Agro Show Merits, Demerits [opinion]
(AllAfrica Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) THE agricultural show should be supposedly a show piece of our master pieces of our prowess and novelty and ingenuity, however, what we witnessed this year at the Agriculture and Commercial Show broke the core of our consciousness.
Everywhere we looked or went to and every person we spoke to and listened to was only a display of man's fallen nature!
It truly reflected why we are not able to change our society as we have not discerned that we are indeed fallen sons and daughters of the morning dawn.
But why do we say so?
This is a very cunning statement and we should really have a strong origin and reason for saying and making these allegations against the multitude that attended the show.
Let us start with the theme itself since this is the origin of the confusion and the chaos that surrounded the entire facade.
The theme for this year was, 'business in a changing environment'.
And this where we have a big problem as, when there is no origin or reason in a theme, the ultimate result you get is a display of fallen nature with a character and form.
What is it about the theme and the character of the show?
We have questions about which includes: Was it about business in a changing environment or?
Was it an environment that is or has changed to do business?
Was the theme about business or was it about the environment? Or Was it about the environment that is changing as business is being done? What was it about exactly?
These are pertinent questions and the expectations of everyone reading this article is that they need answers!
Or if these are problems that we are presenting the expectation of everyone is that they require solutions!
However, this is where we are all wrong and this is what proves our fallen nature.
Questions like these do not require answers but solutions, and problems like these need answers and not solutions in order to change the existing context and predicament that our society has found itself in.
The theme was wrong as it was developed to entice people and organisations to come and showcase the bad fallen nature and celebrate their character and form of a lack of freedom and responsibility.
The theme provided for the organisations and their representatives a seemingly secure environment in which they thought they were displaying their ingenuity, but regrettably, it was a bad display of thought feeling action language and practice that left us with a bad taste and feeling about the whole show.
Why do we say so?
The theme this year because of its lack of clarity was the origin of all the confusion that was at display at the show, within the show and about the entire show itself.
The question to ask is what was primary between the environment and the business? What came first on the agenda of the entire show? Was it business or the environment?
Or was it the concerns and issues that deal with the change in the environment or the business?
Clearly, things were wrong from the beginning and thus throughout the course of the week onwards erroneous things were being demonstrated and performed at this year's show.
Let's not just be judgemental but give practical examples of what we mean and what we presuppose in this display of evil and our experience at the show.
Because it was about business and business is about money, everyone went to the show either to make money or spend money.
These were the two major reasons why people and organisations went to the show. Of course, there are also a few that went to give money to this wrong cause.
Now because money was important we paid attention to the money first and visited the central Bank of Zambia to find out how they interpreted the theme for this year!
And we arrived at this public institution and were met by man seated at the entrance.
What we thought would be public officials did not look like they were, since they were dressed in pop and splendour and, therefore, did not meet the criteria to be called public officials.
The place also on the inside and outside was a display of the nation's beauty as this is where money and the people who look after money are found.
It was a real display of prosperity and the power of the people and the institution they represented over those they worked for.
We went in and requested to meet someone we could interpret the theme for this year and how it related to the purpose and functions of the central bank in business in a changing environment.
We were directed to a gentleman seated comfortably in his display and array of what the bank stood for and this was part of the personal and organisational arrangement at this year's show.
We introduced ourselves and the purpose of the visit and clearly we could see that he was busy and did not have time as he was trying to organise the office for a meeting for directors.
We took notice of his unpublic behaviour in a public place and therefore begged for him to spend not use, but spend his precious three minutes of his time to answer just one question we had about money.
We posed the question on what the definition of money was for the bank of Zambia and this is the answer we got and not the solution we expected.
He said with a display of arrogance retorting that if we had been to school, 'money is a medium of exchange' and he said so with confidence.
We were taken aback and clearly we knew this had to do with either the education background of this person or it was maybe the resulting effects of the indoctrination he has received overtime for serving in the public bank in his private capacity for private reasons that he was displaying to us in public.
We asked him, 'is money an exchange medium or a medium of exchange'?
And he repeated angrily and reminded us that he didn't have time and that this was a very academic question.
We left and headed to another banking institution, the Development Bank of Zambia, so that just maybe, they could have a better answer to our problem with the theme and its interpretation.
Again we were met with scorn and discontent by a young lady displaying what we later concluded as her power of feminine ignorance and hostility in a place of work.
She was clearly from the beginning disturbed as we found her chatting with a female colleague over a cup of coffee or was it tea?
She went into a room that looked like an office which is a front as we have indicated with our bank of Zambia experience.
She came out and gave us a pose, a display again or is it an enticement or temptation since we were all men?
However this is not what we were looking for, but we were on a public mission to get answers for our problem and solutions to our questions over the theme and money.
We asked the question and as usual we got an answer and not our expected solution. Surprisingly for us she commanded us to follow her on the outside as she displayed before us this unfriendly strut and of course we ignored it as this was not the purpose of our visitation, we were merely messengers of the public.
She begun by showing us what was on display on the outside of the building and which was an array again like at bank of Zambia of the pop and splendour of a financial institution we are made to understand and instead of a humble institution of finance if we were to be honest with ourselves.
We let her speak about the bank and what it stood for and as she was explaining, for one reason or another she just stopped and asked whether we know anything about DBZ?
To us this caught us unaware but we were ready for the challenge since our mission had to do with the origin of the theme.
And so we responded that we knew very little and that was the purpose of our visit so that we could learn from her. She told us that she felt that time was an issue for her as she had some 'deadline' to meet not a live line but one which was dead. Anyway, we didn't want to take much of her time and we asked her when DBZ was established and surprising she wasn't sure but she said, it must have been 'somewhere around 1984', was not sure, and here was a majestically dressed young lady displaying her ignorance in public in a public institution.
We asked her if at all there was anything wrong with the theme and how DBZ operated?
She had no answer for this problem since she thought it was not an important question.
We then wanted to find out what the definition of DBZ was?
The reason for our asking was that, we thought the name gave an entity its character as it was said and it became or came to be called what it was called the 'Development Bank of Zambia' or DBZ!
We asked if there was any problem with the name and how this affected its purpose and how it was viewed by the public.
We then went just a little further and made a suggestion, that suppose the bank was to be called, 'The Bank for Development of Zambia' or BDZ?
To which she retorted with scorn again that it did not make sense to her and she saw no reason in changing the name and felt the bank was playing it public role very well in the changing environment which it had no control over.
We asked the money question and no solution was given us, we presented our theme problem and no answer was given to us.
This is the display that was at the centre stage of DBZ and maybe we had gone to a wrong institution as we were to be told by another lady who the young lady referred us to as she felt she could not provide solutions to the questions we were asking and she had no answers to the problems we presented.
We felt short changed as people say, but we had no choice since we needed this very important information and we had to take what we were given true to the song ' what you see is what you get'.
The young lady gave us a questionnaire to complete before she could introduce us to the senior person who had management responsibilities and upon reading what we had written she called a lady who looked exhausted and since it was the last day of the show.
We reasoned that the show had taken its toll on her and we empathized with her and did not sympathise for her as it was part of her calling and she clearly is highly paid or rewarded by the public for the functions she performed for the public and the role she played in the bank.
She came and introduced herself and asked what we wanted to find out and this took us by surprise as we thought the show was about institutions showing the public what they did, how it was done and where and when they did whatever it is they did on behalf of the public.
The show is for all an evaluation exercise for our society on how institutions and individuals in their groupings made of diverse backgrounds were accountable for what they did as they contributed to development through business.
Public social responsibility is what the show is all about. It is a talkshop for the public and the private to talk and shop for ideas on business and business ideas especially that the environment was forever changing.
The lady who came later became emotional and ended up not helping us in anyway and dismissed us with scorn and reproach and when we requested her to listen to her conscious, she informed us that she was a Christian and her conscious was right and she deserved to be where she was in the bank.
To cut a long sad story short, we were told to go to DBZ after the show and they will give us the application guidelines if we needed finance and this is if we met their criteria and since the money that DBZ had was not just government money but also from private shareholders it may not be easy to get this money.
We however, informed her that we will go to DBZ and we will expect to be given guidelines for application and not application guidelines as these were not user friendly to the public, the real owners of the bank, the public.
She responded with venom in her breath and threw ridicule at us that, no wonder the bank was in a difficult situation with financing as people like us got loans and never paid back as the perception was that this was our property.
We responded to her that this was a result of the corruption brought about by their application guidelines as the reason behind this framework was wrong.
What the bank needed were guidelines for application which is a process and a reason and not the emotion that the bank presents through the framework called application guidelines.
We did not give up and decided to visit the pioneer among the higher institutions of learning in the country and in this case, the University of Zambia (UNZA). We approached the exhibition area from the eastern side and since the wind was blowing to the west we did not hear the sounds that hit us immediately we arrived at the UNZA pavilion. It was an environment that had changed from that of business to a concoction of chaos. To the visible eye this was just an institution at the show showcasing their different departments.
However, for an institution expected to produce the ingredients for the development of the nation, the environment they created at their pavilion said a lot about who they are and what they represent to our society.
Here we say the characteristics and form of organised chaos; here we experienced a group of people and an institution displaying internal disorder and external confusion in their thinking about the show.
They displayed or showed off their internal bedlam and external anarchy as their feelings for the show.
The staff and the UNZA radio personnel displayed internal pandemonium and external commotion as their action at the show.
And entering this stand or place required extra effort, yet this is where one expects orderliness and organisation of the minds of the country being demonstrated.
We saw and experienced internal disarray and external turmoil as the result of our visit to the UNZA stand. We fought our way through this chaotic environment and found the inside packed to the brim with people waiting to be served by people who were not behind their tables.
Surprisingly though, in the front of some tables sat what we concluded were expatriate staff at UNZA who were in no position to respond to any of the problems and questions that people presented.
We were looking for a table where our theme question could get a solution and our money problem could get an answer.
The person at this table had just walked out and we were told by the person on the front of the next table who was visibly an expatriate to pick anything we wanted from the materials that were displayed on this empty table.
As we went ahead a lady showed from nowhere and suggested what we could take and what not to take as some materials were for reference only as the staff responded to problems and questions that needed answers and solutions.
In the end we got help at this table and moved on the far end of the room where we found a young and energetic gentleman light in colour with an elderly lady seated behind the table but she could not attend to us and requested that we wait for the gentleman.
He was busy sharing some information to a young lady and we were patient and had the time to wait since that was the reason we had come for to attend the show and gather knowledge from those who it was difficult to get in their offices as they were either in a meeting or at a workshop.
Finally something got to our attention and on the wall behind the table was a narrative about the department we were visiting and on it was something on educational psychology and sociology.
We got interested and decided to find out why there was no educational physiology?
Fortunately for us, the young lady left the gentleman and gave us opportunity to engage with the gentleman. We greeted him and he responded with enthusiasm to our delight but when we asked him why UNZA did not physiology as part of their educational component?
He retorted with contempt that this was in the school of medical science and we reminded him that physiology had nothing to do with medicine but had alot to do with emotion of people.
This is a field that studies feelings or methods and processes of people.
He arguably defended the institution and since we were not there to argue but to learn, we listened attentively as he arrogantly displayed his ignorance on how important feelings are in the faculty of emotion and we were taken aback and realised finally the rationale behind the frequent UNZA riots.
This is because the institution does not address the emotions of students, including their staff. We wanted more information and we explored what counselling program was available to address student's emotions and we were told that they had psycho-social counselling.
We tried to find out why they had left out the physio part of this process that involved, the psycho - which is the faculty of origin and reason and jumped to the socio - which is the faculty of action and result?
How on mother earth can an entire university not address a faculty on emotions that dealt with the feelings of the students or their physiological methods and processes.
As we tried to engage further the young man excused himself as he had something urgent outside to attend and said he was to see us later.
We took our time and waited for him to return, however our wait was in vain and we consoled ourselves by speaking to the elderly women who express sympathy for us that we were not getting what we wanted and we decided to leave the building without any help and this was a real shocker for us and we realised why we have problems with the setting of the minds of our people and not that we have problems with the mindset.
Here was our cream in as far as provision of tertiary education is concerned and yet their staff who we expected are learned enough and be able to respond to our concerns had issues that affected their interests and as a result they did not meet our needs and those of all the public.
We needed solutions to our questions and answers to the problems that we had. We left UNZA and decided to visit the media houses to acquaint ourselves with their interpretation of the theme.
We started with Radio Phoenix where we found two gentlemen and had a chat that started with a question from ourselves.
We asked one of the gentlemen whether Radio Phoenix was buying or selling. Unfortunately this question threw him off guard and he referred us to his other colleague from the marketing department since our question was about buying and selling.
As soon as we started the conversation he wanted to respond to the same questions that he had earlier refused to provide solutions to.
To cut a short story and not make it long we visited many places namely
ZICTA - public relations manager or officer a very arrogant lady failed to explain the core business of the agency.
She could not distinguish between the three information communications and technological, what the core business was for the agency.
She did not know which one was an end or the means to an end for the authority.
Zambia Bureau of Standards - a very disappointing experience where the personnel were drunk throughout and when asked to explain what they meant by conformity assessment?
They failed to give an answer. What is the role of the agency in Zambia? Is it standards to conform or is it conformity assessment?
They had everything wrong from their objectives and deliverables. What a waste of public resources.
Road Development Agency - this where we met someone who is doing her work in Loyce Saili the senior manager for corporate or is it public relations?
The logo for the link 8,000 speaks for itself what the vision, mission and goal of the agency is all about.
The logo of the pave 2000 is also another example of what logic and clarity means to people and this is the only place where we can say we had visited a place where God has some hope for the future.
The only issue that we had and which was not addressed was the name of the entity to change from Roads Development Agency (RDA) to The Agency for Development of Roads.
The logic is not in the name and are said in reverse.
This is why the agency seems to have a conflict in the way it is operating, its focus is on roads as the reason and development as the feeling and agency as the action.
It should read agency as the reason development as the feeling and roads as the action.
This is where we will evaluate the organisation on the actual action and development of roads in the country. Here at least the only problem is in the logic of the name.
Workers Compensation Fund - here we were received by a very welcoming lady and at least she knew what she was talking about, however, she could not agree with our proposed name change to read the FUND for compensation of workers. It is logic again and methodology which is wrong everywhere.
Department of Youth - another disaster here - people serving as fronts were put to man the place and they had no answers for problems that people presented and only showed arrogance and ignorance of they were doing.
They had forms for the youth empowerment funds which they said were confidential. The question was why they were put on display.
We asked her to explain the modalities for applications or guidelines for applying and the criteria that was used to assess the recipients?
We inquired on the tools used to assess performance and the development of business model that they used to arrive at their decisions.
These questions cause a near riot on the young lady as she protested and walked away in anger as she could not answer nor solve any concerns that were presented to her.
She later admitted that she was not a member of staff in the department of youth. So much happened here and if we were to write we would write a book about our escapade and agony at the show of fallen nature.
World Vision - here also things are wrong starting with name. We asked what their vision was Zambia and how this was part of their world vision?
The lady got confused and run away and a gentleman took her place and he urged with no logic and tried to explain according to him the issues that world vision focused on in the community and yet issues are external to the organisation and what they needed to focus on were concerns and not issues.
We asked him what interests the organisation was serving and he gave us the needs of people as their interests. We asked him what aspirations the organisation had and he told us of the choices that they made available to people.
Here is where the confusion is in Zambia.
Managers of development programs do not understand the difference between concerns and issues and interests and needs etc and they should apply these in their work. We asked them to have a vision for Zambia and not a world vision which was irrelevant to the issues and needs of the people.
Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs - total confusion here again and too confused to comment - our only concern was why the traditional courts did not fall under this ministry to harmonise with their mandate.
Why are they under the judiciary?
They could not answer this problem.
The National Prosecution Authority - total confusion here in explaining the purpose of the authority.
Again the logic is not there as there is no logic in Zambia and methodology does not exist all anywhere you went.
We went to ZNBC and asked for a brochure on the corporation and my dear young lady Inutu Himanje, went to look for one and returned with nothing as they had finished.
We checked the objectives of ZNBC that were on display on the glass polished walls inside the corporation and asked Inutu if they were logical and she saw that they were wrong.
They are written in reverse order and are illogical. What is first is put at the end. The means to an end have become the end itself.
We asked her to check what was written about the Sunday interview with Gravazio Zulu and she saw that it was wrong and she said it was very interesting what we were discovering and asked for our card so that she could have an interview with us on Wednesday.
We didn't have a card but promised to go back to where we was displaying ideas and would return with a card.
It took us less than 15 minutes to get back to ZNBC and gave her our card and we challenged her to keep her word as she has never kept her word in the past.
She promised and as we write she has never gotten back to us.
We spoke to Gravizio about the lack of logic in his narrative and he said he didn't know anything about it and he could not remember what is written on it.
Despite having made an appointment to see the ZNBC Director General, he could not see us on Monday August 12 2013 and we have been given an appointment for Wednesday August 21 at 14 30hrs.
We intend to help ZNBC to check its facts and establish that what they are doing lacks logic and methodology.
In short we were never helped at ZNBC and we have no plans to go back for any interview other than to meet their chief angel the director general or is the general director of fallen nature.
We will end here as the list is getting too long and our conclusion is that something needs to be done with all organisations, especially those that employed public servants.
(The author is national director of The Plain Truth, a non-government organisation. His views in the article represent the organisation. Comments:0964039662)
Copyright The Times of Zambia. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
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