ZAMBIANS are not ready for honest leadership, says musician Maiko Zulu. Maiko, who in 2016 contested the Kabwata Consistency seat as an independent, said electorates in Zambia were, in a way, always blinded by smooth talking and money throwing candidates who bought a vote worth five years with disposable Chinese made T-shirts, cheap alcohol and or a piece of Chitenge for the women.
He said he had learnt lessons from his attempt to run for office in Kabwata Constituency in 2016 and that he made a lot of mistakes. The radical musician said among the lessons learnt was that Zambians, especially the youth, were very good with ideas and social chats that however lacked implementation.
“When I attempted to run for public office in my constituency in the 2016 elections, I made a lot of mistakes and strides from which I drew a number of lessons, both good and bad. Among the lessons I learnt [is] that our people, especially the youth, are very good with ideas and social chats (nkhani za mu moba) but zero on implementation and will say and do anything to suck you out of every coin knowing very well that campaign time is cash-in time,” Maiko said.
“By the way, campaign time is when citizens get the opportunity to analyse and choose their leaders for the next five years and needs some kind of serious thought). Young people will rarely support anything that seems to challenge their own personal egos and more so if it’s done by one of their own or someone they deem inferior to them.”
He noted that young people had no guts to aspire for leadership and turn their brilliant Facebook and WhatsApp group ideas into reality. Maiko said sadly, people would rather go with any kind of leader as long as “kuli ifitenge na ma hoodie (There is chitenge and hoodies)”.
He said only four people out of the Kabwata Constituency dared challenge Given Lubinda over the seat he had occupied for many years.
Maiko said it was unfortunate that the challenges that the youth faced before the 2016 elections had not changed. He noted that the levels of alcohol and drug abuse in the area were rising and the cost of doing business was not any better. Maiko said people had no say through their representatives on public affairs.
“The opportunities that they were promised are nowhere to be seen. Bashi Kabwe at Kabwata market is still sitting on that tree mending shoes. The levels of alcohol and drug abuse are on the rise and the cost of doing business is not any better. People have no say through their representatives on public affairs like the many government procurement tenders,” he said.
Maiko said it was time for citizens, especially the young, to create their own opportunities and strengths for them to have independent minds. He said the cholera outbreak the country was experiencing was a result of bad leadership decisions.
“It’s time for people, especially the young, to begin to create their own opportunities and strengths in order for them to have independent minds, the kind that will not sell a vote for a lie. I am looking forward to a lot of young people and fresh blood running for public offices in the next elections. We are where we are because of some bad leadership decisions we may have made and because we have not stood up and dared to do it ourselves,” said Maiko.
“So sometimes when I see people complain against cholera, poor service delivery, bad governance, sleeping mayors, corruption and theft in government offices, I see them as not only a part of the problem but also part of the solution.”