THIS is not the Zambia we aspired for at independence, says freedom fighter Simon Zukas.
Reflecting on Zambia’s 51st ind
ependence anniversary, Zukas, 90, observed that the country was faced with a lot of economic difficulties that needed to be addressed immediately.
“As far as I am concerned, we need less talk and more walk. When we fought for independence, it was a very narrow view which we had; self-governance was the objective,” Zukas said.
“But obviously, things are not as good as they should be; this is not what we envisioned. I am not talking about personal difficulties, attitudes of people. I will not get into even the problems such as electricity, I am more concerned about the control of our finances.”
He said there was need for the government to put in place serious fiscal controls.
“Look, we shouldn’t allow our dollars going out for items that we can produce ourselves. Our dollars are going out, some of them to Southern Africa, some of them don’t even bypass South Africa,” Zukas said.
“And we have now come to realise that we can be self-sufficient in cooking oil, wheat, bread, sugar. The same thing applies to potatoes, we can grow the potatoes here and stop the imports of potato products.”
He said it was not right for Zambia to rush to the international market for all it’s finances.
“There was an article in The Post on Monday, that’s what I am referring to. Robert Liebenthal said, instead of going again to the international market for finance, we should approach the IMF because whatever help we get from them will be at a lower interest rate. They have done quite well for Ghana, who also went through a lot of economic difficulties,” Zukas said.
He said Zambia was in critical need of funds to finance the social sector.
“Education, health, all that is there and we need to deal with it, but the point is you need the money. First, we must get the economy going again,” advised Zukas.
Meanwhile, FDD president Edith Nawakwi says Zambia’s centralised governance structure, coupled with a bad Constitution, has taken power from the people and reposed it in the hands of a few individuals living Lusaka.
In statement reflecting on Zambia’s 51st independence, Nawakwi said people outside Lusaka have nothing much to say about the social and economic change they desire.
“Our centralised governance structure, coupled with a bad Constitution, has taken power from the people and reposed it in the hands of a few individuals in Lusaka. Zambia has become Lusaka and Lusaka has become Zambia. All decisions are made and implemented in Lusaka. The people outside Lusaka have nothing much to say about the social and economic change they desire. They have neither access to executive authority nor financial resources,” said Nawakwi. “Hunger, rising cost of living, crippling load shedding, loss of jobs, youth unemployment, debt crisis, fiscal deficits, endemic corruption, indefinite closures of public universities, strikes, tribalism, nepotism, teenage pregnancies, political violence, moral decay and bad governance have become our daily norm.”