Something big is bound to happen in Zambia if the situation is not controlled.The winning of the AFCON cup may become a divine prepared arrangement to expose what is coming because everybody will be able to know where Zambia is on the map.We pray the worst does not happen for as long as the country is ruled by people who think that they know best yet [they are ] lost.
SPEECH DELIVERERD BY MR. EDWIN SAKALA, NATIONAL COORDINATOR OF THE ZAMBIA DIRECT DEMOCRACY, AT A PRESS CONFERENCE HELD AT COURT YARD HOTEL- LUSAKA ON SUNDAY 4TH MARCH 2012
We are living in a new world where the solution to solving problem resides in identification. The idea of looking for solution without first knowing the problem is not taking us any where. We therefore wish to announce to the nation that we have identified the problem which has been ravaging our political system. The problem we have singled out is governance. It appears the problem of governance is being necessitated by a political system we have chosen for ourselves.
We regret to announce that, ever since our country returned to multiparty system of democracy, we have been experiencing untold problems ranging from poverty, abuse and plunder of public resources at will, regionalism to political fragmentations. All these problems we have noted are threatening us as people that have enjoyed peace and unity for the past 47 years.
While we enjoy the benefits that came with multiparty democracy, we are facing so many problems that companied this form of democracy. We have already noted some but there is not harm in identifying others. This biggest problem that accompanied multiparty democracy is the problem of governance. Most people hid in multiparty democracy to avoid the responsibility of governance. It is against this background that, many people equate governance to amassing wealth to themselves at the expense of national development.
Today many people decide to join politics because they want to be rich and powerful. This concept has made politics to be called a dirt game. In fact, when people of this region realised the need for self-governance, they initially embraced multiparty politics. Unfortunately, this proved dangerous to the unity our people enjoyed.
Some people began to hide in multiparty confusion to promote regionalism and individualism. As we have already seen, this trend proved dangerous to us as a people. Our leaders then resolved to curtail it to preserve the unity, love and peace they enjoyed. They went further to devise a “One Zambia-One Nation” slogan which became our national motto.
For 27 years, we lived as a united people under this slogan until some people came to misled us again to revert to multiparty democracy. The coming of multiparty democracy in 1991 gave life to the ghost our forefather feared most.
Since then, we have seen people losing respect for nation identity, property calling them out dated systems. The idea of development has bee orphaned hence the growth of poverty in the country. Deriving from this point of view, we feel time now is ripe to begin looking for other avenues of governance which we shall embrace.
After a very long search, we have come to identify federal system of governance embraced by many developed countries not only in Europe or America but Africa as well. The concept of federal system of governance has been embraced because it gives an opportunity to people to realize who they are as a people and embrace development as a nation.
Unlike multiparty democracy we are experiencing right now where the ruling party has to decide who are and where to develop, in federal system of governance, people will have an option to work for development in political circles.
For those that might not know what federal system of governance is, well, we will be kind enough to explain it to them. This is a system of governance that took its roots from Federalism whose definition is the allocation of power between the national government and regional government. This is a system of government in which the power is divided between a central authority and constituent political units.
According to Jose Abueva, former president of University of the Philippines and a professor of public and administration, we should take federal kind of government. Zambia would take a period of no less than 10 years to make a successful transition to federalism, involving a period of consolidation of several regions and intensive socioeconomic development in each of consolidated regions.
A federal system allows citizens to compare political systems and ‘vote with their feet’ by moving to a state they find more congenial. This right to exit is a political right as important but much older than the right to vote is obvious from the events leading up to the fall of the Soviet Union. The communist governments were the only regimes in history ever to suppress the right of exit almost completely. The Soviet authorities well knew that if their subjects should ever seize or be granted that right, the communist system would instantly collapse. And that, of course, is what happened.
The citizen in a liberal unitary state who is dissatisfied with the national government may move to another country. But it is becoming harder to obtain a permanent resident visa for the kind of country to which one might wish to emigrate. Globalisation notwithstanding, immigration is increasingly unpopular with voters the world over.
In a federation, however (including a quasi-federal association such as the European Union), there is complete freedom to migrate to other states. This has occurred on a massive scale in Australia, especially during the 1980s and early 1990s when Australians moved in huge numbers from the then heavily governed southern states to the then wide open spaces of Queensland. When centralists give federalism the disparaging label ‘states’ rights’, they are therefore obscuring the fact that it is above all the people’s right to vote with their feet that is protected by the constitutional division of sovereignty in a federal system.
It ensures that government remains close to the people because the state government argues that they are more in tune with the daily needs and aspirations of people especially relevant to small and isolated places.
It encourages development of the nation in a decentralized and regional manner and allows for unique and innovative methods for attacking social, economic and political problems. It provides a barrier to the dominance of the majority
Federalism allows and encourages experimentation in political, social and economic matters. It is more conducive to rational progress because it enables the results of different approaches to be compared easily. The results of experience in one’s own country are also less easily ignored than evidence from foreign lands. All this is particularly important in times of rapid social change.
As Karl Mannheim pointed out, ‘every major phase of social change constitutes a choice between alternatives’, and there is no way a legislator can be certain in advance which policy will work best.
Nonetheless, hardly a week passes without some activist group lamenting the ‘inconsistent’ (the term being misused to mean merely ‘different’) approaches taken by state laws and calling for uniform ‘national’ legislation to deal with a particular problem. Behind these calls for uniformity lies a desire to impose the activists’ preferred approach on the whole Commonwealth, precisely so that evidence about the effectiveness of other approaches in Australian conditions will not become available.
Centralists also tend to assume that uniformity and centralisation of the law bring greater legal and commercial certainty. But uniformity and certainty are quite unrelated. That is clear from experience with the federal tax laws and family tax law, which are uniform but at the same time severely lack certainty or predictability. Sometimes the gains from nationwide uniformity will outweigh the benefits of independent experimentation.
This will usually be the case in areas where there is long experience to draw on, such as defense arrangements, the official language, railway gauges, currency, bills of exchange, weights and measures, and sale of goods. But experimentation has special advantages in dealing with the new problems presented in a rapidly changing society, or in developing new solutions when the old ones are no longer working.
The decentralization of power under a federal constitution gives a nation the flexibility to accommodate economic and cultural differences. These characteristics correlate significantly with geography, and state laws in a federation can be adapted to local conditions in a way that is difficult to achieve through a national government. By these means overall satisfaction can be maximized and the winner-take-all problem inherent in raw democracy alleviated.
Paradoxically, perhaps, a structure that provides an outlet for minority views strengthens overall national unity. Without the guarantee of regional self-government, for instance, Western Australia would not have joined the Commonwealth. If that guarantee were abolished, the West might secede, perhaps taking one or two other states with it. Federalism thus has an important role, as Lord Bryce observed, in keeping the peace and preventing national fragmentation.
We fear that the unnecessary chain of socioeconomic problem Zambia is riddled with will lead to fragmentation as already seen in the Barotse crisis merging, Umodzi Kumawa spirit and some provinces calling themselves Bantustans, Through the Federal system the national pride of One Zambia One Nation can be restored and the dignity dehumanized people of Zambia can be restored again.