Tuesday, May 12, 2009


"PATRIOTIC Front (PF) leader Michael Sata has said he will contest the 2011 presidential elections despite some people suggesting that he is too old and needs to groom a younger person (TIMES OF ZAMBIA)."

The insistence of Mr. Sata to contest the 2011 elections speaks to the leadership crisis that our nation faces. For the last 18 years, no viable young politician has come to the Zambian political scene and offered a sensible alternative to the old guard. Our leadership crisis has hampered development as we've had a shortage of radical ideas that would revolutionize the way development is perceived and pursued.

It is very easy for the old guard to say young people should be involved in national leadership but their words do not line up with their actions. How can young politicians rise to leadership positions if the right environment is not created for them? There must be systems within our political parties that allows young leadership to be groomed and allowed to test their leadership skills. This only happens if the old guard creates an atmosphere in which genuine sharing of ideas can happen coupled with a firm commitment to change. If these things do not happen, then young people will continue to be absent from the political leadership landscape.

On the flip side of things, young politicians can decide to form their own political parties and formulate their own agenda for development. They, however, have to overcome a great challenge; the people of Zambia. As Zambians, we are too patient almost to a fault. We will hang on to political promises for a very long time. It takes us a while to change and see the promises for what they really are; empty political gimmicks.
Therefore, if young people are to take charge and lead, they need to be in it for the long haul. They need to devise ways to communicate their agenda to the Zambian people and do so in a convincing way. There is no doubt in my mind that this can and must happen for our country to gain economic independence.

Our philosophy of political leadership must also change. Those of us outside the established political system must begin finding creative ways of implementing change in our communities through partnerships and the harnessing of the people's hunger for change and turning it into productive energy. As Zambians, we waste a lot of time talking instead of acting. We focus so much on government's ability to change our lives instead of focusing on our own ability to change dire situations in our communities. For example, when rainy season comes, drainage becomes a problem in many communities. Why not get together as a community to clean our surroundings and implement a food for work program. We will be helping to solve 2 problems; the drainage problem and the hunger problem.

Please do not get me wrong; I am a big proponent of government's involvement in changing the course of a nation by providing the framework and infrastructure for the people to maximize their potential and create economic freedom. However, WE THE PEOPLE, also have a solemn obligation to MOVE our government when it becomes idle through our ACTIONS and words. The person who gives the people a cause and shows them a better way of life will eventually become the leader. My challenge to Zambians is to start thinking of creative ways you can change your own community.


The Kalenga Blog said...

The leadership crisis is dire indeed. In most african countries governemnts are quick and generous with statements like "The youth are the future" and "let's invest in young people". When you dig deeper through a simple process of analysis you find that not only are there no credible policies or plans to make this happen, but also that existing efforts are mis-directed to the "old guard" masquerading as young people through illegal means or pure nepotism. We need to engage this issue critically. M09, musa@monatefellaz.com

Campbell Lumbila said...

Hello Musa,
Thanks for lending your voice to solving the leadership crisis. You are so right when you say governments are quick and generous in issuing statements that make them appear as though they really want to support young leadership when in actual fact they are not. I think that we, as young people, need to begin to form our own brand of leadership and develop systems that allow us to express our leadership skills and philosophies while maintaining a footing in the established political arena. Its a tight rope we have to walk because we still need the current political landscape to implement our policies and practice our leadership though both can exist outside the current system. We have to engage in what I call generational synergy.

The philosophy of generational synergy requires the old guard to realize that their time for active point leadership is up and that their role now is to advise, encourage and provide a framework of accountability for the young leaders. Young leaders on the other hand have to be humble enough to seek and receive advice, encouragement and accountability from the old wise guard. Synergy is important because we have several factors in both brands of leaders that are a plus and a minus. For example, young people have the energy, vision and drive to accomplish big things but some of the strategies may not be well thought out. On the hand the old guard may not have the energy, their vison might be dying and their drive weakened but they offer a wealth of insight and wisdom that young leaders can use. In short, there must be a symbiotic relationship between the 2 brands of leadership.

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Anonymous said...

The mentality of the Zambian mind about Leadership must change if we expect to be lead by young people. Unfortunately we need someone to push us to see outside our current 'comfort zone'so we can see that there is more and better out there - only unless we CHANGE and adapt to the change of today's society. The people are tired and will vote for anyone if the youth do not rise up and lead.

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