By Maiko Zulu
PERSONAL DIARY – #ELECTION 2021 CHECKLIST
Here are some of the questions I will be asking myself before ticking ‘X’ on any box this 12th August
1. ECONOMY: I will be looking for a leader and a team with the vision, potential and experience in building a sustainable economic environment. A team that will make it a priority to ease the cost of doing business. A team that will manage the economy for every Zambian and not for themselves alone. I want a leadership that will ensure that locals have opportunities to own the best Lodges, hotels and private mines by putting in place favorable policies. A team that will reall put money in people’s pockets by creating a conducive business environment for all especially those outside political circles
2. DEBT: National Debt management is a fundamental voting issue and so I will be looking at leaders who have solutions to the debt crisis and who have a roadmap on how to exhume the country from its junk status despite having a good share of the continent’s prime resources. Debt mismanagement has crippled the economy, health,education and social foundation of the country.
3. HEALTH: As a voter, I’m looking for people who not only have the knowledge but also the heart to make the health sector live up to the people’s expectations. When I see a so called “Level One” hospital referring patients to private pharmacies for pain killers (not because they have no capacity), for me that’s a voting issue because it directly speaks to the way leaders use the health of the people as bargaining tool for corrupt deals.
4. AGRICULTURE: I will be looking out for candidates who will make Agriculture and exciting and profitable venture especially for young Zambians. Quality agricultural products are still being imported because we have limited technologies for modern farming methods. Recently he issue of onions showed us just how uncompetitive our agriculture sector is.
5. EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: I once lived in an era where we could make simple radios and we had dreams of belonging to JETS (JuniorEngineers,Technicians and Scientists) Clubs. Over the years, we have become mere consumers sub standard of electronic goods manufactured by children in Asia. With technology taking over the universe, we need a leadership that will insure creativity in this area. Our general education needs serious reforms in order to be relevant to the day to day survival of citizens and leadership is at the core of advancement.
6. MINES AND NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Zambia is a Copper producing country which imports copper wire at high prices. Our Emeralds are amongst the best and our Rosewood is sought after by the world’s best yet we still have a poor, hungry and unhealthy population because Zambia’s resources belong to outsiders. This one is a serious election issue which requires real leadership to tackle and not manyengwe as my brother Antonio Mwanza would say.
7. JUSTICE, HUMAN RIGHTS, CIVIL LIBERTIES AND PRESS FREEDOM: I will be looking for leaders who will respect the rights of all citizens and allow divergent views to be expressed by anyone without having to expect a ZP Land Cruiser at my house. I want to be able to trust the Judges and Magistrates to make unbiased rulings and I want to feel protected by the Police. I don’t want to have to buy Justice. I want leaders who will respect the law and agree to exist under it like everyone else. I want a government that will not intimidate the media and that which will guarantee Freedom of Information.
8. YOUTH: My ideal government is that which will make young people the engine of development by creating opportunities for them in the various fields of human endeavor. In Zambia today, the greatest aspiration for young people is to one day be a ‘Commander in the party’ because it pays more than studying Medicine, Geography or Aviation. I want a leadership that will actually listen to young people instead of threatening them with Police brutality whenever they raise issues.
9. POLITICAL SANITY AND SOCIAL ORDER: I’m looking for leaders who will make it possible for a citizen in a red t shirt to be able to walk freely at Intercity bus terminus just as a citizen in a green t shirt should be free to walk into a market in Magoye. I just want a President and a government that will tame the lawlessness that characterizes our society.
10. CORRUPTION AND GOVERNANCE : I want a government that will make the FIC and AG’s Reports bearable. Every other year we have issues of financial mismanagement in the public sector and strong leadership is needed here. Only leaders that are not part of the rot can have the audacity to fight it. I want honest leaders who will identify with the common citizen. I want a government that will not abuse public institutions like Police, ACC, Judiciary, ZNBC and ZESCO among others
11. ENVIRONMENT: I’m looking for leaders who will have a clear vision for tackling the environmental challenges that we face resulting into Climate Change. I want leaders who will not share reserve forests amongst themselves.
12. INDUSTIALIZATION: I want a government that will turn Zambia from a consumer nation to a producer nation through industrialization and value addition. Yes we can make Boom and Cookie Joe biscuits but we need to look at planes, automobiles, machinery, industrial and domestic fabrics, vaccines, medical equipment and the like.
13. GANJA: I want a leader who will not arrest any adult citizen for consuming marijuana. People have been humiliated and labeled criminals just because of a spliff. This for me is an election issue. We are still congesting the prisons with ganja convicts while the real criminals who are sited in the Financial Intelligence Center Report are called ‘Honorable’. I want a leader who will make sure every Zambian benefits from the hemp industry.