Following the Electoral Commission of Zambia announcement of the election date for the Mayoral Council election in Lusaka and Council Chairperson positions in select districts which is slated for Thursday, 26th July, 2018; the campaign period has seen candidates and political parties promising many things relating to development. They have included rectifying water challenges, unblocking drainages and pronouncements aimed at ensuring school going children do not drop out of school.
The period has seen political leaders including the Republican President interacting with ordinary citizens to hear their challenges. Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has noted that this practice of leaders going out to interact with the people and appreciate the situation on the ground must not be limited to election campaign period but must become a default style of leadership in this country. JCTR has observed that this type of leadership will serve to facilitate the implementation of decentralization in Zambia.
The Centre has therefore urged the Patriotic Front (PF) government to urgently implement among measures provisions of the decentralization policy such as non – politicized ward development committees to enhance interaction between leaders and ordinary citizens. The Centre has also demanded that leaders, regardless the level, needs to make it a habit to be frequently visiting electorates and ordinary citizens to appreciate the situation on the ground to make informed decisions.
The Centre has further urged electorates in places where elections are taking place to elect candidates who are truly committed to serving the needs of the people at the local level. “Underdevelopment has been perpetuated by the selfishness of political leaders. One such situation has been where election victors abandon electorates and only appear at the time of seeking another mandate”, notes the JCTR.