Political Analyst Dr Alex Ng’oma has advised Lusaka residents not to dismiss the people who are aspiring for the Lusaka Mayoral position based on their background, but should instead look at their capability to deliver.

In an interview with News Diggers! Dr Ng’oma said all the political parties had picked a desirable candidate but emphasised that Lusaka needed a skilled person with public relations knowledge to become its executive Mayor, looking at the challenges that the city was currently facing.

Dr Ng’oma however cautioned that the aspirants should understand that being a mayor of a big City like Lusaka is not like going for a walk in the park.

“I think we should not dismiss these people even before the race is run. This is a Christian nation and we can learn from how David was treated as a small boy. His brothers felt that he was not equal to the task and that he shouldn’t even have gone into the battle field, he should have just been home looking after the sheep. And so from that perspective, let us not judge these candidates from their backgrounds. We shouldn’t be dismissing the people that have come on board, let us just welcome all of them and give them a chance. But we should caution them strongly that being mayor of a big City like Lusaka is not like going for a walk in the park. Being Mayor is not a ceremonial position, it is a functional position. The Mayoral position is an executive position and anyone elected to that office must be equal to the task,” Dr Ng’oma said.

“A Mayor must have an understanding of the issues that are affecting the people of Lusaka. A Mayor must have the necessary skills set to be able to perform. Because if they get the Mayoral seat one way or another but then fail to function, people will not tolerate that. So we must just welcome them but ask a question of, are they really equal to the task? Do they have the skills? Do they have the idea to function as executive Mayor of the City of Lusaka? Because minus that, I am afraid, people will not be very kind to them. So the aspiring candidates must ensure that they have what it takes to be able to function as Mayor in the city of Lusaka.”

Asked if any of the nominated candidates for the Mayoral position from the various political parties had the qualities required in a Mayor, Dr Ng’oma said he believed all the candidates deserved a chance but that it was up to Zambians to judge.

“First of all, a Mayor has to be somebody who is a performer. A Mayor of Lusaka has to be someone who understands the fact that Lusaka is very congested in terms of road infrastructure. Therefore, somebody who has got ideas as how to decongest the city of Lusaka. The City of Lusaka is very dirty, so you need somebody who understands hygiene and can organise the entire city to ensure that cleanliness comes back to Lusaka. Lusaka is a place of street vendors, so it needs somebody who knows how to handle the street vendors to try and find them alternative trading places and get them completely off the streets. Somebody who is a public relations person and knows that both the party in government and the opposition are very strong in the city. So it has to be someone who is going to make sure that there is some kind of unity of purpose in the city. So that’s the kind of person we are looking for to become Mayor of Lusaka, someone who is mature and has got the acumen to be able to unify the city and provide answers,” said Dr Ng’oma.

“Lusaka city has got shortages of water in a lot of places, so the Mayor must be able to know how he is going to provide water, he should be able to ensure that the streets are lit to make them safe for people walking and driving at night. Those are some of the issues we want a Mayor to look at. Lusaka city is a place where diplomats and other dignitaries from other countries will come and therefore, how does he make sure that they feel at home? I will not really point out to say this one is not suitable or that that one is the most qualified but I think the various political parties know what they are looking for, they know what they have in mind and they know they chose this particular candidate as opposed to that particular candidate. But my question to all of them is, do they have what it takes to function as executive Mayor of the city? They must come prepared, they must hit the road running, if not, then I will be the first person to criticise them and say ‘you are failing, you wanted this position but you are not prepared’. So I think it’s important for all the people of Lusaka to avoid talking like we are decampaigning one person and campaigning for the other. They have all come on board so let them compete and then whoever wins, must be prepared to give us answers.”