I REMEMBER the words of a great man, the late Prof Francis Chigunta who often quoted the Bible verse: “The poor will always be with us.” But now I am beginning to think the quote should be “poverty will always be with us unless we change attitude.”I can bet a K1,000 with any person who can challenge me that they can ask for a discount in a place like Shoprite or any shop with fixed prices. All we do is walk to the mall, pick a product, pay whatever amount is asked of us and off we go.
But when we visit poor marketeers, even a tomato for K1 you always want a discount. So, here is unemployed single mum whose only source of income is selling vegetables. This is a woman from a shanty compound who has four children to take to school, rentals to pay, dependants to take care of and debts to clear. And here you are, negotiating to reduce her already cheap vegetables at Soweto market.
Have we any remorse and humanity in us to try and help others develop and end their misery?
The poor are becoming poorer because there is no one among us seeking to help them through empowerment and business development.
Even the little they want to make, we are reducing it! Shame on us! Imagine it was you in their situation, would you be happy?
Why is it that we can support the businesses of foreigners without complaints but find it difficult to support local businesses?
Imagine if we all supported local businesses instead of saying bwezanikoni mutengo (give me a discount), we simply say keep change. Imagine the smile you would put on their faces.
We complain that we are not developing forgetting that it is the attitude we have towards local entrepreneurs that keep us in poverty.
Lastly, next time before you negotiate for a discount for those tomatoes, rape and the like, from a local trader, just put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would feel if it were you.
A little kindness can exponentially develop Zambia.
Abash negotiations from marketeers.