CHIEF Simwatachela of Zimba district says the space for politicians is narrowing because people’s eyes have opened.
He demands ensuring all citizens feel that the national cake is theirs and must be free to speak their mind.
“It’s a difficult moment in which we are and at the same time an opportunity to work together to promote democracy in the country,” the traditional leader says.
In an interview, Simwatachela said the top political leadership must understand that the situation in the country was desperate.
“At the moment it’s totally a different space altogether because now people have become so openly knowledgeable. The space for politicians in the country is narrowing because people’s eyes have become open making the political atmosphere totally different,” he observed.
Simwatachela said even the ruling Patriotic Front itself was no longer speaking like it used to when it was just ushered into power.
“This time there is need to respect and welcome divergent views because we are moving dangerously. Just yesterday (Sunday) PF secretary general Davies Mwila said if there is anyone who is ready to challenge President [Edgar] Lungu is free to do so contrary to what he said in the past that Lungu is the sole candidate for PF,” he noted. “From his statement we can see that it means that we need to accept anything especially divergent views otherwise we will be heading for doom.”
Simwatachela said where divergent views were not respected people feel like they are not heard anymore and can resort to anything.
He added that there was need for political leaders to understand what people were saying generally hence the need to embrace divergent views.
“I like teachers because they understand psychology, the way they understand people. They are able to understand and analyse a person better than that person can do by themselves. When teachers engage the masses they engage them with that caution that they understand them so even the top political leadership in the country should be able to emulate teachers in that way,” Simwatachela said. “Teachers when they meet pupils for the first time they are able to group them according to their abilities, even when parents go for PTA meetings teachers are able to analyse them there and then and that is the skill that our politicians lack, no wonder they fail to understand the mood of the people at each moment.”
He urged political leaders to endeavour to understand what citizens are saying.
“By understanding that means you accept divergent views for the betterment of the country. It’s a difficult moment in which we are and at the same time an opportunity to work together to promote democracy in the country by putting into practice the One Zambia One Nation motto,” said Simwatachela. “Politicians must respect and embrace democracy because it’s the issue of sharing ideas and whoever has perfect ideas must be heard. That one who has won people’s hearts with his ideas must be allowed to proceed without coercion or intimidation. Let all people feel that the national cake is theirs and must be free to speak their mind. All people must participate and voice out equally.”