Editor's Comment

Yes, Zambia needs paradigm shift in politics


ECONOMICS Association of Zambia president Lubinda Haabazoka is right in saying Zambia needs a paradigm shift in its political set-up and engagements.
Dr Haabazoka is also right in saying Zambians have a duty to contribute to the growth of the economy, and that politicians should not fight those trying to improve it.
According to him, the country’s political set-up should be aligned towards the country’s aspirations enshrined in the Seventh National Development Plan and Agenda 2030.
“To stay focused, we need a huge shift in our political set-up. We need to understand that even from outside, one is able to contribute positively.
“We all need to be aligned to one vision – Vision 2030. Post- elections, we need to all sit on one table and ensure that each and every citizen works in one line of ensuring national economic development,” Dr Haabazoka said.
He is concerned, and justifiably so, that the current state of politics in Zambia and other countries in the region is bent on hatred.
“My main observation [in Zambia] is that the current political situation is built on hatred and not competition of ideas…[this]makes one group to work hard to ensure they stay in power and the other group to completely withdraw from economic development so that they capitalise on failure,” Dr Haabazoka said.
We cannot agree more with Dr Haabazoka. If the country continues on this path of hatred and politicking about everything and anything, it will be difficult to attain the much-desired development.
Politicians, particularly those in the opposition, have a misconception that their role ends at contesting elections and opposing those in power.
The opposition has specialised in opposing everything Government does without providing alternatives.
In a normal and health political set-up, there comes a time when politicians, regardless of affiliation, come together to find solutions for the country’s vexing challenges.
Yes, politicians can differ on ideologies and contest against one another in elections. Beyond that, they should be partners in developing the country they all seek to serve.
But the sad reality in our country is that those who lose elections devote all their time and energies trying to bring down those in power.
This is because some politicians erroneously believe that they can only ascend to positions of political power when they succeed in branding those in office as failures.
They try by all means to find faults in everything those in government do without providing solutions.
While it is within the opposition’s mandate to provide checks and balances to those in power, politicking about everything is retrogressive and uncalled for.
We know of how some Members of Parliament from the opposition have blatantly refused to partner with Government to develop the areas they represent.
These opposition MPs would rather see the areas they represent remain undeveloped than work with Government.
As such, some areas are still lagging behind not because Government is not interested in developing them, but because area representatives have been uncooperative.
In cases where Government has bulldozed its way to launch projects in these areas, area representatives have opted to stay away.
Needless to say, MPs as elected representatives of the people in various constituencies are critical to ensuring that development is delivered.
In fact it is the duty of the MPs to lobby Government to attend to challenges in their areas.
It is however clear that priorities in our current political set-up are misplaced.
In the minds of the opposition, working with Government to develop their areas is dwindling their opportunities to ascend to power and at the same time entrenching the incumbent.
If politics is all about serving the people and making their lives better, then politicians should align their priorities accordingly.
What should matter to politicians is that the lives of the people they represent are improved regardless of whether they are the ones in power or not.
In fact the genuineness of politicians’ desire to serve the people should be demonstrated even before they ascend to public office.
This includes supporting those in power in their efforts to improve the lives of the people.
Unless there is a paradigm shift in our political engagements, from politicking to cooperation, the country will not develop at the desired rate.

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