I wish to comment on the following statement attributed to Mr. Rupiah Banda by Lambwe Kachali and Chibaula Silwamba of *The Post* newspaper in an article entitled “Banda Feels Protected from Witchcraft” dated October 15, 2008:
“On 1 November 2008, you will have a new president and that president must be able to work and see that things in Zambia continue the way they are. If this does not happen, what will happen is that that president will become imbecile; the country will be unable to make any laws, even to do anything, even to pass the budget…. So there will be nothing he will do.”
First and foremost, a lot of Zambians will not go to the polling stations on October 30, 2008 to cast their votes for leaders who wish to maintain the status quo. Rather, they wish for a leader who will bring about meaningful change — change that will be beneficial to them and to future generations.
In fact, there is a lot a new Republican president deliver upon being elected. He or she can, for example, abolish the position of District Commissioner and appoint fewer Cabinet Ministers and Ambassadors in order to save public resources for meeting people’s basic needs and expectations.
Besides, Mr. Banda and his supporters have already talked too much about the supposed difficulty in passing laws by any other potential Republican president during the campaigns. There is really no need for the Republican president who is going to be elected to pass new laws within the next three years before the 2011 general elections. Besides, the current Members of Parliament are not likely to stop the new Republican president from introducing laws that would be in the best interest of Zambia and its citizens.
Zambians, I believe, expect the presidential candidates to tell them whether free formal education, no examination fees, merit-based scholarships for vocational training and university education, low-interest educational loans, free life-saving healthcare for all citizens, greater and sustained food security, safer local communities, improved socio-economic conditions nationwide, improved infrastructure, and, among other things, greater care for children and the handicapped would be among important national projects and programs that would be pursued over the next three years.
And it is nonsensical for Mr. Banda to speculate that a Republican president other than himself would dissolve Parliament and the cost of a new election that would ensue would amount to K500 billion. This is pure speculation, which anyone running for political office should avoid at all costs.
Besides, a political party does not need to have the majority of Members of Parliament in the National Assembly to be able to form government. The 8 nominated MPs provided for in the 1996 Republican constitution plus a few who can be lured from other political parties can enable a newly elected Republican president to form government. Zambia does not need another highly bloated national government like the current one! It is high time we embarked on the process of creating a government with fewer Cabinet portfolios, and a government that will live within its means!