I utterly have little to zero idea on this topic but then we are all entitled to an opinion – one within reason obviously – so here are my thoughts on when Infrastructure development meets politics.
What we come to see here is something similar to a football match that’s played away on a foreign turf. In such a scenario, the party playing at home is always at an advantage, a great advantage for that matter. This in football is what they call a home advantage.
From my observations, in Zambia, most – to all – major infrastructure development projects rely on a reigning government for funding – it would help a great deal to change this line of thinking. In a situation such as this, it becomes evident that the incumbent government now has the power over the fate of the project – duration, accessibility to funds, etc. – forgetting that it’s mandated to provide for the people that voted them into power but more so to provide for each and every citizen of the nation that it swore to take care of.
It’s this Mode of operation that makes me think that an incumbent government’s turf is the home ground with all other key players for development playing away.
It’s a well known fact now that major development projects around Zambia that might help improve the face of this great nation come to a halt, all in the name of hitting a snag, when government allocated funds (sourced from donors – mainly as loans, though others are grants and so on and so forth.) are selfishly re-channelled into other avenues than were previously intended for, to meet an incumbent government’s ludicrous endeavours in an effort to realise their never ending political ambitions. It’s so unfortunate albeit that some governments can be so shallow as to use infrastructure development only as means to an end. What are they thinking? What’s wrong with such people? – Is it illiteracy maybe? Or they are merely out of touch with reality? If that’s the case then OUT with the old blood and IN with the young blood. Fresh blood. Energetic blood. Reasonable blood.
These are things we’ve all seen, at least for some of us with eyes to see. I was in Livingstone for the past Easter holiday and it was really appalling to see the projects whose works had come to a standstill with no certainty or whatsoever as to when works would resume. The projects worth noting here are The Livingstone Intercity Bus terminus and an ultra modern market within the CBD.
Unfortunately, it just doesn’t end there. Since I am from the Copperbelt Province I’ll only name the projects within that province which have suffered a similar fate. You have projects like the Freedom Park Mall in Kitwe with works that commenced sometime in 2009 and an estimated completion of 2013 which was later pushed a year back to 2014. This didn’t help the situation because from outside the site appears to be semi – deserted, and then the Kitwe-Chingola High Way project between Kitwe and Chingola.
Given the status quo, it’s safe to assume that this vice is trending all over the country.
I am not a politician so my recommendations here are limited but what I can strongly hope for – speaking as an avid supporter of infrastructure development – is that let’s have someone with qualifications in the Built Environment in plot one for a change. They say change is good. Having an Architect in the presidential office would be a good way to start. We’ve needed Economists and Lawyers to run the office but all that we’ve ever gotten from them in return is a cheap economy and a 50 year old country with a feeble and plagiarised constitution. This begs questions that need answers to. What have some of these Economists and Lawyers who have come highly recommended with CVs as long as the Zambezi river been doing for the past 50 years without the obvious answers of advancing their own agendas?
In the words of Michael Jackson…
“Heal The World
Make It A Better Place
For You And For Me
And The Entire Human Race”
“I’m Starting With The Man In
I’m Asking Him To Change
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer”
As always, thanks for reading!