National Restoration Party president Elias Chipimo says there will be no real change in Zambia politically unless citizens decide to change their value system.

And Chipimo has asked Zambians to rally behind him because he offers a different kind of politics where leaders remain humble enough to be accountable to the people.

In an article aptly titled “We must be the change”, Wednesday, Chipimo observed that citizens were demanding things from leaders which they themselves were not doing in their homes.

He noted that for real change to occur in the country, value systems in homes had to change so that things like corruption and abuse of power became unacceptable at the smallest scales.

“What is abundantly clear to all but a tiny minority is that we need change. What seems less clear to most of us is that we also need, as individual citizens, to change. The external change we seek will not happen unless each one of us is prepared to make the internal change – to change ourselves, our outlook, our way of being. We all accept that high level corruption is eating away at the core of our society but how can we even begin to fight the corruption we complain about when it resides comfortably in our own homes; when it is the unseen guest at every meal; when we hold more tightly to it than to our own girlfriends and boyfriends, husbands and wives? How can we fight the greed we see in our elected officials when the moment we are given even limited power at work, in the home or community, we abuse it to satisfy our own cravings?” Chipimo asked.

“Unless each one of us resolves to take personal responsibility for the state of the nation we find ourselves living in today, we will fail to realise that the corrupt politician we so desperately want to get rid of, is “us”. The man or woman we see abusing his or her powers, is “me”. No amount of external change will bring about the righteous life and nation we desire if we fail to see the need to individually make the personal change required to make it happen. To get to a place we have never been before, we have to do something we have never done before. To achieve the change we desire, we must first be the change we desire.”

He noted that Zambians did not practice the values they preached.

“Our politics has become a haven for everything that is wrong in our nature as human beings. We destroy, cheat, lie and steal in the name of the people in order to enrich ourselves at their expense. We no longer value values but we vehemently preach them to convince others that we are worthy of their trust. We then proceed to abuse that trust with all the energy we can muster in the brief time that our power lasts. We have distorted our most sacred cultural practices and comprised traditional leadership roles, turning some into silent but active accomplices in a gutless national betrayal of future generations,” Chipimo stated.

“There is much that our nation could become if it just developed the right mindset. We can be the best nation on earth when it comes to health, happiness, holistic living and the protection of the environment. In overcoming these very challenges lies the key to our prosperity. This will happen when we embrace not only a compelling vision but determined leadership that is radical, resolved and ready. Ready to breach new frontiers, ready to do things completely differently. This is not the time for ‘business-as-usual’ politics, nor is it the time for ‘business-as-usual’, ‘corruption-as-usual’ leadership. This cannot be the way forward for our struggling youth.”

And Chipimo asked Zambians to rally behind him, promising to remain accountable to the people.

“So here is my invitation to you the people of Zambia: I offer myself as an unworthy aspirant to lead the way into a future we all yearn for: a future that values the worth of every citizen and restores the pride and dignity of our nation; a future that will lift our nation out of poverty because it will have leaders that have chosen not to settle for a timid mindset but to be bold enough to admit that they are unworthy of the honour of leading and are humble enough to recognise that they must always remain accountable to their true masters – the people,” he stated.

“What do I possess to undertake this journey? Nothing other than my integrity, an unshakeable faith in God and a vision centred on a deep desire to see the needless suffering we are going through as a nation, come to an end. I will not promise you untold wealth and prosperity in order to entice your support. I will not promise you an easy life as we wrestle to free ourselves from the tyranny of kakistocracy. In fact, what I can assure you is that if you join me, you will almost certainly face ridicule and hardships. You will be misunderstood and maligned. You may even face the threat of losing your businesses along with some of those you now call friends. You will be told that this type of politics is not for Africa and only appeals to the elite. Yes, these and many more such deceptions will be used to discourage you. However, you will do well to recognise that these attacks are merely weapons that mask the fear that grips those that want to protect the terrible state our nation is in because they either have or hope for beneficial but illegitimate access to the political power that keeps things just the way they are. But note this, their time has already come to an end and they are simply serving out the remainder of their days. Their insults and spurious language are merely the last kicks of a dying horse.”

He asked Zambians to stop criticizing from the sidelines but engaging communities to keep leaders in check.

“So let us step into the arena and dare to do the deeds that will restore the sacred trust that should exist between the citizenry and its leadership. Let each one of us stand up and resolve to be the change our nation so desperately needs. What will this mean in paractice? It means no longer criticising from the sidelines and social media but getting involved in engaging your communities to hold our leaders to account. It means rallying our neighbours to a higher standard of responsibility. It means making a stand not to promote or partake of corruption wherever it rears its head. It means discussing progressive ideas more frequently than discussing people. It means being ready to have healthy dialogue rather than trading nasty insults. In short, it means changing who we are and becoming the people we need to be,” stated Chipimo.