By Lupiya Simusokwe
It is true that change is needed in our country. This is the feeling which can be sensed without any special skill or art. The Zambian people know that the present political regime has not provided the necessary leadership which this country needs. Every corner of the Zambian society knows this as being a fact. They all know that there is the urgency of now to bring change. Despite this general feeling and the dissatisfaction, one critical question which still remains unanswered or rather misunderstood is: What change does Zambia need?
To fully understand what change Zambia requires, it may be important to first identify what change Zambia does not deserve. Zambia does not need a mere transfer of power from one set of non visionary individuals to another. Zambia does not need, as one eminent political figure, correctly puts it, – “substitution of bad leadership with poor leadership”.
Zambia does not need a change of less accountable or non transparent leaders with leaders that say one thing today and say the opposite the following day without any change in the basic facts. This country does not need a substitution of leaders that cannot distinguish a kingdom from a democratic society with those that do not believe in democracy at all. Zambia does not need a substitution of leaders that believe that this country’s future is solely dependent on agriculture, with those that believe that our nation can only attain remarkable levels of development if crude oil were to be discovered. The above examples are not the change this country needs.
The true change which this nation deserves is that which will transform the way everything is being done. This country has experimented a lot with regard to allowing people that do not have concrete agendas or no agendas at all to skid into leadership. It is partly because of some of these experiments that most of the critical aspects of a functional nation, have gone seriously wrong. A lot of work would have to be done to make this country a prosperous nation again and nothing less than a visionary leadership can bring the necessary change. We cannot therefore afford to merely call for change without a critical understanding of what is replacing what.
If this country is to get where is deserves to be, then we as citizens would have to critically and carefully scrutinize our political leaders and ensure that we usher the right people into authority. We need to judge our leaders by what they stand for. An assessment would have to be made of what they preach vis a vis what they do or indeed what they have done. Most of our politicians have no values or virtues which can take this country in the direction in which it ought to go. This deficiency has been the hall mark of the MMD and is equally visible in the PF/UPND pact. While it is critical that the MMD be voted out of power, it is more critical to look at which political party/leadership deserves to be ushered in as a replacement. The change which this country needs, is not to simply remove the MMD from power. When the PF/UPND pact was formed, most Zambians felt that this could be a better movement to trust with authority in the next elections. This is no longer the position. More was expected of the pact. A concrete agenda was expected. So was a consolidation of their (PF and UPND) ideas. The pact has not brought anything new to the political agenda in Zambia and it won’t. Contrary to what was expected, the pact has nothing but recycled ideas, recycled thinking and indeed recycled leaders. It is therefore true that while the MMD does not deserve any continued existence in authority, neither does the PF/UPND pact deserve to be ushered into authority. The Federation of Free Trade Unions in Zambia (FFTUZ) is today saying that “the opposition is not ready to take over government”. While this may be true in the case of the PF/UPND pact, it is not certainly true for all political parties.
As citizens, we always have to remember that the challenges which this country is facing require bold, radical and visionary leadership. Our nation can no longer afford to allow recycled ideas, recycled thinking and indeed recycled leaders. Most of our citizens realize the enormity of the challenges this country is facing and it is because of this, that the practical, bold and ambitious agenda being advanced by the National Restoration Party (NAREP) is receiving remarkable applause. The Zambian people have begun to realize that only courageous, bold and visionary leadership can transform this nation. Despite being new on the political scene, NAREP continues to gain serious support every day, because it is advancing a serious and a new kind of political agenda which this nation can look to. Many of us, who have had the opportunity to listen or indeed read NAREP’s agenda, realize that it is a solemn agenda far from the cheap and ordinary politicking and it may no doubt be the route to the change this country deserves.