BY SYCORAX NDLOVU
After the death of my father, George Tiyesa Ndhlovu in 1969, our mother, the late Tikhozenji Zulu used to say that people; including relatives from one’s father’s and mother’s side aren’t ready to adopt a badly behaved orphan. She used to tell us many good things we should be doing for other people to adopt us when she also passes on.
Truly, being an orphan can be challenging in many forms. What is also critical is that depending on what a father or a mother tells his or her children, such off springs can be accepted or avoided by many other people. Badly behaved children are rarely adopted; and become some of the street kids we see in some towns and cities. A child who many people avoided because of his or her bad conduct rarely becomes a responsible citizen people can consider in any form of leadership.
My late mother used to tell Christine, Setrida and I that a good child ought to be honest, obedient and hard working if his or her parents and other people are to like him or her. She also said respect for elderly people; regardless of gender was also paramount in any child. Stealing and telling lies weren’t highly discouraged; and highly punishable.
Our late mother also promoted a spirit of not begging from other people. She taught us that the best way to get what you don’t have was to work hard until one achieves what he or she didn’t have. In the process, she indoctrinated a spirit of self-reliance into her children.
Considering the harsh socio-economic hardships we experienced soon after the death of our father, my two sisters and I used to sit around our mother whenever we were resting from some work; listening attentively to such pieces of advice.
Assuming that our mother will also soon die; and feeling and smelling how tough it was to be an orphan, no one looked at our mother when she was telling us such advice. We all looked down; visualizing how tough life would be if she also dies soon. The then relatively harsh socio-economic hardships humbled each of us to such an extent that all of us felt the only solution to eradicate such miserable life was paying attention; and implementing what our mother was advising us.
While such a story is about this author, it is also very true to most people who grew up in the olden days; especially in the early 1960s and 70s. Most people who grew up at such times are often relatively self-reliant now despite some socio-economic challenges that some people experience almost in every decade because such people have a strong background of parental guidance.
Even when such children went to school, teachers used to be very good at guiding pupils on how to be good children who can be transformed into responsible citizens and future leaders.
Teachers, at all levels, also used to be exemplary in their conduct and in dress code. School-going children used to say: ‘I want to be a teacher so that I can be respected and wear suits like Mr C C Nthara or like Mr G N Mwanza(former Chinunda Primary School teachers).’
With effective parental guidance in most children of those days, as such children grew up; and lost one or both parents with time, they hardly suffered socio-economic hardships as we see most children suffering nowadays. Moreover, from such a background most children grew up as responsible citizens who, mostly, knew what is right and what is wrong. Such children and such elderly people rarely make choices that lead to highly regrettable mistakes.
As a result, children and elderly people brought up with such parental guidance are honest, obedient to their parents and to authorities. Such children and adults are also respected in society.
Respect from community members yields many benefits and opportunities as most people want to deal with those who are honest, obedient and hard working. Regardless of age, respect for others is critical in one’s life because it reciprocates. One cannot have disrespect for others; but the same disrespectful person to expect others to put him or her in high esteem. Therefore, for you to be regarded as a responsible citizen who can be entrusted with any leadership position in society, you ought to demonstrate, among others, that you are (1) honest, (2) receptive to guidance and advice, (3) hard working; and (4) that you have respect for others, (5) telling the truth were among critical elements of a good child.
To put such a background into context, have you ever heard that a farmer gave his workers salary advances; but told such workers that they shouldn’t pay back those salary advances without any reasons for saying so? No! Have you ever heard of someone doing some business with some workers giving his or her workers loans; and telling the same workers not to pay back the same loans for no reasons? No!
If salary advances and loans are supposed to be paid back, what more with a revolving fund loans where many other people are in the long queue awaiting their chance to get such loans when those who got earlier pay back their loans?
In some cases, even if an employer knows that the salary advances or loans given to workers are a form of workers’ periodic benefits(mwabombeni), can a wise employer tell his or her workers to use the money from loans or salary advances anyhow; and reveal that they don’t need to pay back those loans or salary advances? If an employer says so, what do you think can happen to those funds workers got for various purposes?
Analysing such factors and situations, one wonders why some political leaders make campaign promises based on appeasement to look good leaders whilst not to unsuspecting electorate. Such an approach to politics promotes laziness, extravagance and dependence syndrome on government among many Zambians.
Don’t promote laziness and reckless utilization of financial resources in citizens. Don’t make false promises just because you want to hoodwink electorate that you are good leader whilst not.
For instance, when a government of the day gives out soft loans, how can some political leaders say that when you vote us into power, all such loans will be written off as ‘thank you’ for putting us into government. Does government have enough resources to dish out handouts to every citizen at all times?
For any successive government to adopt Zambians well, we must learn to be honest, receptive to advice and guidance and to work very hard to be self-reliant at individual, family and national levels. This is the only way we can achieve sustainable development in our country.
But it’s because most political leaders during political campaigns promise many things which, practically, every successive government cannot manage to offer to all citizens that Zambia has remained poor for more than 50 years of her political independence amidst many rich natural and human resources.
Owing to some false political promises some political leaders make, most Zambians don’t work as hard as expected to be self-reliant.
For example, the PF government under President Edgar Lungu is implementing socio-economic development projects such as good road network, schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, etc throughout the country to facilitate more economic activities among Zambians; but few Zambians are taking advantage of such development projects because they are misled by some false political promises some political leaders make that their government would provide everything for free to all citizens.
So, the first solution to addressing high poverty levels among many citizens is being honest and working hard to achieve what we want at individual, family and national levels.
Any aspiring political candidate who promises to give free food to all citizens, free education from grade 1 to university level, free agricultural inputs to all types of farmers, cancelling all loan repayments or to give Zambians free everything; regard such an aspiring political candidate as a liar; and as someone who is just desperate to be in that political position of a ward councellor, member of Parliament or of a republican president.
Any genuine political leader should promote hard working in every citizen. It is such aspiring political candidates which Zambian electorate will adopt; and vote for in the August 11, 2016 presidential and general elections.
By now many Zambians know which political promises can practically be implemented to the benefit of all Zambians; and which ones are used by desperate politicians to woo votes from unsuspecting electorate. Most Zambians know that if some political leaders are voted into office, they can fail lamentably to implement their false promises because such promises are just impossible to put into practice; and as a result, the current perceived socio-economic hardships can worsen among many citizens under such political leaders.
Therefore, as aspiring political candidates will be campaigning, enlightened electorate will be able to react; and say: ‘Lies’ or ‘Our Saviour’ depending on false promises or the good things one has already done for Zambians; and what one feels to facilitate for the benefit of all Zambians.
Consequently, all Zambians and all political leaders should be like a good orphan who can be adopted at any time because of his or her good conduct at all times.
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