Analysis: OLIVER NZALA
IT HAS become evident that there are things in Zambia that need to change now for the better or worse.Waste bins have proved to be not a solution to the challenges of having a healthy and clean Zambia for one reason: the mindset is still the same. Therefore, what exactly should be done to create a country that has pride in its people; a kind of pride that comes with determination to make the country a better place? Could there be a Zambian way of doing things for the better?
On Tuesday May 29, 2018, Rwanda launched a nationwide awareness campaign on the dangers of plastic pollution. The campaign, which kicked off in Kigali, was supported by a policy conference on strategies to address plastic waste in Rwanda.
This is a country that is said to be one of the cleanest in Africa and that’s a policy direction that has been taken.
Zambia, too, should have such a policy direction but in this case, having noted that the mindset is still the same even when several interventions have been put in place, another intervention is needed. This time it should be mandatory.
Think of a presidential pronouncement that mandates public and private institutions to adopt their surrounding areas and even maintain those areas by cleaning them to standards of what the area around Addis Ababa roundabout looks like. An example can be given of Zambia Revenue Authority, Standard Chartered Bank, Toyota and Honda Zambia near Kabwe roundabout.
Under this pronouncement, the institutions can agree on a mechanism of always ensuring that their surroundings are properly maintained and clean.
Now here is the multiplier effect: it is obvious that these institutions will not use their employees to be cleaning these surroundings but will instead engage maintenance or cleaning companies to be doing that.
Secondly, the unemployed street vendors are the most likely people to be employed by these cleaning agencies, thereby absorbing some of the vendors into a formal system which has a socio-economic security because they will have to be registered with the National Pension and Security Authority (NAPSA).
Additionally, such an initiative would lead to local enterprises going into waste recycling considering that waste collection would be more organised and lucrative.
This example has been used to illustrate the fact that the country needs to have its own development model with Zambian characteristics just as China has gone for Socialism with Chinese characteristics.
The socio-economic and political structure of national, regional and international politics keeps evolving and so are the models of achieving desired outcomes.
The Chinese way of doing things has been maintained for a long time with a focus on ensuring that every Chinese person benefits from what the government is doing. The Chinese government is putting every citizen, including future generations, at the core of its activities. This is the reason China has gone for major country diplomacy and socialism with Chinese characteristics.
In the same manner, Zambia has to adopt a certain way of doing things with national characteristics. It is usually through such leadership styles that a national doctrine is born and everyone lives and believes in it.
It is worth trying as a country and test the national resilience against adversities that have both short and long-term consequences.
Statutory Instrument number 10 of 2018 illegalises street vending and other nuisances in Zambia.
This was a bold move to sanitise the country in one respect and the same can be done at national level to compel citizens to have a culture of cleanliness like Rwanda, Singapore and other countries, but this should be done by public and private institutions with a big picture of creating jobs as stated above.
A presidential decree should not be looked at as dictating companies that have the liberty to do that under their corporate social responsibility policy. The country needs to face the reality that certain things are not and cannot work unless a firm stance is taken for the common good of all. Things should not be left unattended until there is a tragedy of the commons, where resources meant for the common good are depleted through uncoordinated usage.
Development has taken place in countries where they are replicating models used by others, but if it’s not working for us, it is highly recommendable to go for a model that advances development with Zambian characteristics.
The need to have a healthy and clean Zambia should awaken everyone to the fact that certain models of development will not work as long as they are not adaptable to the people and environment in which they are being applied.
Zambians must emulate other countries where home-grown solutions are the order of the day. Development models that have worked for other countries should only be used as reference points for lessons that are close to Zambia’s experiences.
The most important aspect of any development model is the fact that it must be indigenous and have a buy-in from the people that will use it. In so doing, any development that will come will have Zambian characteristics because the people will have made that development model part of their culture and something they can defend with their lives.
The author is a Master of International Relations and Development student at Mulungushi University.
Analysis: OLIVER NZALA