Listening to our lawmakers debate in Parliament is disturbing, frightening and frustrating.
It is frightening because very careless political statements are being made without any thought to their effect on the rest of the country.
There should be no doubt that certain inflammatory statements have the capacity to sow serious seeds of division, disunity and are of incendiary nature.
Such statements as one made by Mazabuka Member of Parliament Garry Nkombo, who said “Sir, in the Southern Province, the people are waiting to usher in a new Government …” is clearly divisive and in all fairness Mr. Nkombo owes the people of Southern Province and the rest of the country an apology.
The people of Southern Province cannot of their own usher in a new government. They will need the support of other provinces in the country.
The converse is equally true and this is where it is most troubling.
A government ushered in by Southern Province will be regional and therefore tribally based. Where does it leave the rest of Zambians in the other nine provinces? These troubling issues will not be lost on the minds of the Zambian people as they go to the polls next year.
It is also worrying that the quality of debate is deliberately oblivious to conditions and circumstances that have afflicted the global economy giving rise to unheard of cost saving measures by large multi-nationals many of whom have many times over our GDP.
Our MP’s particularly in the opposition hold highly jaundiced opinions which are a real danger to the economic welfare of the country, suggesting in some cases that the redundancies on the mining industry were the result of poor governance.
They even opposed measures intended to re-align the Budget in view of slippages arising from depreciation.
They gave no thought to the fact that the measures being proposed were in agreement with recommendations by the International Monetary Fund which has called for stricter financial and fiscal discipline to take account of declining revenues.
Clearly, a national adaptation agenda is far from the minds of most lawmakers whose national view only centres on their personal political ambitions and how to engender it rather than on the greater national goal.
There is no doubt that our country is in crisis and must quickly adapt to weather change, depreciating currency and most of all reduced revenues as a result of the global slowdown.
These challenges demand concerted action to find alternative revenue sources to finance social projects including health, education and community development.
Poverty cannot be eradicated by wishful thinking, or political rhetoric. It must be countered by hard work, sacrifice and determination by all Zambians.
This means that those most able must forgo some of their excesses in order to provide for the needs of the poor and deprived and this is only possible if the lawmakers can climb down from their ivory towers and begin to address the real issues affecting the people.