Friday, July 13, 2007

Who will succeed Levy?

Who will succeed Levy?
By Caroline Katotobwe-Mukuka
Friday July 13, 2007 [04:00]

It may seem a long way from now seeing that we just came from having tripartite elections but before we know it, the current government’s term of office will come to an end. And the question that who will succeed Levy will come up.

What is unfortunate is that we seem not to be learning from our past political mistakes as a nation. Our president himself has not taken time to groom anyone to succeed him.

Also as a nation, we have not began to brainstorm on who should succeed Levy whether from the opposition/the ruling party.
If not careful, for the third time history will repeat itself and Zambia will once again be faced with a leadership crisis. This will not only cause problems in the political realm but also problems in each and every sector of the nation’s economy. Once again we will be left without a choice but agony of electing the best amongst the worst kind of leaders.

This simply means that the probability of electing a thief or a man woken up from sleep without an agenda for Zambia will be high once again .This is because the criteria used in electing leaders will shift from being meritorious to factors such as one’s ethnicity and financial muscle.

And yes once again, history would have repeated itself. It’s surprising and shocking to find that the issue of succession seems to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many political leaders i.e. be it in the ruling party/opposition political parties.

If it were left to our national presidents, they would choose to stay in power for life (the till-death-do-us-part phenomenon) and even then they would hope to rule from the grave. Our first Republican president and father of the nation Dr K.D Kaunda was not any exception when he was president. It took a national uprising to root him out of his position as president. And when this happened, there was not one credible leader, courageous enough to attempt to step into KK’s shoes.
The president then had ensured that he was surrounded by fear-stricken, timid and bootlicking leaders who would not dare stand up and oppose his leadership not even in their dreams. Hence the nation looked to anyone who would come up and pose a challenge. This of course as we all know led to electing a man who happened to be in the right place at the right time, i.e. an opportunist in other words. Had Kaunda groomed someone, the nation would have had an alternative and we wouldn’t have found ourselves in the merciless and greedy hands of the self-proclaimed, and very rightly so, political engineer F.T.J Chiluba.

Chiluba selfishly chose not to groom someone to take over from him. Instead, F.T.J, about to complete his constitutionally mandated two-term tenure as president, got the nomination of his ruling party despite massive internal opposition, including his own vice president and several of his ministers and parliamentarians. Such actions can be traced to personal ambition and intoxication or even addiction of power rather than purposeful leadership.

His decision, later, to respect the Constitution and not to seek a third term came only after violence and a rare and courageous threat of impeachment by his Parliament. He then, out of selfishness and the love of power, had to handpick Levy P Mwanawasa and his victory hoping that they would be continuity of his rule. This unfortunately, seems to be the greedy nature of our political leaders even today.
Our current president Levy P Mwanawasa has, like his predecessors, decided to surround himself with master bootlickers, idle minds and those whose track records are questionable leaving them forever grateful to him for sustaining their shortlived, so called political careers.
This practice/tendency has extended its venom to the leaders in the opposition who instead of grooming people for national leadership or to succeed, would rather keep them at the bottom.

It is no wonder that despite most political parties having credible, educated and able-bodied men and women, the nation still suffers from leadership crisis. In that the people in the forefront are well known power hungry and out of season politicians.

Even those who brag about encouraging the youths to step up and take the challenge of leadership, one would notice that these youths once incorporated are never groomed to be leaders of tomorrow, instead they are left stagnant in one position normally lower ranking political positions. And are expected to join the bandwagon of veteran bootlickers. Hence when time comes for their generation to lead, custody of the nation is passed on to half-baked politicians who embark on a trial and - error journey at the expense of all Zambian citizens. What our political leaders lack is the love for this nation and its future, if they had any interest in the welfare of their children and the children’s children, they would ensure that they groom people to come and safeguard the very existence of humanity.

Instead we see the same old faces with a few new faces entering politics at a level too complex for them to comprehend. The Office of President is one which is very sensitive and needs an occupant who fully understands the dynamics of national governance. In as much as one may have succeeded in the corporate world, politics is totally a different ball game.

It requires one to have the heart of servanthood, wisdom, technical know-how which comes through experience.
However, it is not too late to have a proper answer to the question ‘who succeeds Levy’, only if Levy himself can make a difference and not act like his predecessors.

There’s still ample time for him to work out a plan and groom somebody to take over from him. Someone with the right credentials and has shown a keen interest in the welfare of Zambians.
The same applies to the opposition leaders and all other leaders in various positions who are in the afternoon of their political careers. They should start grooming young and energetic, level-headed men and women who would undoubtedly fare well if given a chance. People should not wait for their political careers to end in an abrupt and disrespectful manner as was the case with VJ and many others. Our political leaders should ‘smell the coffee’ and know when to leave instead of waiting to see their downfall. Imagine a veteran politician like Vernon Mwaanga imparting part/all of his political experience on visionary young upcoming leaders instead being selfish and clinging onto power. He and many like him would have earned more respect if they had stepped out of the arena at the right time and watched from the terraces; the leaders they would have supposedly groomed perform wonders drawing on their experience.

As the case is now, no one would even want to get advice from VJ because of the manner in which he left.

What a shame and waste of experience! If Mwanawasa chooses to ignore this advice and turn a blind eye to the examples given herein, not only will he become a statistic and point of reference but will be held liable and to blame for the leadership crisis that Zambia will continue to face. So Ba Levy, time to act is now!

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