Editor's Comment

Put national interest first

RESIDENT Edgar Lungu has urged Cabinet ministers to put the interest of the nation first before themselves because their performance will be judged by the people of Zambia next year.

The President reminded Cabinet ministers they are in their positions to serve the people, who expect them to deliver development.
The President said the focus of ministers should be delivering development to the people of Zambia, who will judge them based on what they have done.
“As a team, our performance will be judged by the people of Zambia and for you, your judgement will come next year in the short time that you will be in the ministry,” the President said.
President Lungu is on point. There is a high expectation of service delivery for all those in positions of leadership.
The few who are given the privilege to occupy positions of influence such as ministerial positions should understand the obligations that come with such offices.
By vying for or accepting such appointments, the appointees are accepting the responsibility of serving the nation.
Aspiring for leadership positions with selfish motives of enriching oneself is exactly what the President is warning ministers against.
Some individuals use their positions of authority to make decisions for their personal gain at the expense of the people they serve. These are people who, after appointment, forget the reason they are in those offices.
Others start well but get distracted along the way by a selfish agenda.
It is good that even at the expense of sounding like a broken record, President Lungu has never relented in prodding his lieutenants and all those in leadership to put national interest first.
One cannot tire at underscoring the reason for being in a leadersip position.
It is only when those in leadership learn to put national interest first that the country can develop.
This entails making decisions and taking actions that are based on the intrinsic value to the nation as whole.
Prioritising national interest means that those in leadership will subdue their individual or even party interests to give way to national good.
That is what people expect of all those in leadership.
People get dissatisfied when those in leadership seem to be self-centred in the way they conduct themselves.
As the head of State has rightly said, all those in leadership should know that whatever mandate they have been given, they will be held accountable.
President Lungu, who leads the national vision, gets concerned if or when his primary lieutenants, who are ministers, perform below par.
Teamwork requires that every player moves at the same wavelength of commitment and conviction.
Everyone in the team must understand that leadership is about sacrifice. Leaders are often expected to sacrifice their time, financial and material resources and even comfort to serve the bigger purpose. That is
the message President Lungu has been preaching since 2015.
One of former South African President Nelson Mandela’s
famous quotations is: “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African
people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons
live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to
die.”
Needless to say, in true leadership one must be ready to sacrifice for the cause they claim to believe in.
A leader must be able to give more than they take, because leadership is about sacrifice and service.
All those in leadership will do well to heed the wise counsel of the President. Doing so is good not only for the country but for the leaders, too. This is because if the country
prospers, all citizens benefit, including those in leadership and their families. And when everyone is content, there is harmony.



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