ZAMBIAN politics are becoming more and more toxic by the day, sadly. The pressure of getting power for some, or others maintaining it, has exceeded the moral consciousness of doing what is right.
If getting power by all means, entails compromising one’s cherished moral compass, it is better not to have power, but remain principled. Leaders who change like chameleons, cannot be trusted with power, it will corrupt them absolutely.
For a leader to be consistent and predictable, certain vital ingredients that are helpful include the following; vision, ideological standpoint, principles, values, ethics, respect, high- standards, courtesy, service and sacrifice. Let us look at each of them individually.
Vision. Many of our political leaders have a very weak vision, therefore they quickly pander to “populist” politics since 1972. Zambian recycled politicians have kept at this political path, without positive results.
Zambia remains a Third World nation, aiming under the Patriotic Front government to be a middle income country by 2030 as a weak “national vision.”
Not only is this so remote, but it is based minimums of sustainable Goals, (SDGs) as minimum benchmarks of the (UN). Zambians want change now, for the better. First world Zambia, is the only; daring, bold, and long term sustainable vision, for our country which the Movement for National Transformation, (MNT) is advocating for.
Ideological standpoint. Any leader without a strong compelling ideological standpoint can go to State House and experiment the leadership of the Country. This is why we have remained a backward nation.
We need leaders motivated by a daring motivation of an idea that outlives them, for a legacy of accomplishments beyond themselves. Vision leads to ideas, that is why you can have money, but no ideas, as a leader.
A principled stand-point. This is what the leader needs to get to his desired direction, and affects his party organisation. Zambia needs principled-centred leadership. A leader without principles lives only by convenience.
That is why recycled politicians have kept getting rich as they move conveniently to where the power pendulum is. What we need is leadership by conviction, persuaded by a cause greater than self-preservation.
Values of a leader matter. Zambia has Christian constitutional values. A leader who goes against these values, does not deserve to lead a Christian nation. A corrupt leader must not lead a Christian nation. The values of a leader dictate what a leader esteems. In the collective sense, Zambia has chosen Christian values, to be the basis of their norms and values, of our national existence.
Ethics of leadership. Ethics are crucial, because they create “dos and don’ts” to follow. Self-restraint, for a leader is important. Discipline is a major part of the leadership process. Visionary leadership, that is transformative, always has ethical considerations for the people’s interests. Corruption is what happens, when leaders seek profit above the people they lead.
Respect is what distinguishes authentic leaders. Self-respect and respect for others, makes a whole lot of a difference in leadership. Character assassination and insults, for political mileage, is the worst form of disrespect. Even if you are a whistle-blower or a media practitioner, respect is the hallmark of human relationships, so much more leadership.
In Bemba we say,” ubufumu bu chindika abene.” What you sow, you will eventually reap.
High Moral Standards. Standards are what a leader has for civility in politics, to attain as a representative figure-head of the people, the collective aspirations of the nation. A leader holds himself or herself to these same standards as others he leads.
Double standards do not work in leadership. What you expect your followers to do, you must do first. This is what exemplary leadership is all about.
Courtesy in leadership. How you treat divergent views, and dissent is indicative of your own character. Courtesy means a disposition that has manners showing kindness towards others. This is having a sense of politeness towards others.
Life is more than immediate benefits in self-preservation. Sadly, we have seen leaders, who insult to get favours where they defect, and just exchange uniforms of political parties.
Discourtesy is evil, and brings leaders into disrepute and shame. The end of leaders who are not civilized in their politics is always bad.
Service centered leadership. Public service is a sacred privilege. There is no greater honour than to serve your country at the highest, or lowest level, respectively. We live to serve, not to be served. If you serve others, someone will serve you one day. Serving your generational purpose, is the greatest form of work in your lifetime. Work must make you become your purpose.
Sacrifice is the highest form of commitment of a leader. A leader does not sacrifice his people, but rather sacrifices for his people, even if he himself suffers. His interests must be above self-preservation.
True leaders put their people first, not profits and selfish-aggrandisement. We cannot sacrifice the Lower Zambezi for profits, at the expenses of the national and public interests. The whole idea of mining there must be cancelled immediately.
Conclusion, if Zambia will develop as a first world nation, we need civility in politics. Do you esteem these concepts of leadership; Vision, ideological standpoint, principle-centred leadership, values, ethics, respect, high- standards, courtesy. service, and sacrifice?
Dr. Daniel Mvula Shimunza
Movement for National Transformation, (MNT)
For First World Zambia Ideology
And 2021 Presidential Candidate.