Letter to the President

Dear Mr President,

Like many Zambians, I must confess not knowing much about you prior to the demise of the King Cobra. Just how you ‘divinely’ rose to the helm leaves me with absolutely no choice but to say, “Congratulations Mr President!”

The well-deserved victory in August 2016 crowned the picture of a toned-down political landscape, one with sober language, stature and without pomp. Many, including your then opponents (some of whom are now allies) said your approach is that of humility. That has over the months become your unique trademark, thanks to the solid nature of a humble ‘Amai’ Jere.

The events of the recent past should, however, haunt anyone sitting in your position. I am not too sure that you ever envisaged the deaths of Zambian citizens would precede your entry, or re-entry, into state house. However, such is the reality that took place and I sympathise with the families that lost their loved ones. 

That surely underscores the challenges that lie ahead Mr President. There is a mistaken belief by African leaders that once they have the privilege of power then all citizens become pawns to be used for their own mileage. Fundamentally nonsensical! I feel for you, but what would a citizen say after all the rot that was allowed by politicians prior to the August 11 2016 polls?

The unacceptable rise in a cadre supremacy that seeks to rise above the law is simply the root cause of most of the negative publicity the country has suffered in the recent past. Your late predecessor allowed the proliferation of this scourge. I dare say, though, there is an increasingly thin line between thuggery and ‘cadreism’ – both which have become serious menaces to our tranquil society. 

In your inauguration speech in September, you rightly thanked the Patriotic Front’s ‘foot soldiers’ and ‘cadres’. I hope you stamp your foot on the ground hard enough for all to hear and know “you walk the talk” Mr President.

Impressively in the same speech you emphasised your leadership approach where some people should not feel more privileged than others. I hope that too will be rightly implemented and understood by cadres and citizens in the general. This is vital for eradication of corruption and other vices that have rocked our society. 

While we understand from a legal perspective that the drama that followed the August 11, 2016 polls was within the bounds of the new constitution, I strongly feel it ought to be an eye opener to how legal processes can bring a country to an utter standstill. I do not need to overemphasise the impact of the whole phase of uncertainty and the sharp stub it imparts on the much needed investor confidence. You would do very well to ensure, while protecting the interests of all stakeholders and the public alike, to give centre stage to legal reforms both at statute and constitutional levels.

The infrastructural strides accomplished in the last few years are by any standards commendable. I notice on the PF advertorial billboards preceding the elections that the milestones helped you raise your PF fist. Allow me to remind you though Mr President that such drives need to be more calculated than they were during the reign of your predecessor. Not to belittle the man’s quest to ensure development for the benefit of common man, decisions made off the cuff at some podium may be harmful to the treasury for a long time to come, not to mention the curse of a ‘HIPC’ status.

In no time the nation expects Felix Mutati to announce the 2017 national budget. It will be nice to see a practical translation of your words through fiscal policies and numbers. The economic scene is seemingly that of a freezing state. We hope with all the political euphoria now buried you can inject some impetus into economic activity and confidence.

Time flies past us faster than we would ever wish it would. I can only imagine how fast a five-year term runs with all plans that need to be accomplished. The challenge lies in ensuring reliable and transparent systems – systems that are not only reliable but can also be seen by any officious by-stander as reliable. That too was the lesson from our tightly contested elections: reliable and transparent systems. It is sickening that 25 years following the advent of multi-party democracy, we should wallow in contentious poll results. 

I leave you with your own words:

“Let us seize the opportunity to rise above the different points of view that divided us.  The temptation to believe that only our solutions alone are the best is an ingrained human deficiency.”  (excerpt from your inaugural speech, September 13, 2016)

It is my sincere hope that those words will resonate in the conscience of both yourself and dear learned HH from the UPND.

I salute you and wish you well. 

Thanks for taking time to read the Zambia Analysis November 2016 issue. 

Talk to you soon.

Masulani Mazyopa, CEO

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