Put the economy in the hands of Citizens and not government
Government is good, but Government alone cannot develop Zambia. Any well-meaning government that wishes to move Zambia out of the current mess will need to acknowledge that that our economy will not thrive because of government, but in many ways because of government facilitation and not directly.
Every election year we hear potential presidents say, my government will bring you this and that. They make it appear that the future of the Zambian economy is in the hands of President Lungu or HH, the Bank of Zambia and everyone else but us. The lead storyline in all campaigns is that until the President does the right thing, nothing is going to get better.
On the contrary, if you believe the economists, the well-being of our economy is best measured by looking at the GDP (how much money changes hands), factory inventories, new housing starts, retail sales figures, capital equipment backorders, the consumer confidence index, and of course, the big one, the percentage of Zambians unemployed. The expert storyline is that until these numbers go up, nothing is going to get better.
Therefore, if we insist on continuing to view the turning of the Zambian economy as a government affair, we are then in for a long, lonely, difficult desert. Instead, we have a choice to view the Zambian economy from the angle of citizens. Citizens are those who know that their well-being is literally in their own hands, who look frugally at what they can do, sale and purchase and are willing to trust their own measures and means for everything else other than dependency on government. A citizen is one who sees that leaders have done all they can, and new leaders will do no better. Citizens know that expertise in measurement and prediction resides in their own experience and close to home; they understand that their power grows with collective action. Unemployment statistics and the good plans of government are irrelevant to citizens, even if they do not own any means of production.
If we are willing to act like citizens to reclaim the Zambian economy and put it into our own, local hands, here is what we can do to make the economy better:
- Delink from the Past ways of development:-
- Depart from the colonial mentality where the state is so authoritarian and repressive. Repeal all repressive laws and adopt progressive ones. This agrees with UPND point No. 10.
- But also depart from the notion of government playing a major role in the economy, with an all-dominant public sector. Government should support citizens to run the economy. Yes citizens have no money and government should secure funds not to do projects but to invest in citizens who will then deliver
- Abandon centralization:- Run away from the colonial bureaucracy where central government is running everything – simply decentralise government to the lowest levels
- Build on good elements of indigenous governance systems and models. Not everything traditional is bad. Look for the good practices and use them to govern the state.
- Stop dedicating vast amounts of resources towards eliminating all contending political authorities, direct them towards meaningful functions. This includes not only unleashing the POLICE on opposition political parties but non-state actors of all hues, traditional institutions and socio-economic bodies. All resources must be for the good of the nation not for repression.
- Obsessively support the local economy and keep everyone’s Kwachas local.Let Zambians own Zambia. Mines and major resources must be owned by citizens. To do this the following must apply:-
- Zambians – Tear up your Curriculum Vitae/resume! Local jobs do not require a resume or CV. The jobs that do are very scarce and pay poorly. Let every Zambian figure out what they are good at and find a few people who will pay them something for it. We are all going to have to piece together fragments of work that can constitute a living. This is one thing we need as a Zambian community: a local network of relationships that keeps our kwachas in local, neighborly circulation.
What the next government can do is:
- Decentralise development in Zambia to allow for each district to run and manage its affairs
- Open Zambia to development Estates all over the country to support and develop new business concerns.
Throw Away that Colonial Education System that enslaves: Repeal the current Education System because it is no longer relevant to today’s needs. The present system only prepares young graduates to seek employment – No rich person ever became one because they were employed. They became rich because they invested and did something to produce wealth. Welcome an education system that empowers graduates to create more employment for younger people while the older create more wealth and work for themselves.
What the next government can do is:
- Establish a Youth Empowerment Fund to give young people entrepreneurial skills and provide them with start-up grants, and also to give loans at reduced rates for business expansion.
- Set up well-equipped centres in each constituency to offer training in modern entrepreneurial and technological skills
- Enhance the use of ICT for increased productivity and efficiency and to make Zambia into an information society.
- Promote local and foreign investment through fair tax and local incentives
- Ensure that every child in Zambia gets quality free basic education
- Ensure that every Zambian is facilitated to create wealth
- Ensure that every Zambian gets quality and affordable healthcare
- Empower Zambian women and youth to take their rightful place in developing this country
- Keep Zambia safe and secure both internally and externally
- Develop a cogent foreign relations and trade policies that make Zambia matter
- Give incentives to banks and other institutions so that they finance Zambian owned industries that create jobs.
Unite All Zambians – Abash Tribalism:-
- Ensure that the One Zambia – One nation motto is enshrined and every Zambian is equally treated regardless of tribe. Build a nation based on unity and hard work
- Give Zambians a Constitution that reflects the beliefs and aspirations of all Zambians and not just for the government in power
Priotise Water, Sanitation and Hygiene:
Rather than spend so much on curative centered health systems, invest in public health and reduce diseases rather than spend too much in curing them. The best defense against diseases is to avoid them rather than cure them.
- Put food and clean water on every Zambian table