At the State’s Assembly Complex yesterday, Former Vice President of Zambia, Nevers Mumba shared acquaintances with the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. John Gaul Lebo where talks on ‘the future of democracy & the role of legislature’ held.
The 59-year old Zambian politician and minister of the gospel was Zambia’s High Commissioner to Canada from 2009 until 2011 after serving as Vice-President of Zambia between 2003-04.
A presidential candidate in Zambia’s general elections of 2015 and currently the president of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) political party, which had been in opposition since its defeat in the 2011 presidential election, Nevers Mumba, while attending to Cross River Daily in the outgoing Speaker’s office listed some qualities the next Assembly Speaker should possess if the 9th Assembly must achieve its goals, while commending Rt. Hon. John Gaul’s 8th Assembly for being able to have sponsored about 128 bills with over 90 being passed into law.
“Speakers are a very important people because they are not there to give policies or instructions, but they are there to make democracy work; they are there to be impartial; they are there to listen to both sides of the House; they are there not to be stooges of neither their “boss” or party; they are there to ensure that debates are not cartelled even if it’s uncomfortable.
“Parliament speakers are the engineers of a healthy democracy. So, the members should look out for somebody who is a self-made person; he is not a boot-liker; somebody who is not easily bought so that he succumbs to the whims of the powerful; he must be a man of morality and integrity that can say “No!” to the powerful and “Yes!” to the weak in order to reach a profiting consensus,” Mr. Mumba said.
Stepping out of the Honourable Speaker’s office, Mr. Mumba met members of the State’s Assembly at the Assembly Chamber where he made a presentation on Africa’s future as it relates to leadership.
According to the Zambian top-notch, a lot of ills have been, and are still said about Africa today. He pointedly noted that issues like corruption, greed, budget doctoring, embezzlement of public funds, election malpractices, political assassination, witch-hunting, and some more others are, on a world’s eye view, attributes of Africa political leadership. Mumba said as sad as it sounds, it is nothing but the truth.
In Mumba’s belief, Africa is the richest continent in the world; with first-heaven gospel ministers, abundant natural resources, a growing youth population, etc. However, Mumba said the challenge with Africa remains the people entrusted with power. “Africa shall become the world-leading continent not too far from now. The morning of Africa is at hand. Though, until great importance is placed on our leadership style and also on our leaders, all of these dreams of ours would be in vain,” Mr. Mumba.
Nevers Mumba further informed that democracy was not the appropriate system of governance for Africa but part of the reasons we remained where we are today. In his opinion, Africa needed another system of governance with highest value on rule of law and separation of power. Howthat, democracy, especially as practiced in Africa has lost regards for rule of law and separation of power.
In his reaction, the Speaker of the Cross River State 8th Assembly, Rt. Hon. John Gaul Lebo notedly said that democracy is not the direct problem of Africa’s leadership as it were, but a bye-product of the problem.
In John’s position, weak democratic institutions are majorly the problem with Africa’s leadership style, while praying that Africa should, as a matter of exigency, see technology and economy as the best driving agents of contemprory leadership styles not the ancestral agents like, as for example, the use of ‘Permanent Secretaries’ in ministries, which according to John, don’t bring on new innovations whatsoever but believe in the maintenance of traditional means of operations in the respective ministries they head.
Honourable John Gaul further opined that the future of Africa is now, not later.
“Talking about the future, the future is now! It is here. The only thing not here is the necessary tool to distribute the future to it’s deserved channels. That tool is not the political democracy we have at hand but economy democracy,” John Gaul said.