Editor's Comment

Self-sacrifice vital for MPs

MEMBERS of Parliament (MPs), both new and old, should draw lessons from the gaps in service delivery left yawning in the past.
For residents in some constituencies, appeals for water and sanitation had become an everyday song without solutions in sight.
This led to a common saying among residents in local parlance “boma iyanganepo”, which literally means “government should do something”.
This, in essence, exposed the negligent attitude among some Members of Parliament prompting residents to call on central government to intervene.
Such calls for help have always reduced residents to mere beggars of service delivery when the leadership at local level is concentrating on sharing plots.
It is shocking but hardly surprising because when some people are elected as MPs, they shut their doors to the needs of the electorate.
They spend time attending to their personal needs while those who elected them grapple with myriad challenges in their communities.
However, it is encouraging to hear from Katombola MP Clement Andeleki that he will share his salary with people in his constituency towards development.
Although it is not the duty of an MP to use his own resources to bring development to his constituency, the gesture smacks of good leadership.
The recognition by Mr Andeleki that he is a lawmaker because of people who elected him is the beginning of service to the public.
This will certainly give hope to the people of Katombola that their needs will be met to improve their livelihoods.
The commitment by Mr Andeleki looks good on paper but the onus is on him to prove that the promise has come out of his passion to supplement Government’s effort in serving the people of Katombola.
Like any other MP with such ambitions to use their salaries from Parliament towards service delivery, the Katombola lawmaker needs to set his priorities right so that he does not leave projects hanging because resources are overstretched.
Self-sacrifice is important in leadership especially now that the government of President Hakainde Hichilema wants team-work in service delivery.
Government can only do so much but it is up to the leadership at local level to supplement its efforts in meeting people’s needs.
We urge all MPs regardless of their political affiliation to tap into President Hichilema’s call for hard work by sacrificing a little to ensure service delivery to the people.
Although an MP cannot end all problems using part of his or her salary, it is important that lawmakers come up with personal initiatives to complement grants like Constituency Development Fund (CDF), which sometimes may take long to be released by central government.
There is a lot MPs are expected to do especially now that there is renewed vigour by the new government to decentralise certain functions to local authorities.
MPs, as voices of the electorate in Parliament, should this time around provide genuine representation instead of paying attention to their personal needs.
There should be no calls for “boma iyanganepo” from residents in constituencies because that will reflect failure on their part as much as it would reflect the failure of central government.
The success of central government starts with Members of Parliament in various constituencies and every lawmaker has the opportunity to prove himself or herself that they are worth the votes they were given by the electorate in the August 12 general elections.

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