Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Henry Kyambalesa, an Adjunct Professor in the School for Professional Studies at Regis University, Denver, USA, as well as an Independent Business and Management Researcher and Consultant. He is has written a number of books and regularly reflects on issues facing Zambia.
There is an urgent need for the Patriotic Front (PF) to show leadership in addressing the increasing levels of political violence among its members, otherwise we risk having political hooliganism entrenched in our country’s democratic institutions that will eventually be difficult to address.
It is hard to understand why political cadres threaten to harm or kill other citizens who have different political views and/or those who support different individuals or political candidates!
There is a need for each and every Zambian to learn to engage in politics without physically assaulting others, or threatening others with violence. We need to remember that we are Zambians first in spite of the different political parties we belong to, the 73 different tribes to which we belong, the different languages we speak, or the different politicians we support within or outside our political parties.
We should not allow politics to create divisions amongst us to the extent of battering each other during campaigns and whenever we have differences in opinion over intra-party politics, inter-party politics, and/or national issues. We should avoid acting savagely toward one another. And we need to pray for one another, and for our beloved country.
After all, we are one and the same people – we are members of the Zambian family! “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell in unity!” ─ Psalms 133:1.
We should always remember that the real enemies of our beloved country today are not any given individuals, political parties, non-governmental organizations, or foreign countries. Rather, they are poverty, hunger, ignorance, illiteracy, disease, widespread unemployment, crime, corruption, and moral decay.
Lack of Employment Opportunities
To digress somewhat, it is important for the PF government to make a more serious effort in bolstering the creation of jobs in the country. The fact that political cadres are readily available to be used by their leaders to engage in violence on a regular basis attests to the unprecedented lack of employment for them. As an old maxim tells us, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”
The creation of jobs can easily be facilitated through lower taxes and interest rates designed to stimulate investment, consumption, and savings, and by pouring more financial resources into the small-business sector.
Small and medium-sized enterprises are particularly instrumental to sustained socio-economic development. They, therefore, need to be aggressively promoted for the following specific reasons:
(a) They can create employment opportunities for talented Zambians and family members who cannot find jobs in large business establishments;
(b) They can collectively function as a vehicle through which the government can economically empower its people by enabling them to participate actively and directly in their country’s commercial and industrial activities;
(c) They can facilitate the generation of wealth for all sectors of our country’s economy and thereby reduce existing income disparities;
(d) They can function as the backbone of our beloved country’s economy because they would be both indigenous and permanent especially if they would be operated by Zambians; and
(e) They can participate in elevating their host communities’ social and economic welfare through the provision of various kinds of needed goods and services.
Meanwhile, our beloved country continues to face a catalogue of very serious socio-economic woes. For instance, the healthcare system cannot meet the basic needs of the majority of citizens, a critical shortage of decent public housing has compelled so many of our fellow citizens to live in shanty townships nationwide, public infrastructure and services are still deficient, the majority of citizens have no access to clean water and electricity, and, among many other socio-economic ills, crime and unemployment are still widespread.
As we seek to improve the livelihoods of each and every Zambian, therefore, we should put our political alignments, tribal identities, religious convictions, and professional affiliations aside and work together as a nation. As one Biblical verse advises us, “a house divided cannot stand.”
Henry Kyambalesa is an Adjunct Professor in the School for Professional Studies at Regis University, Denver, USA, as well as an Independent Business and Management Researcher and Consultant. He is has written a number of books and regularly reflects on issues facing Zambia.