Tribalism and corruption in Zambian politics

By Mathews Chisanga

If you are a Zambian and ardent follower of Zambian political dispensation, you will agree with me that it’s marred with minimalism, popularism, tribalism, nepotism and massive corruption, which seems to be normal.

What an interesting scenario we are subjected to. On the part of the general populace; I have witnessed with dismay great passivity, apathy and ignorance of how the state works. It’s from such a background that politicians seemingly thrive at the expense of an ignorant, passive and apathetic citizenry.

Politicians are so comfortable that they need not to brace themselves to be at pains to explain what they have or intend to do for the people; for they are pretty sure that not many will understand what they do. As for the few who understand, they have chosen the path of passivity and indifference; perhaps it’s due to hopelessness-who knows? This has encouraged some politicians to keep the general populace in total ignorance by enacting laws that do not promote a speed, proficient and quality education system. This is in the quest to remain in the corridors of power, which is a source of livelihood for many of them, if not all.

They are damn afraid to leave politics, not that they have passion for the people, but of what is going to sustain their tummies thereafter. So in an attempt to stick to the so called comfort zone, they will do everything possible to please the powers that be. Bootlicking is now the order of the day in Zambian political dispensation. People do things unimaginable to people of their age just to hold on to a position. It’s a sad situation in that we daily experience people saying and doing things in their autonomy and right state of mind would dare not say or do, but because of fear of poverty at the expense of integrity. And when it comes to Belonging or joining of political parties, this is another area marred with nepotism, tribalism, popularism and corruption. At the end of the day it all translates into politics of benefits, if it benefits you and your close relations, why worry about the common good? For such people common good or justice starts with them and ends right back with them. Some people join political parties based on tribal lines, as long as the top leader comes from the same tribe as theirs, its enough for them, policy direction is secondary if at all it matters. As for others, especially a group that is not sure on which political party to follow, end up supporting or aligning themselves with the popular political party regardless of what it stands for, as long as many people seem to support it and making the loudest noise during elections. Worse still, when you hear some people say I love that party not because of the good policy direction, but they are mesmerized by the leader’s oratory skill. In such a case, what is important is not what the leader says but how the leader says it. It’s feared that running a country is denigrated merely to oratory skills and some perceived humor. What worries me in this country is that you will find adults with many and big children brace and endure the sun at a political rally only to hear somebody somewhere at the podium opening his or her mouth just to waste good and precious hours talking about another person. And all you hear from the masses is not ridicule or disgust but shouts of affirmation to what the speaker is saying.

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