Sean Tembo, Patriots for Economic Progress president, says quacks and nincompoops run Zambia because the able and competent citizens are too shy to step forward and offer themselves for leadership positions. Sean says compared to other countries in the region, the Zambian political sector lacks men and women of proper calibre.
Sean is very right. Mediocrity is fatal!
Plato warned, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors…The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself. The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill… we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one.”
Sean says, “We need to change that. We have noted over a long period of time, ever since we came on the Zambian political scene, that the political field seems to lack men and women of proper calibre, the type of men and women we see in the business world. We don’t seem to see such kind of people stepping forward to offer themselves for positions of political leadership in this country. And for as long as that remains the case, these men and women that are competent but do not want to offer themselves for positions of political leadership are doing this country a disservice. As long as that remains the case, this country will continue to be ruled in our political leadership by quacks, nincompoops and scoundrels because those are the only ones who are available.
Those are the only ones who have stepped forward to offer themselves for positions of leadership. The competent ones will have no basis to complain about the quality of leadership when themselves do not offer to step forward and participate in the political dispensation of this country. Basically what we are saying is that we wish to challenge each Zambian that you have a duty and obligation to step forward and offer yourself to a position of leadership because political leadership is what determines everything else. The business environment is shaped by political decisions; even the air that we breathe is a product of political decisions because the political leaders decide how much pollution must go into our environment.
Every aspect of our lives is determined by political decisions, so it’s only fair that our competent citizens must step forward, must come out of their cocoons and offer themselves in positions of leadership so that the political landscape can be littered with men and women who are competent and that would help to transform our politic into issue based politics as opposed to what is obtaining on the ground where our politics are based on slander and saying bad about the other. That can change but can only change when the competent men and women in our country are able to step forward and offer themselves to positions of leadership.”
Lawrence Peter once remarked: “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.”
Zambia needs citizens who are politically active.
Active citizenship means people getting involved in the governance of one’s community, country and democracy at all levels. Active citizenship can be as small as a campaign to clean up your neighbourhood or as big as educating young people about democratic values, skills and participation. Active citizenship is certainly one of the most important steps towards healthy societies.
We are reminded of the ringing words of Thomas Jefferson on this score: “Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, judges and governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature.”
And if a person has received the necessary talent by the favour of God, that person would fail in one’s duty for selfish motives if the person refused to take one’s share in public life and affairs. Any person who is qualified to become a leader, is guilty if he or she refuses the task. The apathy of potential leaders can bring anarchy to the country, by leaving all the responsibility to inefficient or unworthy people. We have rights and duties as citizens of this country. And the love of our country urges us to act accordingly in all justice and charity.
It is said that a nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.