|Each and every Zambian of any description has a choice. To be nationalistic, serve the country and see things for what they are or be politically correct in furtherance of a personal objective, in order to put food on the table.|
I once asked one young man almost ten years ago, why he was working as a “submarine’ engaging in unproductive activities. His answer may have been shocking but realistic, under the unacceptable circumstances. He said, ‘Boss, I have to do what I do so I can put food on the table’. Only last year, another person said I must do what I am doing so that I can look after my family – yes, I know it is wrong but then, I must feed my family! I then quickly asked him: Are you implying that other Zambians have no families to look after and that your family is more important than other families?
5th January 2016, therefore, is so symbolic and important a day and year because this will remain engraved as the instance, era, time and epoch when one patriotic Zambian, who also happens to be the current President, His Excellence E.C Lungu, put his signature of approval to begin a serious process of re-constructing Zambia, through the fundamental Law of the land – the Constitution. Others before him had an opportunity to respond to the Zambian challenge of law making but for what I would call “courage deficit”, were unfortunately incapable of delivery and consequently, overtaken by trivial considerations.
Under certain circumstances around where I hail from, the man who walks the talk would have been known as “Mutinta” – one who breaks a pattern. At the Olympics he would have minted a Gold medal!
The Head of State has done his part. He has shown that the issue is not and has never been what he wants but what Zambians want. Because Parliamentarians whether for or against did us proud, they must be commended for managing a delicate process that led to the Presidential Assent. Civil Society groups too, whether for or against deserve commendation for the gallant participation flavor. Now because we all are democrats, we have no choice but to embrace the legitimate product of intense national discourse; as we remain respectful of divergent views.
Now back to you: Do you take into account irrelevant considerations before you make your choice in rendering support to this our Zambia? If you do not, I salute you. If you do, do not despair. The God we serve is a faithful God. Just do your part, repent and join the crusade of those are praying for Zambia ceaselessly.
If you are employed in the Civil Service, you are NOT a civil sufferer, as some would like you to think of yourself. You are the “soul” of Zambia, which means that all your decisions have to take into account the necessary political consideration, wherein LOYALTY is to our motherland Zambia and the government of the day, without compromise in delivering, say, services. In the absence of patriotism, and in the absence of nationalism, challenges that have everything to do with the future come to the fore. How do we deal with threats about nationhood and in particular, our collective future?
It is a fact that the political machinery depends on the government machinery to implement its programs all the time. The road and infrastructure program of the Patriotic Front (PF), is executed and must be executed by the government machinery, in which case, what is expected of all Civil Servants from the Top Civil Servant – Secretary to the Cabinet to the ordinary Cleaner, is do nothing but support the programs of the government of the day – in this case, the Patriotic Front (PF) program(s).
In a democracy, divergent views must be allowed all the time. Practically, a particular view point from a politician may not be in line with one’s political thoughts. In these circumstances, speaking out respectfully and following all procedures is a better option than engaging in sabotage. By this act of speaking out, you begin a process of smoothening interaction. The two parties get to know each other, and hostile and disruptive activities, eliminated. Critical to all this, is the importance of all parties to respect the Rule of Law. There is another lane though. Rather than stand in the way of performance, if you are so deeply aggrieved, you can and should seek the intervention of the Courts without fear or favor. If you feel very strongly and will not put up with an explanation, resignation is always an option, bare as it may be.
To drive the point home, no subordinate should be allowed to practice the disgraceful and unacceptable act of “undermining” their boss and any other work mate. When you undermine another or decide to work as a submarine, you are serving an agenda which unfortunately is at variance with your reason for existence. When the submarine culture is allowed to entrench itself therefore, it refuses to entertain reason or indeed logic, not because of any other explanation but because the stakes are rather too high. The zero option is just unimaginable!
A procurement officer, whose focus is to derail the tender process so that he or she can benefit, cannot support a government process that seeks to arrest internal hemorrhage. For such a person, the Office of the Auditor General is undesirable and ‘intrusive’ Journalists, an evil to be silenced by court action.
For reasons which we must continue to interrogate as we strengthen our institutions, I here boldly claim that our Civil Servants appear to be more political than practicing politicians. This is why I have argued before that literally everybody in our Zambia is a politician. Others profess their political views while others do not but in effect do hold political views, also known as a world outlook (the way you look at things).
We go back to what we touched on at the beginning: one does what they do not out of conviction but convenience (sic). Many may have either heard or experienced unfortunate words such as; “I had to do it so I could keep my Job”! Really! How can such negative attitudes build a Smart Zambia, which the country desperately needs? I submit that there is absolutely no difference between such a person, who acts on superior instructions, just because they must survive and a Sex worker, who too engages in illegal business for selfish ends. She too, must feed her child!
I think there is probably a problem between communicating or doing things diplomatically and/or doing things devoid of logic. Talking of diplomacy, this may be the reason why late Ian Smith, the Rhodesian rebel Prime Minister mistakenly observed on a TV interview that there was a thin line between diplomacy and treachery. But that is diplomacy for you – it is about skillfully managing relations and never about destruction. It is actually a system of communication and engagement, which while standing for truth, avoids confrontation and any underground activities.
Seasoned diplomats will for instance never go against basics of the Vienna Convention but “political” or less seasoned diplomats may just find themselves compromised between two poles!
I want to argue that our Agenda as Zambians is to stand with each other and for each other when necessary. It is neither about gender nor age. It is about fundamentals of building the nation. Deception may work well in the political arena but it can never in any professional environment, where one is expected to give nothing but their very best, as well as to be upright in thought and deed.
Our Civil Servants are the key we need for a Smart Zambia. They drive the government program such that success or failure of any program lies on their feet. To seek to compromise the work of an officer is not only injurious to Zambia but a negation of duty which offends the laws of the land. In some jurisdictions, a systemic failure is punishable if and when the perpetrator is identified. Those who followed the Angolan/South Africa conflict (1980s) will notice that the Cuban government did not spare the military Generals who prosecuted the Cuito Cunavale war heroically, but were found wanting of drug trafficking.
Talking about the rule of law, President Nixon of America was in 1972, forced out of office as a result of the Watergate scandal.
What am I saying: I am literally urging our civil servants not to hide behind politics to cover inefficiencies and other omissions! A Zambia which embraces inefficiency is as a problem as a country which refuses to act on evidenced crime(s). I am also calling upon our country men and women not to agree to be manipulated simply because there is a promised benefit. By contrast, we should know that when we talk of abuse of public resources, it would be unreasonable to expect an unemployed and illiterate villager from Kalabo to be a master mind and ultimate beneficiary of an illicit major mine contract, signed and sealed say in, Lugano. In short, let us just honor Zambia by doing things correctly. Next week is another opportunity for dialogue.
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