From Wesley Ngwenya
Dear Mr. President,
May I begin by congratulating you for having assumed the presidency of this great republic. How is it going up there? You know we have never really met—officially I mean. We sort of met in the bathroom at Farmers House some four years ago. You said something to me in Cibemba and I just smiled back. You sort of felt disappointed I remember as I left you alone in the bathroom.
But when I look back I should have gotten your business card and maybe I would be hanging out with your big boys these days. Anyway, I thought I should drop you a letter and look at your 100 days in office. Everyone has been talking about the 90 days but I decided to give you 10 extra days to see how the progress has gone so far.
Your very first press conference, you held, you renamed three Zambian airports. Is this what you have been fighting for in opposition in the last 10 years? Here you are as president and the first thing you do is make airport name changes when you had the opportunity to share with the Zambians how life was going to change for the better.
As if this is not enough, you went ahead and announced the moving of the capital of Southern Province from Livingstone to Choma citing that the former capital was too far. Hmm! Too far for you? And you created a 10th province saying that Northern Province was too big. While you are still at that you may as well cut, in half, North-Western and Western Provinces.
In your first 100 days, you have U-turned on the decision to honor the Barotseland Agreement. I think you must have forgotten what you told the people of that province just a few months ago. You have also U-turned on the Chinese. You have dined and wined with them while they are busy shooting our people and molesting our children.
In your first 100 days, you have spent tax payers’ money pursuing former leaders over corruption charges and abuse of office. Don’t get me wrong if these guys stole our money then they better go down. However, we have to be careful not to spend hundreds of millions to pursue someone who store ten bicycles. Sometimes the ethical thing to do is save the money for more meaningful projects.
In your first 100 days, you have made questionable appointments disregarding the people’s views. And you have done very well giving jobs to your relatives. Just look at your cabinet. You may as well have cabinet meetings in grandma’s kitchen. You have let people like your nephew insult the people of Southern Province and you have not said a word. Instead, you have rewarded him by sending him to administer over the same people he insulted.
You have also been excited about firing people. Anyone perceived to be your enemy or a friend of the former president has been fired. You even fired those you had no powers to fire. It must really be cool up there to just sit in your office and think of which button to push.
In the first 100 days, you have given powers to the street vendors to run the streets around the country. Thanks to you we have nowhere to pass on Lumumba Road, Chachacha Road, Freedom Way and Cairo Road. Thanks to you because the streets of Lusaka have been transformed into waste landfills. Thanks to you because we risk the outbreak of cholera or dysentery because all the drainage have been clogged with trash mostly from the vendors.
In the first 100 days, you have not created a single new job for an average Zambians. Remember this is what got you elected. There are so many unemployed Zambians out here. People need something to do. If people can work then government can also make more money through taxes. That’s why I was so disappointed with you at your first press conference. You were busy renaming places instead of outlining a strategy on how you were going to create more jobs for us.
I could go on and on but let me just give you my advice. I gave your predecessor the same advice when he assumed office in 2008. He chose to ignore my advice and it cost him the election. What you need to do is pick a cause. I suggest you pick unemployment. You focus your energy on ways you can create jobs, for Zambians, in all provinces and districts of this nation.
Fighting unemployment will require great initiative on your team. It will require sacrifice and commitment. It will require putting the needs of the people first. Fighting unemployment will require teamwork. It will mean teaming up with foreign governments, it will mean networking with non-governmental organizations and international corporations. It will mean convincing them to come and establish their businesses here. It will mean teaming up with communities, and it will mean working together across government departments.
If you can do this during your first term in office you will undoubtedly be guaranteed a second term if you choose to run then. You will need to think and dream about fighting this deadly disease. Your team will have to do the same. You will be surprised how our communities will be transformed. Most importantly people will begin to feel like people again. You will be liked so much that you will become an example such that United Nations will hire you to help in other poor nations worldwide.
Do not be discouraged for what you have not been able to do in the first 100 days of your presidency. You still have 1,725. I know you can turn the wheels around. The sooner you start the better. As we start the New Year please make creating employment one of your major projects. May I wish your family and your entire team a pleasant and happy working 2012.