Integrity and national leadership

Zambia needs men and women of integrity to propel a national agenda that will effectively tackle the serious economic, social and political circumstances that 2016 will bring to our country.

Any agenda left in the hands of mavericks with highly eccentric predilections that are at odds with national interest, often for their own financial gain, will not present the focus, direction and zeal that men of goodwill will provide. 

These mavericks have media reach to misrepresent and demoralize.   This is their speciality.  We should not allow them to poison the country

This is not about money. It is about the integrity of individuals who seek a place of leadership in society, be it at political, social or community level.

Those who want to lead on proffer advice on moral, ethical or indeed religious issues must examine and scrutinize their conscience to determine if they qualify to offer themselves for leadership.

With the price of copper not showing any immediate recovery it is important that we prepare for the worst especially for the loss of jobs in the formal sector.

We have been warned to brace for hard times as a result of the many negative influences we are confronting such as the rout of commodity prices which has wrought havoc in economies that depend on primary products.

The World Bank has also established that Zambia faces its toughest economic challenges in at least a decade because of the external headwinds and domestic pressures that have intensified.

The bank has noted the absence of fiscal buffers that could have been built in time of higher copper prices as one of the major negative influences which has little room for manoeuvre.

The biggest challenge the Government will face is between balancing fiscal discipline and cushioning the people from the harsh realities of expensive imports of oil, electricity and other commodities and services.

The balancing exercise is delicate and poses a real danger of being misrepresented if the interpretation is left to individuals or institutions that are not sensitive and certainly not in tune with the hard realities.

That is why we entirely agree with the Minister of Commerce Margaret Mwanakatwe,  calling for a national indaba that will craft a way forward taking into account all the variables and interest groups in the country.  We must evolve a cohesive all-embracing plan to confront the future.

Our colleagues in South Africa who have been confronted with the same crisis have formed committees that have brought business and organized labour together to find solutions to the seemingly intractable problems confronting them.

 Although these committees have been criticized as being inadequate in view of the magnitude of the problem at least it is a start, considering that workers are often the first victims in situations of recession and economic downturn.