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DISCIPLINE AND DIGNITY ON THE PRESIDENTIAL 5D ROADMAP!

Publishing Date : 08 December, 2015

Author : BERNARD BUSANI

My humble assessment is that the presidential 5D roadmap is on slippery ground and rapidly collapsing despite the assertion by Dr. Jeff Ramsay, the government spokesperson, that ‘the roadmap is intact and still relevant’. Relevant yes, intact definitely not!  According to many commentators and my own observations as stated in my previous submission, Democracy in our country has regressed in many areas since 2008. There have been no notable efforts by the administration to improve our Democracy and one wonders why this was part of the roadmap in the first place. 

Although some efforts were made in the Development arena, no meaningful results have been achieved. Developments that do not result in improving the living standards of the people are meaningless. Unemployment and poverty rates have remained high in the past eight years. The same period is littered with a litany of failed projects that have drained millions, if not billions Pulas from the national coffers.

This week, I want to look at the Discipline and Dignity components of the roadmap. I want first to understand what these words mean and see if we have made any notable and worthy improvements in these two aspects of the roadmap.

What is discipline? I have searched for the meaning of this word and found the following interesting definitions; Control gained by requiring that rules and orders be obeyed and punishment for bad behaviour; a way of behaving that shows willingness to obey rules and orders; behavior that is judged by how well that behaviour follows rules and orders; training that corrects, molds or perfects mental faculties or moral conduct or character; orderly or prescribed pattern of behaviour; self control.

How then do you as a government enforce and measure national discipline? Has the president perhaps set himself a lofty, fuzzy and immeasurable objective here?  I do not believe so.  This could have been broken down into discreet measurable components starting perhaps with the government workforce. For example, all employees have a starting and finishing time at work that could be measured and controlled.   There are systems that can be deployed to do that. What systems have been put in place to ensure that all employees start and finish their work on time? And what measures are in place and enforced to ensure compliance? Each employee could have a productivity measure i.e. what is each employee expected to achieve in a given time?  Further, are there any specific objectives in place for each employee and are there systems in place to monitor and control achievements of these objectives?  In fact this must have started with parliament, cabinet and the president himself to set the tone for the rest of the work force.  If such systems and measures do not exist or only exist on paper, then Discipline will continue to be elusive thus impacting negatively on the other Ds on the roadmap.

Moving further, it is now common knowledge that this country is festering with deep wounds of corruption, institutionalised rampant corruption that is stifling development in every area of the economy; corruption that is denying the country of much needed foreign direct investment; corruption that is denying meaningful participation in the economy by independently minded, well meaning and corrupt free nationals.   Well, if we had Discipline as a nation would we have such rampart corruption and obvious mal-administration that has led to so many collapsed projects?  If we had Discipline would we have had so many projects that grossly exceeded their budgets, their time schedules and compromised end product quality?  

What about discipline on our roads? The president has dramatically increased road traffic offences fines.  It is believed these are just punitive measures that have not really improved road discipline.  We continue to have many of our road users disobeying road signs and rules. We continue to have unnecessary road accidents.  So what is the real root cause of this indiscipline?  Does it not start at a family level, at school, at the training centre, at work and at all social and community engagement activities?  What is the excepted level of discipline in our society?  How do we enforce national discipline as a country? Is it possible for the president to enforce national Discipline?   If you look at the definition of Discipline, the ultimate end result is self control. But this self control comes from a number of systems that includes teaching, training, molding, correcting and appropriate punishment as an enforcement tool.  If the punishment is inappropriate it could be counter productive resulting in more inDiscipline.

I believe Discipline is very important in any society that wants to achieve great national goals. Any society that wants to develop and become leader in any field must have some measure of Discipline. Discipline is import in attracting foreign direct investment.  Discipline is crucial in project procurement and implementation.  Our education system will fail if our students do not have Discipline, if our teachers do not have Discipline, if the maintenance and service staff lacks Discipline, if officials at the education ministry do not have Discipline, if the responsible minister lacks Discipline. It is a chain reaction with a root that must be identified and corrected.  This applies that in all areas of our economy and society in general. InDiscipline is like a disease, the good doctor will tell you that you cannot cure a disease by treating the symptoms.

The solution will start at a family level. But with families that are informed, empowered and supported to provide a moral upright and Disciplined child. This will not happen if the parents are themselves not Disciplined.  Now who Disciplines the family? It is a chicken and egg situation, it is a rock and a hard place situation; it is a catch 22 situation; it is a difficult situation that requires the entire nation to address. The President cannot do it alone but can set the tone and agenda for this to happen. The president must meaningfully engage the society and allow the society to come up with possible solutions. The president role should be to empower and incentivise the people to manage Discipline in their own communities and their areas of responsibilities.  It cannot be done overnight by one person.

Dignity is another component of the roadmap I want to discuss. I will start by establishing what Dignity is all about and what it implies.  The Dignity we are talking about is not the one about rank or position in society but the state of being worthy of esteem and respect. This is the Dignity that every member of society deserves and must have not the shallow one of inherent nobility and worthiness that is bestowed by society to individuals regardless of their input. The question is how then do we measure this Dignity that everyone deserves and must have?  Who assesses and assigns an individual a mark on a Dignity measuring stick? As a nation do we have Dignity? How do we know that?  Is Dignity measured by what we have as individuals, the jobs we have, the cars we drive, the houses we live in, the schools our children attend?  Is it not possible that you can have all the material possessions that the world can offer and still remain without Dignity?  

These are many questions to help us think through what the president had in mind when he included Dignity on his roadmap.  With the unemployment rate that we have in the country can our people have dignity? With the poverty levels throughout the country can our people have dignity? With the starving wages many of our employed people earn can Dignity be attained? With the shortage of land and lack of decent accommodation for most of our people can we have Dignity?  With my plum job, driving my Mercedes Benz, living in Phakalane and my mother, father and siblings living in squalid conditions in ‘Nowhere’ can I have Dignity and peace of mind?  With the level of corruption in the country where many jobs are gotten through corrupt practices, where tenders are bought, where wealth is accumulated through corrupt practices, where is Dignity in all these?

As I end, I would like to believe that the president 5D roadmap was relevant but it has unfortunately failed. It has failed mainly because the president failed to put appropriate resources to support his roadmap and to provide focused input into each D. He should have appointed a team of experts to unpack his roadmap and come up with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results focused and Time bound) objectives under each D.  This team would have been tasked to monitor and measure these objectives and report to the president on a regular basis at the pleasure of the president.

In summary, the roadmap was a good start to the presidential term of office because of the following;

There was and still is room and opportunity to improve our Democracy which has stagnated over the years and has become visibly stale.  It needs to be rejuvenated and modernised in many areas.

We need focused Developments that will give all our people a chance to achieve the best they can achieve for themselves and their families.  We need Developments that will touch the lives of our people in a notable way.

We certainly need Discipline to be able to achieve all our national and individual objectives. Who does not need Dignity?

So yes the roadmap was relevant, it is still relevant but it needs to be resourced differently in order to touch the lives of our people in a meaningful way.

Last week I said Instead of praying for rain, we should pray for wisdom to enable us to deal effectively with the Developmental challenges we face.  I would like to rephrase and say, while we continue to pray for rains, we must also remember to pray for wisdom and understanding that will allow us to plan and resource effectively in to order to achieve all our noble national and individual objectives.

Bernard Busani
E mail;  HYPERLINK "mailto:bernard.busani@gmail.com" bernard.busani@gmail.com;   Tel; 71751440

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