Saturday, September 04, 2010

Zambia lacks system to protect citizens from abuse

Zambia lacks system to protect citizens from abuse
By Mwila Chansa in Kitwe
Sat 04 Sep. 2010, 04:02 CAT

SACCORD has observed that Zambia has not had a leader who has truly been a servant of the people since the re-introduction of multi-party democracy. And SACCORD said Zambia lacks strong systems to protect citizens from abuse.

During the training of voter education facilitators by Southern Africa Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) at Lukasha Lodge in Kitwe on Thursday, programmes officer Edgar Mainza observed that democracy was about leaders serving the interests of the people.

“A democratic government should be accountable in terms of the way it uses public resources and also fulfilling campaign promises,” Mainza said. “Since we attained democracy, I don’t think we’ve had a leader who has been a servant of the people.”

Mainza said it was difficult to have a servant of the people for a leader in Zambia because of weak institutions that made individuals bigger than institutions.

He said in a democracy, no individual was supposed to be bigger than an institution.

“But in Zambia, we have a situation where the anti-corruption systems, institutions like DEC Drug Enforcement Commission have been weakened because individuals have become bigger than such institutions,” Mainza said.

He said in other countries especially in the developed world, people were able to demand accountability from their leaders and they also understood that their role was to be servants of the people.

Mainza observed that a lot of people were discouraged from taking part in the process of voting because of the leader’s failure to be servants of the people and provide for their needs.

He urged workshop participants to ensure that they educated citizens in various constituencies on the importance of their vote even if their preferred candidates did not emerge victorious.

“There are a lot of ill feelings amongst citizens especially those who have always been voting for losing candidates but it is your duty to tell them that there is still value in their vote even if their candidate loses,” said Mainza.

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