Can the golden jubilee leadership serve Zambia?

By Lucky Mulusa, MP.
We have now entered the fiftieth year of our existence as an independent nation. The damage we have caused to the hope we inherited on 24 October, 1964 is colossal deeply rooted and widespread. The hope we once felt as a nation that we would achieve an emancipated society has eluded us over the past 49 years. How do we then demonstrate capacity to identify and sustain a purposeful journey to our desired destination – that of an upper middle income country by 2030 – that will represent a decent legacy of this generation to posterity?
The challenge is huge! It is against the background of: lack of economic and social infrastructure – contributing to a low industrial base which is below our domestic consumption capacity despite opportunities within the 300 million SADC consumer base, the 1 billion African markets potential, and the 7 billion global market opportunity. High levels of unemployment – leading to high incidences of poverty – a consequence of which are social vices such as early marriages and pregnancies; drug and alcohol abuse; broken families, and the presence of street children.
Lately, the economy that showed hope of recovery has been battered and it’s once investment grade rating is under threat. Our institutions of democracy have been compromised. In attempting to resolve our challenges, institutional weaknesses have given birth to corruption – a consequence of which is none delivery or poor and costly delivery of public goods and services. We are embarrassed and cannot look the world in the face with pride we once possessed. We have reduced ourselves to a restless society.
We cannot resolve the occurrence of these challenges, unless we identify their route causes. There are several causes the dominant of which is wrong leadership combined with poor policy formulation and implementation capabilities. According to Stiglitz it is the lack of insightful policy thought by the authorities and the inability to view problems in a dispassionate way, to put aside ideology and to look at the evidence before making a decision about what is the best course of action (Stiglitz, 2001: x) which forms the basis of country’s such as Zambia’s lack of economic development, in spite of broad economic reforms in the last twenty three years. Policy formulation has taken little care about maximising the flow of benefits into the local economy from investment by foreign companies. Several foreign investors have found themselves overwhelmed by economic imperatives and taken advantage of the relaxed legislation and weak policies to ensure maximum returns on their investments.
How did we end up with poor and misplaced leadership to an extent that we are now enemies of ourselves with only ourselves able to serve ourselves from dangers we ourselves pose to ourselves? Let us pick up the knitting of the threads from where we left off in 1993 when the gallant sons and daughters of the soil refused to depart from the original ideals of the multiparty democracy and left the MMD. Let us admit that:
Our economic, political, and electoral systems are borrowed from developed nations. That we have not critically analysed these borrowed economic, political, and electoral systems that are determined in the developed countries where they were determined by mechanisms of thought and by social needs that are different from our own. As we copied and adopted foreign ways of managing national affairs, we did not ensure that we separated that which we have in common from that in which we differ with developed countries who crafted them for violence, nepotism, and a divided society are not by-products of the same electoral system in the Western world. We simply do not have a similar society that gave birth to the political and electoral systems we agreed to adopt. If these electoral systems can only work in places where literacy levels and public awareness is high, we should realise that we have not yet reached such status and therefore those political and electoral systems might need modifications to suit our unique circumstances.
Let us walk into the golden jubilee with a new sense of purpose. As a way to find closure to our collective suffering – a way to walk away from the misery of the past, the misery of the immediate past, and the misery of the present including the threat of the future, in the days of our struggling lives, where, what is making most of us push on to another day, is simply our sanity, let us declared as follows – that:
“We should define for ourselves the qualities our leaders must possess. We should never trust any political manifesto, and neither should we expect any unfailing guide from the donor community and their institutions. Let us learn from negative occurrences in our nation, and case by case, allow interpretation of our experiences to feed into solutions we should craft for ourselves. Let us not adopt inaccuracies that economic growth is synonymous with economic development for we have not seen any economic development despite years of spectacular economic growth trajectories. Let us ensure enhanced citizens’ participation in the value chain of the economic activities determining our GDP for mature democracy was a consequence of development in the West and not development, a consequence of democracy.”
Let us hold hands together and live once more as a united progressive society and let us refuse to allow politics to divide us the way it has been made to do by the current leadership.
Can the Golden Jubilee leadership step forward so that we can, for once, exist as a united, “One Zambia One (progressive) Nation?”
Lucky Mulusa, MP.
Solwezi Central Constituency,
24 October, 2013.

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