FORMER Finance Minister Ng’andu Magande says since President Edgar Lungu claims to have taken charge of the economy now, he must share his economic recovery plan with the rest of the citizens so that those who are willing to help, like him, can step in to save the country. He says it doesn’t matter whether it is the crocodiles that he went to see in Sinazongwe which reminded him that he was not in charge of the economy, what is important is that he is now committing himself to turning the economy around.

“Some of us don’t want to dwell on the history of what he has been doing. If someone admits, don’t push him to answer more questions on an admission, what do you gain? What I am interested in is, what is he going to do that we, the citizens, can participate in to turn the economy around? He is saying he now wants to take charge, so we want to know: in taking charge, what is our role as citizens? Where is the plan that we can help to follow? It is our economy, not his alone,” said Magande to News Diggers!

This is the kind of political maturity that has been missing in this country. Zambia is in a very desperate situation, but our political leaders, especially those in the ruling party, are spending most of their time on arguments and debates which add nothing to the prosperity of the country. The quality of politics in our country calls for deep meditation from all citizens of goodwill.

We should not allow the politics of our country to be relegated to trivialities chosen precisely because they salve the consciences of the powerful and well-to-do and conceal the plight of the poor and powerless. We cannot have a trend where non-issues are the order of the day as far as discourse is concerned. This practice is unacceptable and needs to be changed.

Our nation’s politicians, both in the government and the opposition, need to take stock of their contribution towards the development of our politics and democracy. What is it that they have done to make politics an honourable and dignified service? It is such conduct that makes politics appear to be a “dirty game” when it should be seen as a genuine way of being at the service of others for the integral development of our country. As citizens, what is our role in ensuring dignified politics in our country?

The answer is in the maturity exhibited by Mr Magande. Instead of laughing and mocking President Lungu, Mr Magande says this economy doesn’t belong to Lungu, it will take our participation as citizens to change the direction we are facing. One can only admire such humility and patriotism. Mr Magande’s remarks are telling a story of a man who is concerned about the plight of the poor.

Our people are facing numerous problems and challenges. Most of our people, both in urban and rural areas, can barely survive. There are many people in Zambia who each day cannot meet the basic needs necessary for a decent human life. It is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental needs to remain unsatisfied. Our nation is richly endowed with natural resources, but our people live in abject poverty.

All these are the issues that should pre-occupy our politicians and dominate their discourse. No one would complain if they went for each other over these problems. Now we cannot have a situation where people turn non-issues into the most dominant issues.

Sadly, trivia is what interests our politicians. It is even laughable that at times, the same leaders who perpetuate these non-issues accuse the media of being petty and yet the media is just a mirror of society; it reflects what is happening in the country – be it desirable or undesirable. The politicians need to understand that the situation in the country will not improve as long as they continue to make bickering their only discernible preoccupation.

No one will develop our country for us. And politics need to be taken very seriously because it is the instrument by which people cooperate together in order to achieve the common good. Political leadership is needed to guide the energies of all towards the common good. Zambia needs Mr Magande’s maturity if we are to move just one step forward.