By Mwizenge S, Tembo, Ph. D. Emeritus Professor of Sociology
This article makes bold and unusual proposals about what our future leaders should do to lead our mother Zambia beyond creating more jobs through investing in development projects after elections during the next four years. My fellow Zambians will wonder why write this article last minute a few days before the Presidential elections. Readers might suspect ulterior movies. Am I looking for a job in the incoming administration after the elections? Do I support UPND, PF, MMD, ADD, FDD or the other 21 political parties? Am I one of those people who live in the castle in the sky far removed from the Zambian everyday reality? I was living in Zambia for 6 months. All these assumptions would be wrong. I just want a better mother Zambia going into the future for my fellow 17 million Zambians.
Last month I had malaria and survived the terrible Corona Virus illness. I should have written the article last month as I had been thinking of these ideas since the last General Elections in 2016. I recently lived in Zambia for six months in a rural model village in rural Chongwe and visited my village in Lundazi. I lived an ordinary life mixing with Zambians from many parts of our society. The death of President Kaunda further inspired these ideas as I lived a good life from 1964 to 1991 through the entire period of his presidency just as millions of other Zambians did. Since 1991 through 5 Presidential leaderships, Zambia has made tremendous progress. This article is from the perspective that our leadership and citizens can do better if we truly look into and plan for the future.
Plan for the Future
Since 1964 when Zambia got her independence from British Colonialism, we have always had 4-year development plans. Most leaders today in Zambia promise plans for investments to create more jobs during the next four years once elected. This is very important as citizens depend on jobs to feed themselves and support their families. But I propose leaders and the country should be thinking of planning for what will Zambia be as a nation, for example, in 2030, 2060, 2080 or even 3000? This can be in the areas of transportation, physical health and disease, science, higher education, use of our land and food production, and sustainable development. What about poverty? What are we going to do as Zambians to respond to climate change and global warming the next three, ten or 100 years? We should never think small as a nation because there is no reason to do so. How can we mobilize the nation once our forward-thinking leaders identify problems and solutions? Our leaders and the nation should be thinking of leading other nations in some areas of life instead of always being followers or expecting donors to do things for us.
Corona Virus and the Future
Globalization, climate change, global warming and Corvid 19 are going to seriously affect Zambians. It appears global pandemics will increasingly become more common as the Corona Virus has so many millions of human bodies to infect and transmit all over the world such that the virus had a chance to quickly mutate to become more contagious and deadly as the mutated Delta Variant is now doing. How do our leaders and the entire nation react to this serious health problem? We still have malaria as a major disease. Can we create some Zambian scientific solutions to the Corona virus combining these solutions with the international ones from scientific studies?
I wrote a very good scientific paper in the 1990s.”The Deadly Fallacy of the HIV-AIDS-Death Hypothesis: Exposing the Epidemic that Is Not.” https://wp.bridgewater.edu/mtembo/wp-content/uploads/sites/380/2016/11/HIVAIDSPaper-1.pdf The paper discussed how HIV-AIDS may have been related to malaria in Zambia. It appears there may be a similar pattern between Corvid 19 and malaria in Zambia. When I was writing that paper in the 1990s, I could not have predicted that there would be the Corona Virus in Zambia in 2021. Many of the ideas in that scientific paper may be related to what is happening to day in Zambia. My personal pattern of illness of malaria and the Corona Virus may be a good example. I am hoping for a young scholar from one of the 17 Universities in Zambia to day may read that paper and find some new solutions to Corvid 19 in Zambia.
It is not enough to simply advocate democracy, freedom, and for everyone to gain as much money and wealth among Zambians for next one hundred years. There are many countries in Africa and elsewhere where leaders have amassed personal wealth while the vast majority of their countrymen remain poor. This will happen in Zambia if leaders do not provide effective supporting ideological guardrails for the lives of citizens as well as foreigners who temporarily settle in Zambia. President Kaunda’s philosophy of Humanism and the leadership codes were not useless. Some Zambian intellectuals at the time thought that the ideology was useless or inferior especially to the Marxist philosophy. When a nation has weak or no guiding principles or ideology for all its citizens, some of the worst excesses and abuses in the gap between the few rich and the many poor can happen. This may be happening in Zambia already.
As we go to the national Presidential elections, I hope these humble ideas will help some Zambians decide who they will vote for in what I am sure will be peaceful elections.