BY Augustine Phiri
It has become crystal clear that this former humanism country does not need foreign prescriptions to spur its economy to lunar heights because home-grown remedies have just presented themselves.
What should now be done is to gather documents containing economic strategies supplied by foreign experts, neatly lay them on top of emptied Shake-Shake containers and then torch.
You see, a newly hired door-bouncer has turned round faltering fortunes at Zacharias Club in Lusaka.
On his first day at work, the man stood rigid in the main door way and surprisingly he was not looking for gate-crashers who were in the habit of sneaking into the club without paying the entrance fee.
No, instead he went after his own workmates and turned away those who reported for work after 08:00 hours.
“Go back home,” he barked at them, “go and form your own companies where you would be doing whatever you wish butt I can assure you that your companies would collapse. I will not let you enter. I will not tolerate late comers here.”
“See all these people standing out side, they want to take early morning swigs but there is no one to serve them because you’re late,” the visibly angered and beefy looking door-bouncer added and banged the door behind him.
Reports reaching this column say daily takings at Zacharias Club, which operate only during day and not at night, have more than tripled since the new door-minder took charge and the proprietors owe it all to him.
You may wish to know, Zacharias Club is situated right in the centre of the business district of Lusaka in the towering building at the confluence of footpaths to Ng’ombe Ilede to the South, Kasongole village to the North, Ufufu village to the West and Jumbe village near Mfuwe airstrip to the East.
Copying from the fiasco at Zacharias Club I, therefore, make a passionate appeal to the new government to seriously consider engaging door-bouncers countrywide similar to the teachers recruitment exercise.
These new officers on government establishment would not be manning newly built toll-gates on dual-carriageways and major highways to ensure that no motorist, cyclist, pedestrian and wheelbarrow pusher gate-crashed their way through without paying the prescribed fee.
No, they would be stationed at all government work places to sort out cheeky late comers who have been depleting state coffers by drawing hefty salaries but for working fewer hours.
When implemented, the government would be collecting more revenue for itself like what has happened at Zacharias Club.
Before I forget, I hear a similar incident involving a door-bouncer has taken place at the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) head office in Lusaka; I don’t know I have to confirm this report.
If indeed it occurred, then I say shame on you Zachariases who, like tax evaders, tax dodgers and tax defaulters preventing government from filling its coffers with bank notes to the lips.
Is this the way to welcome our new Finance Minister, Mr Felix Mutati?
See now, because of your spoiled method of collecting tax revenue, the Minister has a whopping shortfall of K24 Billion in the till.
It boggles the mind how this happen when you Zachariases have the power and authority to enter the house of any tax defaulter and seize lame spoons, folks, plastic plates, teeth-brushes, hose pipes, slashers and empty crates of beer used as sofas, among other worthy household items.
Yes, you pint-size Zacharias have the mandate to grab Brazilian hair from the head a tax evader and carrier bags containing frozen chickens, Hungarian sausages, t-bone steak and jiggies from any tax dodger emerging from Shoprite, Pick N Pay, Game Stores, Spur and Choppies.
But instead of collecting tax, you went along with tax avoiders and aided them to doctor the Bill of Landing (or is it Lading?) on their imported steel, hardware items, Fong’o Fong’o second hand vehicles and bales of salaula in order for them to pay much less tax or nothing at all..
Do not deny it, in the process you oversleep and report for work late after dousing yourselves in saliva-wasting feasts of braii and booze every night bought from thick sangwiza, as a bootleg payment is called in Swahili, received from your own personal clients
Can you see now, the new Minister of Finance has lost ounces of weight in a short period since his appointment because he is agonizing how to explain the K24 Billion shortage to those stooping and inquisitive auditors.
Where is the imprest form for this trip to Likumbi Lyamize traditional ceremony in North-Western Province and where is its payment voucher?
Where is the receipt for this box of matches and what was matches used for? They Know there is load shedding and officers have to make do with candlelight occasionally.
How can this small Indian Maruti car running on three pistons “drink” 100 litres of petrol in a single filling?
You say 89 suits were bought for workers for their Labour Day celebrations, but your department has only 25 officers on the establishment, can you explain?
These auditors, always asking silly questions.
Indeed, where shall the Minister of Finance find the money to pay out Constituency Development Funds on time before he is labelled as being unpatriotic by his colleagues who very well know that he does not belong to their ruling party?
He spends sleepless nights figuring out how and where to find other monies to buy Scannia-Hammer vehicles to be given on loan to members of parliament as per tradition.
By the by, how wrong I was to think that this Dununa thing ended when this smart guy ECL was declared President, Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the armed and the unarmed forces alike.
You see, no sooner a rumour went round that the new legislators would this time not receive Pajeros, Nissan Hardbody, Ford Rangers and Land Cruisers but the terrific Scannia-Hammers than those who had boycotted the official opening of parliament took to the floor of Parliament Motel and jived Dununa reverse back into the national assembly chamber.
Yes, pressure is also mounts on Mr Mutati from Health Minister, Dr Chitalu Chilufya who has indicated that he would not stomach the shortage of bandages at Senama Clinic to treat fishermen pricked by babble fish in Senama Compound where the people there are said to sleep senama on their back in his Mansa Constituency.
So, you good for nothing Zachariases, where do you think the Minister of Finance would get the money to meet all this myriad of demands when you are reporting late for work and raising peanuts in tax collection?
I am extremely annoyed with you Zachariases, I now understand though why the Bible calls you short people because you cause shortages.
Further, Mr Mutati cannot go to the Eurobond to borrow because his immediate predecessor has already been there and the predecessor of the previous predecessor including the predecessor of the first predecessor since independence in 1964 have also been to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
However, the short Zachariases are not alone in this casual approach towards work; in fact, they have only helped to highlight a deep rooted habit in the public service.
Can you imagine an employee having the audacity of saying “if I finish this work today, what shall I do tomorrow?”
As can be seen, you now agree with me that the situation is dire and calls for the recruitment of door-bouncers as a matter of urgency in order to root out these bad working cultures in public workers.
As for candidates to fill the new positions of door-bouncers, one does not have to look far unless one has a short memory.
Not a long while ago, Zambians saw some hefty, tough-looking and intimidating characters with broad chests and bodies full of muscles on their bodies.
The guys had big balls of biceps which were conspicuously pronounced in tight t-shirts they wore with red and black berets perched on their heads.
They were seen standing near the podiums and high tables and rarely smiled nor responded to slogans and songs recited and sang at political campaign meetings organized by their respective parties.
The guys guarded their political leaders very well and they resembled followers of the youthful and vibrant Julius Malema of South Africa.
In my view these ruffian-looking individuals are equal to the task of door-bouncers and must be considered for recruitment.
In conclusion, therefore, I strongly recommend that the tough guys I have just depicted be rounded up for them to sort out truancy from the public service, only then, perhaps, shall Zambia’s economy soar to the lunar heights.
Let us do something and let God help us grow the economy.