Thursday, February 29, 2024

Our Current Government: Ignoring Public Outcry and Prioritizing External Impressions over Citizen Welfare

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Our current government is facing mounting criticism for its inability to heed the concerns of its citizens and instead, seemingly prioritizing external interests over the welfare of the general public. While the ruling party’s MPs may have a significant role to play in representing their constituents, many appear to be sidelined, with the president’s focus seemingly fixed on impressing western countries through debt restructuring. This disconnect between government actions and public needs threatens the party’s standing and calls for urgent measures to restore public trust.

One of the major failures of the current government lies in its inability to control the soaring cost of living, particularly concerning the staple food, mealie meal. Despite assurances during their campaign, the government has been unable to implement effective policies to curb food inflation, resulting in a heavy burden on the majority of citizens who rely on maize as their primary source of sustenance. This situation has exacerbated poverty levels and negatively impacted the overall standard of living for many Zambians.

Citizens have grown disillusioned with the government due to its failure to deliver on various campaign promises. Ranging from infrastructure development to job creation and poverty alleviation, many pledges have remained unfulfilled, leading to widespread disappointment among the electorate. This broken trust erodes the credibility of the government and heightens the urgency for corrective action.

1. Ignoring Public Outcry:

Despite widespread public discontent, many members of parliament within the ruling party appear to have little influence on government decisions. Their inability to effectively advocate for the needs of their constituents has left citizens feeling unheard and overlooked. This disconnection between MPs and the people they represent creates a gap in accountability and raises questions about the government’s commitment to democratic representation.

2. Prioritizing Debt Restructuring over Citizen Welfare:

Rather than addressing pressing domestic issues, the president’s focus on impressing western countries through debt restructuring has raised concerns about misplaced priorities. While external relations are important, the government’s primary responsibility should lie in securing the well-being of its citizens. Neglecting critical issues like the cost of living, mealie meal prices, and fuel costs in favor of appeasing foreign stakeholders risks alienating the electorate and further eroding public confidence.

3. Exacerbating Economic Challenges:

The government’s emphasis on debt restructuring might be a necessary measure to address financial pressures, but it should not overshadow the need to tackle pressing domestic economic challenges. Failure to prioritize and implement solutions to stabilize the economy and alleviate the cost of living will only deepen the hardships faced by ordinary citizens.

4. Risking Political Fallout:

The growing dissatisfaction among the electorate could pave the way for political fallout in the upcoming 2026 general elections. If the ruling party’s MPs fail to voice the concerns of their constituents effectively, citizens may seek alternative leadership, leading to potential shifts in political dynamics.

Recommendations:

1. Empowering MPs’ Voices:

Within the ruling party, there must be a concerted effort to empower MPs and grant them a more significant role in shaping policy decisions. This includes fostering open dialogue between party leadership and MPs and providing platforms for constructive input from all representatives.

2. Balancing External Relations and Domestic Welfare:

While external relations are important for economic stability, the government should strike a balance between debt restructuring and prioritizing domestic welfare. Allocating resources to address pressing issues like the cost of living and food security is crucial to demonstrating a commitment to citizen welfare.

3. Public Engagement and Transparency:

To bridge the gap between government actions and public needs, the ruling party must engage in transparent communication with citizens. Regular town hall meetings, public consultations, and feedback mechanisms can help foster trust and ensure that the government remains accountable to its constituents.

The ruling party’s failure to address public outcry and its perceived prioritization of external interests risk alienating the electorate and jeopardizing its standing in the upcoming general elections. To avoid a vote of No Confidence and regain public trust, MPs must actively advocate for the needs of their constituents, and the government must balance external relations with addressing pressing domestic challenges. By fostering transparent communication and prioritizing citizen welfare, the government can reaffirm its commitment to democratic representation and ensure a brighter future for Zambia and its people.

By Alexander Vomo

19 COMMENTS

    • 1. For Zambia’s sake, even KK as a dictator, would allow his ministers to go and get grilled on Sunday Interview TV Program, by the (Late Charles Mando), and explain what UNIP was doing as a government. Kebby Musokotwane as a Minister and later as Prime Minister of Zambia was always articulate and sharp. Michael Sata as Governor of Lusaka was always fascinating interviews. KK also would appear on Sunday Interview to be grilled. The Late Charles Mando still remains the best interviewer in the history of Zambian Journalists. We were young but still would watch The Sunday Interview just to learn debating skills for school debates.

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    • 2. In HH’s press conference “wherein” he fell short to communicate effectively to the nation, but went on and on about the Director of Public Prosecution, plus complaining that individuals called him a cow. [ Frank Mutubila told HH that in his 50 yrs plus career as a journalist, for the first time it was impossible to access ministers and interview them about state of affairs.] Frank asked HH for access to his ministers. HH stayed mute and failed to assure Frank that journalists can interview his ministers.

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    • 3. HH took time forming his government coz’ he said, he needed the best produce from his crops by doing a methodical selection. Today we have ministers scared to give 1 to 1 interviews to explain policies & state of affairs. They’ve not dislocated from an opposition mindset. The GRZ Spokesperson is like a “dead-log-of-a-tree.” I know guys in UPND who can be effective government spokespersons. But HH needs people who he can control and not those with free minds like Cornelius Mweetwa, posted to Southern Province, coz’ before August 2021 he said.. [If we win as UPND, we’ll disagree with HH if he make mistakes.]

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    • @ INDEPENDENT OBSERVER

      Thank you for taking us back in memory lane. I grew up in Lusaka and went to Kubulonga Boys in the 80’s. Charles Mando / MHSRP was the master at Sunday Interviews. In those days we saw ministers get asked tough questions. What we have in UPND is ministers, mps and cadres who only speak when they want to praise HH or blatantly tell lies. Government has always recruited teachers and health workers every year. Hakainde boasts as if its the first time the government is doing it.

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  1. While I find some of your recommendations helpful, your repeated statement “with the president’s focus seemingly fixed on impressing western countries through debt restructuring.” makes me think you really never got what debt restructuring is all about and why it needed to be done as a priority. It was never about impressing the West but about the very citizen welfare you claim the government is ignoring. Granted, town hall engagements may help with public confidence which is indeed important, it doesn’t by itself deal with the issues we are beset with. Our path to recovery will not be easy and it certainly will not be achieved through populism. We need to bite the bullet and do now what will allow our kids have a brighter future.

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    • Debt restructuring doesn’t do much bwana you are cushioning your situation and saying those who will come later will take care of the bill, and soon they will go to borrow some more. It was only $6.3 billion and the debt will still have to be paid.

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    • #Makunku what recovery? Someone is already in the mortuary and you expect him to recover. There’s nothing going to happen in terms of development.
      Someone I met in town this morning summed it all ” Bafeetole kulilafye nokubavotela bonse.”

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    • Makunku we have been biting the bullet for 25 yeras. MMD came up with that phrase in 1991 with Ronald Penza. We cant go on biting the bullet forever!

  2. AHH come on !! where would we be without the other skin shades
    Investment and marketing Zambia will eventually pay dividends
    nearly 60 years and we still crying so this different approach is welcomed
    hopefully days of political appeasement for votes is over

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  3. No, your thinking is totally wrong.
    The key issue is restructuring the kongole, without that how are you going to be importing and allow investors in the country. It is wrong of you to think of the people when you have had no conference with the people.
    Yes we all know things are bad, but it those dancing leader when they get kongoles. Ndola Mulfurira road was not done, but money was allocated if am not wrong about $189M and why do you not ask those who did that there Party is still working.
    Please participate in constituencies for development.

  4. #Zambiano, you are right in that debt restructuring in and of itself doesn’t do much. However, if we use the temporal relief it affords to build up our productive capacity, it puts us in better stead to meet our obligations as they fall due while taking care of our many socio -economic needs. It should not be – as you suggest, an exercise of merely postponing debt to the coming generations.
    #Deja vu, if you choose to see only death and gloom for Zambia then I guess our two positions are irreconcilable. I believe that as a nation we have what it takes to improve our lot. Zambia may be gravely ill, but it certainly is not in the mortuary. Judging from the vulgarity of the person you met in town, I would be hesitant to bank on his opinion.

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  5. Debt restructuring doen’t mean anything to a common Zambian all what citizens want is food on their tables , you will keep on explaining until when you start shedding tears but Zambians their only need is ulutoshi lwabwali full stop.
    Ubwali , ulutoshi is the anchor of Zambian politics ignore this you will regret it

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    • That is why Zambia has failed to develop. Ubwali,ulutoshi has dumbed our way of thinking and analysing issues as Zambians.
      As long as the Russian-Ukrainian war continues, Most economies will continue to be in distress.

  6. Do not blame HH. PF mortgaged the economy of the country to the same foreign governments you think HH is trying to impress. The US $30 billion PF borrowed and looted is unpayable. The lenders are coming for their pound of flesh, and that is why HH is doing his best get Zambia some breathing room. The price of mealie meal is high because of Kapasa Makasa university and all the useless projects the tribalists implemented in their tribal provinces, that left country indebted beyond its ability to pay back. I do not like how HH panders to the West, but I also sympathise with his predicament. You voted for the tribalists, they are the one who got the debt that has to be paid with the subsidies that used to keep the price of mealie meal less than what it is now

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