Democracy is rooting out corruption in private and public life. Democracy is justice for the weak, hungry and poor, who are in the majority. Democracy and the meaning of voting is giving a full well lived, happy, loved and loving life to everyone. Democracy is happiness and love for the majority, not a tiny useless and parasitic minority. Democracy is healthy, happy families because everyone is well fed, on good nutritious food, every day. Democracy is a happy girl and boy going to a modern school well equipped and with well trained teachers, who are well paid and happy too. Democracy is the right and duty to work; for all.

As a country dominated by young people, more than 85 percent of Zambia is young people below 35 years, it is obvious that it is young people who defeated the Patriotic Front and voted Hakainde Hichilema and his UPNDinto government. Sadly, it is also true that it had been young people who largely had voted for Edgar Chagwa Lungu and his PF into government. It was also largely young people, some of whom became violent PF party cadres, who terrorised the country on behalf of Lungu. It is also true that it is also some young people who became violent UPND party cadres, and helped Hakainde to win the August 2021 National Elections. The question is: a year after our elections, are all young people in Zambia seeing real change in their lives?

The fate, and future of Zambia is in the hands of its young people, all those below 35 years, female or male, of all tribes, and from all of Zambia and whatever their political party. Our politicians of course divide our young people among themselves to win members and supporters for their political parties, and for their personal political ambitions to rule Zambia; for themselves. Over the years and since 1991 when Zambia became a multi-party state again, some of our clever young people who are active in politics have learnt how to treat our politicians: with fake loyalty while all the time getting from these politicians whatever they can, for themselves. These young people have learnt, through bitter experiences, how treacherous and corrupt our politicians are: they are one thing when they are begging for votes and completely another thing, when they win government office.

Millions of our young people live in homes where money is always in short supply because either no one works, or has a viable business. The majority of young people know what to suffer unemployment means. This means that both in our towns and rural areas, especially in our rural areas, the majority of our young people have known nothing but hunger and poverty, all their lives. Across the country, the majority of our young people are born into, and grow up, in hunger and poverty infested families. Family life is an ever ending struggle to find some money, secure food, have a place to sleep, obtain some clothes, go to school, make good friends and generally survive hardship. Our young people, most of them, are so accustomed to hunger and poverty they may not be able to imagine what it is like to live a life where struggles to find food are not the order of the day.

Since our colonial days, through independence to date, we have had an education and skills system that shreds and destroys the lives of the majority of our young people, and selects a tiny minority to fit into our equally tiny untransformed colonial economy centred on mining, finance, a small manufacturing sector, services such as trading, government and extremely low value rural peasant agriculture. Our school system simply cuts off huge chunks of young people at regular intervals because our governments have never ever invested enough in education to transform it so that it could cater for all our young people. We have become accustomed to the lie that a majority of our young people “fail” to complete primary schooling, not all of them “qualify” for higher secondary education, and an even smaller number “pass” to qualify to go to college or university.

The truthis, in this day and age, words like “fail”, “pass”, “qualify” have lost their value and meaning: no human being is a “failure”! Every human being can “qualify” at something they so wish to do, given the time and resources they themselves need to “qualify”. Human beings in this day and age of abundant science and technology no longer need to be “passed” or “failed” at anything: society must have quality life for everyone! Zambia masks its disastrous cruel treatment of its young people by deploying the devices and language of “failing”, “passing” and “qualifying” young people in order to sustain our colonial status and maintain Zambia as a small economy that caters for a minority of its people, since our colonial days.

Millions of our young people depend on government clinics and hospitals, when they fall sick and whenever they need medical attention. Our public health system long lost any semblance of a functioning system: chronic critical shortage of skilled and well trained staff, shortages of essential medicines, health technologies and bed spaces long turned many of our health facilities into receptions to our mortuaries. Not even the recruitment of 11, 000 or so health workers is anywhere near filing in the critical vacancies in our health system. We are a country long resigned to inferior and shoddy services from our public health institutions. It is young people who suffer the most when they fall sick from malaria, chest infections, HIV/AIDS, diarrhoea diseases, dental problems, become pregnant and so on. We readily send to early graves thousands of young people every day, from perfectly treatable and curable diseases.

Zambia has maintained the basic economic foundations and structures which the horrible British colonisers left us with: a small mining, banking, weak small manufacturing and services sectors – all dependent on foreign money to survive! It is in fact this failure to destroy this colonial economic base and replace it with a national economy capable of giving every Zambian a space in it, which explains why we have such a small and pathetic education system, huge and disastrous levels of unemployment, mass hunger and extreme inequalities: while the Zambian population has been fast growing, our politicians, lacking vision, political will and initiative, have done next to nothing since independence to release our national genius, creative capacities and abilities to produce for ourselves and therefore free ourselves from new colonialism from our former colonial masters. We are stuck in the past, economically: we have a small economy largely created to benefit our colonisers and a very small fraction of Zambians.

In August last year, millions of Zambia’s young people participated in the elections and ushered in a new government, the UPND and Hichilema. Voting and democracy for these young people, surely, must mean abolishing hunger, poverty, unemployment and extreme inequalities. Democracy is about plenty of work for every young person who needs a job. Democracy is when all young people who are hungry can access food, because families have decent incomes and those who want work and businesses have them.

Democracy is about free, high quality decolonised education from birth to death for everybody, but especially young people. Democracy is about dismantling our colonial economy and growing a national economy to cater for the whole country, not just a tiny minority selected by shredding and destroying the lives of the majority of the young people of Zambia, because we have a school system that is too small to carter for all our young people.

Democracy is universal access to high quality clinics, hospitals and all health facilities, very clean, well-supplied with all drugs, technologies and a well-motivated, well paid, happy, highly trained and qualified staff. Democracy is being donated to the mortuary because everything scientifically possible to save life was done, but failed.

Democracy, when reduced to merely voting and changing the political parasites in government, while hunger, poverty, unemployment and inequalities ravage the majority of the people of any country becomes a “demoncracy” – rule by a tiny parasitic layer of demons, for demons who steal the vote from the hungry majority. Zambia’s young people can, and must fight for democracy in Zambia.

(Talk to me at: kalindawalo2010@gmail.com)