TIME FOR TRUTH!
TIME FOR TRUTH Ladies and gentlemen, what I am about to say today will shake the very foundation upon which our Party has risen. It will either make our Party stronger or it will deal a permanent blow to the hope that I and many of my colleagues had when we entered politics – the hope that we can reclaim our dignity as a nation that can stand on its own feet and empower our people to achieve the greatness that is stored inside each one of us. I still believe that we can be the truly independent and powerful nation God intended for us to be; that we can be the nation that can make a contribution to the world on the strength of our abundant potential. Today, we are far from being that nation. We have sacrificed our individual greatness for mealie meal, fitenges and a fistful of dubious dollars. We have succumbed to our worst instincts as human beings and allowed ethnic differences, scaremongering and insults to form the basis of our politics. Indeed, as the poet WB Yeats observed so many years ago: the best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity. We have almost fully ushered ourselves into becoming a “kakistocracy” – a nation in which the worst form of people are in power. I came into politics with one goal in mind: to change the mindset of our nation – to do everything to help our people to see that real power lies in our hands and that if we want change that will improve our lives and the lives of our children, grandchildren and indeed our great-great grandchildren, then we need to understand and act upon the belief that change will have to start with us, not with the politicians. We seem to think that changing leaders alone will solve all our problems. This is faulty logic. Changing leaders will only take us so far if we as a nation of thinking individuals are not willing to change ourselves. The greed we see in the politicians that lead us, is the greed that is evident in our daily lives. If we want the politicians to change then first we need to change who we are, what we believe, how we behave. Our society has tolerated deep corruption, unbridled immorality, rampant theft, chronic lies, widespread deceit, persistent inconsistency and abundant mediocrity for so long it has started to feel perfectly normal. We have accepted sub-standard leadership in our own homes and communities and ended up being dependent on those that are able to take advantage of our inability to lead ourselves. We have to stop believing that the answers to our problems lie with the politicians. We have to stop believing that our salvation depends on donors. We have to recognise that we have the strength to do our own heavy lifting; that the answers to all our problems lie within each and every one of us and that we have only to dig deep within ourselves to find them. If even the Biblical Macedonian church out of their severe poverty could give of the little they had to advance the ministry of the apostle Paul, why should we, a country of such abundance, be beggars at the table of wealthy nations? We need to shake off this terrible mindset and accept that we have been blind and misguided for far too long. Here is my warning: do not trust any politician that says they will do anything for you. Doing things for you will not empower you, it will keep you dependent on them to always “lead” you. We need leaders that will empower you to make independent decision; that will build your capacity to do things for yourselves and to confidently challenge them when they go wrong. NAREP is at a crossroads. After 5 years of existence, we have to determine a more clear path to victory, and all the more as we approach the 2016 general election. Our goal is to change mindsets. Our mission is to win power; not because of what it can do for us but because of how it can transform our nation if it is held and exercised by people who believe in the greatness that lies in others. We are at a crossroads because we have to face the truth about what we now need to do to gain serious traction in Zambian politics. Our Party has not a single MP. We do not have a single counsellor. We have presented a presidential candidate at the two elections that have taken place since our formation and we have ridden the highs and lows that come with promise and defeat. We have built a reputation of being the Party that has ideas that can change this nation and yet we have not been able to break the stranglehold that the dominant parties have had over the minds of the dwindling and increasingly apathetic electorate. I do not say any of this with a sense of regret. I say it because it must be said to shape the thinking we need to adopt if we are to remain relevant to the cause that brought us into the political arena in the first place. NAREP will not be fielding a presidential candidate in 2016. Our goal and our effort will be directed to building the foundation for victory in 2021. I will devote my time to ensuring that in 2016 we have representation both in parliament and in local government. During the next election, we shall field candidates in select parliamentary constituencies and adopt counsellors to support them as part of how we build the necessary base for our future success. This decision has not been easy. No important decisions in leadership are easy. There will be those that will feel aggrieved. There will be those that will feel betrayed – those that feel the investment they have made over the years to build the Party within their own areas has gone to waste. I urge all our supporters and sympathisers to be patient with our plan and work with us to build the right steps to victory. There will no doubt be those that will misrepresent what this decision means. Since I entered politics, I have been accused of many things and my silence in recent weeks has been construed as an attempt to join the ranks of another party. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have made every effort to remain faithful to the values on which we stand as a Party. I have made every effort to uphold principles of integrity in all our dealings in a profession that has become synonymous with the worst of all human instincts and behaviour. Politics in our country is riddled with corruption, immorality, deception and betrayal. The one thing my late father said to me when I first shared with him the idea of serving this nation through politics has proved to be the very thing that has damaged the purity with which we started our mission. He said to me: “Son, your greatest risk will be knowing who to trust”. How true that has turned out to be. Poverty and the lack of self-esteem has conditioned many of our people to become seekers of jobs and favours from whoever has the money and connections to supply them. As a consequence, we have lost our connection to who we really are. We have failed to see that the key to our success will lie in accepting who we are and the amazing power we have within us to be the change we want to see. We have the power not to be caught up in the wrong examples of the past and the lies that have been told to us that our victory can only achieved in a certain way. I will not bow to the belief that to win in politics I have to get used to telling a few lies; that I have to be corrupt or insult those in power or make promises I know I will not keep. I am appealing to every Zambian that really wants true change to step forward and fight with us over the next 5 years to deliver the change that we all know we need. I am asking those that want to see a better Zambia for their children to help us deliver our first set of NAREP members of parliament and counsellors in 2016. Let us not keep stumbling into elections. Let us plan our way to progress and deliver on the promise of God-fearing leadership that the people of Zambia so desperately need. Let us stop blaming the politicians for the decisions we as a people make to put them in power. Indeed, let us take full responsibility for the state of the nation we find ourselves living in today. Our focus as a nation should be on the three critical E’s: ‘Education’, ‘Energy’ and ‘Empowerment’. These will be the areas of concern that I will personally devote my time to articulating solutions to. We are more than capable of overcoming the challenges we face today. We are more than capable of breaking our dependence on foreign imports to feed ourselves and drive our own innovation. We only need the will power to vigorously pursue the vision of success that assures us of victory. We will do this when we recognise and incorporate the power of our women; when we seek to truly empower our youth with opportunity and when we provide quality education to the ever growing army of our nation’s children. The steps we are taking to ensure energy security have arisen out of a crisis that was foreseeable decades ago. We will only prevent another crisis from emerging if we do not let the valuable lessons of this crisis go to waste. Let us not speak about the need for diversification of our economy for yet another 40 years. Let us do all we can to promote Zambian businesses to become multi-million dollar enterprises. Let us do all we can to ensure that our taxi drivers, marketeers, vendors, barbers, small traders, stone crushers and casual daily employees can own their own homes, educate their children well and have disposable income to pursue their God-given dreams. Let us be deliberate in our desire to promote the best of what we have as a nation. The best of what we have is not our minerals or our water resource or our land. The best of what we have is our people. Our mineral resources, water and land should be made to work to support the full development of their potential.
May God’s grace be with you all.
Elias C. Chipimo
National Restoration Party
Tuesday 24 November 2015