Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Development projects are for all people
By Editor
Tue 30 July 2013, 14:00 CAT

DANIEL Munkombwe's appeal to the people of Sinazongwe to embrace government development projects even if they are not in favour of the party in power deserves favourable considerations.

Every political grouping must take pains to promote the common good of all, with little or no regard to who brings about that common good. But in a democracy, government is a means by which we can act together to protect what is important to us and to promote our collective wellbeing. The fundamental moral criterion for all economic and political decisions, policies and institutions is this: they must be at the service of all people, especially the poor.

Politics is about serving the needs of all people and bringing about development of all. It is about how society organises itself; how those entrusted with authority and leadership exercise their authority to meet the needs of the people. Authority is exercised legitimately if it is committed to the common good of society. So when it comes to issues of development, all need to cooperate. This is so because no single individual or institution can single-handedly bring about development.

And we shouldn't cheat ourselves that one individual, all by himself, can change this country. The best government in the world, the best president, the best parliament, the best political party, cannot achieve much on their own.

For all these development projects the government is embarking on to succeed, all have to take part and make a contribution. And it would also be wrong for us to expect a general remedy from those in government only. Development and democracy include participation and therefore responsibility from us all.

If we realise this, then we will not entertain destructive and frustrated elements who want government development programmes to succeed only and only if it is them running government. If we realise this, we will see a reversal of economic fortunes in this country.
If we accept things as such, we will understand that it's up to us all, and up to us only, to develop our country and thus improve our lives.

We cannot blame everything that is not going well on those in government, not only because it would be untrue, but also because it could blunt the duty that each of us faces today, namely, the obligation to act independently, freely, reasonably, and quickly.
It will not make sense for some people to stay away from government development programmes in their areas until a political party they desire gets into government. What if it never gets into government?

It shouldn't matter which political party is in power when it comes to issues of development because it is not something a political party can own. UNIP doesn't own any of the development projects they undertook. Whatever they did today belongs to Zambia and is being administered by the government of the day. Some of the projects the current government is undertaking were not initiated by itself; they are projects which were left by the previous government.

It really doesn't make sense for one to think they can only support the country's development projects if their party is in power and they are the ones running things. One who thinks this way is not fit to govern and should never be trusted with power. For a patriot, it shouldn't matter who is in power when it comes to development projects. With or without them, the country must make progress, the living standards of our people must improve. Patriots never seek to win elections on the back of national failure.

We have politicians who take great pleasure in the failure of our government to meet certain development targets. If inflation is on the rise, they rejoice. If the kwacha is depreciating, they celebrate. If copper prices are falling, it pleases them. There are some who don't even want the national soccer team to win a match because it will give their political opponents in government some credibility, some success to hold on to. So they rejoice when the national soccer team loses. How can such people be entrusted with national leadership? Everything should start and end with them, including national development. If they are not in power, the country should economically collapse.

Good leaders encourage the active participation of all citizens in building one another and society at large. Every citizen has a responsibility to cooperate with government to bring about positive change in their communities - "try to do what everyone considers to be good" (Romans 12:17).

Clearly, the common good is the reason that political authority exists. It is necessary that all participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. Everyone has the right to participate in the economic life, and the duty to contribute to the progress, of his or her own country.

There are politicians who are worried that if the development projects the Patriotic Front government has embarked on succeed, it will not be possible for them to win the next elections. So everything possible is being done to frustrate such projects and ensure that they do not succeed. And the only reason these projects should be frustrated is to enable them to win elections. For them to win elections, it doesn't matter what happens to the country and to the wellbeing of our people.

Being in power is everything to them. They are ready to do anything to win the next elections no matter how much it hurts the people.
Therefore, judging by what's going on, the two most decisive factors affecting our country and our people's future will be economic development and political leadership. Economic development makes democracy possible; political leadership makes it real.

And the political leadership we are talking about is not only that in government or the ruling party, but also that of the opposition. A destructive, negative, unpatriotic and greedy opposition political leadership can be a serious fetter on national economic development. If you have an opposition that is ready to campaign for economic sanctions to be imposed on the country then you have a problem.

We certainly don't want what we saw in Zimbabwe, where the opposition joined forces with imperialist nations to impose sanctions on their country, to happen here. We have challenges, and they are many, but we can resolve them in a more patriotic way without having to cripple our country economically the way Zimbabwe had been crippled for over a decade.

It shouldn't be forgotten that when the national economy suffers, it's not one group or one person who suffers. It's like rain; when it pours it's not only one man's house that gets wet.

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