Conquering adversity


“A nation is not defined by its borders or the boundaries of its land mass. Rather, a nation is defined by adverse people who have been unified by a cause and a value system and who are committed to a vision for the type of society they wish to live in and give to the future generations to come.”

Fela Durotoye

Adversity will not be conquered by platitudes, but through a determined and resilient approach to problem solving. More importantly, adversity will not be obviated by avoiding paid and hard decisions.

The Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) won national support for straight and honest talk that did not paint a rosy picture of the future but instead demanded sacrifice and determination to overcome the serious economic, political and social strictures that constrained the country from blossoming into a dynamic and living liberal democracy.

In contrast the United National Independence Party (UNIP) promised heaven on earth and lost because the Zambian people saw through the mirage.

Zambians saw through the ruse and chose the harder path, because the school of hard knocks provides the best lessons. It was from this school that Zambia ultimately built a foundation for the economic and democratic dispensation the country has enjoyed for the last 24 years, in which tremendous achievements have been made in a highly diversified mining sector dominated by the private sector.

Privatization of the mining sector was anathema and totally un-imaginable during the socialist era and yet has become a reality, that must also come with the vulgaries of the invisible hand of the market which creates cycles. We are on the lower ebb of the cycle, a fact that must be accepted.

Instead of accepting and dealing with downturns accentuated by the markets, political opportunism has become the norm.  Instead of a common purpose to march out of adversity, some knowledgeable and influential Zambians choose to sale a ‘pie in the sky theories’, invariably bereft of any logic and reasoning but appealing to emotion and fault finding.

Many others take it upon themselves to fan confrontation, negativity and despondency in the hope of gaining political mileage from the resulting conflict.

Perfectly knowledgeable Zambians seem oblivious to the reality that the world has no mind of its own. If anything the world is made up of systems that are controlled by people. Our case as third world vendors of primary commodities moulds us as victims of circumstances rather than masters.

Most vocal Zambians who wax lyrical and knowledgeable are simply masters of deception, who present themselves as bearers of solutions and yet are incapable of resolving simple and straightforward management issues within the organizations that they lead.

Leadership at any level involves confronting reality; it does not involve avoiding pain and adversity because this is the furnace from which great leadership is built.

We must not fear the pain, not avoid the bitter taste of the medicine that must be dispensed to resolve adversity, because doing so will not be in the best interest of the country nor will it serve to resolve the problems the country is facing.