Jul 13, 2010

Vision for the Future

In order to achieve something, one must first have a vision. Align this vision with goals – what steps must you take to accomplish said vision. Along the way hurdles will be thrown up in the form of self doubt, naysayers, logistical hang-ups, etc. But how do you keep going? In the face of defeat or failure where do you find it within oneself to draw on that last ounce of willpower to take one more step towards success?

It is from the optimism and confidence that dwells in each of us. Even the most jaded can look to tomorrow and say, “It will get better. It can get better”. It is only when you lose sight of this that you start accepting defeat and wallow in it.

As I look at the daily newspapers and news aggregators from Zambia, I see how we’ve accepted defeat in many ways. Instead of looking ahead to next year’s presidential and general elections with a renewed sense of optimism and elation, we’ve allowed doom and gloom to be the message of the day.

The opposition continuously paints a bleak picture in which President Rupiah Banda is setting the wheels in motion to steal votes and intimidate opposition supporters, and the ruling party will use their generous financial resources to distribute maize and beer to constituents to secure more votes. It would be naïve and disingenuous to discount these concerns but I refuse to adopt their defeatist attitudes.

Instead of demoralising the voters, they need to craft a new message. How can you inspire people to vote for your party, when you’ve created a perception that there is no hope in the electoral process? Isn’t that just a recipe to create and entrench voter apathy? Tell us that change is possible, and that it is within our powers to deliver this change. We will use the election process to send a new mandate even in the face of intimidation.

There are so many opportunities for the opposition to make headway. They need to mobilise people to register as voters and to show up on Election Day to VOTE. Instead of whining about the lack of coverage on national television and in the state-run newspapers use the other resources available that the government doesn’t have a chokehold on – rural and urban radio, blogtalk radio, community gatherings, SMS, social media like Facebook and Twitter, word of mouth – take your pick!

The people of Zambia need to hear that all is not lost and that we will not be citizens of another failed African state. Though the road ahead may be tough, through hard work, sacrifice and sheer determination we can turn things around, each and every one of us. We’re tired of the name calling, and childish antics. We need change, and who is going to help deliver it?

If the opposition do not have a clear vision on how to not only unite Zambians during election time but beyond as we restore our country to respectability and prosperity perhaps they are the wrong people to lead our country, and we would in fact be worse off a 5-10 years from now. “Better the devil we know” and have in office right now.

The President and his party have an eroding popularity, but in the face of a disorganised opposition incapable of setting aside personal agendas they stand a very real chance of winning the presidency and a majority of seats in parliament. If and when this happens, I will have no patience for those crying foul when in fact they failed to capitalise on the opportunities presented to them. And then where will we be as a nation?

We are a resilient people and we can overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds we face! Others have, why can’t we? We deserve better, and it’s about time we started demanding it from those in leadership and the aspirants. 

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