A followers of this column read today’s article, they are reminded that there are only 15 days left before the 2016 Presidential and General Elections which will usher in the Fourth Republic under a new constitution under a President with reduced powers, executive mayors and council chairmen.
The election will be historical as we shall also be voting in a referendum to complete the constitutional reforms with and enhanced Bill of Rights.
Other newspapers and writers have already declared their preferred candidate and it is just logical and right that I also announce my candidate of choice and state the reasons why I am doing so.
I Troubleshooter do hereby endorse the President of the Patriotic Front Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu as my preferred Presidential candidate to lead Zambia in the next five years. And the following are my reasons.
1. The Constitution
Followers of this column should have read the articles I wrote about the history of the Zambian Constitution from 1958 to date. We have been struggling to enact a people driven constitution since we reverted to multipartism. All attempts have ended up in disappointment with a few clauses amended to disadvantage targeted individuals. The worst attempt was the fiasco called National Constitutional Conference in which the MMD and UPND participated and ended up with nothing.
Under President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, Zambia has finally received a very progressive constitution. It is not possible to reproduce the whole constitution in this article, but I will highlight some of the good clauses that are aimed at fulfilling the wishes of many Zambian citizens.
The new constitution provides for dual citizenship. This provision will give confidence to Zambians in the Diaspora and to foreigners who genuinely want to live among our people and contribute to our development.
The right to a pension has been enshrined in the constitution. Under part XIV (Fourteen), retirees’ welfare is protected through the provision to continue receiving a salary until the pension benefits are paid in full.
c) Cost of running the Government
The new constitution has abolished the office of deputy ministers and this means that no future president will alter the size of government without mending the constitution. This means that Zambians have a say in determining the size of government thereby controlling the cost of administration.
President Lungu has also implemented cost saving measures in the civil service by removing the provision of government vehicles as personal to holder. Senior civil servants are now required to obtain loans for their personal to holder vehicles.
d) Qualifications for President, MPs, Mayors, Council Chairmen and Councilors
This clause which caused a lot of protests from the opposition parties has been long overdue. After so many years of independence and free education, the country needs enlightened leaders in all political offices.
Some people argued that leaders only need to have wisdom. No, that is cheap political gimmickry. The leader of a modern nation requires both education and wisdom. In fact, a wise person endeavours to seek more knowledge through education.
An example I can give to illustrate the importance of education is the story of the world renowned Swahili Song, Malaika. The man who composed this song was very talented and wise, but he died very poor due to lack of education. He did not have the knowledge to protect the copyright to his great composition and other people ended up making money out of Malaika.
President Lungu’s decision to ascent the constitution which prescribed better education for elected leaders was a very wise act. The opposition leaders opposed it because they have not wisdom and lack a coherent message for the masses. They have a wrong concept of power and do not understand the role of a good opposition party.
e) Chieftaincy and House of Chiefs
The new constitution in Part XII (Twelve) has removed the power to recognize chiefs. Clause 2a specifically states that “Parliament shall not enact legislation which confers on a person or authority the right to recognize or withdraw the recognition of a chief.”
This means that we shall no longer have the state and traditional ruler conflicts. All chiefdoms will run and sort out disputes according to their own culture and where necessary through the judicial process without government interference or otherwise putting any blame on government.
f) Representation of the People
Under Part V (Five) of the new constitution, provisions have been made to enhance democracy at all levels of governance. Section 60 of this part of the constitution clearly outlines the responsibilities of political parties and makes it mandatory for parties to hold conventions and elections at regular intervals to enhance intra party democracy.
The constitution has made a provision for the funding of political parties with seats in parliament. Such parties will however have to adhere to strict accountability and disclosure of their source of funding. This is the first time in Zambia that the constitution has recognized the importance of political parties in our evolving democracy.
g) Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights has never been amended since 1964. Previous administrations have resisted any suggestions to enhance the rights of Zambians and protection of basic human rights. President Lungu has agreed that we should have an enhanced Bill of Rights and has put it to a referendum for the nation to determine the future course of this important part of our constitution.
None of the opposition political parties have spoken about these positive changes in our new constitution. They embarked on very negative commentary just concentrating on the Grade 12 clause because theirs is a narrow view of protecting their personal interests and those of their friends and relatives at the expense of national progress.
2. The Economy
President Lungu took over government at an economically difficult time. There was instability in the world economy and demand for commodities and raw materials were constrained. This affected the price of our major export; copper and nobody knows when the situation will change for the better.
The world economic situation continues to be unstable and even economies much bigger than ours have felt the negative impact and their currencies a reeling under extreme pressure. Africa’s biggest economy is Nigeria and their Naira has dropped to N300+ to $1.00. The second largest economy in Africa is South Africa and the Rand fluctuates between R14-16 to $1.00. At ZMK10.00 to $1.00 today, the Kwacha is rated as the nest currency in the region. It is due to the sober and wise leadership of Mr. Lungu that we have enjoyed this relative stability. He agreed to policy changes to meet the needs of the times which included a revision of the mining tax regime in order to protect the employment of many Zambians.
Investment has continued in the mining industry despite the depressed demand for copper because the investors are happy with the leadership of the country.
Investment is also taking place in other economic areas such as construction by private developers, power generation projects, construction of hotels and industrial estates.
The PF Government has laid the best foundation ever for the diversification of our economy. The opening up of rural areas through the construction of good roads will lead to more investments in Agriculture, Tourism, Aquaculture, Forestry and Wood processing, Game Ranching and many more rural based industries.
Instead of acknowledging these positive developments, the opposition parties are talking of opening more mines and bringing back some untrustworthy multinationals. The opposition does not have a coherent economic policy and Zambia is better off under President Lungu and the Patriotic Front.
Leadership goes beyond material things. Nations that proper are led by leaders with the right values, strong character and revelatory powers that they carry as creatures of God.
Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s meek and lowly heart despite the powers that he possesses as President, qualify him to the above values. Our young nation needs this sober and God fearing man to usher our country into a luminous future.
At age 51, Zambia must endeavour to become an intellectually brilliant nation, and of all the presidential candidates, the promise of such a great future is only evident in Edgar Chagwa Lungu. He does not pretend to be a Christian just to attract votes like some people are doing.
4. Running Mate
I would like to remind all Zambians that in this year’s election, we are not only voting for the presidential candidates, we are also voting for their running mates to become executive vice presidents and eventual presidents in the event of death or incapacitation of the president.
The choice of a vice president shows the intelligence and sincerity of the presidential candidates in providing good administration to the country. Presidential candidates who made bad choices for their vice presidents are not genuine leaders. Such candidates yearn for power for very sinister motives.
When I look at all the running mates, there is only one running mate in whose hands I can trust the lives of the 13 Million Zambians; and that is Mama Inonge Wina, the running mate to President Edgar Chagwa Lungu.
Ever since she saved Zambia from the clutches of the devil after the death of President Michael Chilufya Sata, Mrs Wina has etched her name among the great women of this country if not the African Continent. President Lungu and Mrs. Wina are the greatest and best pair in this year’s presidential election and we shall be saving Zambia by giving them our vote.
Some of the candidates in the presidential race are heavily encumbered to foreign interests. They run businesses with multinationals whose conduct is not above board. These foreign companies are involved in pension frauds and tax evasion all over the world and have been sited in the infamous Panama Papers.
They operate through proxies and shell companies and can milk the wealth of a nation without shame or reservation and it will be dangerous to vote a crony of these companies into power.
I know for sure that President Lungu and Mrs. Wina are not encumbered to any foreign entity and are therefore the safest four bands into which we must entrust the future of our nation.
I rest my case.
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