Thursday, October 11, 2012

Kyambalesa calls for visionary leadership

Kyambalesa calls for visionary leadership
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Thu 11 Oct. 2012, 13:59 CAT

IT will be unrealistic to expect Zambia to attain meaningful socio-economic development in an economic setting where the labour force is largely composed of sickly, illiterate and starving citizens, says Professor Henry Kyambalesa.

Commenting on the PF's performance during its first year in government, Prof Kyambalesa, a US-based Zambian academician at Regis University in Denver said heightened and sustained socio-economic development would not come like "manna from heaven".

"It will need to be adequately planned for and diligently pursued. Basically, this will require a passion for radical change, and leadership with both vision and compass. We need to start engaging some of the most talented sons and daughters of our beloved country who are either locally based or in the Diaspora in positions of leadership if we expect to succeed in meeting the basic needs and expectations of all our people. And we need to start doing so sooner rather than later," he said.

He said there was absolutely no reason why Zambia could not create a socio-economic system that could be emulated by other developing nations worldwide, given the fact that the country was blessed with abundant natural endowments, including fertile soil, ideal weather conditions, an ideal system of perennial rivers, a wide range of wildlife, wide stretches of natural forests and grasslands, a wide assortment of mineral resources and a sizeable population of peaceful and hard-working citizens.

Prof Kyambalesa said an objective assessment of the ruling political party's performance during its first year in government would reveal that it had actually made a significant contribution to the country's quest to improve the livelihoods of ordinary citizens.

He said the PF administration had introduced more important changes over a period of one year which the MMD administration had completely overlooked over a period of 20 years as the ruling political party.
Prof Kyambalesa said there was need to make a sustained effort to cater for the basic needs of the educational system by ensuring that schools and classrooms were adequately equipped for both teaching and learning.

He said every classroom should have qualified self-motivated and well-paid teachers or lecturers, and institutions of learning should have competent school administrators on competitive conditions of service and adequate office supplies and fixtures.

On health, Prof Kyambalesa said there was need to provide for the construction of more permanent healthcare facilities nationwide; provide adequate medicines, medical equipment, and ambulances at all healthcare facilities; provide adequate financial and material resources for research designed to find cures for HIV and AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis, and other deadly diseases; and provide adequate financial and material resources designed to facilitate the hiring, training and retention of health personnel.

On agriculture, he said there was need to boost agricultural production through government-financed irrigation dams and canals, continued cattle re-stocking and disease control, subsidised seeds and fertiliser and zero value-added tax on all agricultural inputs and raw food.

"And we should promote food canning, agribusiness and efficient marketing of agricultural produce. Besides, we should promote agricultural schemes by municipalities, the prison service, the defence forces, and by educational and training institutions in order to enhance our beloved country's food security and self-sufficiency," he said.

He said the country needed a well-developed transportation infrastructure and services to commercial, industrial and residential areas including an efficient inter-modal and safe network of air, road, railway, and water transportation.
"We should also develop malleable stretches of the Zambezi, Kafue, Luangwa and other sizable perennial rivers for water transportation - including the proposed Shire-Zambezi Waterway involving Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique," he said.

Prof Kyambalesa said there was need to enhance the country's social safety net by detaching the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) from the Ministry of Agriculture and converting it into an autonomous body designed to provide assistance to the needy, and which should incorporate the functions of the Public Welfare Assistance Scheme currently administered through the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services including the Social Cash Transfer Scheme without any political meddling or manipulation.

He said there was need to make an effort to build on Dr Kenneth Kaunda's concept of "One Zambia, One Nation" in order to instil a greater sense of unity among the country's 73 tribes, as well as foster a sense of oneness nationwide.

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