AS ZAMBIA draws towards the 2011 elections, more political events begin to unfold. Just recently, the National Restoration Party (NAREP) was born, joining the long list of other opposition political parties currently registered in Zambia.
Mr Chipimo says he could have joined any other existing political party in the country at the moment but none of the parties impress him and none of them have the vision which NAREP wants to share with the people once elected in Government.
Perhaps we should look at the manifesto and vision of the NAREP to fully understand the purposes, rather the drive that Mr Chipimo Jr and his team have for the nation. Is the manifesto and vision inspiring?
The NAREP would focus on Health, Education and Infrastructure as the core sectors.
The party would adopt a governance framework based on principles from a philosophy called the ‘Just Third Way’. According to NAREP, its ideology was shaped by the acute poverty and deprivation of opportunity faced by some Zambians.
The pillar of NAREP’s vision lies in the attainment of three objectives: implementation of efficient and effective governance, implementing measures that achieve greater energy independence and the implementation of a rural and urban modernisation drive across the country.
Under its governance programme, NAREP promises that it would establish a provincial and communal governance framework for civic driven change. NAREP would also reduce all central government expenditure and introduce efficiency through performance based accountability.
The party would also provide transparency into Government operations, expenditure and decision making. The whole process would involve a complete review and improvement of the structure of Government and bringing development decision making more direct to the people.
Mr Chipimo and his team also promise to restructure Cabinet and publishing performance metrics, targets and deadlines. They would also create communal assemblies with stakeholders at ward level besides the construction of infrastructure and proving training of people and ward levels.
In its manifesto NAREP proposes that its government would have only 12 ministers namely, Ministry of Health and Human Services, Ministry of Education and Child Development, Ministry of Energy, mining, infrastructure and Technology, Ministry of Youths, sport and Culture, Ministry of Gender, Decentralization and Community Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Tourism Environment and Natural Resources, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence and Security and lastly the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.
Certain management functions of the local councils would also be outsourced such as planning, budgeting, expenditure, review and accounting. The locally elected councillors would have oversight of the process.
On the energy, NAREP’s manifesto refers its initiatives to the energy and agriculture sectors as the “Technograrian Revolution”. It proposes energy sector independence and reduced reliance of imported energy sources.
NAREP believes agriculture is a tool for unlocking wealth from the country’s vast arable land while at the same time harnessing the abundant water resource. The plan once applied would transform the rural landscape into active centres of major economic development.
Some of the benefits from the initiative would include, employment opportunities shifting from urban to rural areas, rural ownership of means of production, natural decongestion of the urban areas sustainable rural expansion, agriculture and industrial development of vast untapped land and the better productive use of the water resource across the country.
To develop ten energy sector, the NAREP manifesto and vision states that the party would carry out an audit to determine available land for the cultivation of sugar cane, Jatropha, sorghum, camelina, palm oil and other sources of bio-fuels on an industrial scale.
NAREP also plans according to its vision and manifesto to immediately undertake a study to confirm the feasibility of introducing a policy that would make it mandatory for every liter of petrol and every litre of diesel sold in the country to contain a minimum amount of ethanol in the case of petro and palm oil in the case of diesel.
NAREP also proposes strategic alliances with foreign manufacturing interests to promote the local production of machinery and equipment to support the industrial spin-offs from the new Government policies.
He said it was unfortunate that Mr Chipimo and his colleagues went ahead to register a new political party when they could have looked at the various manifestos already existing and seek a way of harmonising their ideas.
Most political parties in Zambia have set education, health and infrastructure as their main areas of focus as they intend to develop the economy once elected into office. NAREP seems to have joined this bandwagon.
From the above manifesto and vision, it appears NAREP does not give much explanation as to how it intended to widen the employment opportunity in Zambia apart from the intention to develop rural areas.
NAREP’s coming on the political scene should also attempt to stop the growing phenomena of regionalism or tribal alienation that some opposition political parties have. The united spirit of ‘One Zambia one Nation’ should be promoted in a party.
TIMES OF ZAMBIA