Columnists Features

Selfless political leadership – every Zambian’s need


SLOWLY, the political climate in our country is changing, becoming more interesting, especially among keen followers of our politics. This is normal, given that a few months from now, we, as a people, will be casting our votes to elect our republican President, members of Parliament and councillors. Very important!
As per expectation, our good men and women – politicians – are gearing up for the grand finale of political activity in the last five years, the presidential, par l iamen tary and local government elections.
Our political leaders – for that is what politicians are, in case some of them forget it – must, however, do all that with sincerity of heart esteeming love and selfless leadership above all else. Those are the fundamental qualities that have enabled great leaders such as Nelson Mandela (Africa,), Martin Luther King (United States of America) and Mahatma Gandhi (India) to leave indelible marks in human history.
If the three great icons could do it, then our political leaders can also do it. Of course, there have been other great leaders who have equally excelled politically in their own ways, even here in Zambia, but, I will not go into listing them.
Love and selfless leadership are crucial qualities in ensuring people-centred development through politics and overcoming the temptation of self-aggrandisement.
As a scribe, playing my humble information role in the socio-economic development of our country, I am not blind to the fact that the realisation of our aspirations is dependent on the sort of leaders elected into political office to a great extent.
This year, just as we have seen before, a number of politicians have begun lining up for the three levels of government (political) leadership available in Zambia. We expect this, since ours is a democratic dispensation.
Zambians have a right to aspire and let alone take part in campaigns and elections for the presidency, Parliament and local government provided they meet the constitutional requirement for the three noble levels of political leadership.
Notwithstanding the importance of all that, politicians offering themselves at these levels in the forthcoming gerneral elections should gauge themselves against the widespread cry for selfless leadership among Zambians across the length and breadth of this country.
Selflessness is one of the most important pillars as far as providing effective leadership to Zambians is concerned. That element of leadership will definitely facilitate the fulfilment of our genuine development needs as Zambians.
It will create a way for more schools, health facilities, more employment opportunities and reinforcement of our political leadership foundation.
In short, exaltation and espousal of selflessness by our dear politicians will propel our nation towards its destiny of a good and dignified life for all. Obviously, that is the basis on which many Zambians want to be involved in politics at their different levels. It is also the essence of any democratic dispensation.
Selflessness is a serious value. It is a value of such importance, particularly in a democracy, which a scholar so aptly defined as a government of the people, by the people, for the people.
Our politicians need to be reminded that running for political power has a great cost – working for the people and sacrifice of personal desires and certain ambitions for that very cause.
If glamour is all some of our beloved men and women have seen to desire lining up for public office in the coming elections, they must think twice. This is not to say that there are no benefits in offering oneself for Zambians at the level of President, member of Parliament and councillor. If one denied there are benefits, it would be tantamount to a fallacy.
As a journalist, I do not want to lie. There are benefits at all the three levels. But the benefits have a huge price to pay – selflessness, unless one wants to fail the people of Zambia.
So, if people want to run for political office because they envisage a fancy life, they are in it for a wrong reason and should thus consider not wasting time, at least that of millions of Zambians yearning for development, improved standards of living, especially in the rural parts of our country.
Running for political office in the forthcoming elections simply means pledging to be there for the people of Zambia as far as their genuine development needs are concerned, even when it is most inconvenient.
As with everything good and beautiful, power attracts all sorts of people. But not all of these can handle it. History, even just here in Africa, is replete with examples to validate the aforementioned.
Zambia’s growth opportunities are emerging, its people are eager to harness them. But do we have so many politicians that can help them do that? Or are they looking at themselves in all that?
The author is Zambia Daily Mail senior sub-editor.

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