ACKSON Sejani says a hungry nation is an angry nation.
He warned leaders over borrowing and misusing donor funds to know “what is awaiting them”.
Sejani, a former minister in the MMD government, called for strategies that enabled the country to feed its people as the barest minimum requirement.
“A hungry nation is an angry nation! Therefore, we must develop policies that will feed our people first and foremost because poverty that leaves our people without food should not be tolerated by any government on earth,” he told The Mast. “When the nation has eaten then it can think and work properly. Countries, any country, must therefore place their hopes on their land and the people as the starting point in this noble struggle to wean themselves off dependency. Otherwise political independence is meaningless if it cannot be accompanied by real independence, which is economic independence.”
Sejani said Zambia, like most African countries, was
dependent on foreign partners because it had failed to understand the reason why “our forefathers fought for independence” in the first place.
“Our post-independence leaders lack the vision that our forefathers had with some openly admitting that they have no vision at all on assuming the leadership of their countries,” he said. “We have a leadership that is over borrowing in the name of wanting to develop their countries. However, instead of investing the money they borrow in productive sectors like agriculture, education, tourism, mining and others, most of this money is consumed by corruption and consumption.”
Sejani said it was not strange to find an African leader borrowing money to buy a luxury jet in a country that was starving.
He said the next thing they would buy was a fleet of expensive cars for the cabinet.
“Compare this fleet with those that is being driven by countries giving them the loans! Such leadership cannot wean their countries off dependency. In fact, they are entrenching dependency and taking their nations backwards,” Sejani said. “In no time they will start losing their prized assets and land back to the lenders because of their failure to pay back the loans. Loss of land ultimately means we will have lost the essence of our struggle for independence. This visionless leadership is dragging us backwards as in Dununa reverse.”
He said there were many problems that came with dependency.
Sejani said the first was loss of independence in pursuing own and authentic developmental agenda. He said dependent countries were forced to swallow every pill prescribed by the donor countries no matter how bitter that pill is.
“The danger is that the donors will give diminishing volumes of aid while they insist that we swallow the bitter pill of domestic reform. The other dangers of dependency include loss of our assets, the commanding heights of our economy because of our indebtedness,” said Sejani. “So those leaders over borrowing and misusing donor funds must know what is waiting for them at the end of the day. [But] It is possible to move away from dependency if we use own and borrowed capital wisely and productively. Countries must conceive authentic development strategy which takes into account each country’s unique experiences and endowments. This strategy must start with enabling us to feed our people as the barest minimum requirement.”