By David Kapoma
The English dictionary describes the word ‘Governance’ as “the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented)”. While ‘Good governance’ is an indeterminate term used in the international development literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources.
Zambia will have five (5) years with a new president in office. How the president will perform will partially be according to how we choose to treat him. The citizens of a country can make a good leader and can also build a dictator and a bad leader just from the way we react to issues and address our leaders. We have the powers to choose our destiny as citizens.
Zambia is at a very critical point in our history after the passing on of two incumbent presidents within the space of six years. This is no doubt one of the reasons why our country has been unstable for the last few years. This is a time I believe the president (Which ever one it is) will have to make some very difficult decisions to serve the country’s economy from further collapse.
We need a good manager with proper advisers to redeem ourselves and put Zambia en route to prosperity. As citizens we will have to play our part in ensuring that we help the government run this county properly. We must continue providing checks and balances without fear or favour. We need to state the reality as it is at all times and we must put the interest of the nation at heart. Those in power will have to realise that they are voted into office to work for the people and not to enrich their own pockets and advance personal agendas.
Good governance has eight (8) major characteristics. It is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. Good governance assures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society. This is what good governance would look like if put under the microscope.
Good governance further requires a fair legal framework that is enforced impartially. It also requires full protection of human rights and impartial enforcement of laws under an independent judicial system free from any form interference.
The participation of young people is a key cornerstone of good governance. Young people must rise up and realise their potential, we must begin interrogating ourselves and start participating in the governance of our country either direct or through legitimate intermediate institutions or representatives. We must also understand that representative democracy does not necessarily mean that the concerns of the most vulnerable in society would be taken into consideration in decision making all the time.
We don’t need to go and through stones and attack each other or demonstrate or riot on the streets and think that we are expressing ourselves. That is simply being subjects in a society that requires citizens. Our participation in governance needs to be well informed and organized. This means freedom of association and expression on the one hand and an organized civil society on the other hand. We need to express ourselves within the confines of the law. We break the law, we break our backs, we break the faith, we break the chains of freedom and we go behind bars where our voices will never be heard again. Young people must have integrity and distinguish good from bad.
I pray and hope that we can use the next five (5) years to place Zambia in the right path for the generations to come. I am hopeful that the next cabinet will not be full of selfish individuals that will be more interested in creating wealth for themselves and forget about ‘us’ who put them in office. I am also hopeful that the head of state will try by all means and fight the evident tribalism and regional politics that has characterised our society. Everyone must be treated equally and we must realise that to put this country on the right path, we need everyone to be involved and every region of this country must be part of the master plan.
Zambia We Are One!