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LET THE TIRED REST

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ELECTION registration numbers so far suggest that there is an impressive turnout at the registration centres with potential voters eager to elect new Members of Parliament.

The numbers were sitting at around 100 000 early this week. Depending on which side of the political fence you’re on, these numbers could mean several things. One is hoping that electing tired, backward thinking, overly conservative and recycled non-achiever candidates, is certainly not one of them.


Tired refers to the likes of legislators who do not see the need and could not be bothered to form a quorum to pass the much needed Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence (SODV) Bill, while violence against women and children escalates. It refers to those who forget that it could soon be their own daughters, wives or relatives on the receiving end. This is a Bill that has taken almost two decades to get through Parliament simply because senators refuse to allow common sense to prevail.


Some legislators are either too tired or too stuck in the past to appreciate the value and contribution of women in leadership that they would even suggest they need permission from their husbands to serve the country, just because they would have to spend nights in hotels. Others seem highly opposed to the ‘vote for a woman campaign’ because their tired minds can only see a threat to their means of livelihood instead of appreciating possible contributors to the meaningful development of this country by a previously marginalised group in our patriarchal society.


These tired minds dominated Cabinet thinking resulting in, among other things, the short-sighted rejection of the obvious benefits of legalising our marijuana (dagga) for medicinal purposes. By the time we wake up from the slumber, our highly rated herb would be useless as countries like Zimbabwe and Zambia have jumped at the medicinal and economic benefits it provides.


Zimbabwe has also declared that it wants to regain its status as the bread basket of Southern Africa. What have we been doing all along? Nothing but slashing the Agriculture budget while almost 200 000 citizens remain in need of food aid. We have been busy with increasing expenditure for the security forces as a solution to poverty alleviation.


No wonder the current lot of politicians leave a nation up in arms over the high cost of living and litany of taxation being proposed through the Finance Bill, all because they were too tired to think of creative ways of diversifying the economy. Such taxes have been unanimously rejected by the citizens and deservedly so. 


Our politicians have been too tired to read, heed, strategise and implement the numerous recommendations at their disposal on how best to improve our landlocked and sparsely populated economy. How does one explain failing to remove our dependency on the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) over four decades?


Put these together, it is obvious that the current level of thinking in government has passed its sell-by date. The results of this can only yield a collapse of businesses, cash-flow challenges, starving children in schools, high unemployment, drug shortages, lack of service delivery, etc. These failures will forever characterise the term of our Tenth Parliament which was too tired to provide the required oversight role.
The promising numbers turning up at registration centres should, therefore, count for something; and that should be for electing an enterprising group of citizens who will have the energy to keep up with the high pace of development that is now being driven by the ever innovating world of technology. We now have science, technology and biotechnology parks which are targeted at leveraging technology to boost economic growth.
These facilities require a new level of thinking. Young innovative and highly competitive minds are what we need to derive maximum benefits of this investment, unless we are keen to turn them into white elephants. A young video-graphic ‘stuntman’ can best describe how backward the current thinking is. He posted a video of his work online but instead of receiving plaudits for his creativity, he was seen as a threat to society by law enforcement. The hypocrisy of it all is that the same cops allow their children to watch this stuff on TV every day! We laugh, but this is the extent at which we are lagging seriously behind in adapting new technologies to drive this economy.
The fourth industrial revolution is fast becoming the new world order. We are all well aware that industries were first driven by water and steam, then electric power, followed by electronics and ICT. Now the digital revolution is upon us. Simply put, cars are now self-driven. So where does that put us as a country in the next 20 years? Nowhere if we elect bomkhulu to Parliament who have no idea how a computer works, let alone what it looks like.
We have a young King who is highly exposed to the developed world and very forward thinking. His drive towards transforming this country is, unfortunately, not matched by the tired minds dominating the political landscape. The 100 000 registered voters and others to follow, should not - even for a second - allow their minds to be infected by the tired and lazy-to-think  mentality at this point. All we need to think about is how best to inject a new lease of life into this country.

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