By Nkonkomalimba Kafunda
As we head towards August 12th elections day, 10 issues must take centre stage
1 The need to fight corruption: Private greed has reached unprecedented levels and should not be condoned. The impunity with which government functionaries are looting the public purse through dubious contracts (honeybee being the latest) , have shown that society has lost the core values of honesty and honour in the conduct of public affairs.
2. Effective management of the economy: Only those who are illicitly acquiring wealth, those whose personal well being is put above national or public good do not admit that the economy is in shambles. Those who strut around with delusional self-importance will not admit that all the fundamentals have gone topsy turvy. Unsustainable debt comes to mind here.
3.Protection of media freedom: The free press has been under siege in the past few years. Independent media has been intimidated and harassed into oblivion. This onslaught on the fourth estate has been designed to obliterate any system of checks and balances that has been built up since the return to democracy in 1991. The closure of The post is now a harsh and sad reality All true patriots must stand up for the right of the media to operate in an unfettered environment free of harassment from authorities and the cadres they control.
4. Enhancement of judicial integrity: Few will argue that the people have lost faith in the Judiciary’s capacity to deliver justice. It is clear that other considerations rather than the law come into play in most cases. Inequitable bail conditions are now not uncommon.
5 Promotion of national unity: The country is highly polarized. It is either you are PF or opposition not Zambian. This must come to an end.
6 Promotion of democracy and good governance: Because Zambians have lost faith in institutions of governance, and not without reason, our democracy is under siege. This loss of confidence has meant that we have left it to people who should not be anywhere near government running our affairs. This can be seen by the serial incompetence witnessed in every sphere of public affairs’
7 upholding of peace: When those charged with the responsibility of protecting citizens turn fire arms purchased with tax payer kwachas on the same people they are meant to protect, it can only result in anarchy and lawlessness. If the people choose to take matters into their own hands only bloodshed will result. These potential triggers of mayhem must be nipped in the bud.
8 Improvement in the delivery of social services: Social services are an essential part of governance. It follows, therefore, that instead of reduction in the percentage of the budget that goes to social service delivery due to debt servicing obligations, the allocation should be increasing.
9 Reduction in poverty: For a country so well endowed in resources natural human and otherwise the levels of extreme poverty are unacceptable. We require prudent resource management and allocation as a matter of urgency
10 Reducing the high rate of unemployment: Unemployment already high continues to rise. We need to figure out how best to create jobs through value addition of our produce and products. The emphasis should ne on the quality rather than quantity of jobs. Skill transfer and development should be encouraged as should be entrepreneurship with access to affordable capital guaranteed.