(By Tobias Phiri in Northern Zambia)
THE propaganda used by the PF to kick MMD out of power will be used in the same way if they do not deal with the signs of arrogance in some of the leaders, says Raphael Nakacinda.
Speaking on a paid for programme on Kasama Radio, the Felix Mutati MMD faction national secretary also said the Zambian economy needs sensible management.
Nakacinda said it took MMD leaders 20 years to become arrogant while the PF has been in government less than 10 years and signs of arrogance had already started showing in some leaders.
“There is need for prudent management of the economy. This we are not saying in bad faith, we are saying it as a way of advising and getting the PF to open their eyes. We can’t continue on a path even when you think that is where you will be celebrated. A leader sometimes has to make unpopular decisions but in the interest of the people,” he advised. “Don’t just be in a mood of appeasement; be in the mood of providing leadership. Sometimes it’s tough, sometimes people may not appreciate what you are doing and the reasons you are doing it but overtime they will realise it was a correct thing.”
Nakacinda said there were many lessons the MMD had learnt after losing elections in 2011.
“In terms of running the economy, we [MMD] are second to none and that is factual. The greatest challenge that MMD faced towards the 2011 elections was the arrogance of leadership, we had elements within ourselves who became a little boastful, people were saying this, them were saying another and that has been our advice even to the PF. It took us 20 years to become arrogant and we were given the door,” he said. “[But] in the less than 10 years of you being in power, you must maintain being humble. If these signs of arrogance in some of the leaders are not properly handled… the Zambian people don’t like arrogant people, they believe that when they vote someone into office he is their servant, not their boss. And MMD, some of our people began to drift towards feeling that they were bosses, therefore they could start saying anything and do anything and people sent us to the bench.”
Nakacinda said the arrogance which cost the MMD power in the 2011 general elections has since vanished.
“We would like to form government again because all that arrogance is gone, we are now humble servants that have learnt something. That is the experience that we keep sharing with the PF that we lost because we were arrogant and not that we were not performing. Another thing is we were so confident about what we were doing that we did not take care of simple things,” he said.
“Leadership needs to connect with the people. We also created a disconnect and in the end our opponents, the PF, took advantage of that vacuum and started pushing in [saying] MMD is a corrupt government, they are getting your money, 90 days promise, and so the people began to believe the propaganda at the expense of what we were doing as MMD. And we see that mistake being made also with our friends. They have undertaken vigorous and very progressive infrastructure development across the country but the communication aspect in terms of the systematic programmes that they are taking and the benefit that will accrue to the people is not there. So the other colleagues are beginning to channel the same propaganda, if they don’t bridge that gap, we may end up with a situation where like MMD, [they] will say bye.”
Meanwhile, Nakacinda said the PF government needed a balance between spending on infrastructure and what was needed by the people.
“Our friends came into government with an ambitious programme. They felt that MMD did not do much on infrastructure development. We also had our own thrust, we needed to grow the economy to be able to provide infrastructure development without affecting another side of the government, which is the economy but our friends came with a big push in infrastructure development and they have done well. But that drive was not balanced with the economic books and in a way, today we are talking about economic recovery programmes,” Nakacinda said.
“When you are starting from a lower level, you first consider economic infrastructure development before you provide social infrastructure development. There was emphasis on social infrastructure because of a populist approach but now the returns are not showing and it is putting pressure on the economy. There is need to shift or do a balance so that we don’t continue on the path of continuing to borrow. What we are doing may be important but if we end up sinking in a big ditch of indebtedness, we may end up with white elephants.”
Recently, President Edgar Lungu nominated Nakacinda a member of parliament.