Zambia: Where to now?

Our neighbour to the north in the Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila, has been clinging on to power even after the expiry of his final term of office and the blood of his people has been flowing on the streets of Kinshasa and elsewhere, of people who are merely demonstrating and demanding that he should respect the constitution of their country.

Through constant and meaningful dialogue , an agreement has now been reached in the last few days which allows for a period of transition, the appointment of a Prime Minister to run government administration for the next one year in addition to the President. It has also been agreed that the President Kabila should not run for office again.

This historical agreement is the product of dialogue. What is wrong with african leaders ?

This year has also witnessed the most repressive measures against the independent media and targeted individual journalists . The Post Newspaper was closed using administrative tax instruments which could have been negotiated and used to arrive at a fair and just settlement, a number of journalists were brutally assaulted ending up in hospital .

Muvi television, Komboni Radio and Itezhi Tezhi Radio stations were closed and then allowed to operate rather tamely .

An dark cloud of intimidation and fear hangs over our national horizon, which is a constant reminder that the struggle for peace, freedom, justice and human rights for all , has not yet ended .

It is a year to be remembered for mainly the wrong reasons which have not advanced our common humanity in any positive way.

Great nations and leaders put their setbacks in the archives and seek new solutions which are inclusive and genuine for the sake of their people and countries.

This requires enlightened and mature leadership, both from those in power and those who seek to constitutionally get into power. Without this leadership on both sides of the divide, we run the serious risk of becoming a failed democracy.

Selfishness and personal greed among our leaders should be discarded, so that they put our country first and not their narrow selfish appetites for power at any and all costs. Dialogue among them is necessary and indispensable in any democracy.

They can only ignore political dialogue at their own individual peril and at enormous political, social and economic cost to the citizenry . The church leaders have a major role to play and should not give up the noble task of acting as honest brokers , because of past failures, because for every failure they have experienced, there are even more important lessons learned.

Let us all commit ourselves to a new beginning in the new year and make our country tension free and great again. To do nothing and pretend that all is well in our motherland, is an optionless option. With dialogue, nothing is impossible.

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