ZAMBIANS should take a deep and honest reflection and decide whether it is necessary to continue celebrating the independence anniversary when there is no significant improvement in their lives, FDD spokesperson Antonio Mwanza ha said.
“We must take a deep reflection and an honest introspection and check whether we are living up to the ideals and aspirations of our forefathers who dreamt and fought for a free Zambia, a united Zambia, a just Zambia and a more prosperous Zambia where one’s success is not dependent on one’s connections to those in the echelons of power but is sorely dependent upon one’s willingness and ability to work hard,” Mr. Mwanza said.
He said 51 years down the line, Zambia was in a deep social crisis which needed quick solutions.
“Over 60 per cent of our people are living in abject poverty. Hunger, rising cost of living, crippling load shedding, loss of jobs, youth unemployment, debt crisis, fiscal deficits, endemic corruption, indefinite closures of public universities, strikes, tribalism, nepotism, teenage pregnancies, political violence and moral decay have become our daily norm,” Mr Mwanza said.
He said the challenges the country was not just as a result of the failure by elected leaders to provide a leadership that inspired and motivated people to use their natural ingenuity and abundant potential to spur themselves out of poverty but it was as a result of ineffective governance system that had removed people away from the centre of development.
Mr Mwanza said the centralized governance structure coupled with a bad Constitution had taken power from the people and reposed it in the hands of a few individuals in Lusaka.
“Zambia has become Lusaka and Lusaka has become Zambia. All decisions are made and implemented from Lusaka. The people outside Lusaka have nothing much to say about the social and economic change they desire.
‘‘They have neither access to executive authority nor financial resources. For all the economic difficulties we are facing as a country, we should neither lose heart nor lose sight of what we need to reclaim: citizenship.
‘‘Citizenship is not just about being a Zambian, it is about how we work together to make Zambia a better place for ourselves and the next generation to come. As citizens, we ought to realise that nothing will change unless we ourselves change the way we think and the way we do things. The change we seek will not come to us but from us and by us.”
Mr. Mwanza said Zambians should not think that their role ended at electing leaders; but that they should always put to task those they give power to run the affairs of the nation.
“As citizens, our role does not start and end with voting. We have the right to hold our elected officials to task. Yes, we have a democratic right to differ and argue but in enjoying that right we should recognise the fact that we have to be responsible enough to differ not on the basis of political affiliation or ethnicity but on the basis of ideas and ideals. We ought to remember that with each right comes responsibility,” Mr. Mwanza said.
He said creating a poverty-free Zambia would require nothing but a governance structure that was anchored on good governance through democratic decentralization which empowers people to be in charge of their own development agenda.