President Michael Sata can be compared to former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. They both must think they are the unluckiest politicians ever. Lula lost presidential elections in 1994 and 1998, against a far more established opponent in Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Likewise in 2008 Sata lost elections against a well established MMD the late Mwanawasa. In 2002 Lula finally secured his goal of winning the presidency and there were rumblings, especially from the markets, that he would steer Brazil onto an economic path to destruction. This year 2011, Sata has secured the presidency against Amalgamated Bank of South Africa (ABSA) Capital, Africa strategist Ridfle Markus who predicted that Zambia will lose investment if Patriotic Front (PF) wins the elections.
Eight years on, as Lula bowed out office on 1 January 2011, Brazil is now the fastest growing economy in Latin America with a stronger emerging middle class while the USA middle class has shrunk. As a matter of fact all those Marco Polo buses you see in Zambia are assembled in Brazil. A study published in September by the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a Rio-based policy group, found that some 29 million Brazilians had entered "the middle class" between 2003 and 2009, with average monthly incomes between 1,126 reais and 4,854 reais ($658-$2839; £417-£1797).
Both Sata and Lula are better known by their nicknames than their real names, Lula and King Cobra which both are the names of animals. They both have an average education one is metal worker while the other one is a former police constable and rail way man. They are both from humble backgrounds and have a great gift to connect and relate to common people and people feel comfortable in their presence. Additionally you are both charismatic leaders.
Besides a set of personal gifts, emotional intelligence towards ordinary people, personal charm and smart political instincts, Lula’s genius lied in surrounding himself with the best political advisor and economic advisor who both had independent and original minds from Lula. Lula’s economic advisor is responsible for designing the economic system that both attracted foreign investors and also the Bolsa Familia a program that lifted millions of poor Brazilians out of poverty. Thus, for Sata to succeed he should find the best economic and political advisors. A genius political advisor will help Sata to connect with the masses and restore pride in the country. The best and brightest economic advisor will help Sata to design sound economic policies that respect civil liberties, democracy and investment alike. Without national pride Sata’s political career like that of KK, Chiluba, Levy and now Rupiah will have a fatal ending.
Here are five areas if well developed will set Sata’s political career apart from others.
Economy: Mobilisation of Zambians and children of Zambians born from foreign nationals in Diaspora regarded as "middle class "to invest back in Zambia by making dual citizenship a matter of urgency.
Resources: Development of commercial agriculture particularly top key foodstuffs including sugar, poultry, rice and beef, and other commodities much in demand by countries in Africa. Zambia should reach out to Israel for agricultural technology as well help in discovering oil.
Environment: The size of our fresh water lakes should make fishing a viable economic sector that has largely been underdeveloped. Developing land for agriculture should boost Zambia’s economic credential after all Soya beans is Brazil’s valuable export.
Political voice: There's need for Mr Sata to be a genuine president for all people rather than just PF. Valuable time (47 years) has been wasted through political bickering instead of inspiring all Zambians to work harder to deal with modern day challenges. No one is interested in investing in a country where (MMD) culprits against civil liberties and threat to democracy like events in Mongu and Copper belt are yet to be held accountable.
Education: Creation of opportunities for Zambians to use their own talents and original qualities to positively impact others to be entrepreneurs. It is time to instill confidence within and outside Zambia to the masses that have been previously disgusted with mediocre politics and standard of living conditions. In addition, it is crucial to invest in technology and communication because of the major role these play in facilitating and supporting meaningful education and development in this global village.
Besides President Sata’s charismatic personality and nationwide mass following, he has luck on his side because he has a great opportunity to learn from the blunders of KK, Chiluba and Rupiah. Challenges define leaders. Rupiah squandered the chaos in Mongu from inspiring Zambians to define and articulate a fresh political vision. Rupiah was not only arrogant and myopic but he was also so consumed with winning elections that he stopped governing the country. As for President Sata if he capitalizes on economic and political diversity as source of strength, his political career will have a stellar ending with a legacy in the hearts of the next generation of Zambians.
Lula is sorely missed both within and outside Brazil, where as for President Sata his opportunity has just began. So far so good!
Nsambila C Mboelala is a financial analyst based in Chicago, USA. He holds a MSc in Human Resources Management and MBA in Finance. He is originally from Mufulira, Copperbelt.
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