Call for national economic Indaba, says Changala


PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu should consider calling for an economic Indaba to address the current economic turmoil the country is going through, says civil rights activist Brebner Changala.

Mr Changala said the national Indaba should be called soon after the national day of prayer and fasting so that Zambians could confront their economic challenges as a united citizenry.

He said instead of Patriotic Front (PF) Government, the opposition and other stakeholders playing the blame game, there was need for President Lungu to call for a national convention for economic challenges.

Mr Changala told the Daily Nation yesterday that the current economic challenges facing Zambia needed a united citizenry to rally together to face the economic crisis which had seen the Kwacha slide to its all-time low.

Mr Changala recalled that towards the end of President Frederick Chiluba’s administration in 1998, the Zambian economy was thrown into doldrums and the mines were virtually white elephants while the agriculture sector had totally collapsed and the president was compelled to call for a national Indaba to chart the way forward.

Mr Changala said Dr Chiluba had no choice but to call for a national Indaba which was dubbed National Convention on Zambia’s Economy to deal with the under-performing economy at the time.

He said the MMD in government at the time invited MPs from all political parties, the civil society organisations, leaders of opposition political parties, the student movement and the intelligentsia to brainstorm on the economic crisis that had hit the country.

Mr Changala recalled that when President Levy Mwanawasa took over in 2001, Anglo American pulled out of Zambia at very short notice and the country was yet again thrown into an economic quagmire.

He said the winter maize project during the Mwanawasa administration was as a result of the resolutions that were agreed on at the Indaba on the state of the economy at the time.

“Zambia is back to that time and the country through the PF Government must once again be called to order. Instead of playing the blame game, we must have another convention for the current economic challenges immediately after the national day of prayers and fasting so that we can rally together and confront our shortcomings head-on,

“ We have the capacity, the human resource but what is lacking is collective desire as a people to assemble and dissect our challenges,” Mr Changala said.

Mr Changala said he was appealing to President Lungu to call for a national Indaba as a matter of urgency stating that it had happened before he was confident that Zambians could yet again come together and deal with their problems as a collective force.

Mr Changala said the Indaba would be an act in which national interest should be allowed to override narrow self interest and political desires.