Columnists

Promoting culture of responsible citizens

SIMON Kabanda.

Analysis: SIMON KABANDA
ON OCTOBER 28, 2018, I turned 55. As I approached my birthday, I kept asking myself what it is that I should do for my country since I was ageing.
As I reflected on the goings-on in the country, I had an inspiration that I should embark on a campaign to promote a culture of responsible citizenship.
This is a call to all of you citizens that you should join me in this campaign to promote a culture of responsible citizenship in our country.
One question that begs an answer is: Why is it important that we should embark on a campaign to promote a culture of responsible citizenship?
Zambia is a multi-party democracy, and because of this, there is a lot of competition among governance players. One negative consequence of such competition is that the development agenda of the country suffers.
Every now and then, negative voices about the governance of the country take centre-stage; negative images of our country take centre-stage. We have become a people who take pride in negativity.
Are such negative voices helping us to develop?
The answer is no.
With this reality affecting us today, I have decided to launch the campaign to promote a culture of responsible citizenship. This campaign is meant to foster patriotism in us, the citizens of this country.
It is meant to enable us to cultivate a positive outlook on the governance of the country and propel us to exercising a high sense of responsibility as we participate in governance at various levels.
As I declare myself Responsible Citizen Number One, I wish to invite all citizens to join me in this important campaign.
This campaign is a call on every citizen to look positively at the governance of our country. It is a call on every citizen to put Zambia first.
In the wake of increased negativity, a responsible citizen should be instrumental in defusing the various negative voices and endeavour to promote and defend the interests of the country and portray positive images about the country and its people.
The campaign we are launching today is going to inculcate in us a deep sense of responsibility, so that we are proactive in defending the image of the country, and in putting Zambia first.
One of the reasons why our mindset is so inclined to negativity is because we have disconnected ourselves from our traditional and cultural norms. We do not know whether it is because of education or Christianity or civilisation.
This campaign is therefore calling on us to go back to the basics of our traditional and cultural norms.
As Responsible Citizen Number One, I wish to announce that from today onwards, I should be referred to not only by my Christian name and family name, which is, Simon Kabanda. There is a name that I was given at birth, a name that had belonged to my ancestor, my maternal grandfather.
His name was Kalolo. This name was given to me in order that I do not lose my cultural and traditional identity, so that I do not lose my cultural and traditional bahaviour; that which is positive and responsible. Therefore, from today onwards, refer to me by my full names: Simon Kalolo Kabanda.
While it has become fashionable to praise negativity and frown at what is positive in our country, this campaign is working towards positively influencing the minds of citizens who are inclined to negative thinking and those that are easily persuaded by negative perceptions.
This campaign is going to mobilise members of the public into thinking and perceiving things positively, so that they appreciate the positive things that are happening in the country, and demand in a responsible fashion to enjoy their entitlements as citizens of this beloved country.
This campaign is a clarion call on all of us to change our mindset as a people, to change our mindset as a nation, and to be more of responsible citizens.
And in order to make this campaign a success, we have the following appeals to make:
• Our appeal to citizens, in general: Embrace this campaign as your own. You are the cream of this campaign. Wherever you are, form Cells of Responsible Citizens in your neighbourhood, in your places of work, in marketplaces, and wherever you are found in groups. Form Cells of Responsible Citizens, which are going to be the eyes and ears of this campaign.
It is through these cells that we are going to be monitoring ourselves as responsible citizens. We are appealing to each and every citizen to be correcting fellow citizens whenever they become irresponsible in whatever they do or say.
• Our appeal to church leaders: Help your parishioners, help your congregations, not to demarcate their lives in segments depending on where they are. Inculcate in your parishioners, your congregations, moral values that help them to behave as responsible Christians, to think positively, and to appreciate the good things that God has blessed this nation with.
• Our appeal to politicians: Mobilise your people towards positive thinking. Do not sway their minds into negativity. Help them to appreciate what is good about this country. Help them yearn to do good for this country. Promote a culture of responsible cadres within your political parties. For example, it is sad to note that today, political violence has become a cancer in this country. All this is because politicians are not endeavouring to promote a culture of responsible cadres in their political parties.
• Our appeal to musicians: Come up with songs, compose songs, and sing songs that are going to change the mindset of the people towards positive thinking. Songs that are going to promote a culture of responsible citizens.
• Our appeal to the media: Carry out your work responsibly. Report responsibly. Do not just concentrate on communicating what is negative. You people in the media are very instrumental in shaping the mindset of the people. You are the civic educators number one.
As this campaign is national, we are going to ensure that we tour this country with groups of media people since they are the civic educators number one.
• Our appeal to the corporate world, and the business community: Donate to this campaign a 26 to 30-seater bus, which we should be using with the media and musicians during countrywide tours of building responsible communities of citizens.
• To all of you, our appeal is: Indicate that you are part and parcel of this campaign. Just communicate with Responsible Citizen Number One by sending an SMS to 0977170519.
• Lastly, but not the least, I want to make an appeal to Government on the Constitution of Zambia, and on the way forward in the constitution-making process. However, one sentence appeal on this issue will not be adequate. It requires a full statement. I will therefore issue a full statement appealing to Government and to the people of Zambia on how we should move in this regard.
I declare the campaign to promote a culture of responsible citizens officially launched.
The author is a Zambian citizen.

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