Cabinet ministers; why don’t you pick up our calls?

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One of the Achilles heels of some of our leaders in the current New Dawn Administration is their failure to pick up calls from ordinary citizens or indeed the rank and file within the party! President Hichilema is in fact on record castigating his ministers and other senior government officials for not picking up calls from ordinary citizens. Every time you try to call some of these officials, their mobile phones go unanswered; and when you decide to pay them a visit at their offices, they hide behind their secretaries on the pretext that they’re very busy!

Let those who looted the treasury in the previous regime who still have “tusaka twandalama” hidden in their houses and on their farms try to call them with some bogus business proposals, you’ll see how their eyes will instantly be transformed and glow with excitement!

Imwe ba Cabinet Minister, ba Permanent Secretaries naimwe ba District Commissioner; it’s not always that whenever ‘ba kabusu’ call you, they want to ask for ka “sumfing”…..learn to pick up our calls, please! Sometimes we want to share vital Intel with you or bring you up to speed with issues that may require your urgent attention. Kudos to a few exceptions such as mama Doreen Mwamba, the Minister of Community Development & Social Welfare, Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary, the legendary Thabo Kawana and indeed Messrs Christopher Mundia and Levy Ngoma, the Legal and Political aides to the President, respectively. They’ll easily pick up their calls or promptly get back to you in case of missed calls.

As it is not our nature to speak from without, we shall share a few practical examples. We shall however spare the concerned leaders any embarassment by not mentioning any names.

Flouting labour laws with impunity
One day, some rural country folks working at our neighbour’s farm who is building a double storied structure approached us with complaints that their boss, a youngish man of Asian origin, was paying them slave wages and failing to provide them the necessary personal protective equipment such as hard hats and safety boots. And whenever they complain, he’d go ballistic and call them names…….baboons and monkeys for that matter!

Our immediate reaction was to confront the man and punch him right on his nose, but common sense obviously prevailed and we decided otherwise. We tried to get hold of the concerned government officials to convey our grievances but they kept ignoring our calls. When we finally called on one official, he promised to pay the “investor” a surprise visit in the company of labour officers and a ZNBC news crew. But lo and behold……the Asian man continues to abuse his workers with impunity to this day!

Using street kids in illegal mining
Before the Senseli mine disaster in Chingola, we raised the “alarm” regarding street kids being used in such hazardous operations. Evidence is readily available on social media and of course Zambia National Broadcasting Services Corporation archives as we had given them an interview.

Of course, we took a step further and tried to engage one or two government officials to alert them on what was obtaining at the said mining site and yet no one cared to listen. As fate would have it, tragedy struck resulting in catastrophic proportions. There’s a possibility some of the street kids got buried in those tunnels as the so-called Jerabos used to coerce them to go and work there as well.

Mining in game reserves
In their quest to possibly catch-up with Patriotic Front cadres in terms of accumulation of massive wealth, some UPND cadres and party officials have “invaded” some game reserves in their droves and are busy mining copper and other precious minerals without following any laid down procedures. This is totally wrong! We didn’t get rid of PF Mafias to replace them with another bunch of criminals!

On several occasions, we’ve tried to bring such criminalities to the attention of relevant authorities but as usual, our calls have remained unanswered!

We can prepare a whole catalogue about how our leaders have become so “unreachable” but we won’t bore you with such nitty gritties. In the few years that UPND has been in power, it has obviously recorded a number of successes but there’s still some more work yet to be done. However, immediately the leadership begins “insulating” itself from the ordinary masses, it becomes impossible to appreciate what is obtaining “pa ground” and before you know it, the ground would have long shifted far away from you. These are our prophetic words.

Ba Minister, ba Permanent Secretary naimwe ba District Commissioner, start picking up our calls! Start attending to the needs of our people……or you’re waiting for 2026?

Prince Bill M. Kaping’a
Political/Social Analyst

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