Saturday, June 22, 2024

Winning President of Zambia in 2021

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By Kapelwa Musonda1

He took my hand and asked, “What will you talk about as your prominent selling points when you start campaigning? When I replied, “Of course infrastructure – the roads, airports, clinics and football stadiums that my Government has built all over the country,” he was visibly upset. After a while, he shouted, “That is a recipe for failure.” I was equally flabbergasted by his cold and demoralizing response, so I challenged him, “But we are unstoppable in our transformative agenda of turning Zambia around. Today, we are commissioning the completion of Makeni flyover which is part of the flyover bridges to be constructed under this project. Infrastructure development is a critical catalyst to enhanced economic growth, and therefore my government will continue to invest in infrastructure, such as roads, schools, hospitals, etc.”

Then he said to me, “Umwana ashenda, atasha nina ukunaya.” I asked him, “What do you mean” to which he replied, “But you have visited Ethiopia several times. You mean you don’t see what Ethiopians have done on infrastructure? Besides, most of this state-of-the-art infrastructure is built by Ethiopians themselves, not Chinese.” Then he turned and said to me, “Remember what they used to teach us about Maslow’s law of basic needs?” I replied, “Yes, the law deals with a hierarchy of basic needs. You remember the pyramid of needs with basic needs such as food and shelter as essential needs. Similarly, infrastructure is like basic needs which any Government should build for its people. Surely, if you cannot build infrastructure, what should your own people think of you? What does a family think of a father and husband who has built a house for them? Nothing, because he has an obligation to do that and that cannot be a selling point for him to the family. It is the same as President Trump using economic growth as a selling point when many poor people in America continue to get poorer.”

“So, you mean Zambians will not vote for our party because they cannot eat infrastructure?” “Of course, you are doing a good job in some respects. But you must understand people’s motivations. You have to reposition your party and talk about things that go beyond basic needs and fall under your obvious job description and touch their every day lives. There are other needs that must be fulfilled by Zambians. Maslow talks about needs similar to what an innovative Government must do to its people beyond basic needs. Safety or security, belonging and love, a society without greed and selfishness, trust, morals, good family ties and relationships, a society where children feel protected, can eat three meals a day and go to school and enjoy it, feeling of accomplishment, clean water and surroundings, clean health and environment, and building infrastructure that that has things that prevent disease, hunger and death. When these things are in place, sometimes people don’t even need a physical hospital because they will not get sick.”

In Switzerland for example, citizens don’t even know the Minister of Health. They don’t talk about number of hospitals. They talk about availability of quality medicines and facilities that prevent them from falling ill. When they’re ill, they quickly recover. Transport minister is not known but the benefits of roads are everywhere. No one is late for work or going back home. So, if you want to use infrastructure for campaign, you better talk about what they’re doing as benefits. Is there quality medicine and facilities in hospitals or they’re white elephants, looking beautiful but empty of medicines? Hospitals without good and sustainable beds, water and toilets without running water don’t mean a hospital. Old hospitals are not maintained. If UTH were property maintained, there would be little to build other hospitals in Lusaka. Zambians would probably vote for your party if they see that you can improve existing structures instead of hiding behind the mask of new buildings.

“You have to target your campaign into groups. Of course, there’re Zambians that are benefiting from roads. But these are largely elites who have cars and money to transport foods and other things on the new roads. On the other hand, the majority hardly use those roads. Yet, once in a while they’re also transported on those roads but it is not the same as the elite who use these roads every day. Most people walk, not on these roads but in dust roads that are largely neglected. Yes, you must make the point that roads are important because “roads are the arteries through which the economy pulses. By linking producers to markets, workers to jobs, students to school, and the sick to hospitals, roads are vital to any development agenda.” I really like your assessment and linking roads to development and we will make sure our party addresses that.” “Yes, you should do that. That is what I mean when I talk about targeting but you cannot generalize that roads are important for all Zambians.”

“But let us go back to the innovative needs that you talked about earlier because I think they represent an important approach which our party can learn from.” “That is right. As a party, you have to explain how you intend to address these extremely crucial needs. However, you pretend, people know that this country has lost some morals. Sexual abuses of children, some leaders are taking advantage of poverty and abusing women, leadership is not clean. I have nothing against dancing. But why has dancing, not to make money but simply dancing become more important than working? Zambians spend more of their time dancing than working. From leadership to school children and even babies, everyone is dancing, in particular from the waist. One white person asked me, ‘Why do they dance and smile when they’re poor?’ Like Lionel Richies’ song, Zambians dance all night long. That is not simply a sign of happiness. There’s something else more worrying than happiness.”

“Trust has slipped away, in leadership, ordinary people and children. Trust is very important at leadership and ordinary life levels. We look clever all the time. We talk clever. But those we talk to know who we are inside. Even foreign investors know. You cannot simply sell a story that you have built infrastructure, and have an ennobling environment for investment. Every country has investment incentives. So, investors look for something else which we think are little and will not be noticed. But it is little fire that causes a conflagration. They know that we are lying. We also lack humility. Leaders need to have self-trust and build credibility. They need to build relationship trust too, that means keeping consistent behaviour in all their relations with others especially citizens. They must also have party trust or inclined to what they do. In fact, these matter much more than nice-looking roads and buildings.”

“Zambians are not the humblest people in general although a good segment are. Humility means forgetting about ourselves and thinking about others, in this case citizens. But you know that most leaders only think of citizens when they’re campaigning. After winning, they don’t even go back to constituencies to thank them or continuously share love and belonging with them. We must compare ourselves with people in other countries. Go to Mauritius and observe behaviour of the ordinary people. They’re humbler than us and will hardly harm a fly. We harm our own people. Most Zambians cannot sleep peacefully at night. Yet, they have the police and the army and leadership. We like going to Church. We have built many churches. We have national prayers. But when we look in the mirror, the image does not portray what we preach. There is a completely different face of each one of us from that of Christ.”

“Zambians will not vote for you because you’re giving them free mealie meal and other things. They’ll vote for you when you empower them to grow and produce their own mealie meal. The dependence syndrome that is being created through giving party cadres free food and everything else in order for them to vote for your party is not helpful. They are old enough to know these tricks. They’ll eat and vote for someone else. On the other hand, leadership is not there to misuse public resources to make one part of Zambia happy while keeping the majority unhappy. The role of party cadres is misplaced because they belong to you because they’re hungry not because they love the party.”
“They’re breaking society and their families and will not last when your party one day loses leadership. You should be proud if you help them to stand on their own and prepare themselves for the future. They’re recklessly grabbing other people’s land and other resources because you’re protecting them today. But what will happen tomorrow when some other party takes over? You think those they stole from will leave them alone? By allowing anarchy, you’re creating a lawlessness society. You must campaign on correcting such bad practises instead of talking about infrastructure. It is the same with leaders. Today they steal public resources but one day people will remember when another party takes over. You will not have helped them by keeping quite when you were in charge.”

“Many thanks for today for your advice. I really appreciate. You see, sometimes we as leaders are only told what our advisers think we want to hear. They’re not as brave and honest as you are. Perhaps it is one thing too that we need to improve upon – to listen to different opinions without Zambians thinking that they’ll be punished if they speak their minds. I certainly look forward to hearing more on how we can improve our campaign and look better after every Zambian without thinking about which party they belong to. I look forward to our next dialogue on another topic.” My only reply to him was, “Remember, you think that infrastructure is a big issue on which your party can campaign. But what you consider as little things may in fact be the sparks that cause a conflagration. When building a house, you don’t ignore small bricks because if you do, a beautiful building may never rise.”

12 COMMENTS

  1. WOW…I HOPE THE ID.IOTS HAVE LEARNT ONE OR TWO THINGS FROM HERE…BUT WAIT….HELL NO…THEY ARE TOO DEEP-ROOTED INTO CORRUPTION THAT THIS ARTICLE CAN HARDLY MAKE SENSE TO THEM…THIS IS FOR THE OPPOSITION ( US)

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  2. Kapelwa Musonda has resurrected! Great write up. Tell them! If I were the President and Saboi Imboela writes like she did about me, I wouldn’t seek a 3rd term. I’ll seek God’s mercy

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  3. Kapelwa Musonda has resurrected! Great write up. Tell them! If I were the President and Saboi Imboela writes like she did about me, I wouldn’t seek a 3rd term. I’ll seek God’s mercy

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  4. Continue reading fictitious hogwash. This is the real world not Harry Potter. People want to see development and they lives improved. Go around the country and see for yourself what we have done vs what was done or there prior to 2011. Wina azalila 2021. People do not vote based on wishful fictitious manifesto. Upto now we don’t even know what upnd manifesto is or what they plan to do differently. And they think they can win. Kwwf

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  5. Ba KZ tell us your PF manifesto kaili naimwe how can u have a manifesto when u have no vision for Zambia even the same infrastructure u are bragging about is substandard which is not even lasting like the infrastructure KK build for us some of it still stands up to now kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk PF kuwayawaya fwe.

  6. (Not My Article)
    A Russian Jew was allowed to emigrate to Israel. At Moscow airport a Customs officer found a Lenin statue in his baggage and asked him, “What is this?”

    The man replied, “Comrade, ‘What is this?’ is a wrong question. You should have asked ‘Who is he?’.

    This is Comrade Lenin. He laid the foundations of socialism and created the future and prosperity of the Russian people. I am taking it with me as a memory of our hero days.”

    The Russian Customs officer was ashamed and let him go without further inspection.

    At Tel Aviv airport, a Customs officer also asks our friend, “What is this?”

    He replies, “Sir, ‘What is this?’ is a wrong question. You should be asking ‘Who is this?’.

    This is Lenin, a bastard that made me, as a Jew leave Russia. I took…

  7. Continue cheating ba pf the fact is that you have failed to bring development you were supposed to bring, now what you are saying are the projects that other government brought about.I CAN CANFIDENENTLY say YOUR GOVERNMENT HAS FAILED IN EVERY SECTOR!

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