PRINCE Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika says the key problem that Zambia continues to face is personalisation of state leadership.
Speaking at the virtual Levy Mwanawasa public lecture, Friday, Akashambatwa said there was a need to re-examine the political culture which allowed personalised leadership.
“I noted in the clip you played with the voice of Levy that he used the word ‘we’. One of the things that distresses me in watching Zambian news is that a minister saying ‘my government’ or our President says ‘my government’, they hardly say that ‘we.’ When Levy said ‘we rejected GMOs’…it was not a personal decision and in fact, it was one of those decisions made in an exemplary, consulted national decision making. There were absolutely open public forums in which this issue was debated and it is out of that public forum that committees were made to start and spearhead moves towards that decision. I say it is very important to mark this ‘we’,” Akashambatwa said.
“John (Sangwa) was talking about the fault line of Zambia, from the beginning is that from independence, the Constitution of Zambia was very specifically unconsciously based on faith in one individual. And the debate in the British parliament leading to the Zambia independence act makes that very clear. So the whole Constitution is based on faith in a person, personalised leadership. The key problems we continue to face from the beginning is the personalisation of state leadership, the licensing of the ruling party to seize and capture the state.”
He said the people in power today should take a leaf from Mwanawasa’s legacy by running a collective government.
“So even as we praise Levy, I would like us to please not defile his name by assuming that he was a personal leader. He was a collective leader and that was the example we have to take from his legacy. The example of GMOs is one of them and I think that it is very important that the struggle continues. Levy stopped the deterioration in reverse of the struggle and managed to move it a little bit forward, but the struggle must continue because the fault line of the Zambian Constitution and political culture of Zambia continues as it was in the beginning,” said Akashambatwa. “And if we are to follow his footsteps and build upon his legacy, we have to re-examine the Constitution of Zambia from beginning to end. We have to re-examine our political culture which allows personalised leadership. There was a discussion just now about ‘let’s choose a leader who has a character’, all that is well and good but if it is within institutions that do not have collective leadership, then we will continue to be doomed.”