Allowing public debt to grow while we watch

Partner Siabutuba says Zambians must feel ashamed for allowing the debt to grow under their watch during the PF tenure.

“It’s sad that the debt situation was allowed to degenerate to worse, depriving our future generations. It would have been better that as people talk about debt, the media and CSOs would be boasting to say they had put certain measures to curtail unnecessary borrowing other than just merely talking about debt now when it is already worse,” says Siabutuba. “A docile population is not able to claim its rights, and as such a poor and vulnerable population is not good for democracy because they just usually clap for services they are entitled to and politicians are taking advantage of such ignorance.”

We agree.

A docile population is a danger to itself.

Thomas Paine once said, “Those who wish to reap the blessings of liberty must undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”

Jesse Jackson stressed that, “Deliberation and debate is the way you stir the soul of our democracy”.
While Isaac Asimov noted that, “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

And Aristotle argued that, “”Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal. …The real difference between democracy and oligarchy is poverty and wealth. Wherever men rule by reason of their wealth, whether they be few or many, that is an oligarchy, and where the poor rule, that is a democracy. …If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.”
On his part, John Dewey said, “The struggle for democracy has to be maintained on as many fronts as culture has aspects: political, economic, international, educational, scientific and artistic. […] Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, “If there were a nation of Gods, it would govern itself democratically. A government so perfect is not suited to men.”

While Robert Kennedy Jr noted that, “Democracy is messy, and it’s hard. It’s never easy.”
Joseph Schumpeter put it this way, “Democracy is a political method, that is to say, a certain type of institutional arrangement for arriving at political – legislative and administrative – decisions and hence incapable of being an end in itself.”

From all this, we can safely come to a conclusion that no benefit or single right can be delivered on a silver platter. Even if you voted democratically, fruits of a democratic society have to be lobbied for – there must be a constant agitation – activism and not docility.

Rights are fought for and once reclaimed they must be defended at all costs. It is also true that a poor and vulnerable population is not good for democracy because more than anything such a people just usually clap – exalt – for services which they are in fact entitled to and politicians fully take advantage of such ignorance. We have seen this happen. Once a politician sees that a people are vulnerable, such political animals behave like vultures dangling carrots to our poor citizens while enriching themselves. And politics in our country has been premised on a platform of selfishness. The rich few – elitists – taking advantage of our poor masses! This can’t be said to be democracy.
According to Kidadl Team, “Democracy has for long been recognised as the only acceptable form of government in our society. There can be different kinds of governments established in countries such as monarchy, oligarchy and theocracy. Democracy has been the most preferred style of political rule due to the various freedom it allows its people. Democracy has been one of the great forms of governance which ensure people their rights and citizens with an avenue to live their life freely. Many countries in the world have adopted this system and have given their people the right to vote. Many great academics around the world have given their own interpretation over what democracy means and what democracy must do for the people.”

For instance, John Rawls argued that, “Liberal constitutional democracy is supposed to ensure that each citizen is free and equal and protected by basic rights and liberties.”

Fernando Cardoso said, “Democracy is not just a question of having a vote. It consists of strengthening each citizen’s possibility and capacity to participate in the deliberations involved in life in society.”

But Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that, “In the strict sense of the term, a true democracy has never existed, and never will exist.”

If democracy has to be nourished for it to grow, the same must be done to our citizens. We have to elevate our people’s understanding of their rights in the so-called democracy. The government, civil society organisations and all active political parties must encourage citizens to speak out and demand what is rightfully theirs! Their democratic rights do not end at the voting booths!
As John Stuart Mill warned, “A state which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes – will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished.”

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