In this article, titled ZR3 for short, we will build on APPROPRIATING ZAMBIA which made the subject for our discussion last week.
I am hoping that we will, individually and collectively, be making a decision to dispense with the old self – one given to the tendency for pointing figures at others, one given to complaining and reluctant to face up to our own failures and weaknesses, one given to unwillingness to taking responsibility for our actions – and be open to face our future differently.
To be more confident in ourselves, more engaged, more proactive and more eager to participate in shaping our future, the future Zambia.
Let us just remind ourselves about the discussion from last week.
We summed up APPROPRIATING ZAMBIA in three bite-size statements:
- APPROPRIATING ZAMBIA is about stopping and looking at yourself and seeing the Zambia reflected in you. What kind of Zambia do you reflect? If you honestly and critically examined your own life and actions under the bright light of a microscope, would you see in you the sort of Zambia that you would wish Zambia to be?
- APPROPRIATING ZAMBIA is also about accepting that Zambia is not a concept, it is not an abstract ideology and it is certainly not an indefinable vacuum of nothingness.
- APPROPRIATING ZAMBIA is equally about putting you back into the frame and taking the credit for everything that is positive about our community and taking full responsibility and blame for everything that is wrong with Zambia.
There is often little we can do about the Zambia of yesterday but we are well capable of shaping the Zambia of tomorrow and while we endeavour to do so, it is right that we remind ourselves about the various roles, rights and responsibilities expected of us as patriotic citizens.
Reference: THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, VOLUME 1 – PAGE 207.
“WE, THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA by our representatives, assembled in our Parliament, having solemnly resolved to maintain Zambia as a Sovereign Democratic Republic;
- DETERMINED to uphold and exercise our inherent and inviolable right as a people to decide, appoint and proclaim the means and style to govern ourselves;
- RECOGNISE the equal worth of men and women in their rights to participate, and freely determine and build a political, economic and social system of their own free choice;
- PLEDGE to ourselves that we shall ensure that the State shall respect the rights and dignity of the human family, uphold the laws of the State and conduct the affairs of the State in such manner as to preserve, develop, and utilise its resources for this and future generations;
- DECLARE the Republic a Christian nation while upholding the right of every person to enjoy that person’s freedom of conscience or religion;
- RESOLVE to uphold the values of democracy, transparency, accountability and good governance;
- AND FURTHER RESOLVE that Zambia shall forever remain a unitary, indivisible, multi-party and democratic sovereign state;
DO HEREBY ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.”
This preamble highlights a comprehensive set of our roles, rights and responsibilities as enshrined within our republic’s constitution.
I shall now paraphrase and try to explain these statements from the constitution in the context of how this applies to individual ordinary members of the public and individual members of the serving government.
ZR3 – FOR YOU AND ME
Hire & Fire the government. It is your inviolable right as a citizen of Zambia to appoint those who are to run the affairs of the country on your behalf. Zambia is YOUR country, you decide (the means & style) – who and how it is run.
“All power resides in the people who shall exercise their sovereignty Public seal through the democratic institutions of the State in accordance with this Constitution.” Reference: THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, VOLUME 1 – PAGE 208.
In this regard we as individual members of the public who are citizens of the republic of Zambia are expected to fully, adequately and competently discharge the role of the CEO of Zambia PLC.
We are thus ultimately responsible for the success or failure of Zambia.
It is therefore particularly important that we do not denigrate the duty of care to ensure that we elect the right people to run the affairs of our country.
Over the years we have taken a rather cavalier attitude towards electing people into various positions of government and we must accept the blame for this failure which has lead to people of questionable character and competency taking up the jobs of running our country.
We have failed in our vetting process, we have not been engaged enough, we have not questioned the candidates nearly enough, we have been apathetic and have given the impression to the political candidates that our jobs are easy, simple and cheap, and that people can just walk in and land themselves important jobs of running our country with not so much as a simple question to tell us their names.
A properly functioning country will not be handed over to us through some supernatural miracle, it will only happen when we actively seek to employ the right people and to achieve this we need to invest significant energy, time and resources in our vetting process.
It is not right that we demand more in the way of character, honesty and even qualification from those who we wish to employ as house assistants (garden boys, cooks, etc) than we do from those who we wish to employ to the office of the president of the republic of Zambia or indeed to the many ministerial roles of government.
If Zambia has failed, if Zambia has not recorded any major improvements in infrastructure, hospitals and institution of learning over her 47 years of political freedom, it would surely not come as a surprise given that we, the ultimate owners of the country, have effectively been asleep on the wheel. WHAT COMPANY, WHAT ORGANISATION CAN PROGRESS UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES?
We must make it clear to every candidate who wish to take up the jobs we have on offer that we are not going to be dictated to. We are the employers, we set the agenda, we define the terms and we do so as we exercise our inviolable right as citizens of Zambia to appoint those who are to run the affairs of our country, “All power resides in us the people…”
It strikes me as quite strange a situation where the candidates for the job dictate what questions we can ask them, the style and means by which we are to ask them or indeed the terms under which we are to employ them.
The interpretation of “All power resides in us the people…” is not just an empty slogan, it is the Public Seal representing our sovereignty and if it is anything like just a mere slogan then nothing in the entire Zambian constitution matters and without a binding constitution there is no country.
Therefore, any patriotic citizen of the great and expansive land of Zambia must see the paramount importance of respecting, protecting and exercising this inviolable right granted to us within the constitution.
We need to define a set of demanding questions and minimum requirements and qualifications for those who we will give our YES VOTE to in order to enable them to take up the jobs of running our country.
Suggested questionnaire for the candidates of the office of the President of the republic of Zambia.
Could you adequately outline to us what you have done in the past, in or out of government, which would give us cause to believe that you have demonstrated the competency and character to effectively and fully discharge the duties of the office of the President of the republic of Zambia?
Would you outline succinctly what your main objectives are for the country, stating clearly a set of deliverables that you intend to accomplish in your role as the leader of the nation and state clearly, and for each deliverable, the means and ways by which you will implement the same.
How do you differentiate your agenda, for the nation, from other candidates’ and can you provide any evidence and or arguments to support your belief that your agenda offers the better prospect and opportunities for Zambia?
These should be the sort of questions that we should insist that our political candidates engage with and our decision for which candidate gets the vote should be based merely and entirely on merit for the one who demonstrates superiority and satisfies our demanding vetting process.
This method of hiring people has been employed for thousands of years through generations and proved to be the most reliable and effective way of getting the right people for the right jobs. We will do right by Zambia to employ the same rigorous vetting process while voting for people to various political positions.
“WE PLEDGE to ourselves that we shall ensure that the State shall respect the rights and dignity of the human family, uphold the laws of the State and conduct the affairs of the State in such manner as to preserve, develop, and utilise its resources for this and future generations;”
After fulfilling our duty to appoint the right people to the various positions in our government, it is incumbent on us to continue to monitor and to continually hold to account those appointed to ensure that they stay on course, the straight and narrow path.
In this regard we take on the role of the Managing Director of Zambia PLC.
It is not sufficient to just put the right people in place and walk away.
It is unacceptable that we must be made to be fearful of the “mighty” power of the politicians.
It is unacceptable that people we have just hired should turn around and start threatening us.
It can not be right that our employees should use the state mechanism and machinery, put in place to help them perform duties for which they have been appointed, to violate our constitutional rights by:
- Disrespecting the rights and dignity of our human families – failure to provide a conducive economic environment for families to live decent lives and provide the basic human needs to their families is a violation of our constitutional right. There is no dignity in people living in abject poverty, there is no dignity in people dying needlessly from curable diseases like Malaria for lack of medicine and proper health care, and there is no dignity in mothers giving birth in miserable and dirty facilities with no nurses to care for them.
- Violating the laws of the State by corruptly misusing and misappropriating the resources of the nation.
- Failing to conduct the affairs of the State in such manner as to preserve, develop, and utilise its resources for this and future generations; There has been little or no progress in the way of developing our national infrastructure since independence. This is a violation of the constitution of the republic of Zambia.
We can not, should not and will no longer stand for it. The future of Zambia is far too important, Zambia is your country, Zambia is the one piece of land on earth where you and your family, your children, your sisters, brothers and your friends can walk with shoulders high looking up to the bright African sun, a place you call home. ZAMBIA IS AND OUGHT TO BE BIGGER THAN ANY ONE MAN.
If at all we have given the impression that Zambia is a free reign for the politicians, if the politicians have come to accept that they can run amok in our country, that they can carry on, with impunity and willy-nilly, breaking the law and living as if they were above the law, then we must individually and collectively accept the blame for this failure in the governance of our beloved country because we must have given them the impression that it is acceptable, that this something we can tolerate.
“All power resides in us the people…” and it matters not if anyone wants to masquerade otherwise.
The people of Zambia brought to an end the almighty rule of the British colonial rule, the power that once controlled one quarter of the entire world, because power has always belonged to us the people.
They have been all-powerful and all-encompassing empires, dictators and military forces for thousands of years of human history. They have all come and gone and the bigger they were the bigger were their fall. The Roman Empire, The Spanish Empire, Hitler, Mussolini, the British Empire, to name a few; they were BIG & POWERFUL, they are no more!
Thus for you and me, there can be no more vital role we can play in shaping the future of our country than to ensure that we elect the best and brightest, among us, to run the affairs of our country and, once these people have been elected, to continually monitor and hold them to account to ensure that they perform with excellence and in the best interest of our and future generations.
In doing so we will be upholding and exercising our inherent and inviolable right as a people to decide, appoint and proclaim the means and style to govern ourselves and we will be fulfilling our pledge to ensure that the State respects the rights and dignity of our families, upholds the laws of the State and conduct the affairs of the State in such manner as to preserve, develop, and utilise the nation’s resources for our and future generations.
ZR3 FOR THOSE SERVING IN GOVERNMENT
…the State shall respect the rights and dignity of the human family, uphold the laws of the State and conduct the affairs of the State in such manner as to preserve, develop, and utilise its resources for this and future generations;
It is a fundamental constitutional duty of every citizen elected to serve in the government of the republic of Zambia to ensure that the State respects, protects and upholds the constitutional rights of the Zambian people.
It is part of the job definition for all elected and or appointed offices across the various branches of the Zambian government to provide for, respect and uphold the dignity of the Zambian people.
It is part of the job definition for all elected and or appointed offices across the various branches of the Zambian government to uphold, respect and defend the laws of Zambia.
It is part of the job definition for all elected and or appointed offices across the various branches of the Zambian government to conduct the affairs of state in such manner as to preserve, develop and utilise the full resources of the country for this and future generations. In this respect the full resources must include human resources.
Failure to develop and groom future and competent Zambian professionals and leaders represents a failure to fulfil the responsibilities of the office held. And because the constitution provides for the State to ensure the development and utilization of the country’s resources for the future generations, this failure represents a breach and violation of the constitution of the republic of Zambia.
RESOLVE to uphold the values of democracy, transparency, accountability and good governance;
It is part of the job definition for all elected and or appointed offices across the various branches of the Zambian government to uphold the values of democracy, transparency, accountability and good governance.
Under this definition all public office holders are minded to promote, protect and uphold democratic values in the country including the freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the protection of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
All public office holders are minded to promote, protect and uphold transparency in the way the State goes on about its business.
In this regard the Zambian people should be free to enquire and request information from the government on various activities of the State in so far as it is collectively accepted that the availability of such information is in the public interest to know.
Such information like how and why the government is allocating funds and priorities to various projects, how the government goes on about procuring the required resources (how & why contracts are granted to various providers) and many more.
All this represent part of the kind of information that is in the public interest in so far as the availability of this information removes secrecy, corruption & bribery and allows for fair and open competition.
All public office holders are minded to promote, protect and uphold accountability across various branches and ministries of the Zambian government.
This means that you as a serving president, Minister, Member of Parliament and or holding any other elected or appointed public office must avail yourself to questioning and you must be able to account for all the actions and decisions you undertake while performing your formal duties.
All public office holders are minded to promote, protect and uphold the values of good governance across the various branches and ministries of the State.
Good governance is an all-encompassing metric that measures the performance of the State against a variety of constitutional tenants.
It is your constitutional duty as a serving member of the Government or appointed represented to put in place systems and process that encourages and promotes Consensus and broad based decision making;
Wider Participation across gender, tribe or race; Accountability – being answerable to the public (people taking responsibility for their decisions and actions);
Transparency – Zambian people should be free to enquire and request information from the government on various activities of the State in so far as it is collectively accepted that the availability of such information is in the public interest to know;
Responsive – responding in timely and without procrastination to questions and demands from the public for information or the provision of public services;
Equitable – promoting, exercising and upholding meritocracy;
Inclusive – representing and serving the interests of people of different political, religious or indeed tribal inclination;
Effective and Efficient utilization of national resources for the good of the Zambian people and promoting and upholding the Rule of Law – all men must stand equal under the law.
Thus for those holding all public offices and those who aspire to do so in future; the above job definitions and constitutional statements represent the yardstick by which you MUST judge your performance.
If you critically and honestly examine and appraise yourself against the stated job definitions, and as a patriotic citizen of Zambia, do you judge that you are fully and competently discharging your duties for the public office you hold?
If not, there is honour in the effort and, you must now do the right thing and for the sake of the country, that you must love, do right by Zambia, do the dignified thing and resign your office forthwith.
Elected and or appointed offices across the various branches of the Zambian government are particularly special roles and are unlike just any other job.
It is unacceptable that the entire nation must pay the price in the form of shattered dreams and ambitions; that people should die from starvation and curable diseases in order so you could remain in a job in which you are clearly failing to perform.
The cost of carrying deadwood in elected and or appointed offices across the various branches of the Zambian government is one that the nation can not afford to pay.
It seems quite common in our country to see people in government getting upset because the press or interested individual members of the public have been hounding them and demanding answers to a range of questions.
It seems all too frequent that such legitimate interactions between those holding public offices and the members of the public are easily misconstrued for personal attacks on politicians who appear all too willing to complain and claim to have been disrespected and or insulted.
Yet in the majority of cases all that is required of the politicians are answers to questions pertinent to the public good.
Again I should like to point out that elected and or appointed offices across the various branches of the Zambian government are particularly special roles and are unlike just any other job.
They are demanding and so they should be; they are stressful and so they should be.
In all jobs across all walks of life, we all get questioned and scrutinized every single day.
Our decisions and judgements are continuously, constantly and critically examined and questioned for their technical soundness, for their cost effectiveness and indeed for their operational efficiency. We all accept this is part of what we get paid for, grit our teeth and get on with the job at hand.
This is in spite of the fact that, and by and large, the majority of what we do will lose a company a few millions or may be a few billions of dollars at worst if we got our decisions wrong.
On the other hand, the decisions made by those holding public offices in our country have the gravest of consequences not just for now but for many future years to come.
The policies implemented and decisions taken in government have implications on our ability to prosper as individuals and as a country, on the ability of our children to gain education and employment, on our ability to have access to medicine for when we suffer and on our very lives; they are literally a matter of life and death.
These implications do not just stop with this generation; they will affect the next generation and the future generations of the many yet unborn citizens of Zambia.
It is therefore right and proper that people should be belligerent when enquiring from those who run the State.
It is right and proper that people should be demanding and be gang ho about holding public office holders to account.
It is not only part of your job as a public office holder but also your constitutional duty as a patriotic citizen of Zambia to avail yourself for questioning and be prepared to give answers to questions put to you by the Zambian people.
AND FURTHER RESOLVE that Zambia shall forever remain a unitary, indivisible, multi-party and democratic sovereign state;
Finally, it is our constitutional duty – both individual ordinary members of the public and individual members of the serving government – to ensure that Zambia remains a united, peaceful and democratic sovereign state.
Consolidation and alliances are now the order of the day across world and whilst those who sought to subjugate and oppress us sought to divide and conquer, we are to ensure that we continue to protect our hard fought freedoms by sticking together.
TOGETHER WE CAN ACHIEVE FAR MORE THAN WE CAN SEPRATELY.
TIYENDE PAMODZI NDIMUTIMA UMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
In the next article we will examine “OUR ROLE IN PROTECING, UPHOLDING & PROMOTING OUR CULTURAL VALUES”