Socio-economic conditions in the domestic, regional and global environments are changing constantly—they are in a state of flux! As such, yesterday’s approaches to the resolution of our country’s problems are not likely to do an effective job; after all, they have evidently and lamentably failed to do the job in the past! We, therefore, need leaders who are keen on developing new attitudes, skills and strategies in order to wrestle successfully with the complex and volatile socio-economic conditions of our time.
Accordingly, we need political leaders who are willing to swallow their pride and consider themselves as being on job-on-training regardless of the extent of their previous experience in national politics and governance.
Among other things, such leaders should possess the requisite qualities which are needed in political leadership, such as emotional stability, humility, patriotism, selflessness, impartiality, patience, compassion, tolerance, respect for the rule of law, ability to conceive of leadership as a temporary mandate to serve the people, ability to conceive of oneself as just another mortal with limited knowledge and aptitudes, ability to make compromises with people who have dissenting views, and the ability to accept criticism and dissent as necessary evils in public life.
Thus far, I have, by and large, not come across a single leader in the major political parties in the country who has exhibited these qualities; they all generally lack these requisite qualities of sound political leadership, although their political parties have the wherewithal to field them in the forthcoming general elections. And they are petty and apparently incapable of curbing their personal quest for power and the Republican presidency. Power, to them, seems to be something that must be secured and/or maintained at any cost—including denigration of political opponents, sponsorship of ruffians to harass candidates of other political parties, vote-buying, vote-rigging, and/or the use of any other unscrupulous means to win elections.
But electing such leaders to the Republican presidency will continue to cost us dearly, as experience has taught us over the last 19 years or so of Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) leadership.
In spite of being blessed with mineral wealth, fertile land, good weather, perennial rivers, peaceful citizens, and other rare gifts of nature, our beloved country has continued to slide deeper into socio-economic decay and backwardness. We have continued to be impacted by poor leadership, economic mismanagement, corruption, injustice, muzzled public media, and a bloated national government, among a host of other bottlenecks to our quest for heightened and sustained socio-economic development.
These and other bottlenecks to socio-economic development have diminished our country’s ability to harness its abundant natural and human resources to meet the basic needs, expectations and aspirations of the common people.
Besides, there is a pressing need for government leaders who are eager to meet the people’s needs, demands and expectations, among the most urgent of which include the creation of a smaller and more efficient government, provision of free formal education without Grades 7 and 9 elimination examinations or examination fees, provision for merit-based scholarships for vocational training and university education and low-interest educational loans, and provision for free life-saving healthcare for all bona fide citizens.
Also, the people wish for greater and sustained food security, lower interest rates, lower PAYE and value-added taxes, greater employment opportunities, safer local communities, improved public infrastructure, improvements in garbage collection and disposal, improved socio-economic conditions in rural areas, speedy rural electrification, lower water charges and electricity tariffs, abolition of TV licensing and privatization of much of the public media, a system of justice that is free and impartial in both word and deed, sustained protection of the fragile natural environment, preservation of our cultural values and traditions, a genuine effort to address the scourge of corruption, and consolidation of our oneness and common future as members of the Zambian family.
I wonder why anyone would want to be Republican president if he or she is not prepared to meet such needs, demands and expectations within specified time-frames!
Moreover, there is a need for political leaders to devise constitutions for their political parties which are consistent with the people’s needs, demands and expectations. (The attached Agenda for Change party’s constitution was, by and large devised with the people’s needs, demands and expectations in mind.)