bit of aice on how to manage these natural occurrences of our differences.
It’s one thing that creates crisis in all organisations, in all countries even what has been creating crisis in our country is injustice (and) unfairness. In whatever you do, you must be scrupulously sure that you are acting in an even way.
That everybody feels comfortable that what you are doing is not oppressing them. That everybody in this party feels equally at home. That he feels equally loved and respected. That everybody feels equally loved and respected. And this is something which is easier said than done.
We can talk about being fair, we can talk about being just, but it is not about talking that I am referring to. It is the actions. You must act in a manner that makes everybody feel that they are loved. And I have been hearing quite a bit of unease on that account.
I think it is important that our party leaders take on this matter as effectively as possible to ensure that everybody feels at home, and I have quietly proposed to the party leaders what needs to be done in that regard. I don’t think it is something that can be handled in such a big body but I think that it is something that urgently and aggressively needs to be dealt with to build harmony based on fairness felt by everyone.
Secondly along those lines is transparency. Whatever you do along those lines must be above board. Everybody should see that you are not only fair but seen to be fair. You must be transparent in whatever you do and account to people.
Thirdly, is the critical importance of dialogue within the party. We must use talking to resolve whatever differences there may be in the party. You would rather work (for) one day and spend the other 29 days of the month talking but when you go that one day you go as a strong body, rather than talking (for) one day and working (for) 29 days when you are divided. You will achieve much more.
And dialogue must again be built on that genuine desire to have everybody’s view, however cantankerous that view may be. Because let me tell you, it is the reality of life that we have people who are really cantankerous. They are there.
Now those cantankerous people must be afforded their space to express their cantankerousness. We must be patient with them and digest the essence of what they are saying and make sure that apart from the cantankerous bit what they are saying that has a point is taken on board.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor