(By Godfrey Chitalu)
I have visited several fast track hospitals and is bewildered by how long it takes for a file for a patient to be opened. I have been to many government offices where I have to show indignation at how deliberately slow the system is made to move, without oily favors.
I fail to understand why youngsters in school uniform would drink beer and smoke marijuana publicly without remorse. I’m perturbed and left speechless by political cadres in fake military attire, that compete to insult and record their folly on video.
Where has our value system gone? The erosion of values at individual level, accelerate unmanageably at national level if not stemmed.
As our Republican President addresses the nation on national values and principles, I wanted to add an unconventional voice on the same. Mine is a totally different but complementally rendition that will look at our value system from another angle.
National values form a belief system that is premised on what is generally accepted as good or bad, desirable or undesirable and reasonable or unreasonable. Hereunder, though not in hierarchical order, are my top 5 values systems that need our attention.
1. One Zambia One Nation
Like the United States of America and its 50 constituent entities, Zambia is made up of 73 tribes, with equal worth. No matter how populous, no tribe has hegemony claims over the other;
Chikunda, Kunda, Lungu, Lunda, Lamba, Lala or Tonga have equal stake in our country. We are products of intermarriages; my wife is of Soli and Lala descent while Lungu and Ngumbo blood flow in my veins, leaving our children as SoLaLuNgu’s. No politician should therefore divide us along tribal lines. The idea of calling certain tribes tribal is tribalism itself. I don’t ascribe to the erroneous belief that an entire tribe can be labeled thieves!
2. Social Justice for all
We need to encourage fairness in the entire populace in all spheres of human engagements. Our people need to see fairness when accessing basic necessities like food, shelter, water, health care and education. Social justice principles must permeate our country starting from communities.
If a rule is made that only those with straight distinctions should access a university bursary, no one with a chain of 9s should gate crash the party. The economic stability of all families should be a hallmark of our existence. We should promote fair and just systems; social justice dignifies humanity through the wealth, access and opportunity scale.
Democracy is a value whose implementation should be taken seriously. Participatory modalities should not be ignored with impunity, especially at political party level. Lack of democracy at lower levels is an affront to higher level implementation. We need to instill democratic norms using a pyramid. In an election year like 2021, we need to see political parties allowing internal democracy. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had primary elections at constituency levels for our various parties? Should our major political parties be warningly imposing candidates without the due process of elections? Democracy as a national commitment should be seen to be excised liberally at both community and national levels.
4. Shared Decentralized Leadership
Jethro in the Bible advised Moses to distribute responsibilities to various levels. If shared leadership is our value, all medical doctors doing administrative work at Ndeke house could have been attached to hospitals in rural areas. We have elected to have a top heavy centralized system that can allow the Ministry of Health to have 17 directorates. Thank God sanity has reduced them to 7. Statutory delegation of power at all levels should not be alien to mother Zambia. Ask Pastors about it!
5. Reading Writing and Arithmetic
The single most important value we need to give our people is the confidence to read, write and do basic arithmetic. These, though basic, help reduce other allied social problems. All our citizens should value education as an opener for better things. It pains me to find out that most of our citizens are heavily impaired when it comes to reading, writing and doing basic sums. The Mathew effect should not be allowed to impede the future for our budding population. Participation in national issues need “ka brain”.
Do not say you were not warned. I’m off to follow proceedings on the national values and principles.
The author is a social commentator who writes for pleasure.
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