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Sunday, 26 August 2007

A cultural approch to Zambia's development....

I have been asked several times regarding my strong emphasis on culture in defining development. I thought it deserves a quick blog. The question is 'how do we link culture and development, and crucially, how do we connect chiefs chiefs to the national dialogue, and on what issues, etc?' Here is my quick take on this difficult but important question. Its one I think the nation cannot afford to ignore and the Mungomba Draft Constitution did a bad job by ignoring it.

The traditional approach to economic growth is to see democracy as a necessary condition to development. Indeed most of the discussions we have had on this blog emphasise that open institutions are much more suited for high quality growth. We therefore try and see that any cultural or social function must fit within that model. I would agree with that there is merit in that approach at the national or macro level, but I would like to see a more sophisticated approach on the local level.

The notion of “development” at the local level requires a more explicit ‘Zambian’ definition. To put it another way, the national institutional approach to development presupposes the meaning of “development” for everyone and realigns national institutions accordingly to deliver such high quality growth. It is quite feasible that an alternative definition of local development may command different requirements on the type of local institutions that delivers that development. In fact the reason why people are not experiencing the benefits of national growth at the moment is not just that the “trickle” down effect is minimal (I think it is there) but that local people have a different idea of what development means to them.

Now to some extent things like
participatory budgeting helps, but I think more fundamental approaches are needed. This is why I have argued that at the local level our nation needs to go through two steps:

1. Each locality in Zambia needs to define what local development it wants to see and what it means by development.

2. Each locality in Zambia then needs to ask itself, “What local institutions does it want to put in place to help deliver that development?”.

Now it might be the case that for area X “development” to them may means a greater emphasis on cultural norms (less democratic openness) than economic growth. For area Y it could be the other way round (more democratic openness and growth, but erosion of culture e.g. the Swiss model of referendums) or area Z it could be both (e.g. the Japanese model). We should then allow X, Y and Z to define their “local institutions” accordingly to deliver their goals.

What Government should not do is super impose its view of the world or its definition of development on local people. Local people must define what development means for them. In some cases, they will reject democratic openness and in some others they’ll embrace it. Of course then a challenge emerges : how do you align the “macro” picture of open institutions that delivers high quality growth, to the “micro” picture of intrinsic definitions of development – with culture and development interlinked and traded-off according to the preferences of each individual locality?

I think that is where the recognitions of culture at the macro level become important. The reinforcing of the House of Chiefs as a credible second chamber links local preferences on culture to national ideals on high quality growth. By accepting that locally, development also has a cultural perspective, our quest for national growth would not come at the expense of weakening our cultural institutions that some regard as part of the very notion of development. Rather development would come through a greater affirmation of our traditions and bringing them to the centre. If this logical premise is accepted then, Chiefs who are the very heart of our traditions must be recognised as having a primary role to play in our quest for higher national growth, and in defining that national growth.

A very important question we would have to consider with this approach relates to the practicalities . Yakima expressed it best in one of my discussions with him: "is it possible to generate a reasonably complete breakdown of the traditional functions which are or should be performed by chiefs and/or tribal councils?”.

My view is that at the local level, the role of chiefs would be dictated by how localities define development and the level of emphasis they would place on using existing cultural institutions to deliver that development (or keep it as some would see it). So the role of chiefs could even be an improved version of the role they played during colonialism as “native authorities” working hand in hand with local Government administrators and members of parliament. The problem at the moment is that Chiefs looks after the people but they have no budget. Everyone in the village runs to the chief for land and food. One of the great travesties of colonialism is that it reduced these institutions that served the people so well to an irrelevant spectator. The current framework of local governance has continued that approach and no wonder we find delivering local development (of whatever shape) such a challenge – we are constantly working with two systems (Government imposed system and traditional functions). A way must be found where Chiefs can become meaningful. We would need to deal with the issue of literacy for Chiefs, but it can be done.

At the national level – the key is a much stronger House of Chiefs. This will provide checks and balances to what Parliament does – similar to the House of Lords in England. But unlike the House of Lords, these chiefs will be having direct links to the grass roots since they would operate within local “native structures” of some sort.

If I may indulge a little bit: I think the beauty of my vision is that it neatly fuses modern principles of governance while holding onto the beauty of our heritage. In the end really we will never achieve political or economic independence until we develop a distinctly Zambian idea to solving our economic problems. We are struggling to achieve local development because there’s no local idea of development and no vision of what institutions can deliver a more harmonious route to getting there.

10 comments:

  1. Cho,

    This is just a first reaction to one of the crucial debates - how traditional structures of power and culture are incorporated in government, to give government a much greater connection to the people.


    New idea: incorporate chiefs into local government, by giving them a oversight function with limited actual governing power.

    I was thinking, my idea of councillors as very powerful implementors of national policy and regulations, could be complemented by subjecting them to a consultative role by the chief.

    Councillors could act like Indunas to the chief, combining high levels of eduction with the empowerment of $1.5 million from national revenues. The chief would have mainly a consultative role, the way a constitutional monarch has, while being entitled to 1% or so of the shares of all businesses that do business in his area.

    So intead of:

    chief -> induna

    you would have

    chief -> councillors

    Districts would be chieftainships, and (considering each district has about 250,000 people), so they would have about 8 councils. (There is quite a lot of flexibility in this concept.)

    Now is that grassroots or what? :)

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  2. I agree that local empowerment is the key for local development. The local people are in a better position to advise on local issues. However, in the current state there is a downside to that...given that the indunas or local elders are most of the time at the mess of the local barons who are elected on monetary prowess and shaddy reputations rather than good leadership and decision-making abilities..lets that face it if not handled properly this could be the shortest of the short cuts to the proverbial political and economic frying pan. In a world where corporation are more powerful than actual leaders there is a risk that the whole idea of culture based development and empowerment could lead to another empowerment mirage...some sort of unholy triple alliance between chronic bad leadership, corruption and lack of vision.

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  3. I was re-reading "Grass Roots Governance - Chiefs in Africa and the Caribbean", which is a collection of essays and some things come back again and again.

    1) Against:

    - Chiefs as a tool of the government.

    Their institution was abused, and they were too often used as tax collectors and labour deliverers to the colonial state. They were paid a small amount of money by the state. They also depended on a government stipend for their income.

    Solution: give chiefs their own source of income. This should make them financially independent from the government, and should make them a little less influencable by politicians.

    If they received some of the trade that occurred in their area, it would also give them an (extra) incentive to be pro-economic growth.

    2) For:

    - Pre-existing systems of local government
    - Trust and innate authority flowing from the people to the chief, instead of merely imposed authority
    - a strong and deep culture of consultation, instead of dictation


    3) Neutral:

    - popular basis of authority, versus geographic basis of authority

    How this can be resolved across international boundaries is another question. However, if chiefs had limited authority where policy is concerned, there should be as little as possible conflict between their roles and administration.

    One more note.

    KK was scared because of the Lumpina uprising, and he was always careful to balance 'tribe' on a national level. The fear of tribalism is one of the factors that drove him to draw more and more power to the center. Considering Zambia's relative lack of tribal conflict, it would be hard to argue that he was not successful.

    My question would be that if chiefs had real administrative powers, what would happen to the rights of the citizens who do not belong to that particular tribe or chief? Would this lead to an increase in tribalism and eventual secession? Also, permanent inclusion in the state should prevent tribalism from becoming nationalism.

    Also, there is the issue of nearly all tribes existing across national boundaries. Regional integration could resolve that issue.

    And another thing. I think Indonesia presents an interesting example. I don't know how much their chiefs, sultans, and other traditional and religious leaders have contributed to development, but they certainly helped foster a very strong cultural identity. Of course Indonesia is an island chain, which in itself bakes independence and local autonomy into the political and economic realities.

    I think in the presence of a councillors system that truly takes governance away from the center and grounds it locally both with technical abilities and budgets, it would have had a much bigger impact on actual economic development.

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  4. Cho-
    Great job on this piece!
    You draw valid attention to the different understanding of development among different communities. Central Govt's prescription of uniform development projects across diverse communities has contributed to the failure of most projects especially in the agriculture sector.
    I specifically agree with your proposal for local communities to decide what institutions they need to bring about whatever development they need in their locality.
    To illustrate my position, I will discuss the Barotse royal establishment. In my view how the Barotse royal establishment operates in the absence specific definition of the extent and role of this traditional system in a democratic system of governance presents the highest possibility of conflict between the two systems.
    In the pre-colonial era, subjects under the royal establishment looked to the establishment for;
    •Leadership and guidance on social norms
    •Maintenance of order and protection from external threats
    •Regulation of local economy and trade
    •Adjudication of local disputes

    With the introduction of a constitutional government at independence, the traditional system found itself subordinate to the state government in these matters. To mitigate this in-balance customary law was invoked and thus began the nightmare that chokes development in rural Zambia. To this day, there are as many diverse customary laws still in practice in rural areas, as there are as many diverse social and cultural groups.
    Because many customary laws, have largely remained unchanged and in some extent unchallenged, practices that are counterproductive to national development such as;

    •Early marriages.
    •Emphasis of traditional roles over education of boys and girls
    •Inhuman penalties for violating social norms,
    •Practice of unsafe medical procedures,
    •Destruction methods of agriculture etc.

    Still persists unchecked. As far as impact on human development.
    Consider this when the national economy was liberalized, a South African retail business Shoprite set up shops in provincial centers, in most cases they took over building that were once owned by ZCBC. When Shoprite went to Mongu, in an attempt to protect traditional business, the royal establishment allocated Shoprite a piece of land next to an abattoir garbage dump, several miles away from the local population.
    Further local people are not permitted to speak a word within a half mile radius of the official residence of the Litunga (local traditional king) by custom.
    The traditional court system (Kuta) still uses public flogging as a penalty for breach of any traditional social norms.

    Culture is a peoples’ way life and traditions - I have always struggled with these eternal questions-
    To what extent should one culture adopt that of another?
    More specifically to what extent should Zambians adopt western culture?
    Can we enhance our way of life everywhere, while hanging on to all of our culture and traditions?

    I believe in order to determine a meaning role for traditional leaders in local development, especially such as in the Model Mrk has proposed, we must first address these basic conflicts that exist between some of our customs/traditions and national governance.

    The content and nature of debate in parliament on 21st August, 2007 perhaps best illustrates my ambivalence towards the idea of direct traditional leadership participation at national level. This was the first item for debate that day-
    “COMPLAINT LODGED BY THE HON. MEMBER FOR NAMWALA CONSTITUENCY, MAJOR ROBBY CHIZHYUKA AGAINST THE HON. MEMBER FOR NKANA CONSTITUENCY, MR MUSENGE MWENYA
    Mr. Speaker: I wish to inform the House that, on 25th January, 2007, the Member of Parliament for Namwala Parliamentary Constituency, Major Robby Chizhyuka, MP, lodged a complaint against the Member of Parliament for Nkana Parliamentary Constituency, Mr M. Mwenya, MP.
    In his letter of complaint, Major R. Chizhyuka, MP, alleged that Mr M. Mwenya, MP, threatened him with violence and assaulted him by pouring beer on him at the National Assembly Member’s Motel on 18th January, 2007.
    Major Chizhyuka’s letter of complaint states as follows: Quote.
    “I write to complain that Hon. Musenge, MP for Nkana Constituency threatened me with violence and poured beer on my body at the Parliament Motel. He alleged that I had insulted the PF President by calling him a dog…” (http://www.parliament.gov.zm/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=593&Itemid=86)
    Without generalizing the scope of my fears, most members of parliament are noble men and women with formal education, however that such discourse forms part of our national archive of legislative history perhaps is indicative at least in some degree, of the long term effects of a rushed adoption of system of governance whose MO we are yet to completely master.

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  5. Now to some extent things like participatory budgeting helps, but I think more fundamental approaches are needed. This is why I have argued that at the local level our nation needs to go through two steps:

    1. Each locality in Zambia needs to define what local development it wants to see and what it means by development.

    2. Each locality in Zambia then needs to ask itself, “What local institutions does it want to put in place to help deliver that development?”.

    Now it might be the case that for area X “development” to them may means a greater emphasis on cultural norms (less democratic openness) than economic growth. For area Y it could be the other way round (more democratic openness and growth, but erosion of culture e.g. the Swiss model of referendums) or area Z it could be both (e.g. the Japanese model). We should then allow X, Y and Z to define their “local institutions” accordingly to deliver their goals.

    What Government should not do is super impose its view of the world or its definition of development on local people. Local people must define what development means for them. In some cases, they will reject democratic openness and in some others they’ll embrace it.


    I agree with that. We are both on the same page with regards to getting away from a ministry based system of governance, to a localized system of governance.

    A question to ask would be - what would it be like to live in such a system? Would such a diversified system still endorse universal adherence to freedom of speech, freedom of association, civil and human rights, non-discrimination, etc, that every citizen has a right to expect?

    This is the thing - as soon as people outside of the present administration have the money to put their theories into practice, you also buy into all the downsides that come with those. Right now, a lot of conflict doesn't exist because people don't have the money to actually enforce their opinions. They don't have the money to buy guns, private armies, etc.

    This is the biggest obstacle I could see about a system based on chiefs. Once they have enough money, what is there to stop them from settling their differences using force of arms? In precolonial days, there were certainly conflicts between chiefs.

    And without a priori land redistribution, isn't there going to be a conflict over land?






    A fundamental question would be - how do you assure that everyone has equal access to the services provided, without discrimination based on tribe, gender, etc?

    How do local differences in levels of cultural input effect every citizen's right to have full citizens' rights, women's rights, etc?

    Would local cultural factors exempt them from adhering to a national bill of rights that would apply to every citizen?

    More relevant on a theoretical level, can anyone be a citizen (of the state) and a subject (of the chief) at the same time?





    Of course then a challenge emerges : how do you align the “macro” picture of open institutions that delivers high quality growth, to the “micro” picture of intrinsic definitions of development – with culture and development interlinked and traded-off according to the preferences of each individual locality?

    I think that is where the recognitions of culture at the macro level become important. The reinforcing of the House of Chiefs as a credible second chamber links local preferences on culture to national ideals on high quality growth. By accepting that locally, development also has a cultural perspective, our quest for national growth would not come at the expense of weakening our cultural institutions that some regard as part of the very notion of development. Rather development would come through a greater affirmation of our traditions and bringing them to the centre. If this logical premise is accepted then, Chiefs who are the very heart of our traditions must be recognised as having a primary role to play in our quest for higher national growth, and in defining that national growth.

    A very important question we would have to consider with this approach relates to the practalities . Yakima expressed it best in one of my discussions with him: "is it possible to generate a reasonably complete breakdown of the traditional functions which are or should be performed by chiefs and/or tribal councils?”.

    My view is that the local, the role of chiefs would be dictated by how localities define development and the level of emphasis they would place on using existing cultural institutions to deliver that development (or keep it as some would see it). So the role of chiefs could even be an improved version of the role they played during colonialism as “native authorities” working hand in hand with Government local administrators and members of parliament.


    I can follow that. :)


    The problem at the moment is that Chiefs looks after the people but they have no budget. Everyone in the village runs to the chief for land and food. One of the great travesties of colonialism is that it reduced these institutions that served the people so well to an irrelevant spectator.




    The current framework of local governance has continued that approach and no wonder we find delivering local development (of whatever shape) such a challenge – we are constantly working with two systems (Government imposed and traditional functions). A way needs to be found where chiefs can become meaningful. We would need to deal with the issue of literacy for chiefs, but it can be done.

    A question would be - would it be ethical to educate chiefs before we educate the people as a whole?

    Just from an egalitarian point of view.

    Also, just throwing up a few models for chiefs to work in:

    1. President -> ministers -> chiefs -> administrators (councillors)

    In this model, the president would still have provincial ministers, the chiefs would act as district council leaders, and councillors would lead actual councils.

    2. (Local government) chiefs -> councillors

    In this model, chiefs would have a ceremonial role, while the councillors would do the actual job of governance. A bit like the Continental European constitutional monarchies, except on a local level. They would get to ratify a newly elected council, and maybe consult with them on a voluntary basis.

    3. district heads (chiefs) -> municipal councillors

    In this model, the chiefs would head the present districts, which would have about 8 councils to them each.

    4. chiefs (customary law, land use) -> councillors (healthcare, education, policing, public amenities, administration

    In this model, their roles are divided by function, chiefs would have a say so in for instance planning of land use, and their word would outweigh the councillor's.

    So another question would be - to what extent would their setup be lateral or hierarchical?

    At the national level – the key is a much stronger House of Chiefs. This will provide checks and balances to what Parliament does – similar to the House of Lords in England. But unlike the House of Lords, these chiefs will be having direct links to the grass roots since they would operate within local “native structures” of some sort.

    Once you get past the idea of an unelected body, that idea would be attractive.

    Also, could these chiefs be elected? For instance, if they are truly representative of their people, the people should have the opportunity to endorse their entry into a senate. I think in most cases, people would return their own chiefs, however, if the person is senile or losing it, or completely out of touch with the people in his area, there should be a way of not endorsing his or her entry into a policy making or policy ratifying body. Right?

    If I may indulge a little bit: I think the beauty of my vision is that it neatly fuses modern principles of governance while holding onto the beauty of our heritage. In the end really we will never achieve political or economic independence until we develop a distinctly Zambian idea to solving our economic problems. We are struggling to achieve local development because there’s no local idea of development and no vision of what institutions can deliver a more harmonious route to getting there.

    But I think mainly because money is not made available locally, to prioritize money toward local issues. I think a well funded local government system could do just that.

    However, there is a real psychological benefit from honouring tradition, and it would also increase social cohesiveness if correctly handled.

    The way I see it, technical issues should be performed by people with real expertise, while chiefs could have a role more like constitutional monarchs.

    Interesting link: check out Lesotho's Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship

    http://www.localgovt.gov.ls/TheMinistry_Departments_Chieftain.php
    http://www.localgovt.gov.ls/LocalGov_Structure_councilComp.php

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  6. ”However, in the current state there is a downside to that...given that the indunas or local elders are most of the time at the mess of the local barons who are elected on monetary prowess and shaddy reputations rather than good leadership and decision-making abilities” - Jay

    This is a valid point.
    However, my view is two fold. First, this is already the case. Local barons are always likely to yield a lot of influence to local councillors and MPs. The question is whether we have reason to believe this would be exacerbated under a more decentralised model anchored to traditional structures. I can’t immediately think why that would be case.

    Secondly, the model outlined above would sit well with participatory budgeting where local leaders and the people get together and decide the spending priorities. The participatory budgeting framework operating within a broader cultural framework as outlined above would alleviate the concerns you have raised.

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  7. >”Can we enhance our way of life everywhere, while hanging on to all of our culture and traditions?” - David

    My view is that it is not a matter of “hanging on”, it is a question of what we mean by development. The idea that development is about economic growth, consumerism and more choice is just one view of the world. The other view is that development is about the freedom to live your way of life to its full potential. Government policy should focus on increasing these ‘freedoms’. Culture and traditions define who we are as people and therefore shape the importance we place on certain “freedoms”. This is why development needs to be a local concept, because different local societies value different freedoms.

    To illustrate: If you asked me, which is better - a society full of high economic growth, but with no moral basis or do a highly moralised society with mediocre growth? My answer to that question will depend on what “freedoms” I value most. Is it freedom to live in a society where everyone can be trusted and chats to their neighbour, or a society in which I can drive any car I want? These are the questions that are intrinsically personal, but they demonstrate why a more local view of development is vital to meeting people’s aspiration compared to a national approach.

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  8. MrK,

    Thanks for your in-depth assessment of the issues. This is certainly an area that gets me very excited and I am keen to write something up in due course. So the more questions the better! And sources are good too!!

    A few thoughts on your thoughts.

    ”I was re-reading "Grass Roots Governance - Chiefs in Africa and the Caribbean", which is a collection of essays and some things come back again and again.”

    I was not aware of this, but I have immediately chased it up. Hopefully Amazon will deliver it quickly. If you know any other books touching on this subject, I would greatly appreaciate!

    ”KK was scared because of the Lumpina uprising, and he was always careful to balance 'tribe' on a national level. The fear of tribalism is one of the factors that drove him to draw more and more power to the center. Considering Zambia's relative lack of tribal conflict, it would be hard to argue that he was not successful. “

    I have a different view here. Zambia is peaceful not because of centralization of power, but rather due to the fact that it is multilingual. My untested theory is that there’s a U-shaped relationship between ethnic diversity and stability/peace. Nations are either peaceful with single ethnicity or with multiple ethnicity. Anything in between can become problematic especially duo ethnicity.

    ”My question would be that if chiefs had real administrative powers, what would happen to the rights of the citizens who do not belong to that particular tribe or chief? Would this lead to an increase in tribalism and eventual secession? Also, permanent inclusion in the state should prevent tribalism from becoming nationalism.”

    The model I propose handles this issue in two ways. First Chiefs are connected to the centre through a much stronger second chamber so they help shape the national state and understand its aims and objectives like rule of law, rights of citizens and so forth. Secondly at the local level as I pointed out to Jay Participatory Budgeting gives a voice people to engage with the Chiefs who provide the non-partisan leadership. The two go hand in hand.


    ”I think in the presence of a councillors system that truly takes governance away from the center and grounds it locally both with technical abilities and budgets, it would have had a much bigger impact on actual economic development.”

    I think other models do deliver ‘development’, but what defines what is being proposed is the nature of that ‘development’ and crucially how it defines and anchored to the people. Its non-political and its totally owned by the people and anchored in their culture.

    ”A question to ask would be - what would it be like to live in such a system? Would such a diversified system still endorse universal adherence to freedom of speech, freedom of association, civil and human rights, non-discrimination, etc, that every citizen has a right to expect? “

    Yes, because Chiefs are being brought to the centre through a greater Second Chamber and crucially through working with the Participatory Budgeting system.
    Incidentally the lure of having greater powers through the Second Chamber would allow them to give lots of leeway in other areas. It would enhance democracy rather than weaken. But of course at the local level, the Chiefs working hand in hand with the people is the essence of the system. No preconceived notions of what development means.

    ”This is the biggest obstacle I could see about a system based on chiefs. Once they have enough money, what is there to stop them from settling their differences using force of arms? In precolonial days, there were certainly conflicts between chiefs. “

    In precolonial days Chiefs where not connected to the centre. It was ‘purely’ devolution without any connection to the nation state. We offering something fundamentally different. A system that devolves power but links it back to the centre through a stronger second chamber. And a privilege for taking part in such a system, Chiefs would need to agree to engage the locals through the Participatory Budgeting framework.

    ”And without a priori land redistribution, isn't there going to be a conflict over land? “

    Under the model being proposed, land restribution and reform of customary law would be a walk in the park. With the Chiefs connected to the centre and with real admistrative power, they would not feel ‘threatened’. On the contrary through greater involvement of the people through a non-partisan process, the Chiefs would help formulate clear solutions on how to deal with the issue of customary land and so forth.

    ”A fundamental question would be - how do you assure that everyone has equal access to the services provided, without discrimination based on tribe, gender, etc? “
    Participatory Budgeting!

    ”How do local differences in levels of cultural input effect every citizen's right to have full citizens' rights, women's rights, etc? “

    No.

    ”Would local cultural factors exempt them from adhering to a national bill of rights that would apply to every citizen? “

    They would help shape the ‘bill of rights’ or whatever national legislation through their influence in the Chamber. This is a progressive model built with the bricks and mortar of our tradition.

    ”More relevant on a theoretical level, can anyone be a citizen (of the state) and a subject (of the chief) at the same time? “

    It’s the wrong question because it is not a choice between the two.
    The question really is can we have a viable nation state without a national consciousness? And where do you get that ‘national consciousness’? Its from our culture and traditions. Its not the question of choosing between belong to the state or being subject to the Chief, it’s the question of whether our central Government institutions are properly aligned with our local cultural institutions. And that is what we should strive for. We have Government and cultural institutions at the local level existing side by side. These are in constant conflict with each other, not because these are diametrically opposed but because the Government has not adequate to reconcile them.

    ” A question would be - would it be ethical to educate chiefs before we educate the people as a whole? ”

    You are equipping leaders, and through them you are benefiting society as a whole. Very ethical I would say.

    ”In this model, the president would still have provincial ministers, the chiefs would act as district council leaders, and councillors would lead actual councils.”

    Whichever model one adopts we must surely get away from the expensive waste of Provincial Ministers. They serve no purpose at all because they have no real power. In the model I propose Provincial Ministers are irrelevant. MPs and local councilors working with the Chiefs is the way forward.

    ” I think in most cases, people would return their own chiefs, however, if the person is senile or losing it, or completely out of touch with the people in his area, there should be a way of not endorsing his or her entry into a policy making or policy ratifying body. “

    In the Colonial era with Native Structures, the Chiefs who were illiterate or could not perform their functions always had an educated nephew or someone who stands in their place wielding the same power. I see no reason why that can’t apply today.
    But I am not in favour of electing Chiefs as a principle. We need to work with the institutions not change them. Participatory Budgeting and other mechanisms can be introduced to ensure that people have a say in the day to day running of affairs. With the Chief at the helm you are guaranteed non-partisanship. [electoral reform incidentally is something worth looking at as well – the idea of Presidents courting traditional leaders would need to come to an end, but its not necessary crucial to the model].

    ” But I think mainly because money is not made available locally, to prioritize money toward local issues. I think a well funded local government system could do just that. “

    No. Well funded local Governments could provide ‘development’. But here we are envisaging something special. A development defined by the people and articulated nationally through a second chamber. Culture and development become one. We cannot mention one without the other. We recognize that development is freedom to be the best that you want to be. We let people locally define those freedoms as their culture and traditions allow. Its more than a psychological benefit. It is a fundamentally different view of the world.


    ”Interesting link: check out Lesotho's Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship

    http://www.localgovt.gov.ls/TheMinistry_Departments_Chieftain.php
    http://www.localgovt.gov.ls/LocalGov_Structure_councilComp.php”


    Thanks, I am off to look into these :)

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  9. Great overview on the decentralisation process from dr. Royson Mukwena.

    This is an issue which has been playing for over 40 years.

    On the Constituency Development Funds:

    In 1995 the National Assembly introduced a “new innovation” to the financing of local development known as Constituency Development Fund (CDF). Under this initiative, the government allocates development funds on an annual basis to all constituencies under the control of the local MP.

    In theory, the CDF was supposed to enhance local development. But in practice, it appears that its introduction was driven more by political concerns than economic considerations. Indeed, since its introduction many MPs have sought to divert the funds to projects that further their political careers to the detriment of other, more useful projects.

    If central government were concerned with genuinely decentralising local development funding, it would have been desirable if the constituency funds were channelled through local councils.

    This could have boosted the finances of local councils and enhanced their role in local development.


    On District administrators:

    introduction of the position of District Administrator in 1999 is one major reform measure that undoubtedly was driven by political considerations than the desire to improve the administrative efficiency and effectiveness of local administration. Prior to the appointment of district administrators towards the end of 1999, there was no one at the district level that could be referred to as a political appointee representing central government.

    The district administrators have supposedly been appointed to coordinate activities at the district level as the most senior civil servants at that level. They have, among other duties, taken over the District Development Coordinating Committees from the Council Secretaries or Town Clerks.

    So far, all the appointments to the position of District Administrator have been made from the ranks of the party cadres of the ruling MMD. The activities of these political appointees coupled with the lack of specified minimum educational and professional qualifications for the position has lent credence to the view that the district administrators are merely the ruling party's watchdogs strategically placed to increase the party's chances of winning the 2001 presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.

    Several district administrators, for example, joined the recent failed calls for the Zambian Constitution to be amended to allow President Chiluba go for a third term of office during the 2001 elections; this action by district administrators was viewed by many people to be partisan. Further, during parliamentary and local government by-elections many district administrators have been involved in campaigns, an activity that is not expected of a senior 'civil' servant. In fact, the Zambian Civil Service Regulations forbid civil servants from active party political participation.

    Yet no district administrator has been disciplined for active involvement in party politics. This goes to show that district administrators were indeed appointed for political purposes and not administrative concerns.

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  10. Were not finding the younger royals inform press of their roles. Whendo they take concern not for thier elders authority but their own influence for development.

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