PRESS CONFERENCE-Launch of the NAREP “CLOTHES FOR CHANGE” initiative “COUNTRY FIRST”
PRESS CONFERENCE TO LAUNCH THE NAREP “CLOTHES FOR CHANGE” INITIATIVE
Good morning ladies and gentlemen. We meet this morning to launch the NAREP “Clothes for Change” Initiative. This is a programme aimed at responding to the terrible suffering we witness as we travel across Zambia during our visits to rural communities and other neglected areas.
As we share with the nation our commitment to addressing the plight of people living in crippling poverty – particularly the women that toil so hard to make life less unbearable for their families – we cannot ignore the current developments in our politics.How our leaders behave has a bearing on their commitment to developing the nation and reducing the poverty that has plagued communities across the country for far too long. We want to start, therefore, by briefly sharing our thoughts on the ongoing wrangles within the Patriotic Front. We do this in the hope that the Republican President– who holds the key to putting an end to this unnecessary distraction from our course of national development – can demonstrate his authority and bring the wrangles to an end.
As a Party, NAREP has dedicated itself to promoting a new type of politics – politics based on issues not insults, politics based more on promoting the rights of ordinary people than solely on protecting partisan interests, politics based on principle rather than personal enrichment. Our political approach means that in the short-term, we will be misunderstood and ridiculed for we are expected to attack everything that the Government of the day does – even if their actions are good for the Zambian people. We are expected to go for the kill when we smell blood. We will remind our critics and those that doubt our approach that there is a time for politics and there is a time for leadership. Now is the time for true leaders to emerge. Leaders that care about struggling communities and what can be done to improve the lives of the people that cannot escape the cycle of poverty they have been confined to.
For far too long, we appear – as a nation – to have tolerated a style of politics that only brings out the worst in us. As leaders, we need to set an example of tolerance and respect. We cannot seriously hope to see improvement in the lives of ordinary Zambians when we rejoice over the problems of our Opponents. We urge the leaders within the ruling establishment that are marshalling their forces against one another to remember why they were elected to office. We urge them to exercise maturity and restraint in handling their differences.It is time to put the country first. It is time to put personal ambition aside and to put people back at the centre of our leadership concerns.
We urge the Church mother bodies to take the lead in guiding the nation in prayers for our leaders. It is incumbent upon everyone that professes Christianity to pray for their nation and for their leaders. The Bible says, blessed are the peacemakers and it is at times like this that our calling as Christians must be fully demonstrated. Now is the time for selfless prayer and reflection. We have a duty to pray for those that govern us. We must pray for God to raise up leaders that can offer hope for a nation that needs the talents of everyone. Governments will come and go and all of us must recognise that we have a role to play in making things better for those that we have the power to help.
In launching the NAREP “Clothes for Change” campaign, we recognise that there is something each of us can do to assist those in need within our communities. As we have undertaken our country-wide tours over the last few weeks, we have observed the unmitigated and unnecessary suffering of too many whose condition has gone from bad to worse. We have seen the determination of rural men and women to make a life for themselves through difficult times and yet we have seen their dignity undermined by the poverty that permeates every aspect of their existence. We have seen the poverty that robs them of their humanity and makes them easy prey to all the vices that retard their development.
Our vision as a Party is to see every Zambian realise his or her full potential. We know that without caring leadership at all levels of society, it will take time for the benefits of development to flow through to neglected communities. To begin to address this, NAREP has identified a programme that we believe can support rural women to make a sustainable living. We are calling upon every citizen that has second-hand clothes to donate these for the establishment of second-hand clothes trading enterprises for our rural women. Just like many of you, these women have families to feed and children to put through school. They also have dreams and aspirations of a better Zambia.
With our fast-growing Party network and in line with one of our 8 core values (Sense of Community), we are able to assist rural women by providing second-hand clothes that they can use as capital to start their businesses. We are also able to monitor and oversee this process to a successful and sustainable outcome in the weeks, months and years ahead. We do not intend to work alone in this initiative. We will be seeking to join hands with all stakeholders that are already doing tremendous work within marginalised communities: churches, NGO’s and concerned citizens that have shown their heart for the people. We have already started collection programme and I am pleased to say that members of our secretariat have led by example in making the initial donations.
Over the course of the next few months, we will be asking to come to speak to your communities and to the Churches and public and private organisations about our “Clothes for Change” initiative. Welcome us, hear our message, open your hearts, help to bring hope to communities that have nowhere to turn as they grapple with the hardships of their daily lives. Those who have something and are willing to give, can deposit clothes at our national secretariat. We shall also set up collection points in all provincial centres. Information about this will be available from our secretariat and will be published in the media next week.
All clothes will be welcome whether they be for infants, adolescents or adults. No item of clothing will be too small or too insignificant to be accepted. We can all play a part in making a difference. If it is within our power to act to help the less privileged, then let us not find an excuse not to do so. We earnestly appeal to each of you to give from the bottom of your heart. Let us be spurred on towards love and good deeds and remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive. We ask you all to remember that: “What you get out of life is how you make a living, what you give is how you make a life”.
May God’s grace be with you.
Elias C. Chipimo
National Restoration Party
Sunday 6 October 2013