Dear President Micheal Sata: Slow Down You are Moving Too Fast

So Zambia has a new president. Democracy won. Elections were somewhat peaceful. And Michael chilufia Sata is our fifth president in Zambia forty-some-odd-years. And what the first act he performs as president? He changes a few names of airports. Wow! He must feel good. Granted it feels to me like this is something he’s had on his mind awhile now, no? That’s my opinion anyway. But it’s done. We have honored a few past heroes and one living one. Controversy, I think not. He’s doing what he feels is right for the nation.
But what does this all mean? Does this give us an indication of the direction the BBC refers to as the “only Catholic President?” going to do? Can we read the crystal ball and see what direction our state is going to take under the captainship of our new president? Will he tackle the pressing matter so often heard being in sound bites across the world: we need jobs! Will he direct someone to help revamp the dilapidating infrastructure long forgotten to be upgraded and maintained. Will he improve the lives of so many people asking and asking singing that sweet song that’s become the song of Africans everywhere: give us money!
I think the question here is this: what do us as Zambians what for ourselves and for our country? I think President Sata has come at a bad time. Or good timing, depends on how you see things and how well he tackles matters from here on out. First thing I have noticed is that as shallow and passive as Zambia’s are sometimes seen (yes we are) we have woken up to what it means to make a government accountable. But it’s a work in progress and we will mess up along the way, but should we stay the course we will do fine. I credit social media for this well learned (half baked thou) lesson.
Much of the elections success was in part to the use of the numerous social media site available these days; as well as the use of sms text. And while I love that this helped keep the incumbents’ at bay it also presented a new problem for the electro commission which I think should be addressed now to avoid in future elections, that’s just a by-the-way baECZ. Because like it or hate it the laws of putting injunctions on social media will not work out now. I think this may happen in fifty to sixty years from now. But for work with it and bring the electro process into the new century. Because the young voters of this generation are armed with mobile phones and street smarts and they will bust you. For instance, there were reports on social media (unverified of course) of people seeing empty ballot boxes in areas they shouldn’t be. This tells you that people have woken up and will no longer be riding the little yellow bus to school.
Zambia is now awake. Zambians can and will not be taken for granted. We will no longer be lied to nor ignored. We have a stake in the running of our country as much as any leader in government. And If I want my MP to sit down with me twice a week in his constituency and hold meetings with him constituents to discuss what needs to be done, he should listen to me. Even if one person or three people show up, he or she must listen to the people. Not always out of office or unavailable or in a meeting at state house…no! We need responsible, accountable and “there” leaders. Shit we demand it. For the progression of our young democracy we must do better than America. Learn where they failed and succeed.
Now to my point, the reason I had to pen down these words: Mr. President, please slow down. You have stated that you will “change things” in 91days. That well and good, one needs a challenge to fight the boredom that might come with complacency, but speak to us, eh? That is all we ask. SPEAK TO US. Let us know what you are thinking. We are not asking to know the secrets of the state nor the code to some missile No. all we as Zambian citizens what to know is this: when will you tackle the all important job creation issue. When will you tackle health care and its dilapidating infrastructure? When your first act as president is to honor our heroes it throws us a curve ball and we wonder if we’ve elected the right guy for the job. Because lets be honest the years coming are not going to be easy. With the impending global economic crush on its way how will you handle things if you don’t talk to us? Talk to us a father would his loving wife and children when things are going wrong, or when things are going well.
You named the airports of our country, great! What is next will either win you loose you a countries trust. And this is where I say; before you named the airports you should have told the people of Zambia what you were going to do. Its curtsey and I know that being in politics in Africa one feels that the position affords him/her the right to DADT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell). We need to change this. We also need to change the interaction we have with our rural folk and our chiefs. Its bad enough we are giving our lands to the Chinese and big farmers but what are we doing in terms of incentive to help the poor rural substance farmers keep their land and not leave for the shanti compounds of the urban city. Subsistence farming is after all an Africa concept that kept whole village and generation fed. You could look into that. And earlier I mentioned a rather ingénues idea that would help things in Zambia run smoothly: an appointment with the members of ones constituency, in person and no secretaries or “there on behalf of the minister” no. the minister must hold talk with his constituency in person to ensure the smooth ruing of our country, but that just a by-the-way.

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