By Sycorax T. Ndhlovu
It appears most Zambians have understood the literal and figurative meaning of the Patriotic Front (PF) political campaign slogan, ‘Sonta apo wabomba’; but some; especially from the opposition parties have elected to perceive such a slogan as the most foolish and useless one because of its assumed practical difficulties from opposition parties’ point of view to implement development projects when they aren’t in power. But why did PF coin such a slogan?
Zambia has rich natural resources such as vast land, fertile soils, minerals, wild life and to a large extent, favourable climate with a peaceful and stable environment. She has been politically independent for more than 50 years now. But its economy is has been poor for some time. As a result, many Zambians have been facing many socio-economic challenges for many decades now while individual citizens and opposition parties and their respective leaders; including some successful government leaders have been just watching the situation getting worse.
Consequently, socio-economic services have been low and of poor quality. Unemployment and poverty levels are now, to a large extent, high.
It’s such sustained poor socio-economic conditions which seem to have persuaded PF leaders to strategise best options in the utilization of meagre government resources to initiate and stimulate sustainable national socio-economic development process when it came into power.
Intellectually speaking, it appears it’s from such a background that no sooner did former president, late Michael Sata and his PF government came into power in 2011 than they started massive socio-economic development projects throughout the country.
Admittedly, this was done at a high cost. In the process, Zambia’s national debt increased. Other services were suspended to accommodate projects which have multiplier socio-economic effects on the majority Zambians throughout the country.
While on its surface the stated slogan implies that individuals, serving politicians, opposition parties and ruling governments should work hard to serve the people accordingly, the same concept has an intellectual social and political meaning.
Fortunately, both the literal and figurative meaning of such a motto inspires each citizen, serving politician, opposition political parties and each successive government to do its best in servicing the respective communities; and in the process, craft one’s curriculum vitae (CV) or its profile which when need arises, one can refer to visible projects one facilitated while in one’s personall life and or in political office whether in ruling or opposition party as a marketing tool in aspiring for a political position or contesting for re-election.
This implies that the motto is derived from the need for every Zambian from various walks of life to try and contribute to the improvement of communities in any small or big way possible.
This is possible in many ways. Look at some private citizens’ financial or wealth base. Can’t such private citizens contribute something to communities such as constructing a maternity ward, a small clinic in one of the rural areas or just construct a bridge on one of the streams or rivers using the sound personal financial base to prove that they feel for concerned communities?
Look at how some successive serving politicians have become rich through their respective political positions as ward councilors, members of Parliament (MPs) and as republican presidents. Why can’t a private citizen, serving politicians regardless of whether one is in ruling or opposition party use part of one’s huge financial base or their politically accumulated wealth to contribute to community development just for a small or a big project?
If each year, a private citizen, a serving politician, a certain opposition political party puts up a physical project in one community; and does it strategically in almost many communities as years go by, one can later on use ‘Sonta apo wabomba’ to his or her advantage!
Whether in opposition or in a ruling party, what were you waiting for to facilitate development projects in any small or big way possible?
For example, some political parties and their leadership have been in existence for more than 15 years now. Some politicians have been in politics for more than 10-15 years. But they have facilitated neither the construction of a community school nor any project. One cannot wait for the second coming of Jesus Christ (to be in politics or in a ruling party) for one to start helping communities in any small or big way possible.
Moreover, one cannot be selfish, mean and cruel while in personal life or in opposition party; but be expected to be generous when in political office or in ruling party. It’s said that ‘bad habits die hard’.
It’s from such a background that former president, late Miachael Sata and his team embarked on physical socio-economic infrastructure development projects in almost all parts of the country because, firstly, they knew that this was the only way to make Zambia a better place to live in; and secondly, it was sound practical preparation for their seeking a second term of office as PF government.
And because President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is humble; but intelligent and wise, when he took over the presidency in January, 2015, he saw the sense in late President Sata’s vision. As a result, President Lungu hasn’t abandoned the origin PF vision and tool for seeking another term in running Zambia’s public affairs.
Therefore, PF government has been implementing community projects in many parts of the country in the last five years!
Among many road networks, look at the Mongu-Kalabo road. Reflect on how Mongu town has been transformed from a seemingly rural provincial centre into a relatively urban provincial one with a six-lane highway. Think of Chongwe-Chiyawa road. Reflect on Chipata-Mpika road. All these now make road transport between these points easy and swifty!
Because of good road infrastructure leading to almost all provincial centres and some towns, most citizens now can travel to order some items in towns and cities for re-sell in their localities.
Some people, for whatever reasons and backgrounds argue that: ‘Are we going to eat roads?’ Improved and numerous good road network in a country is an economic resource not only for a government but also for every citizen. Work hard and use good road network to bring food on your table!
Consider too how creation of more districts has gradually helped to bring some socio-economic services closer to the people than ever before; and in the process, improve on socio-economic conditions of many Zambians.
Additionally, reflect on the rehabilitation of national airports in Lusaka, Ndola and Livingstone cities. Cogitate about many schools, colleges, universities, health centres and hospitals which have been embarked on or completed in the last few years. See how some women and some youths have been economically empowered.
Because ‘sonta apo wabomba’ concept is beneficial to future political career, and as if copying from such a slogan in preparing for her presidential candidature, and in a small way possible, Forum for Democracy and Development(FDD)’s leader, Edith Nawakwi from her meagre personal resources, she distributed some agricultural inputs to some women groups in some parts of the country. In Lusaka, Ms Nawakwi distributed some chicks to some women groups.
And during political campaigns for August 11, 2016 elections, these are among few things she can point at as she campaigns as part of her ‘sonta apo wabomba’ slogan! What about you, me and that one over there? To be continued…