Zambia, Lost Sheep

Zambia, Lost Sheep

Zambians are amazing people. They can take anything from anyone. We are a lost sheep. We have lost the love for one another. We are jealous of each other, we fight one another. Even in families today we no longer celebrate each other’s successes with sincere hearts, we have broken Christian values.

We do not treat our women and girls with the respect and love they deserve. Zambians literally worship foreigners and any white person. Zambia is giving away huge tracks of land to foreigners, they have taken over our cities, now they are taking over our villages all in the name of foreign investment and the promise of a better life through job creation. We have been on this path for over two decades and we seem not to pick any lessons. Our people are being displaced and losing their livelihoods and we don’t care. We do not have a land policy; our land laws favour private capital and the narrow interest of the rich and powerful. We have built a corrupt culture and even our traditional leaders who should be the custodians of our values have fallen prey. Many now side with the oppressor.

The post 2016 election period is here and all the realities confronting our country are coming to the fore. We have entered tough times and it is going to get real hard especially for the majority poor. In Africa, elections come with much promise, in-fact politicians deliver more in the one year prior to an elections than in the other four years of the five year term. Those who know this too well have since collected their share during the campaign period and possibly have enough savings to help them survive the imminent rise in the cost of living and anticipated shrink in the country’s productive capacity.

We need our leadership to put their act together; they need to communicate with effectiveness their vision for this nation. They need to take measures that are well calculated and carry the masses along. It is hard for many Zambians to appreciate why the price of fuel should go up before the budget is presented, they suddenly have to realize that in the past one year they lived a lie and they must now begin to face reality. But the truth is, no one cared to prepare them – this is a function of a visionary leadership. When President Edgar Lungu won the election, he hinted that he would make some tough and some unpopular decisions but he did not itemize them. They are now unfolding.

I write this blog piece minutes after watching the final US election presidential debate on CNN. The stark contrast between how we do politics here and how it is done down there is hard to ignore. Whilst our friends interrogate thoroughly and deeply the values and ideas of their political leaders and subject them to public scrutiny, here they care less about ideas and issues possibly because the majority of voters have no capacity to comprehend the bigger picture. Just some good music, cheap chitenge materials and t-shirts is enough to satisfy a Zambian voter.

Africa needs a re-awakening. Zambia needs a revival of national philosophy and values. Do we know what we stand for collectively? Do we have faith in our ability to soar like a noble eagle as we claim in our national anthem? Do we appreciate our potential? Do we understand that collectively but through individual actions we can harness our talents, abilities and energies to address our biggest problems? But how shall we give our people decent shelter, clean water, reduce maternal mortality, stop HIV and AIDS, and ensure our people have the highest quality of health care as close to their homes as possible to enable them live decent lives? The solution lies in a focused and disciplined leadership.

It cannot be business as usual, these are unique times. We must stop the intimidation of the independent press, we must minimize on the politics, the sooner we do away with all pending court petitions from the elections the better. We need to make radical adjustments to not only our lifestyles but to our attitude to work and ethics. Ours is a great nation and I believe good will always triumph over evil no matter how long it takes.

Bruce Chooma
Bruce Chooma
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