SPEAKING during the funeral of former Mufulira district commissioner Hildah Kawesha, Saturday, PF Secretary General Davies Mwila said some ruling party members are cowards who only want to eat when things are easy. According to him, the late Kawesha worked for the party from its foundation in 2001 while others have only come on board now to eat after the party has formed government.
We pass our condolences to the Patriotic Front and the Kawesha family. And we would also like to use this opportunity to tell members of the ruling party that governance is about service and not eating. Governance is not about who formed the ruling party and who should eat the most. This is where our friends in PF are getting things wrong. Leadership is about attending to the needs of those people who put you in power.
An important measure of a good leader is how much that leader cares for the people he or she leads. By definition, a bad leader does not care about the people he or she leads. When we talk about the leaders that this country has been subjected to, we are reminded about the late Michael Sata and how he understood leadership.
The late President, Mr Michael Sata was an unconventional leader in many ways. He had traits that could intimidate some people and even put off some. Michael was not a good speaker, he was not diplomatic in his ways. But there is one thing you could not accuse him of. You cannot accuse him of not caring for the people. When one speaks to those that knew Michael well, you cannot fail to appreciate that behind that aggressive persona lied a man who truly cared for the people that he led.
Mr Sata was anxious to be remembered as a leader who cared. He wanted to be a President who would be remembered for his devotion to public service. His politics may not have been easy to understand every time. But it was not difficult to discern that he wanted to be on the side of the people. Michael did not have problems condemning his ministers when they acted in a manner that was contrary to people’s expectations.
This is the type of leadership we are having difficulties finding in his successor, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu. The government of Mr Lungu seems to be concerned about the enjoyment of the luxury-filled life by those that are close to him. This is a tugabane government, where all key state dealings are inspired by personal interests. Everything is a deal in the PF government. Not for the people who are being led, but those who are leading.
In contrast to Michael, we now have a leader in State House who was voted on the pedestal on humility, meekness and friendliness, but his methods are brutal and harmful to the people he is leading. We have difficulties believing that Mr Lungu cares for the people that he is leading.
We say this because it seems, in Mr Lungu’s government, important decisions don’t seem to be driven by national interest, but by personal interests. There is nothing sacred to Mr Lungu and his friend, as long as they can extract the benefit they want, it seems there is nothing they are not prepared to do. They are literally willing to drive the country over a cliff if they think they can, somehow derive some benefit out of it. These are the kind of leaders we are dealing with.
You can pick, at random, any important decision that affects the lives of the people and the one thing that you will find is that you are dealing with a careless government. If they cared for the people, they would come to different decisions, or they would make those decisions they are making in a different way. They would have some fear for the people.
Mr Lungu and his government are dealing with government resources and assets in the same way that a step parent deals with a child who is not their own. They are brutal and ruthless in a way that leaves you questioning whether they are Zambians. In the recent past, we have had to witness the death of people who shouldn’t have died, but they lost their lives because of their brutality. But that brutality does not end with the way they deal with human beings. They are also brutal and ruthless with the economy. They don’t care how distractive they are. This is what we are dealing with.