The crowd during the inauguration ceremony raise the PF symbol as they sing the national anthem.{picture by Dr.Simuyemba}

By Jacqueline Musiitwa

Michael Sata and supporters echoed Barack Obama’s mantra of ‘change’ during the 2011 election.

As a child growing up, I recall the fervor and momentum around Zambia’s first democratic multi-party election which took place in 1991. I remember running in the streets chanting, “The time is now…It’s time for change” and other chants focused on the people’s hope for a better future. Little did I understand politics, much less political evolutions or revolutions.

In the last 20 years both Zambia and the world have changed, becoming more loosely bound. We continue to witness the globalization of ideas, politics, economics, social systems, culture, technology and disease. If the Arab up rising has taught us anything, it is that leadership is about responsibility and not power.

Failure to be responsible results in removal from power. This year I have witnessed another change of sorts in Zambian politics. In a relatively peaceful election Zambians made it known that once again it was time for change. The election process demonstrated to me Zambians’ choice to hold leadership accountable for its actions.

The one thing that has remained constant in the lives of all Zambians is the desire to make a better life for themselves. The ever present consensus in African political discourse is that our leaders are the cause of our problems. Although in part true, leaders alone must not take all the blame. As Aldous Huxley said, “People get the government they deserve.”

Considering many African countries’ battle with national self esteem, questionable degrees of patriotism and nationalism, as Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea games have a larger following than parliamentary proceedings, one can only be cautiously optimistic. Based on the assumption that Zambians are committed, inspired and willing to work hard together towards national development, it still begs the question, how can ‘we the people’ ensure the leaders are for the people, of the people and guided by values and ethics (including, but not limited to, transparency and accountability)?

The first step is to consider the words of Barack Obama, “We must educate our children to become like young Egyptian people….” This does not mean taking to the streets, it means uniting young people together for a common cause despite existing differences. The days of silent children who are seen and not heard are gone – younger generations now know that they are an influential and growing part of ‘the people’.

It also means understanding and demanding civic rights, obligations and privileges under the law while using the appropriate means to express grievances. People’s rights need to be taught in schools and other community fora.

The second step is to foster independent institutions buttressed by a strong civil society, free press and unrestricted access to social media. It is through open debate of the issues that people effectively contribute as active and responsible citizens.

People need to express and advocate the views of a diverse cross-section of the population without fear or threat of prosecution. A good example of this is Rwanda’s ‘National Dialogue’ – a process that invites people to converse with government through phone calls, text messaging and email (domestically and from the diaspora) about national challenges, successes, lessons learned and future plans.

Often in Africa political leadership is disconnected from the realities of the people. Being surrounded by a convoy of security in a vehicle with tinted windows or a helicopter because there are no roads to the region for the rare opportunity to visit a village, (that prepares for weeks on end for the visit), is hardly a depiction of the people’s reality.

President Sata, was in part voted because he appears to be ‘a man of the people’. In his first ninety days, people have been watching with anxiety the reforms the government is making. So far the new government is demonstrating its commitment to unifying past political fractures – renaming the airports with names of the founding fathers, whilst demoting military officials that were allegedly unqualified for their posts suggests that a meritocracy could be developing, thus minimizing corruption and nepotism in hiring practices.

Clearly outlining and enforcing the terms and conditions for investors entering into Zambia, especially the Chinese, thus protecting Zambia’s greatest resource, its people, at the forefront of the agenda demonstrates the government’s commitment to sustainable development.

All of the above are great starts, however, the development agenda, be it Vision 2030 or the Millennium Development Goals, need to be accompanied by an active and realistic plan of how to accomplish them. Such a plan is not yet clear. Additionally, the needs of the people change over time, and government must take that into consideration whilst still focusing on such visions. There need to be checks and balances, monitoring and evaluation of leadership performance. And ultimately it is up to the people to gauge when it is time for change and be the necessary agents of change.

Jacqueline Musiitwa founder of Hoja Law Group is a Mo Ibrahim Leadership fellow, a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and an Archbishop Tutu fellow.

[Read 15 times, 1 reads today]
Loading...

41 COMMENTS

  1. I SEE NO HOPE IN THIS PF GOVERNMENT ITS JUST FULL OF RHETORIC, THE 90 DAYS IS COMING TO AN END, WHAT HAVE THEY ACHIEVED ? NOTHING APART FROM HIS TRIBALISM APPOINTMENTS, HE IS THE WORST PRESIDENT ZAMBIANS ACCIDENTALLY VOTED FOR. HE HAS MADE OTHER TRIBES HATE US. ANY WAY IF YOU THINK THIS DICTATOR WILL RULE US FOR EVER, I DOUBT!!!  MAY BE HE MAY NOT EVEN FINISH HIS FIRST TERM IN OFFICE 

    0

    0
  2. WELL WHEN Nigeria had abacha, when Libya had ghaddafi, when Uganda had idi amin ….God intervened, so no worries, Zambia shall be saved

    0

    0
  3. Kubwelako fye. A lot of promise, but gales of hot air in the end! A big anti climax! Even we the bembas are concerned that other tribes do not see us as tribalists. King Cobra is not a leader nor is he a nation builder and has sufficiently manifested so since we voted him as president. He is so drunk with it, and is quickly forgetting who his employers are.

    0

    0
  4. WHAT A JOKE ‘PROTECTING IT’S PEOPLE’. WE ARE STILL WAITING FOR JUSTICE AND YOU CAN TRY AND SPIN TIME FOR CHANGE, FORIEGN INVESTMENT, EDUCATION AND PROTECTING YOUR RESOURCES AS MUCH AS YOU WANT THE PEOPLE WILL NOT BELIEVE UNTIL THEY SEE AND THE LONGER YOU TAKE ENSURING THESE CORRUPT GREEDY THIEVING PEOPLE ARE MADE ACCOUNTABLE NO ONE WILL BELIEVE A WORD YOU SAY. ASK YOUR POLITICIANS WHY THEY DISCRIMINATE ON CERTAIN ZAMBIANS, STOP THE CONFIDENCE OF FOREIGN INVESTMENT DUE TO HOW THEY TREAT INVESTORS WHO HAVE WORKED TO HELP BUILD ZAMBIA UP OR TRY AND MAKE A HOME IN ZAMBIA AND I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE CHINESE BECAUSE THAT WAS A DEAL MADE BY RB’S GOVERNMENT TO SELL ZAMBIANS TO THEIR OWN SLAVE MASTERS. ZAMBIANS NEED TO STOP TAKING THE WORLD FOR FOOLS WHEN ASKING FOR MONEY

    0

    0
  5. This disgrace of accommodating the insanity of clowns and the ignoble should be done away with at once. Self seeking heroism at command level, senseless brutality, intimidation, hollow accusations, nepotism, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently we hate all this, how despicable and ignoble they are; We would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is our conviction as fearless patriots and democrats that belaboring to asphyxiate our hard won democracy under the cloak of a circus is nothing but an act of unpardonable crime against virtues of democracy. People will resist this insanity.

    0

    0
  6. Poor lady, all those fellowships and all she can give us is hogwash! Can’t she see the fast disintegration of our country? Sends wrong signals about the quality of those fellowships.

    0

    0
  7. VINDICATED
    Say bye-bye to reversal politics of doom. Zambia we forewarned you that insanity, protruding ignorance and illiteracy are not attributes for executive national leadership. For the love of Zambia it’s time to start tearing down the walls of condoned insanity and a historic circus? You want us to give this circus more time? If you are patriots who realize that the future of this nation is squarely on your shoulders, get ready for a journey of emancipation.
    “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking they were created.” – Albert Einstein.

    0

    0
  8. senior citizen you can afford internet access ka? please wait and see , you don,t expect our duly elected govt to fix in three months, what your people destroyed in 20 years…………………………………HE MCS is our president like it or not and like mmd PF will be in power another 3 terms this is just the start. you don,t like it TOUGH

    0

    0
  9. These are not the times where Politicians who are proven to be two faced, corrupt dictators or lack transparency stay in power, especially not in Africa….RIP Gaddaffi, or just ask Mubarak or Ben Ali. Countries can either stamp out the corruption and old regimes in hope the vultures that circle such nations can be put off or face civil unrest and that’s when the vultures will strike. The most valuable assests Zambia has, the world recognises and uses to their advantage because people in power in Zambia are too corrupt and this is exactly what these corrupt politicians do to anyone Zambian who can actually make a difference. Stories of the abuse of human rights are also getting out so it’s up to the Zambian people how this ends not the government because they answer to the people

    0

    0
  10. “All of the above are great starts, however, the development agenda, be it Vision 2030 or the Millennium Development Goals, need to be accompanied by an active and realistic plan of how to accomplish them. Such a plan is not yet clear”

    We said that Sata is a chimbwi with no plan. Pipo can try and protect him as much as they can but time will tell. The pipo will become tired of his dirty tribal mouth and his embarassing flip floping. Talk without thinking. Pure lack of stratergy.

    0

    0
  11. No 8.

    Yes the man in state house is the president of zambia but you can not deny the fact that he has turn it into a monkey cage. Unfit to be respected as a president. fit to be respected as a kaponya at Kamwala. The bishop was on the money and i quote

    Bishop Chihana says, ” what is also shocking is what he has termed as un Presidential language used likening it to that of a person who has just entered night school classes of grade seven possibly at Mpika primary school.”

    0

    0
  12. Octopus, u r an *****!!!! All you anti govt low lifes are ungreatful and unpatriotic Zambians. For the love of country…pliz give the new govt a chance and wish them well whether u voted for them or not. We need to support our country’s current administartors to foster development. Ballot papers are not even dry and u r complaining? Give them some time and then criticise constructively when and if they fail.

    0

    0
  13. .
    The author is either just starting to practice JOURNALISM or she is just a WEB BASED / INTERNET POLITICIAN. I am not sure which one falls into her category

    On the other hand – give her respect for reminding Zambians that as a nation we have become a beacon that has championed FREE, BLOODLESS ELECTIONS & SMOOTH CHANGE OF POWER in Africa

    Sata was voted by the people as a man of action. However, he has forgotten why he came to power. Could it be that he is still LIVING IN SHOCK that he is the president as pronounced by his right hand man – Wynter Kabimba? Oh No – the man actually is not a Man of Action. He is reversing all protocols of leadership qualities

    0

    0
  14. .
    To the author – Renaming of airports does not make Sata the man of the people. What reforms has Sata directed? What tangible Fiscal Programs has he initiated? What Sustainable Development has Sata committed?

    Sata needs to rescind himself and avoid all these daily STAND UP COMEDY, pretending to know every citizen of Zambia by making comments to anything that passes through the window. We cannot have a President that has to comment on every EAVESDROP & GRAPEVINE stories. Sata needs to focus on government programs and set aside GIVEN LUBINDA to do his job of being a GOVERNMENT SPOKES PERSON. Thereafter the nation will judge him on his performance.

    0

    0
  15. Jacque pls tell me in Bemba what u talking about.. I see Obama in your article..when he is coming to zambia

    0

    0
  16. Iwe ati Jacq….chakuti chakuti, I have labored to go through your article several times, but still can’t decipher what you are trying to put across.Please summarize your jumbled points in one paragraph?

    @# 9, you seem to have understood it better. Kindly share what you got from the article.

    @8, have you ever done mathematics (in particular arithmetic progression, permutation & combination and Statistics) at any stage of your education? What is your profession and what softwares do you use on your computer in your everyday day professional work? Do you keenly follow trends in local & world politics? Atleast one of these shuld give you a clear picture on the future of PF rather than bluffing. By the way, I am also SDA.

    0

    0
  17. There is just insanity and madness in state house. And when the vuvuzela makes noise, it is just people scampering in all directions. Awe twazi letelela!!!

    0

    0
  18. People are already talking. This president is not even capable of a term people. I have told you time and time again. He has no political attiquete, no articulation with ideas etc. Pure kaponya simple as that!

    0

    0
  19. Very poor article indeed! I have seen the bone but it has no meat to it! What is this Jacqueline talkin’ about? LT you should have vetoed this article!

    0

    0
  20. facts check,its not enough to put a strong foundation in 90 days especially if u want a system that will stand the test of time.all those who voted for PF based on the 90 day period are illiterates because even if zed had billions of dollars no man can develop a country in 90 days.as for mcs HE still have time to reposition himself well if only his advisors stop fearing him,the president s speech writer can emphasis the need for him to stick to the speech.govt spokesman is the best to do the job of informing the nation.MCS may also chisungu ,fake money, maybe he meant RB govt printed money without informing the nation.

    0

    0
  21. Yes, some people wanted change and have got it. However, some people still need change despite having a political transformation. So what will happen after 5 years? Are we going to witness what has transpired just within 3 months of MCS leadership for another 10 years or more? The fact of the matter is that ‘change’ is inevitable but what kind of change? A pragmatist is currently failing beyond any doubts to take Zambia to another level. The tribalism issue has been ignited and it is being reflected in the way people are being appointed. For how long will those that feel left out watch the drama without reacting? The best is to wait and the ballot will have all the answers. Yes, PF have no clear plan as illustrated by the author of the article but may be what we need is patience.

    0

    0
  22. No 16
    Sata and PF open association with Zanu-PF and Mugabe was the last nail in the coffin. It was over even before it started. The world can not afford to see another Mugabe in Zambia. What you will see in the coming years is the progressive strengthen of the opposition in zambia by provision of resources and will make 2016 look like a walk in the park. What interesting is that the votes are already being cast. Southern Province and Northwest have already cast the NO vote. In years to come the other provinces Eastern, Central and Western will decide. The copperbelt and lusake will grow with frustration to the point were 50% will move to NO. PF will be left with Luapula, Northern and Muchinga.  Sata might as well start packing that is if he will indeed last 5 years. The game is OVER

    0

    0
    • Totally agreed.  I hope that the opposition understand this and will start positioning themselves, not in fear, but in readiness for this opportunity presented by the incompetence of PF and its leader.

      0

      0
  23. We may be over criticizing MCS and may be our interpretations are wrong. Nonetheless, how long should we wait? We are part and parcel of the democratic process, providing checks and balances and ensuring that the government deliver to its promises. the majority of Zambians are poor, what is the government’s strategy and not the MDGs….. 

    0

    0
  24. Drama in real time … unfortunately drama reflects what happens in society and I agree, totally and unreservedly, that we deserve what we have at plot one. Good things are coming from there, but also a lot of damage far outweighing the good is also coming out of there. Zambia is now a boiling pot whose base is about to melt sending debris in all directions, not unlike the big bang. The young lady’s article is good, especially … to those of us who cannot think beyond a few lines of blog post.

    0

    0
  25. Good evening

    To start with, there is a lot of truth in just about every sliver of the article so I wonder why some people have resorted to shoot down the author?

    She has minutely underlined and documented the declaration of democratic change from a Zambian perspective and I think she has succeeded very well in depicting a clear picture of the status quo.

    She does not deny that there are challenges that come with change and appeals to every Zambian, especially the young ones to harness their input. With great strength always come great responsibility, so instead of attacking the president and trying to belittle his authority, I think people should be supporting him.

    0

    0
  26. LT is beginning to fill up with vuvzela articles about Sata. Is it true that LT has been taken over by State House?

    0

    0
  27. I can understand why some people are disappointed and do not want to support MCS. How do you support somebody who opens up his mouth on nearly everything? How do you support somebody who concludes before pursuing the truth? How do you support somebody who takes over the role of spokesperson? It can be really hard. Yes, he can be partly supported and criticized.  

    0

    0
  28. My brother you mean well, but people here have a dark agenda and 
    Want to undermine the President at everything  but its a good thing 
    HE MCS has a thick skin, all these rantinga are water off a ducks back

    Have a good evening

    0

    0
  29. Good article from an upcoming journalist, she has successfully challenged us, the readers to reflect critically, on what kind of change we need. We Zambians need to politically mature; for example I do not expect anybody to take literally the campaign slogan ‘change in 90 days’ or ‘more money in your pockets’, alas sometimes masses are naive,( by the way no.20 u r a tribalist).
    While I have never supported Mr.Sata for presidency, I welcome the evolutionary process of democracy in our beloved Zee and I advocate giving every dully elected govt. a chance. How can the new govt. realistically give us a program that will stand the test of time in this short time? ( my wife is PF supporter and SDA….what has that to do with Tongas……abash tribalism, zambia is one)

    0

    0
  30. Its time to come out and admit that people made a terrible gamble with MCS. He does not have the qualities of a president in which ever way you try to at him from. When he was governor of Lusaka, and so called a man of action, people were still not exposed. Times have changed. The Zambian of 1980 is different from the Zambian of 2011. However, MCS still thinks its the same Zambia. he his going to have a very tuff time. Am sure he his very surprised at how people can answer him when he opens his loud mouth.

    0

    0
  31. @ 12 KOVU YOU ARE SHOWING THE TRUE COLOURS OF A KAPONYA AND WHY EVEN INSULT.WE HAVE JUDGED YO KOLWESTAN BASED ON THE FAKE 90 DAYS PROMISE UNWISE PEOPLE LIKE U WE F00LED FOR . BISHOP CHIHANA HAS GIVEN A GOOD DESCRIPTION OF THIS GUY IN STATE HOUSE WITH VULGAR LANGUAGE NE NEEDS TO GO BACK TO NIGHT SCHOOL AT MPIKA PRIMARY

    0

    0
  32. #12 Kovu

    Its you who is a MORON ***** GOAT!!!!!!!!!!!

    Octopus is RIGHT! Sata is a KAPONYA a real one for that matter!

    Am one person who supported Sata and condemned MMD and RB!

    I have regretted for supporting Sata and his PF party.

    I never knew that Sata will be appointing CORRUPT people like Emmanuel Mwamba (his relative) nor Chungu! Sata is on record of condemning MMD and RB for appointing corrupt people but Sata did exactly of what he condemned RB and MMD!

    Sata accused RB and MMD of bringing Zimbabwean Police for the Sept 2011 elections saying they were BRUTAL but Sata has done exactly of what he condemned RB and MMD of by OPENLY supporting Mugabe for Presidency next year!

    Sata is a double standard person and a LIAR who can not be trusted by Zambians!

    0

    0
  33. @ Little Octopus- If you want some come get some. You seem very delluded attacking people who are defenseless. Come for me, I will finish you.

    0

    0
  34. We get the government we deserve; however, we can come out of it by beginning to craft our own vision for our society. This idea of relying on a far away institution called the UN to craft a Vision (2030) cannot necessarily guarantee our achieving their often lofty goals. In fact, for most developing – oops – emerging economies, Vision 2030 is actually Vision 3020. What we need is to begin to identify within our societies things that can work for us, for our situation, and for our psyche. Po mpa!

    0

    0
  35. @All, thanks for all of your comments and engaging in debate. I think the 90 day debate should be used to challenge the government for the rest of the term. It is not an excuse, but it is a short time. Rather than complain, this is your time to act. However, even at a personal level think back in your life; what have you achieved? On average for most they can not say much. That said, if you are not happy with the leadership, hold them accountable.

    @6 We are all adults here. It is unfortunate that what is supposed to be a basis for dialogue has turned into personal attacks. Nevertheless I respect your opions.

    @26 The article consists of my opinions. I do not write on behalf of any political party. The point of free press is to have varying opinions. Thank you LT.

    0

    0
    • You miss the point: 90 days was instigated by Sata and not the people.  Even after winning the elections, he continued to refer to 90 days during his inauguration ceremony.  Any ***** could have told him that it was not feasible.  Zambia is in this mess because of people of your age, who dance at every change (as you stated you did in 1991 and probably in 2011) and every wishful promise without looking at the possibility of real delivery.  There is no point wrestling some performance from a dunderhead – it just will not happen, regardless of your hope and prayers.

      0

      0
    • You miss the point: 90 days was instigated by Sata and not the people.  Even after winning the elections, he continued to refer to 90 days during his inauguration ceremony.  Any ***** could have told him that it was not feasible.  Zambia is in this mess because of people of your age, who dance at every change (as you stated you did in 1991 and probably in 2011) and every wishful promise without looking at the possibility of real delivery.  There is no point wrestling some performance from a dunderhead – it just will not happen, regardless of your hope and prayers.

      0

      0
  36. @32 Shaka oz thanks my brother for seeing sense in what I was saying . It’s stupidity of highest order for some fools to think that we must to question stupid decision made by Kolwestans at state house . When Sata appoints bembas in all key position why must people develop an allergic reaction when we question him. He is sowing a bad seed for our tribe.
    @33 ASsassin I don’t waste my time arguing with *****s like you who can’t debate anything but want to just insult. If you want bring it on Iam a tuff tasted person I have challenged more serious *****s like you on this site and u can never much me I can finish u in seconds but I don’t want to be drawn or sway and shift the debate . Let’s concentrate on how best we can advise PF grz

    0

    0
  37. @29 I like your way of thinking.  I’m not an upcoming journalist, but I do appreciate good political debates on the future of our continent.  People are quick to criticize the views of others without coming up with ideas and positions of their own, which is a shame.  We should all challenge the status quo with the hopes of positive change.

    0

    0

Comments are closed.