Tackling Poverty With Candour

“Reconciliation cannot take place in the absence of justice”. These words continued to manifest in my head as I heard many people, one after the other, stand up and cry for peace and reconciliation in Zambia at this year’s Global Leadership Summit in Ndola. This has been a common narrative following our elections which resulted in Zambia re-electing its sitting president. The country has been divided for a variety of reasons and many people want to see a peaceful Zambia again.

At this year’s Global Leadership Summit, we saw 450 leaders gather under one roof in an attempt to grow their leadership skills for the benefit of the people they are leading and Zambia at large. It was different from the Summits we have hosted in the past because one could hear the desperation in the voices of the people as they shared their thoughts after the sessions. People are finally seeing that, “Everything that matters in this world rises and falls on leadership.”

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“Unfortunately, in most cases, money stands out as a predominant motivator for people at work. When we as supervisors are able to bring significance and meaning into work, people are bound to exhibit higher levels of commitment and loyalty.” This was Clayton speaking in response to Chris McChesney’s message on the 4 Disciplines of Execution. He appreciated the value of increasing the stakes for his employees and finding ways to challenge them as well as help them own the vision,

Tamika, a university student, was deeply moved by Bill Hybels’ session on the Lenses of Leadership. “We need to be in it for people. When I look around my country, I don’t see enough leaders who are driven by their passion for people. Selfless leadership is imperative if we want to see transformation and sustainable development in this country.”

After hearing Patrick Lencioni, many of the participants felt that professionals in the church are not using their skills passionately to serve others. When they went a little deeper, it was revealed that the church doesn’t appear to be challenging and guiding professionals in their respective congregations. There are not enough deliberate initiatives that harness the various skills in the church and channel them into areas of extreme need.

One reason for this came out when poverty became the topic of discussion. With 40.8% of Zambians living in extreme poverty, it was surprising to hear a good number of people attributing this figure to laziness, and a lackadaisical attitude towards their livelihood. How can development take place when leaders reduce the matter to those two words?
Oppression. Injustice. Corruption. Nepotism. Apathy.
How can we not see these factors? One person talked about the need for everyone to have a backyard garden. But no one talked about lack of piped water to most of our underserved communities.

This year’s Summit was one of our best attended and most interactive to date. The GLS faculty were relevant and participants were willing to engage in complex and sensitive discussions. One man stood up and said, “How can our respected chiefs claim to be Christians when they still build shrines and practise ancestral worship?” I appreciated the candid atmosphere at this year’s GLS. I pray that as we pray for reconciliation in Zambia, we don’t shy away from addressing the blatant injustice that is running rampant in the country because the two cannot coexist.

David Temfwe