Thursday, August 28, 2008

Levy's legacy and succession

Levy's legacy and succession
By Editor
Thursday August 28, 2008 [04:00]

President Levy Mwanawasa’s death has taught us many lessons.

We can only hope we have all learned our lesson. There are mistakes that we shouldn’t make again; others may be repeated, and we may make new ones.

Levy has left us with more faith in the future of our country. And we shouldn’t forget his most valuable concerns and deeds.

It is true that we should learn from mistakes, but who hasn’t made mistakes – over and over again? An old refrain says that humans are the only animals who stub their toe on the same stone twice.

This is especially so if that stone is the struggle for power, concerns power and its privileges and the patronage that go with it, it concerns political office. Our having done so isn’t very important.

Useful lessons for the cause of our people’s progress could and should be drawn from both positive and negative experiences.

This is why the self-critical aspect should prevail in all that we do. The important thing, for us, isn’t the human dimension of our actions.

The opportunism we are today witnessing over the succession that has followed Levy’s death shows that the great majority of our politicians must be replaced, are of no value, they are a liability and a danger to the nation.

To make progress, most of the present cadres must be swept away and new leadership cadres created who appear and be tempered by sacrifice.

For us to make progress, it requires leaders who see farther and who are selective; self-sacrificing leaders with prestige, who direct the impetuous development of progressive conditions.

That great process should, at one and the same time, create cadres and leaders, because none of them exist now.

One way or another, we have to free ourselves from the present opprobrious politics.

And there is need for every one of us to think deeply, to meditate deeply before we render any support to any person vying for political office, trying to succeed Levy. We should ask ourselves what it is that they can do that is in line with Levy’s legacy.

We say this because it seems to be generally accepted by our people that Levy has left a legacy that needs to be continued. If this is so, then this becomes a criteria for choosing the new leadership of our country.

There is therefore need for us to evaluate how support or assistance should be given to our politicians as they compete to succeed Levy. We think that it should be conditional, so it would be necessary to really know those asking for our support.

When you help someone a position is taken, and that position should be taken on the basis of certain analyses of the loyalty and effectiveness to the progress of our people. The assistance should be conditional; if not, we run the risk of it being turned into the opposite of what we want.

We should also realise that good leadership will not come to our country without us working for it, struggling for it.

Experience has shown that most of the people who desperately seek political office, who seek leadership are the least suited for it. And this poses a problem in the selection of good leadership. It increases the amount of work required to be done to ensure that good leadership is chosen.

And the more people involved in trying to choose leaders, the better. A few people can’t push the country forward when the majority of the people don’t want to work, to struggle for a better society.

A spirit of struggle must be created, and cadres and leaders must be found with Diogenes’ lamp and the patience of Job – a task that becomes more difficult as people find more idiots to do things for them without them doing anything, to fight for them without them fighting for anything or against anything.

There are sacrifices that need to be made at any given time by the people and their leaders. We can’t continue to be passive because passivity is the beginning of defeat.

We should also guard against the danger of regionalism, tribalism as we head into this potentially divisive presidential by-election.

We must give up the pernicious habit of identifying only with those who come from the same village, town, province or even tribe as ourselves, who speak the same language and have the same culture and traditions.

Those with whom we must identify and see as our comrades are all those who, like us, are marginalised and exploited who with us in working for the progress of our country.

These are all sacred tasks for our politicians because it is their responsibility to bring up the next generation free from tribalism, regionalism and imbued with a national feeling.

Seeds planted among us by political opportunists, crooks, mercenaries using tribalism and all sorts of divisive politics to gain power cannot be destroyed by words or magic formulas.

A political struggle must be started among all our people to make them clearly understand the harm of such practices, of such ideas.

At the same time, effort must be made to explain to our people that their experience of suffering, exploitation and marginalisation in Chadiza, Kaputa, Mwense, Chavuma, Shangombo, Sinazeze, Luangwa is the same. All bear the same scars, all have known the same hunger, the same poverty, the same suffering.

They should be united by the discovery of the same wounds and scars, but above all unity is realised through common effort, links are forged through collective work and struggle. Regionalism, tribalism have been weighed and found wanting.

The mission of our politics should be underpinned by our dedication to uplifting the most trodden sections of our population and all-round transformation of society.

Many MMD politicians have applied to be adopted as candidates in the presidential by-elections to replace Levy.

There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, this is how things should be because democracy calls many but few are chosen. And those chosen should be the best – the most honest, the most able, the most dedicated and the ones with the highest concern for the welfare of all.

Let’s scrutinise all those offering themselves for the office of president and only choose the best. There should be no compromise between good and bad; only the best should be picked.

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