THOSE who need change have to be prepared to lose their positions, says Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika.
Addressing the media and students from Oak University in Lusaka, Mbikusita-Lewanika popularly referred as Aka said those with a preoccupation of being president or minister could not lead to change.
A founder MMD member, Mbikusita-Lewanika said change would not be effected if positions become more important than the transformation.
“If I was like those who were little older than me and were scared of Kaunda, I wouldn’t have also done it. And Kaunda was frightening, I ask the old man Zukas (Simon) who is a freedom fighter hero, apart from songs praising Nkumbula, my second political song I did was praising Zukas, he was that famous but even him when I invited him to Garden House, he said to me that as he was leaving the house, his wife asked ‘Simon, are you sure of what you are doing?’ He said ‘in my heart of hearts, I knew that I didn’t know what I was doing’ but I didn’t answer, I just went out into my car and started driving to Garden House but I noticed that when I made that turn at Nyangu Filling station my car was slowing down on its own,” he explained.
Lewanika further said the youths were the future of Zambia and should therefore not embrace fear.
He said he would not have managed to mobilise meetings that led to the 1991 revolution if as a young politician he was engulfed with fear.
“If you are fearful, you shouldn’t be at the forefront and people should not…if someone wants to be President or someone thinks being minister is what is important to you, they cannot lead to change, whether it’s in an organisation or in a country. Those who need change have to be prepared to lose those positions. If the positions are more important than the change…then change wont take place.
If you fear as a young person, what will happen when you are 40 and 50 years? For 10 years, I had resigned from Mr Chiluba’s government and I was in no position at all. I even lost my house…something like that but I was mentally prepared for that so one day I was walking on Cairo Road and two young students from UNZA stopped me and talked to me. They kept me for more than two hours and at the end one of them said ‘sir, I am so glad that you stopped, the other day I was trying to stop you and my friend said don’t worry about Aka, he is a loser…sometimes he is in a taxi’ but I told him that tell your friend that the day he sees me in a taxi those are my good days. But after they left, I felt like crying because when I was their age, being impressed by rich people was the last thing on my mind. On my list of heroes, Bill Gates is not part of it, nothing,” Lewanika said.
He advised the young generation to let go of the ‘cancer’ of self before others.
He said a society to effect change, its citizen, primarily the young, should look beyond their nose.
“I think really as a young person, look at the problems of your society and understand that solving your own problems cannot be the answer because your sister is still in the same problems. So your only aim is that you should get a job but you continue having a climate of people who don’t have jobs. Among those that don’t have jobs next time, it will be your children. You have to make a decision everyday, whether you care about yourself or the others; whether you care about today and tomorrow…everyday you have to make that decision in everything that you do,” Mbikusita-Lewanika said.
A holder of three Masters Degrees from Boston, Carleton and Cornell universities as well as a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Jackson State University, Mbikusita-Lewanika urged young scholars to embrace a reading culture.
“And fortunately, there is also a tendency…to all of us, even to me for a big, temptation to choose me, choose today, eat today and hope that by tomorrow…when I was organising for Garden, others would say ‘but my house is at roof level’.
But once we won, because I really did footwork, once we won and people became ministers, things changed. Really as young people, you are the hope of this country and you have to work for the country, it’s a conscious. I said it earlier and will repeat, you have to read, all these good speakers…you say Obama speaks well, by the time he makes that speech he has practiced, he has even practiced to look as if he has not practiced and those are ones you call good speakers,” said Mbikusita-Lewanika.