THERE IS BITTERNESS… within and among political parties and the economy isn’t doing well – Chikanta

ZAMBIA is not a farm but a country, chief Chikanta has reminded politicians.

Chikanta observed that there is a lot of bitterness amongst politicians.

“Bitterness within the ruling party, bitterness in the opposition, and ruling versus the opposition. Bitterness in the political arena is not good for the country when we have a lot of important matters affecting the nation,” he said. “The economy itself is not doing well, so as Zambians we need to come together as opposition and ruling party. We should have a sense of belonging, patriotism to put partisan interests aside and say ‘this is a national issue, why can’t we sit down and see the way forward’.”

Chikanta said it was common knowledge that the drought experienced in some parts of the country was not the making of the PF government but nature.

“So one cannot stand up and say PF or this individual brought this, no. But all we need to say is that look, you are an individual, you are in government but there is this situation and how do we work together?” he said. “Both the ruling and opposition parties should be able to call each other and say look we are in government but this situation has come so how do we work together with the opposition to overcome this situation unlike engaging in blame game. The issue is that there is hunger and the economy is bad and you can’t deny it whether you are in PF or opposition.”

Chikanta said the drought situation which has led to hunger in some parts of the country was a serious national issue requiring all politicians to come together and question each other on the way forward.

“What do we do since we have this situation? Sometimes it’s very important, we have issues of shortage of water, due to drought, for both humans and livestock. Even hydro-electricity is a challenge as Kariba Dam is reported to have its water levels reaching its lowest point by December,” he said.

“All these are national issues which require concerted efforts from both sides. We need to come together. We need to have a common ground. We need to have a meeting of politicians from both ruling and opposition and discuss the way forward by throwing away our political interests.”

Chikanta, in an interview, said politicians must come down to earth and learn to sacrifice for their country.

He said there was a lot of disorganisation in the leadership of both those in the government and opposition political parties.

“When you are looking at a country there are so many interests as other stakeholders may be thinking the other way,” he said. “What is important is to sacrifice, there should be an element of sacrifice by our politicians so that everyone comes down to earth and realise that we are leading or looking after a country and not a farm.”

Chikanta said there was an opportunity for harmony among politicians in the country if they humbled themselves.

“Wherever there are people there is an opportunity, even where there are issues there are opportunities on how to resolve those issues,” he said.

Chikanta asked politicians to stop dividing the country because once divided no one would benefit whether from the ruling PF or in opposition.

“We are not using democracy in the positive and effective way in the sense that these politicians go into extremes, too much,” he observed. “The ruling party goes to extremes by thinking that whatever comes from the opposition is wrong or is rubbish and equally whatever comes from the ruling party is rubbish or wrong. Don’t do that in a democracy. You cannot have a ruling party in a democracy that is wrong all the time and you cannot have an opposition that is wrong all the time. Democracy doesn’t work like that. In a democracy even those who are in the ruling party can make a mistake and even those in the opposition can make a mistake but what is important is to be able to sit and say this one may not take us anywhere.”

Chikanta urged politicians to respect each other if democracy was to thrive.

“There is an opportunity that we can again come together as one and actually a very good opportunity because it is problems that bring people together,” he said. “When you have a problem, you come together. We have a lot of big problems as a country which should bring us together. What is just important is for our leaders, the presidents of political parties, to be able to say that we are Zambians ‘let’s try to sit together’. They must agree to sit together and come up with a way of helping the country unlike blaming each other.

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