Commentaries and Analyses Index

Address Real Issues

LUSAKA, June 21 - It is quite frightening to see how our government leaders are openly showing us their lack of seriousness and a lack of ideas in the manner they are supposed to be handling the urgent issues that the country is presently faced with.

We cannot believe that home affairs minister Ronnie Shikapwasha would today be spending his precious time and energies talking about non-existent issues such as the registration of the Oasis Forum when the country has a full platter of its own problems which should worry him and the rest of those in government more than talking about issues which are neither here nor there.

Shikapwasha cannot choose to start making orders to the Oasis Forum to register and opt to gloss over the serious issues that the Forum has consistently advised the government to urgently address for the sake of moving the country forward.

But we are not really surprised that Shikapwasha would be issuing deadlines to the Oasis Forum. We are not surprised because only a fortnight ago, we heard of some foolish suggestions from former Copperbelt Province deputy minister, Webby Chipili, and his permanent secretary Richard Salivaji that civil society organisations such as Women for Change should be de-registered for confusing traditional rulers. Moreover, Shikapwasha's statement only confirms our fears that the people that are in government today appear to have little or no idea at all about what they are expected to be doing to move Zambia forward.

Instead of talking about dead issues, Shikapwasha should be telling Zambians about what his government has so far done to reduce the unacceptable levels of poverty in the country which to a larger extent is a result of an abnormally stagnated and poorly managed economy. Shikapwasha should be spending his time thinking about how his government will lift the millions of poor Zambians out of their deep poverty by creating more jobs for them. Shikapwasha and his colleagues in government should be thinking more about how they will ensure that all Zambians living with HIV/AIDS and are in need of anti-retroviral treatment will be given the opportunity to live much longer than to be scheming useless and retrogressive ideas bent on nothing but to silence genuinely concerned Zambian voices such as the Oasis Forum.

As home affairs minister, Shikapwasha has a good opportunity to think more about the crime situation in the country instead of him pursuing the destruction of a harmless alliance such as the Oasis Forum.

So, in case Shikapwasha has run out of ideas in terms of the issues that need his government's urgent attention, these should at least preoccupy his mind more often than for him to harbour evil thoughts about how he is going to destroy organisations which he perceives to be opposed to his government.

In any case, if Shikapwasha is genuinely interested in the rule of law, he can do Zambians a great favour by reminding his colleague, information minister Mutale Nalumango, that she needs to begin to respect the law by taking to Parliament for ratification the names of recommended individuals for the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and the ZNBC boards.

There is just no way Shikapwasha should be accusing law abiding citizens or groupings of disregarding the law when those in authority such as Nalumango have continued to flout the law with impunity, with all the arrogance least expected of a government leader. Is he telling us that Zambian laws are selectively applied, where those in power can adulterate them at will? We do not think so.

That notwithstanding, what we are saying is that Zambia has a large enough share of its problems that people like Shikapwasha should never lower themselves to levels where we may be compelled to start thinking that they are in government by accident.

Let those in charge of government wisely spend the little available time on serious national issues rather than keep ranting about dead issues.

The Post / allAfrica Global Media

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