Tag: politicians

Loss of trust in politicians

Loss of trust in politicians Featured

There’s a very serious decline of public trust in our politicians. Our politicians are generally known to be liars, crooks out to enrich themselves and their families.

Wherever I have been, I have been asked not to do what other politicians do – Lie!

I tell them I am not a politician to do what the politicians are doing – I am a revolutionary. But this mistrust doesn’t seem to be limited to politicians. I see declining levels of trust in the country, whether it is public confidence in government and elected officials or their trust of each other. I see declining levels of trust in our religious and traditional leaders, in our school teachers and indeed among family members.

I believe that the interplay between the trust issues in the public and the interpersonal sphere has made it harder to solve some of our country’s problems.

However, my greatest worry is that the capacity of leaders to implement policies depends crucially on trust. Without trust in politicians, governments and institutions, support for the necessary revolutionary changes becomes difficult to mobilize, particularly where short-term sacrifices are involved and long-term gains might be less tangible. The sharp decline in trust in politicians and government is serving to underline that trust is an essential, yet often overlooked, ingredient in successful policy making.

A decline in trust can lead to lower rates of compliance with rules and regulations.Citizens and businesses can also become more risk-averse, delaying investment, innovation and employment decisions that are essential to regain efficiency and jump start growth. Nurturing trust represents an investment in revolutionary transformation and social well-being for the future. Trust is both an input to revolutionary changes – necessary for the implementation of transformative measures – and, at the same time, an outcome of revolutionary changes, as they influence people’s and organizations’ attitudes and decisions relevant for economic and social well-being. As a result, trust in politicians and government by citizens and businesses is essential for the effective and efficient policy making both in good times and bad. Investing in trust should be considered as a new and central approach to restoring economic growth and reinforcing social cohesion.

The biggest challenge is how to restore public trust in our politicians and their governments or how to make progress without this trust. If we don’t quickly restore public trust in our politicians, the result will be ineffective and illegitimate government, and declining social and economic well-being. Therefore, whoever wins the August 12 elections must address this problem as a matter of urgency.

Without trust we have diminished capacity to meet complex, long-term challenges. Weakening political trust erodes authority and civic engagement, reduces support for evidence-based public policies and promotes risk aversion in government.

This also creates the space for the rise of authoritarian-populist forces or other forms of independent representation. Bridging the trust divide between citizens and politicians is no easy task.

Clearly, the connection between the Zambian people and their politicians is hanging by a rather tenuous thread. What needs to be done to reverse the decline?

My simple approach has been to ask our people what they would do if they had to deal or work with people they don’t trust.

You don’t leave them on their own; it’s tight marking. I also remind them that leaders lead, the people govern. They have allowed politicians to lead and govern. This time around they must govern. What they can’t do for themselves nobody will do it for them.

I tell them that revolutionary democracy is a growth in the confidence in the power of ordinary people to transform their country, and thus transform themselves. It is in the appreciation of people organizing, deciding, creating together. It is a growth of fraternal love and trust.

Fred M’membe

Lying, bullying and bribing people

Lying, bullying and bribing people Featured

As we approach August 12 lies will increase from our politicians. As they always do during election periods, attempts will be made to deceive and manipulate our people with mealie-meal, salt, sugar, cooking oil, soap, chitenges, t-shirts and some little amounts of money. This is the way they try to buy votes cheaply. But the Zambian people shouldn’t forget Michael Sata’s great teaching on this score: Don’t Kubeba – take whatever they bring, and even ask them for more, but don’t vote for them! Don’t let them fool you, instead fool them.
Remember: liars promise heaven but can’t deliver even purgatory.
For us, socialists, we say ‘the people will deliver to themselves justice, equity and peace’. It’s not anyone else but yourselves delivering to yourselves all these things. What you can’t do for yourselves, no one will do it for you. Leaders lead, the people govern.
They will tell you that if you vote for us we will give you this, deliver you this, bring this and that. Do they bring it? Do they deliver it?
For us, we always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children.
We believe in telling our the truth and not lies and in exposing lies whenever they are told. We must hide nothing from the masses of our people. We must not mask difficulties, mistakes or failures. And we should claim no easy victories. That is what believe in and teach ourselves.
A socialist should have largeness of mind and he or she should be staunch and active, looking upon the interests of the people as his or her very own and subordinate his or her personal interests to those of the masses.
Every comrade must be brought to understand that the supreme test of the words and deeds of a socialist is whether they conform with the highest interests and enjoy the support of the overwhelming majority of the people. At no time and in no circumstances should a socialist place his personal interests first; he should subordinate them to the interests of the nation and of the masses. Hence, selfishness, slacking, corruption, seeking the limelight, and so on, are most contemptible, while selflessness, working with all one’s energy, whole-hearted devotion to public duty, and quiet hard work will command respect.
Socialists must be ready at all times to stand up for the truth, because truth is in the interests of the people; socialists must be ready at all times to correct their mistakes, because mistakes are against the interests of the people.
Socialists must always go into the why’s and wherefore’s of anything, use their own heads and carefully think over whether or not it corresponds to reality and is really well founded; on no account should they follow blindly and encourage slavishness.
Socialists should set an example in being practical as well as far-sighted. For only by being practical can they fulfil the appointed tasks, and only far-sightedness can prevent them from losing their bearings in the march forward. Socialists should be the most farsighted, the most self-sacrificing, the most resolute, and the least prejudiced in sizing up situations, and should rely on the majority of the masses and win their support.
We socialists are like seeds and the people are like the soil. Wherever we go, we must unite with the people, take root and blossom among them. We must be able to integrate ourselves with the masses in all things.
Socialists must listen attentively to the views of people outside our party and let them have their say. If what they say is right, we ought to welcome it, and we should learn from their strong points; if it is wrong, we should patiently explain things to them. This is what we demand of ourselves and all our members and not going around telling lies, bullying and bribing people.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Garden Compound, Lusaka