Mr Elias Chipimo, the leader of the National Restoration Party (NAREP) is a very Methodical and pragmatic man. We love him because he is focused on issue-based politics; but because of that, he may not make it to be President of Zambia.
Unfortunately, what Zambians want are politicians who put aside intellect and trade in verbal punches with each other. In our country, voters love to see an aggressive opposition leader who can tell the police “Nshili mwaume wakunyelako amasushi”. People simply love chimwela politics with a pinch of insults.
It has been the case for years now. We recall that at one time when the UPND, under late Anderson Mazoka, called Levy Mwanawasa a bum, the President responded saying “If I am a bum, the person calling me that is the ‘front’”, and there was laughter, mockery and radio debates around the bitter exchange. This is the politics Zambians enjoy.
Maybe it’s good that Mr Chipimo has never been a councillor or MP to learn this kind of politics. But despite the inexperience, there is something catchy that the NAREP leader is offering the people of Zambia.
Chipimo may not have the swag that you want in a Zambian politician, he may look like he needs a Social Cash Transfer himself, but the truth is that he is a very comfortable lawyer. He made it in life many years ago and he is here to plough back into his community. As a matter of fact, he has made it very clear himself that his number one agenda is not to takeover power by all means, but to provide solutions to the country’s economic challenges.
If anything, Mr Chipimo doesn’t strike us as one who has half the desperate ambition that PF Cabinet ministers have to remove President Edgar Lungu from power. But for some reason, the President doesn’t want to draw this opposition leader close. Last year, Mr Chipimo spent months trying to seek audience with the Head of State, but did not succeed until he resolved to write a letter.
In his letter, the NAREP leader told the President that he had come up with a plan that would fulfil the lofty aspirations of the global development agenda, as articulated in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“I believe, Mr. President, that we can achieve all this through what we are calling the Twenty Percent Generation Plan, or TPG. Briefly, TPG intends that through a proposed law to be enacted as part of the TPG initiative’s outputs, 20 per cent of all public procurement contracts will be reserved for women, youth and other vulnerable groups. It would be administered through economic sector incubators that will ensure that the target supplier groups are formalised, trained, mentored and supported to raise their standards of competence in order to deliver to world class levels,” Chipimo stated in his letter to President Lungu.
We have read Mr Chipimo’s TPG plan and we have no doubt that if it were to be implemented according to his proposal, Zambia would be transformed within just a year. Citizens can once again feel like they own this country. Through the TPG, the PF can easily reclaim its pro-poor agenda.
What Chipimo is proposing is that government actualises Zambianisation with a bias towards empowering the most vulnerable groups. In simpler English, it is called equal distribution of national wealth. If transparently done, this surely, would also see a decline in reports and complaints of corruption.
But unfortunately, TPG can’t sell. It’s too good a plan for a government leadership that has no vision. President Lungu can’t see the sense in what Chipimo is suggesting, for the same reason that he can’t see the sense in what the PF founders and technocrats were trying to achieve when they established the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).
Since he joined politics, Mr Chipimo has freely offered himself as the economic advisor to the President – offering numerous suggestions and ideas on how the government can overturn the economy and create employment opportunities for the jobless youths who are in their millions. Michael Sata saw this in Mr Chipimo, and it is no wonder he included the opposition leader on that Presidential trip to Brazil for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Summit in 2012.
Fortunately, it seems Mr Chipimo has finally realised that he has been wasting his time all along. He has seen that the people he is trying to help are too busy listening to the voice of plunder that they cannot hear anyone else. That is why he has now taken it upon himself to start impacting young people’s lives.
This is the reason why we are saying NAREP is a great NGO. For months now, Mr Chipimo has been touring radio stations with his “TiPanGeni” programme, which is aimed at providing life changing opportunities to marginalised groups.
“TiPanGeni is creating an opportunity for young men and women, for vulnerable individuals, whether they be men or women in society, anyone that is struggling to find a job anyone that is trying to put food on the table on a daily basis, to give them a stable income and at the same time training and capacity development to the highest standards possible. Those young girls who are getting pregnant will have some hope and some opportunity, because as we speak, the rates of abortion are extremely high. All these young people who are sitting in bars need job opportunities. TiPanGeni can build skills and give people back their dignity,” says Chipimo.
Now, here is a leader who has offered himself as an extremely dedicated social worker; a leader with a vision and passion for Zambia, but he is being ignored. Why? We are not saying Mr Chipimo is faultless and neither are we suggesting that he is the best opposition leader. But we are wondering why the government can’t engage NAREP and listen to what they are yapping about in their TPG. Isn’t that what President Lungu has been calling for? Has he not been asking for alternative governance ideas from the opposition? So why is the PF dodging the proposal from NAREP?
Anyway, like Mr Chipimo rightly observed that young girls are rushing into prostitution because it doesn’t require a business plan, but basic assets which they already possess; we believe that the PF leadership is preoccupied with plunder which also only requires basic assets which they already possess; hands, a mouth and stomach. They don’t need TPG or any economic plan.