Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The Zambia We Need


By Dr Charles Ngoma

By the end of the week beginning 8 August 2021, Zambians will have voted either to continue with the same Captain or change. Zambians will be lost for choice amidst the cacophony of voices coming from 16 potential suitors, all out to woe the Zambian voter to give them a chance to move into the bedroom in Plot 1. You have got to hand it to them all for believing in themselves.

The 12 August 2021 Presidential election is a HISTORIC event. One of the candidates is the most experienced at winning elections and will be the only post multiparty democratic Zambian Presidential candidate to go into an election with two previous victories. Unless the constitution is changed, this may never happen again in Zambia. Another candidate is also making history as the only presidential candidate to go into an election after losing 5 times in a row. Hopefully, Zambians will never allow this to happen again if they can have true democracy in their political parties and make the party more important than a man.

I have borrowed the title of this post from the UPND Alliance’s ‘The Zambia we want’ but modified it to ‘The Zambia we NEED.’ Wants are not essential. One can do without them. Needs however are so essential that life and one’s very existence depends upon them. Whichever political party, creed, tribe or religion we belong to, we can all agree that Zambia is not where it should be. Even the ruling Patriotic Front die-hards know this and that is the reason they are campaigning for another mandate in office- ‘to finish what we started.’

This is by itself shows that they have not arrived. Where then are we going? I think we are looking for prosperity for all Zambians. We are looking for a country where no one goes hungry. We are looking for a country where every child has a good basic education and a good health. We are looking for a country where the life expectancy is long and fewer and fewer people die prematurely. We are looking for a country where there are no street children high on hydrocarbon fumes. We are looking for a land of work and joy in unity, a land of victors in the struggle for what is right, a land where we are all one Zambia and one Nation, proud and free. This is the Zambia we need, and I do not think that there is anyone who can disagree with this.

BUT, we do disagree, and we disagree on the means to get there. This is where democracy comes in. People must be free to chip in their viewpoints and tell how we can get to the promised land. We have given a chance to three political parties so far- UNIP, MMD and PF to take us there. We are not where we were in 1964.

In order to progress inexorably towards the Zambia we need, we must learn for history, and I mean the whole history of mankind in general and the history of Zambia in particular. Armed with this knowledge we must avoid the mistakes of the past and adopt what worked. We have a great cloud of witnesses to learn from. We do not need to re-invent the wheel. Those who vie for power to rule must be armed with answers to the questions before they seek office. It is futile to start learning on the job. They already know what the problems are and they should know how to fix them.

As I close, I am going to suggest the biggest problem in Zambia today and I will suggest the solution. The problem is poverty. The solution is ready access to money for all citizens.

To illustrate this, we need to go back to the primitive human being. What did he need? He needed SEED to sow. Once he had done that, everything else was not in his power. If it rained, well and good but if not, he starved. Replace that seed today with money, capital. Zambians are largely unbanked and while many have great business ideas, they have no access to seed money. It is access to money that will move people out of poverty. The richest man in Africa got a seed loan from his uncle. One of the richest men on earth borrowed money from his father. The Chinese are producing dozens of millionaires every month because they have access to money through low interest loans.

Loan sharks will never produce millionaires. Whichever government there will be after 12 August, think about this. Let Zambians access loans for mining, tourism, agriculture, plumbing, brick laying, electrical work, steel foundry, schools, hospitals etc and we will accelerate to the Zambia we need in the shortest possible time. Great innovations and inventions do not need going to school. Ideas need funding but many great ideas never see the light of the day because the thinkers, the innovators have no access to money. The government should get out of borrowing in the internal money market except under extraordinary circumstances. Poverty breeds corruption.

If one is poor, they cannot afford to maintain their car. They drive an unfit vehicle which is impounded by the traffic police. They cannot afford the fine, so they pay a bribe which is cheaper. The state is deprived of revenue, the police officer gets less pay, and the cycle repeats. If more Zambians run formal businesses, the tax base is widened, more are employed and there is more money in pockets.

The next government must open centres in every district where people can learn about how to write a business plan and to seek funding, budgeting, tax, and running a business. We have hundreds of Business Administration graduates who are unemployed who can be employed to do this. School curriculums must include investing in stocks and shares and cryptocurrencies.

Give seed to the sower and you will be well on the way to alleviate poverty.


  1. I agree. In fact we all agree. The problem with pf is that what precious few resources we have are wasted on pf cadres…this is unsustainable and must come to an end after August 12.

  2. PF has eroded work culture. Becoming rich from being a cadre is the new culture. We need a new mind shift to get back to basics. Equal playing field, access to finance at low rates & favorable environment to do business. Govt should have policies which support small & medium enterprises then this will ignite economic activity to benefit everyone.

  3. No developed country in the world was built around the premise that everyone is a bissinessman………

    Developed countries were built on government incouraged industries which were later split , span off and privertised.

    government need to see to it and ensure manufactruing industries are built.

    Expecting the privert sector and foringners to build every thing does not work as can be seen now by the approache PF has taken…….the proof you can see and feel yourselves.

  4. YAWN!!!!!! Where’ the remote control????? kikiki Pointless article….”stocks and shares and cryptocurrencies” too many scams. We can’t develop with crypto and all these fads we have today, come on now!!!
    @Mwabupo knows the disease…. “few resources we have are wasted on pf cadres…this is unsustainable”. Thats what we “need” to get rid of.

  5. Totally agree! the one thing we fear the most is originality. If you put the African greats such as our very own KK, Julius Nyerere, Nelson Mandela, John Magufuli…list goes on, one unique attribute was self belief and putting the interests of their respective nations first. We in Zambia should stop entertaining mediocracy. We need to strengthen our rule of law and also change those outdated precolonial laws which give so much powers to an individual. PF and UPND are showing us how not to conduct elections therefore we need some serious lessons learned to come out of this year’s elections. LAZ should be busy looking at these anomalies and propose changes.

  6. The problem I see for PF is that it was quite selfish and short-sighted (or maybe cowardly?) to let ECL run again. His first win was from respect to Sata, his second because he just got started, but now? Zambia has said no to third terms before and a message of “continuity” doesn’t make much sense when people are desperate and suffering. Better for the party would have been to field someone else – then they could speak of moving forward.

    Anyway, we shall see…

  7. this is a very non-partisan article with a very clear proposal as to what the author thinks is the solution. Instead of giving views in support or critic of the solution offers, some go straight into bigotry. Others, you can tell that they haven’t read or understood. The industrial revolution in Europe came immediately after the institution of banking to finance it. Electricity was first conceived by Faraday in Britain, but produced on a wide scale in the US because of the funding from JP Morgan. UNIP created the Zambia National Commercial Bank to be a source of cheap loans for ordinary Zambians, but it did not work well because the people who ran it did not understand it. I totally agree with the article. Level the field and make access to money equitable.

  8. The problem is not so much PF, but the guy who is heading it: Edgar China Lungu. He is like a headless chicken, can’t lead the party, and clearly has got no qualms with corruption, not telling the truth and being plain dishonest. If PF would have replaced Edgar China Lungu for somebody else, I would have voted for him because I’m not so sure about HH, having lost five times in a row. But now – NO time for change.

  9. Charles, what a simple minded analysis from a consult grade doctor!!.

    1. The eligibility issue for presidential candidates has been settled. The Judicial Review Commission has not even suggested repeal of the relevant provision (s). Should the judicial opinion become a precedent the Higher court could overrule its ruling should an apparent mischief occur, by simple implied repeal by Parliament. Changing the constitution by referendum is too sledge hammerish!!

    2. Your understanding of NEED is glaringly one dimensional.
    The triad of need is: Poverty, Ignorance and Disease.
    3. Presidential candidates could be limited to two chances for an individual.
    You should have suggested this.

    You can see how frail your analysis turns out.
    You are misinforming the public in the…

  10. Its the change you want….come home cast your vote then tell us about your analysis….12 is next week under 5 can run but he cannot hide… he has to face his just deserts a thorough beating….at the polls no sparing him this time…..

  11. Meanwhile after all Zambians know that it’s PF100%, ECL100%, Zambia overdrive100%, Bumper harvest 100%, Elite Zambians100%, Peace100%, Empowerment100%, More money in your pockets with hard work 100% and Prosperity100%.

  12. PF inflation 22% MMD 6%
    PF exchange dollar K23 MMD K6
    PF reserves 1 month MMD 1 year
    PF GDP 19 billion dollars MMD 25 billion
    PF Fuel per litre K17 MMD K6
    PF mealie meal K130 MMD K30

  13. There we are, we have the PF campaign managers on the ground in Eastern province conceding that the UPND alliance road shows are by far more crowd pullers than for the PF, and they are saying you can’t judge by that, so you want us to judge by your stage mannered opinion polls, PF can’t win an election

  14. Practical advice which serious governments need to effect but with so many selfish thieves in cabinet noone wants to see other rich people emerge. They just want to steal for themselves

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