Dear Citizens Zambia ,
As the curtains to the year 2015 draw to a close and we step into the year 2016, I would like, on behalf of Adedo – Zamucano , to wish you all a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.
This is the season for reflection on the past year and for making resolutions for the New Year. It is therefore an opportune time for all of us together to recommit ourselves to work for a better future for all our people.
One of the most important responsibilities of the state is the protection of life and property of people within its jurisdiction. Accordingly, we call on the present government to pay greater attention institutionally and procedurally to reforms that address these issues.
This coming year, 2016, is the beginning of a new decade that must bring gains on many fronts as we continue to work for the consolidation of a united, just and democratic society, marked by economic prosperity and the eradication of poverty.
It is therefore pertinent that we begin the New Year committed to the objective of national unity, with renewed confidence in our collective strength to ensure that our democracy will continue to serve all our citizens, determined to accelerate our progress towards the realization of the goal of a better life for all Zambians.
The peaceful transfer of power is an achievement that should never be underestimated. I would therefore like to use this medium to call on stakeholders to focus on the ongoing health of our democracy. The state of which relies on; dependable individuals who seek public office in good faith, citizens above the age of 18 and constructive media reporting that helps citizens choose how to cast their votes.
The life of a politician is not an easy one and we should admire those who are prepared to accept the very real sacrifices entailed in this form of public service. Our democracy might be the lesser if entrusted to enthusiastic amateurs. I really think it’s time for the political parties to preselect more of those with achievements in the wider community. Such people may not have party lore etched into their bones. And perhaps they will not be as tempered as those who have passed through the crucible of party politics. However, they may be more authentic representatives of the people – aligned to party ideals and philosophy (if such things still exist) while drawing on a broader field of experience.
The media must maintain a steady hand despite the occasional shenanigans of the political class; the media must not fail to play its proper role in a democracy.
The media prides itself on playing the role of the ‘fourth estate’ – a critical and disinterested element in the democratic mix. It is this role that justifies the media in its otherwise intrusive conduct – probing, checking, and testing, even to the point of antagonism. Unfortunately, if the evidence of the recent releases in the newspapers is anything to go on, then many people in the media seem to have forgotten the purpose they are supposed to pursue. In essence, the role of the media during a democratic election should be to assist citizens to make an informed decision when they cast their ballot. It is solely in the service of this purpose that the media should act.
Sadly, some journalists treat elections as an opportunity for them to star in a sparkling gimcrack of forensic questioning – a practice that throws light onto the journalists rather than the issues. There are times when it might be useful to ‘catch out’ a politician being inconsistent. There are also times when the detailed analysis of political tactics can be informative. But surely both pursuits must be secondary to the principal aim of helping citizens to become better informed about the issues that are genuinely important rather than merely interesting.
In a healthy democracy the media should themselves resist the pressures of the twenty-four hour news cycle and the allure of personal celebrity.
On the part of the citizenry, we must rise up to take our place, even those with the most cursory knowledge of the history of Zambian political institutions must begin to participate. However, the critical challenge is the full knowledge we have of the bad signals pertaining to the enormous breach of the rules and regulations of democracy elections at the party conventions even before the presidential elections, but we must be determined to keep faith.
As citizens of our nation, your continued participation in the electoral process helps to assure its progress toward achieving a perfect democratic process and leadership selection. We must work collectively toward the achievement of the vision.
I enjoin you to keep faith with the unity, peace and stability of our country for this is the only country that you and I can call our own. Nowhere in the world, no matter the prompting and inducements of foreign countries, can Zambians ever be regarded as first class citizens. Zambia is the only country that we have. We must therefore renew our hope in Zambia, and keep the faith and confidence in ourselves to participate in the electoral process for continued growth, development and progress.
The health of our democracy should not be taken for granted.
The success of the 2016 elections is most critical to our nation. The history of our country is not the history of any other country in the world which is either practicing advanced democracy or struggling to lay the foundation for democracy. Yet, in spite of the uniqueness and peculiarities of Zambia, there are certain prerequisites which constitute an irreducible minimum for democracy. Such essential factors include
- Free and fair elections;
- Uncoerced expression of voters preference in election;
- Respect for electorate as unfettered final arbiter on elections;
- Decorum and fairness on the part of the electoral umpires;
- Absolute respect for the rule of law.
Accordingly, following successful elections in 2016; government must redouble its efforts vigorously to increase the tempo of economic growth and job creation, to raise the floor of prosperity that must go with our democracy.
Our economy faces some important challenges. These include a higher inflation rate than we would wish for, driven by high food prices and higher interest rates than we desire. All this has also been accompanied by a sustained deficit in the balance of trade, reflecting that we are importing more than we are exporting.
We will also have to work to ensure that we improve the effectiveness of all our other interventions directed at accelerating our advance towards the achievement of a better life for all our people.
I would like to thank everyone in our country, whether in government, civil society, business and patriotic individuals; who is committed to pursuing the vision of a greater Zambia and ensuring our country becomes the success we all want it to be.
Once again, on behalf of Adedo – Zamucano ; I wish you, fellow Zambians , a happy and successful 2016.
Thank you all, and God bless you Zambia.
Hon. Brown C. Kapika
President for Adedo – Zamucano Political Party Zambia
President for ‘Beweging voor Burger -en Mensenrechten (BvBM)’ Political Party Netherlands