By Dr Given Mutinta
A vision of a republican president is the lifeblood of a country. But what is a vision, one may ask?
A vision is a mental image or picture for the future providing direction to what a country wishes to achieve, and has to be clearly communicated if people are to share and follow the vision.
For this reason, a vision can be likened to a signpost pointing the way for people to understand what the country is and where it intends to go in terms of development.
It is therefore imperative for a president to have a vision because a vision provides a paragon of the country’s goals, and the ways and means of achieving the goals.
This is what makes President Edgar Lungu’s confession that he has no vision a serious national issue people should sagaciously mull over. We cannot develop as country as long as we are headed by a leader without a vision; it is simply impossible! It is like expecting to get blood out of a stone.
Lungu’s revelation that he has no vision denotes that he has no image of a better future for this country. His leadership is an empty shell lacking compelling aspects that would serve to inspire, stimulate, and engage the country to move forward.
Therefore, it defeats basic logic for people to dream of a worthier future with a visionless leader. A country cannot move forward if a president has target-less-oriented mental constructs that guide leaders on what to believe and do in order to steer the country in the right direction. I do not mean to be sarcastic, but in good conscience, is it not foolish to expect this country to develop with a president who has no vision for which to work on?
When Lungu said that he has no vision, he really meant it; that he is clueless about national leadership. For once Lungu was honest to share personal facts of his nature as an incompetent and weak leader. His insight into himself that he has no vision was absolutely correct as this is confirmed by his failure to formulate and clearly share a vision to allow him gain genuine support of the people.
It therefore stands to reason to argue that in the absence of a vision, people who are following Lungu are doing so for selfish reasons like flies that follow a corpse to the grave. What clear and particular view of the better-quality future and strategic advances for the country has Lungu shared for his hanger-ons to be considered genuine?
If Lungu has a vision for this country, why is he not proud to share his vision by taking advantage of potent tools of public relations such as press conferences? If he has a vision why did he snappishly cancel his interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Voice of America (VOA) respectively?
Lungu’s acute lack of physical and intellectual ability to interact with the public shows how inept he is to lead this country. It is obviously true that a president’s efforts to articulate his vision inspires people, builds trust, and bonds people together in a common goal.
The free-falling Kwacha, load-shedding, the high cost of living, the non-existing fight against corruption, extravagance in government, and the severe downturn of the economy is exacerbated by Lungu’s lack of vision. He does not have essential ways and means for focusing attention on what matters most to address the current socio-economic anguishes the country is facing. This can be deduced from his decision to create new ministries that have bloated further government’s expenditure. As a result, government has nothing to spend at a time when Lungu is failing to meet already-reduced fiscal targets and failing to do anything to arrest Zambia’s free-falling investment-grade rating. Besides, how does a leader with a vision charter a private jet at a colossal sum of 300 000 United States Dollars instead of cutting on expenditure to demonstrate his vision through commitment to austerity?
It all boils down to one thing, Lungu has no brass tacks from which to lead the country therefore contributing to the reasons the country is moving in the wrong direction. His visionless actions are making destructive change towards a future many Zambians want to see depicting who Lungu is and what he stands for.
One does not need to be an expert in leadership to see that Lungu has no compelling and engaging story of the future of this country. Even useful idiots who were singing, warbling and crooning that “ifintu-ni-Lungu” have gone underground because there is nothing Lungu is presenting to capture their hearts and push them to continue singing.
For Zambia to move forward, we need a president such as Hakainde Hichilema (HH) people can ask questions on what his future for Zambia looks like and able to give them inspiring answers, a president people can ask questions of his image of Zambia and able to give them logical answers, and a president who can allow people to travel into his future for Zambia with him, and find a well-crafted country’s direction and mission.
If we want a better future for this country, some time from 2016 forward, having a vision should be one of the indispensable qualities to look for in a president. Even Holy Scriptures make plain the fact that where there is no vision, people perish (Proverbs 29:18). Conventional wisdom teaches us that failed States of the future are failed states of minds of the present leaders, and the opposite is equally true.
It is depressing to see how Lungu lacks force within himself which can mould meaning for the government and the country as whole. He has no persuasive economic picture that can inspire national commitment, there is nothing he wants to accomplish, and has no comprehension both of what is happening to the economy and whatever he is doing.
In all honesty, is Lungu a person able to attract commitment and energise the public, create meaning in civil servants’ lives, create a standard of excellence, bridge the present economically dehumanising conditions to the future, and rise above the status quo? The answer is, no! Why? He has openly confessed and demonstrated beyond doubt that he has no capacity to create a convincing vision that can take the people of Zambia to a desired new place of flourishing, thriving, and successful socio-economic status. He is incapable, inelegant, and incompetent to be a vision holder, keeper of the country’s dream and purpose.
As a nation, we need to take seriously the importance of having a leader with a vision because a vision does more than to provide a picture of a desired future for the country. A vision helps to set goals, generate action plans, solve socio-economic problems, and guide the country into a perky future.