By Prince Bill M. Kaping’a Political/Social Analyst
Today, the president is scheduled to travel to the Copperbelt province on a 5 day working visit. He is expected to commission and inspect some projects, meet the clergy and our traditional leaders and of course, have tete-a-tete with party members. This is a brilliant initiative indeed!
But why would a president want to meet party members in the first place? This is the only way the president can gather first hand information from people on the ground…….listen to their complaints, get to know whatever issues they may be grappling with.
You see, most people that vie for such positions usually have grand aspirations for their citizens unless of course they found themselves in such positions by accident……ifyabu pyani! However, there are always individuals that tend to be stumbling blocks…..and these are non other than senior government or party officials.
We’ll give a typical example.
Mid 1990s, President Chiluba travelled to Kitwe to commission the newly constructed Wesley Nyirenda Basic School with the support from the World Bank. On their way from South Downs Airstrip in Kalulushi, the presidential motorcade used a road that had recently been worked on in readiness for the presidential visit.
As the procession wound its way back via the same route once the programme was over, Chiluba instructed his driver to make a detour. As one would imagine, the security detail and government entourage was gripped with alarm! Why would the president want to use Chinyunyu Road? What was he thinking?
When the entourage finally caught up with him, in his usual wit he commended the Town Clerk for the great job fixing the road in question. You should have seen their looks…..they all had big eggs on their faces! The road was scarred with not potholes, but craters!
A week later, a contractor promptly mobilized on site to work on the deplorable road. It would be important to emphasize that the president was once a labour leader; his union had property in the area and was obviously privy to the state of the road.
What are we getting at?
As President Hichilema comes to Kitwe, he must not allow his security detail or protocol officers to shield him away from the truth. He must have one on ones with ordinary folks so as to get a better understanding of the needs of our people.