By Maiko Zulu
When I attempted to run for public office in my constituency in the 2016 elections, I made a lot of mistakes and strides from which I drew a number of lessons, both good and bad.
Among the lessons, I learnt that our people especially the youth are very good with ideas and social chats (nkhani za mu moba) but zero on implementation and will say and do anything so suck you out of every coin knowing very well that campaign time is cash-in time. (By the way, campaign time is when citizens get the opportunity to analyze and choose their leaders for the next 5 years and needs some kind of serious thought). Young people will rarely support anything that seems to challenge their own personal ego and more so if its done by one of their own or someone they deem inferior to them.
Electorates are somehow always blinded by smooth talking and money throwing candidates who buy a vote worth 5 years with a disposable Chinese made t-shirt, cheap alcohol or a piece of chitenge for the women. A few weeks after the elections, its back to the complaints, facebook insults, opposition petitions etc.
People would rather go with any kind of leader as long as ‘kuli ifitenge na ma hoodie’.
Young people have no guts to aspire for leadership and turn those brilliant facebook and whatsapp group ideas into reality. You can imagine the entire population of Kabwata constituency, only 4 people dared to challenge my elder brother Hon Given Lubinda for the Kabwata seat, not personally but on issues.
Today when one passes through the hood, the challenges that the youth in Kabwata faced before the 2016 elections have not changed. The opportunities that they were offered are nowhere to be seen. Bashi Kabwe at Kabwata market is still sitting on that tree mending shoes. The levels of alcohol and drug abuse are on the rise and the cost of doing business is not any better. People have no say through their representatives on public affairs like the many government procurement tenders.
Its time for people, especially the young, to begin to create their own opportunities and strengths in order for them to have independent minds, the kind that will not sale a vote for a lie. I’m looking forward to a lot of young people and fresh blood running for public offices in the next elections. We are where we are because of some bad leadership decisions we may have made and because we have not stood up and dared to do it ourselves.
So sometimes when I see people complain against Cholera, poor service delivery, bad governance, sleeping Mayors, corruption and theft in government offices, I see them as not only a part of the problem but also part of the solution.