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Zambia, together with many African countries, has welcomed the second term for the US president Barack Obama. This time there was more of a focus on learning how elections are done than in the 2008 elections. Where before it was a thrill, in this election the excitement was kept more at an observation level in Zambia
Throughout the debates, Zambian people confessed that the way issues were discussed in view of winning elections would help more people to decide who should be the next president in any country. Just like in the past election in Zambia, many people have realized that money does not buy peoples votes. Zambians have been educated about this and seeing it happen again makes the people more comfortable about it. Everyone now knows that it’s not about what you are given, but choosing the right leader with great vision will help develop the nation and meet people’s needs, and most Zambians watched attentively to the elections to see which direction it would take.
Mr. Kasangula, a local businessman in Lusaka, supposed that Obama has been given a second term, and what Africa should know, and Zambia in particular, is that Obama is the American president and he needs to deal with problems that affect the Americans first. However, it is important for him to help the African nations, including Zambia, to build their democracy and good policies, and for the opposition to consider defeat was a very good lesson for many opposition leaders in Zambia. Mr. Romney’s action could help many African baby democracy to emulate how leaders should act when defeated, which has been a problem for African countries, killing the purpose of democracy.
Most Lusaka residents when asked about the elections said it was very interesting to watch and they saw how elections can be conducted without naming each other names and showering insults on each other. The opposition, Romney, conceded defeat in good time which again gave him respect from the Zambian perspective. He portrayed himself as a selfless leader who wants to see peace and love for each other as the wish of the people prevails in the country.
Speaking to Mr. Lombe of Lusaka on whether it is a good thing to get some of the good ideas from the opposition to be incorporated in the main streams of any present government, Mr. Lombe noted that considering adopting some ideas from opposition group is a good bargain than pushing all to be irrelevant, for by doing so will help bring development in the country. In fact, leaders should be more interested in developing the country and not only to achieve personal gain, and it should be clear that being in the opposition does not mean that you are enemies, but that you disagree with some of the things that are promoted with the other group. He believed that it is a lesson for Zambian leaders.
Speaking to Lusaka high school students, they said what Obama and Romney did is a great lesson for Zambia. They said that the way they conducted themselves during the campaign and after was a great lesson, and that the debate should be seriously considered in the future to allow people to make an informed choice for who their leader should be.
Joyce Twambo, a house wife of Chawama compound, said that the other problem that Zambia faces is having too many parties that compete with each other to the end. Therefore, it is important to eliminate some of the parties before the final selections happen, as this will also help the majority to choose a good candidate of their choice, and to see the results counted and announced the same day will help stop manipulation of the results.
To add on this, Catherine Nyirenda’s article posted on November 8 in the Times of Zambia newspaper, stated that Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson, Irene Mambilima, said: “Zambian politicians should avoid character assassination and instead learn from Americans who have embraced issue-based politics Justice Mambilima was impressed with how the American electoral process was handled and said Zambia had a lot to learn.”
However, President Obama visited Ghana in 2009 and the Zambian people would like to see more visits of the US President to many African countries, not because he is of African decent, but because he is the president of America, a great nation that is able to help build strong economies and promote democracy in Africa. Hopefully in his second term, president Obama can be an advocate to many issues faced by African countries in order to make a lasting impact on the continent.
Image Courtesy : U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Zachary Bell [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons