THE culture of outdoing each other to the President in order to queue up for jobs must not be encouraged, says former education minister Michael Kaingu.
And Kaingu says no one is in power forever as everyone who gets into government goes in to serve and eventually leaves.
He says it would be useless to accord him a “national mourning” when he dies because while he is still alive, he is just being insulted.
In an interview, Kaingu said it was unfortunate that those who left public office looked jealous and talked ill of their colleagues while those in offices behaved like they would remain forever in their positions.
“The culture of outdoing each other in order to queue up for jobs to the President must not be encouraged but instead it should be the community to identify individuals that have the ability to perform,” Kaingu said.
“It is important for people to know that everyone who gets into government is going in to serve and eventually they come out. Those in offices, let them make use of those who left offices instead of fighting each other because the country won’t grow like that. When I retired from politics and came to settle in Choma, a progressive chief Cooma recognised the efforts I rendered to the nation and appointed me to the position of Ngambela (advisor) in his chiefdom despite me hailing from Western Province.”
He further said it would be useless for him to be accorded national mourning when he dies because when he is just beinng insulted whikl he it still alive alive and not respected for the services he rendered to the nation.
Kaingu said among his achievements as a minister was advocating for the Social Cash Transfer scheme, student loans for tertiary education, and some policies in the tourism sector that saw the introduction of tourism levy, which was specifically meant to promote the industry.
“The biggest service I gave to this country was to bring the UNWTO here in Zambia but people don’t know that it’s the same Kaingu they insult who brought UNWTO. And I cry and feel very bad that I was sidelined when we hosted that programme. UNWTO was given to me as an honour for ably chairing the ministers of tourism meeting in Abuja, Nigeria in 2008.The then vice-president of UNWTO asked my colleagues what gift I should be given for ably chairing the meetings and no one said anything and that’s how that vice-president said ‘I’m giving him the 2013 UNWTO as a gift’,” Kaingu said.
He said when it became clear that Zambia was not going to manage to host the UNWTO alone, that was how Zimbabwe was brought in as co-host.
“So it’s sad, the mushrooming culture of insults in the country as well as lack of respect for individuals who served the nation diligently,” Kaingu said. “The culture of insulting as well as finding problems in each other is not good. Insulting Kaingu when he served the country in higher portfolios would not help him get the recognition outside the country. If you Zambians say Kaingu is a riffraff, do you think organisations like the UN, COMESA, AU and many others can employ such a person you describe like that? Other countries respect former ministers that worked hard, no wonder when they retire from politics, they are able to work in big organisations.”
And Kaingu said the depreciation of the kwacha against major currencies might affect the operations of government if the situation persists.
He said government being the biggest buyer and supplier, once things weakened, then all got affected.
Kaingu, however, said if the tourism industry was good in the country, there would be less impact even if the kwacha depreciated because more foreign currency would get into the country via that sector.
Meanwhile, Kaingu said despite the declaration of Choma as provincial headquarters for Southern Province, the area lacked growth in terms capital investment that could create wealth for the people.
He said government must look at capital investment such as roads and an airport to promote tourism in the area instead of concentrating on lip service.
“Choma is good for tourism because the town is centrally located but the problem is infrastructure,” Kaingu said.
He expressed disappointment that even the corporate world, especially banks in the area, had not ploughed back into the community as the case was with other financial institutions in other countries.
“They only want people to be depositing money in their banks,” Kaingu said.
He said the corporate world should assist institutions like the Zambia National Service which sponsors Green Eagles Football Club as well as schools in the area that needed support.
Kaingu said Zambia could do a lot in tourism because the country was blessed with such resources as fresh water for swimming, the Zambezi escapement for climbing, Victoria Falls, Samfya beaches, wildlife, and many others.
He said unfortunately, there was little the country was doing to develop and promote tourism to a level where people could start appreciating it.
“Heritage sites like Ingombe Ilede which was a trading centre must be recreated. We are a nation that kept freedom fighters from other countries and if we make certain places as their pilgrims here, people from neighbouring countries would be coming to see,” Kaingu said. “Currently, for instance, there is no difference between Zambia and Zimbabwe apart from roads because structures look the same and hence we keep losing out as tourists prefer Zimbabwe than us. Zimbabwe has better infrastructure. We need to sensitise our people and councils about the benefits of tourism.”
Kaingu urged government to put more money into marketing of tourism especially that the country was blessed with six land units that includes the Victoria Falls, Kafue National Park, South Luangwa National Park, Lower Zambezi, and the Northern circuit, among others, that if well promoted can create wealth.