Have you ever gone round Zambia to observe and note down what is in each Zambian’s mind? Recording what is in every Zambian’s mind and what each citizen is doing to earn a living even in some perceived economic challenges cannot only be interesting but can also be challenging to understand.
Although President Edgar Lungu has admitted that some pockets of Zambians are experiencing some economic hardships, it’s not true that Zambians are dying of poverty as some politicians want us to believe. Who reported that in a certain part of Zambia such and such a number of Zambians have died of high poverty levels? Have people in Zambia stopped dying of natural causes; except dying of high poverty levels?
Find time to look around in the Southern African Development Community(SADC). Reflect on some other African countries. Go beyond Africa; and reach out to many other Western and Asians countries. Which country can you spot out whose citizens aren’t facing some economic hardships?
You see; even if this isn’t an excuse for majority Zambians and our successive governments to work hard; and improve on our living standards and that of the national economy respectively, no country on this Earth has immunity against some socio-economic hardships.
This is why even in sound African economies like South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and others, one learns of depreciation of the currency, rise of prices of essential commodities, some loss of employment and so on and so forth. Therefore, which country has Paradise on Earth?
Consequently, by now, even an average Zambian has come to understand that the perceived and real socio-economic hardships Zambia is facing is a common ‘disease’ like HIV/AIDS affecting the whole world. So, why make too much unnecessary noise about some socio-economic challenges some people are facing?
Now listen to this. With liberalization of the national economy; and some effects of globalization; and indeed with some negative and positive effects of such economic transformations and tornados; and with lessons from exposure to other nationals, most Zambians have learnt how to earn a living even in the perceived socio-economic ills.
Because no country is a Paradise on Earth, most Zambians both in rural and urban areas have found space in economic activities where they are busy earning a living of some kind. They are adhering to God’s words in the Garden of Eden that ‘you will eat your own sweat. As a result, some Zambians are selling chibwabwa, tomato and sweet and Irish potatoes. Some citizens are selling goats. Some are in hard ware businesses while some are in other businesses including farming business!
Some Zambians sometimes drink various types of alcohol; and some of such people brag that ‘nimwela zanga’ meaning they drink beer from their own money from their won sweat.
Those who are saying Zambians are dying of high poverty levels just want to portray that they are Messiahs who can do everything for Zambians to hoodwink some Zambians to vote for them; for they are highly desperate to be in State House. Don’t use lies to go into State House!
Seeing that most Zambians are able to meander and find space to do some economic activities, the PF government seems to be doing more in facilitating commerce and trade through improving on road network and also providing youth and women economic empowerment. Provision of enabling environment to small, medium and large scale entrepreneurs (SMEs) is also highly promoted; although there is need to do more.
Through Youth Empowerment Programme(YEP), some youths have accessed some loans; and have been trained in some skills to help them take off in meaningful economic activities. In addition to Citizens’ Economic Empowerment Commission(CEEC) providing huge sums of money for business activities to some citizens, some women marketeers have been; and are still being economically empowered to raise their socio-economic status through business activities. These and many others are strategies to contribute to improving on living standards of many citizens both in rural and urban areas.
And most Zambians have received such initiatives with smiles. As a result, compared to the past, most Zambians are now entrepreneurs in their own right. This is why it’s reported that in the past 14 years, Zambia has recorded tremendous improvement in its economic growth.
And despite sporadic rise copper prices, intermittent fuel shortages and current load shedding, first Deloitte Zambia Chief Financial Officer (CFO) report states that Zambia is among the three most attractive countries for business expansion in Southern African region(Daily Nation: 29/3/2016; p.10). And Deloitte 2016 CFO survey for Sub-Saharan Africa report states that Zambia’s economic outlook is positive and promising because of improved governance and democratic processes (Daily Nation: 18/3/2016; p.10).
Because Zambians are Christians in a Christian nation, while doing some businesses, they have remained peaceful. Most Zambians, individually, in groups and collectively, are busy praying day and night to ask God; The Almighty to ensure that nothing like the opposite of peace should happen in Zambia now and in the future.
With peace and stability which Zambians, President Lungu and the PF government provide to this country; and because of peace of mind among many Zambians, even Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) members of Parliament (MPs) such as those of Sinda and Chilanga constituencies, Levy Ngoma and Keith Mukata respectively; who showed excitement to have joined UPND were able to dance amusingly (See picture in Post:15/3/2016; p.9). When there is peace and stability in a country, no one can feel excited and dance the way Hon. Ngoma and Mukata danced.
Therefore, although peace and stability shouldn’t be taken for granted, credit should be given to Zambians and the successive governments for sustaining peace and stability in this country for every citizen to enjoy doing what he or she wants.
Despite some opposition leaders and some media houses saying and portraying that Zambians are annoyed, analytically speaking, from such information on the ground, one can argue that Zambians are happy with the performance of President Lungu and the PF government. Many chiefs and their subjects in most regions such as in Southern, Western, North-western, Northern, Muchinga, Luapula and Eastern provinces have attested to this fact.
This is because Zambia has recorded unprecedented development projects worth huge sums of money even in regions and districts which had never seen development projects for decades. Constructions of good road network, schools, health centres, colleges, some universities, etc have taken and are still taking place almost in all provinces of this country.
Find time to look at the newly completed Mongu-Kalabo road!
Therefore, while it’s true that some economic ills are biting some Zambians, most Zambians aren’t looking at the negative side of living in Zambia. Zambians are considering some major and unfolding opportunities this country has; especially with the help of improved road network, increasing population and the enabling business environment the current government is providing.
It’s, therefore, surprising that some opposition leaders are painting a different and wrong picture about the current socio-economic conditions; and therefore, the quality of management of public affairs of this country. One of the traditional leaders recently asked: ‘Do you expect President Lungu and PF government to be perfect like God in improving on the national economy of Zambia within a short time?
Don’t induce an artificial mood of anger among Zambians when, naturally, Zambians are accommodating, always smiling and busy with some economic activities to earn their living.
From such a scenario, one can argue that poverty is a relative term. What one might call high poverty levels, another person can call it as normal. Most Zambians, in the past, now and in the future, don’t perceive their living standards as high poverty levels. Where they do so, they do something about it to improve on their living standards.
Therefore, the picture some opposition leaders are painting that there is anger and high poverty levels in Zambia is highly debatable; and to a large extent, false.
For whatever reasons, some opposition leaders, in alliance with some media houses, are fuelling and brewing artificial anger and a wrong perception of high poverty levels in the country; when, in fact, such things are either not there or most Zambians understand that such so-economic challenges are normal in every country; and therefore, have accepted them as such by being involved in many economic activities to improve on their own living standards.
Take a walk, drive or fly around any part of any town or a city in Zambia. Go as far as in most villages. You will be surprised to see most citizens busy doing some form of economic activities. Rarely does on find idle Zambians yawning of hunger early in the morning.
Therefore, from such a background, one can argue that because Zambians are intelligent, hard working and peaceful people; regardless of the perceived economic ills the country has been facing for decades now, successful governments come and go while Zambians are busy with their life in a peaceful and stable manner.
In this light, those who pray for, fuel and brew political violence for whatever reasons, will be surprised that Zambians will remain peaceful and busy doing what can improve on their lives.
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