Mbeba Economics – the failure of leadership in Zambia


Yesterday I spent part of my morning with an old man as he moved around in a field searching for traps that he had laid to catch mbeba (field mice). He is well past retirement age. He has no pension. He has no income.


He owns one bicycle. His only source of accessible protein and carbohydrates is the few mice he traps each day and the little rain-fed maize he managed to farm on an illegal plot of land.
How did we get here? 50 years since we completed our nation’s walk to freedom, we are facing a major energy crisis, our kwacha has weakened to the lowest levels in our history, costly by-elections continue to rob our treasury of scarce resources, joblessness haunts the average home. We are now accustomed to living with poverty, poorly educated children, an outdated constitution, a bloated civil service, a huge and ever growing national debt, corruption on a scale hardly seen before and a political system that concentrates power in the hands of the few who routinely abuse it with impunity.


Given this background, it is amazing that there are not more of us running through the land looking for field mice.
How many more jobs need to be lost before we realise how serious the load-shedding has become? How many more trees need to be cut down to provide charcoal for the millions of homes that no longer have regular power? How many more businesses need to lose money before we wake up to the reality of life under the Patriotic Front?


Judging from their responses, the PF seem to feel that everything is alright. Earth to PF:
– people are being laid off because of the unstable power supply
– the cost of living is rising because of the high costs brought about by our failing kwacha
– by-elections have robbed the nation of the money you have been borrowing on behalf of our children and grandchildren
– instead of working for the nation, your ministers spend their time camped in the field campaigning to win every by-election.
In the middle of all this, you dare to arrogantly complain about the opposition attacking your incompetence?


NAREP may not have money to dish out to every voter whose support we need but we have a power more potent than the money and corruption that seems to pervade our land. We have the power of prayer and the conviction that one day, God will answer the prayers of the silent majority and give us a leader who truly fears Him.


A leader who will put country before Party and nation before self. A leader who will seek to truly empower his people not because of the riches and fame he he can gain from being elected but because of the selflessness and sacrifice he is personally willing to undergo in order to deliver on the fading hopes of our nation.
Elias C Chipimo
National Restoration Party