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You voted for them, you chose them!

Edith Nawakwi has told Zambians not to blame God for the many problems they are facing because it is not God who voted for the Patriotic Front but themselves.

It’s them who voted for these people and must face the temerity of their own decisions and actions. Mehmet Murat ildan said, “As long as there exist stupid people supporting stupid governments in their countries, people living in those countries will continue fluttering badly in the cesspool created by this utter foolishness…If you are stupid enough not to know the difference between the devil and the angel, you quickly find the devil! This is what happens to most people in democracies just after elections. History shows us that people often make mistakes, they give wrong decisions, they vote for the wrong persons! And history also shows us that in the end, they pay a heavy price for it!”

Voting, how we vote and whom we vote for is very important. This is so because voting is the first act of building a community as well as building a country. Voting, the way we vote and whom we vote for is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another and this country. As a citizen, you need to know how to be a part of it, how to express yourself – and not just by voting.

In less than thirty years, we’ve gone from Dr Kenneth Kaunda to Fredrick Chiluba. We’ve gone from Levy Mwanawasa to Rupiah Banda; Michael Sata to Edgar Lungu. If this is evolution, we believe that we will soon be voting for jackals, hyenas, skunks.

We hope that none of us will waste his or her franchise and throw away his or her vote by voting either for a jackal or a hyena solely on account of simple attractions, bribes or fear.

Voting is a right best exercised by people who have taken time to learn about the issues.

Perhaps the fact that we voted ourselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made us understand that to choose one’s government is a very important undertaking.

Steven Weber remarked: “The irony is that the people we tend to vote for actually look down on voters and voting. That’s just idiotic, right? That’s like a snake eating its own tail! A wolf in a trap gnawing off its own head to escape!”

Although voting is secret, the consequences for harmful or careless use of the vote cannot be concealed. Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost. Voters thereby prove themselves bad and indeed corrupt judges of such issues and often they even prove themselves bad judges of their own long-run interests, for it is only the short-run promise that tells politically and only short-run rationality that asserts itself effectively.

We need to show our politicians that our government is no longer on sale to the highest bidder. It belongs to the voters.

Educate yourself. Don’t just vote. Know what you’re voting for, and stand by that. Franklin Roosevelt said, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”

We must try again to be alive to what the people of our country really long for in our national life. Our political leaders will know our priorities only if we tell them, again and again, and if those priorities begin to show up in the polls. When enough people understand reality, tyrants can literally be ignored out of existence. Our freedoms are vanishing. If you do not get active to take a stand now against all that is wrong while we still can, then maybe one of your children may elect to do so in the future, when it will be far more riskier – and much, much harder.

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