FORMER President of Zambia, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda, has called for the expansion of African economies if people are to reap the full benefits of democracy.
The former Zambian head of state says on a continent that continues to suffer from some of the highest rates of inequality, hunger and poverty, democracy should be viewed as a mechanism of human dignity, in which every citizen is included and incorporated into the nation.
“What this means is that we must focus on delivering a vast expansion of our economies that can include more and more jobs, while at the same time protecting the most vulnerable,” said President Banda in a public lecture delivered at the University of Dar es Salaam last evening.
President Banda called on the current crop of African leaders to pursue pragmatic solutions to people’s problems as opposed to playing word games which tend to make politics seem insufficient and counterproductive.
He advised that there was no need for political parties to contest elections if they were unable to build capacity for problem-solving, and regretted that democratic elections did not always produce the desired results as the performance of leaders sometimes fell short of expectations,
“What people want are solutions, services and accountability. They have no use for ideology, no attraction to anger and attacks, and no patience for incompetence. And this is precisely the difference between governance and government: the embracing of democracy as a tool to facilitate cooperation rather than only perpetuate competition,” he told the audience that included a number of professors from Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
This is according to a press statement issued by Mikatazo Wakumelo the Administrative Assistant to the Office of the Fourth President.
The lecture was part of the Boston University African Presidential Centre where President Banda is the current President-in-Residence..