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Friday, 7 September 2007

Quote of the week (Ben Mwila)

Thought I should introduce a new Friday column, 'quote of the week' to capture the most amusing / insightful / funny comment I have come across in the Zambian media / blogsphere during the week. This week's quote comes from Ben Mwila commenting on Prof Chirwa's new membership of MMD:

“The business of trying to import leadership you don’t know is dangerous, because Zambians have to vote for the people they know. They don’t have to vote for qualifications. In Malawi, they thought they were importing a doctor, Dr Kamuzu Banda but they ended up importing a monster”
Ben Mwila questions whether academic qualifications signal anything about your leadership quality. Interesting that no one ever entertains the other extreme being true - poor academic qualifications do not signal anything about your ability to lead the nation.

51 comments:

  1. It appears that Prof. Chirwa has unsettled many politicians in Zambia. The man has achieved a lot. I think if he didn't have leadership qualities he wouldn't have achieved a lot. Starting and developing a new concept which is recongnised worldwide is no joke.

    Are leaders born or made? If they are born, is it why anyone in Zambia can wake up and join politics?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am not familiar with Prof Chirwa's accomplishments. What has he achieved? I did a google search but I couldn't paint a picture. Any information you have might be useful.

    In terms of leadership - I think there's such a thing as 'natural ability' in every area of life but we can all cultivate these skills.
    The key is what happens in your early years of childhood.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Cho,

    Check out his profile here:

    vhttp://maravi.blogspot.com/2007/09/prof-chirwa-zambias-world-acclaimed.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. Here is an article from the University of Bolton:

    http://data.bolton.ac.uk/news/archive/nov2001-5.html


    University News Archive

    Bolton Institute Receives £16.5k Funding for Aircraft Safety

    The engineering research team, headed by Dr Clive Chirwa from Bolton Institute, will be reporting to the Commission on modern structural and passenger protection technologies for enhanced aircraft safety. They will also explore new technologies to improve the interior safety of aircraft and its passengers. The findings will be employed to formulate the European policy on aircraft safety.

    Dr Chirwa, is one of the few internationally recognised experts in the field of structural crashworthiness and is the editor-in-chief of the worldwide technical journal ‘The International Journal of Crashworthiness’. He has been called upon, to advise her Majesty’s government on many issues concerning aircraft, rail and road vehicle crashes.

    Dr Clive Chirwa commented,

    “This is a great honour for Bolton Institute to be assigned this important task by the European Commission. This international recognition has been borne from previous achievements presented to the European Commission through a number of research studies carried out.”

    Read more...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, MrK

    Reading the two links reminds me what my brother in law once told was wrong with Zambia. Whenever someone is successful as an engineer we always try and elevate him/her to non-engineering role.

    My own view is that Zambia would benefit from someone like Prof Chirwa in a non-political capacity. He should be challenging the Government and offering independent ENGINEERING related advice.

    This is the kind of expertise Zambia needs. We have too many politicians.

    Infact Zambia suffers from gross misallocation of its talent. We have generals who aspire to be Presidents. Engineers who want to become finance ministers...and so forth...

    This of course is a symptom of the brain drain...If we had all the professionals abroad back in Zambia...I am sure the laws of specialisation would ensure that Dr Chirwa did for Zambia what he does for other Governments...which is being a CONSULTANT on safety...

    Thats just my own view.

    07 September 2007 19:16

    ReplyDelete
  6. This of course is a symptom of the brain drain...

    How about Minister of Technology and Vocational Training?

    Or maybe Zambia needs an institute to promote technology, set up technology parks, as he is already doing.

    Here is another article, where he pledges to set up a $4.1 million technology park.

    http://maravi.blogspot.com/2007/09/prof-chirwa-pledges-k164bn-investment.html

    The brain drain itself is a symptom of the fact that Zambia does not have a fully developed industrial and manufacturing base. So anything that would solve that issue would help solve a lot of other issues too.

    What we must have, is a government that does everything in it's power to stimulate a masssive number of Zambian SMEs and medium sized farms, so some of those can grow into Zambian owned and managed large companies and corporations.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "In terms of leadership - I think there's such a thing as 'natural ability' in every area of life but we can all cultivate these skills." Cho.

    How do you reconcile the statement above to this..

    "Whenever someone is successful as an engineer we always try and elevate him/her to non-engineering role." Cho

    Prof Chirwa heads a dept at Bolton in addition to his is advisory role to the EU. Do you think his current leadership credentials are insufficient for him to discharge with distinction, the limited function of a Zambian member of parliament or indeed cabinet minister?
    What do you think would prevent him, from developing the natural ability you rightly assign to every other man.
    As a fellow Zambian, I am proud of your accomplishment as an economist, if ever you feel the calling I would much rather have someone like you in parliament than some of the MPs currently misrepresenting the interests poor Zambians.
    Let's give due credit were it is deserve, stop undermining your own. Prof Chirwa is the world,s foremost expert in his field, the US, UK and many other countries have had presidents/politicians of all manner study, law, medicine, the army, navy etc. They have done just fine.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "How about Minister of Technology and Vocational Training?" - MrK

    I was reading this month's Airline Business Magazine. The Minister in charge of aviation in China is actually a pilot for one China's commercial airlines :) He flies a commerical flight once every month to keep his licence. And he has been credited for the liberalisation of air travel and the boom its currently experiencing. In theory therefore someone who knows the challenges of the industry can help and make a difference.

    The question for me is whether operating in a political capacity would be the best way to use his talent. And in addressingt that question, I am simply asking what a "benevolent dictator" allocating resources across Zambia would do!

    Zambia needs independence of thought - is my own opinion. If the Civil Service was independent as well, then may be if he was a Permanent Secretary in the Department or even an independent adviser to the President on these matters. Something like. We need independence of thought!!! External challenges...every democracy needs this especially with the curent state of politics in Zambia.

    Incidentally if he really was interested in politics he is better off join the opposition, because good democracy needs a strong opposition!

    My rule is this:

    You want to change Zambia? Okay. You have three options:

    1. Create a think tank or some other forum with an independent position.

    2. Advise Government directly, but ensure you always remain independent.

    3. Join the opposition and strengthen democracy.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Just when the MMD cam into power in 1991, the late Edward Shamwana as chairman of the then Local Government Electoral Commission before it was merged with the Electoral Commission of Zambia, suggested that the minimum qualification for anybody to aspire for the position of councillor should be Grade 7, repeat Grade 7, there was an outcry in the country that made the man look as if he was out of this world and forced him to climb down.
    Does anybody remember the joke that went round when a certain person was appointed as a deputy minister in the environment ministry about their limited knowledge of issues involved in that portfolio?
    I think it is high time we put a premium on qualifications and what the holders can do and how far they can go. We now have a basis for comparison about what our three presidents have done at their various levels of education.
    I suppose we can give full marks to the graduate who has turned things around in six years compared to the combined 37 years of non-graduates, with due respect.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I was reading this month's Airline Business Magazine. The Minister in charge of aviation in China is actually a pilot for one China's commercial airlines :) He flies a commerical flight once every month to keep his licence. And he has been credited for the liberalisation of air travel and the boom its currently experiencing. In theory therefore someone who knows the challenges of the industry can help and make a difference.

    Right now, professor Chirwa has pledged to set up a $4 million technology park.

    How many technology parks could he set up with his ministry's budget?

    That would seriously help stemming the brain drain.

    ReplyDelete
  11. In terms of leadership - I think there's such a thing as 'natural ability' in every area of life but we can all cultivate these skills. The key is what happens in your early years of childhood.

    Harvard professor Howard Gardner wrote about this in his books on different intelligences, "Frames Of Mind" (1983) and "Multiple Intelligences" (1993).

    I do think that there are different mindsets in people who excel in biology, physics, mathematics, music, painting, etc. - their disciplines pretty much demand it.

    I don't know how good a politician professor Chirwa would make - in addition to being an excellent engineer.

    However, if his employment in government is an extention of what he has been doing most of his career, that would be an excellent fit.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Cho-

    Please shadow some light on what you mean here...

    "And in addressingt that question, I am simply asking what a "benevolent dictator" allocating resources across Zambia would do!" Cho.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "In terms of leadership - I think there's such a thing as 'natural ability' in every area of life but we can all cultivate these skills."

    How do you reconcile the statement above to this..

    "Whenever someone is successful as an engineer we always try and elevate him/her to non-engineering role."
    - Anonymous

    Actually, I see no contradiction :)

    The key point here is comparative advantage. All of us have the potential to be leaders. The question is which activity does Professor Chirwa have the comparative advantage in compared to other would be politicians? I think Zambia would be better if everyone approached it from the angle of the nation and not themselves!! But of course that is the ideal world, as someone told me recently - we don't live in the ideal...we live in the now :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. "We now have a basis for comparison about what our three presidents have done at their various levels of education."
    - Anonymous

    Thats harsh!!
    ....but I can't find holes in your logic...lol!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. "Right now, professor Chirwa has pledged to set up a $4 million technology park. How many technology parks could he set up with his ministry's budget?" - MrK

    Since Ministers should not be operating in markets they administer, the opposite argument is that you would be removing a potential investor from the sector :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. "Please shadow some light on what you mean here..."And in addressing that question, I am simply asking what a "benevolent dictator" allocating resources across Zambia would do!"
    - Anonymous

    What I meant is that the real question is what is best for Zambia not necessary for the individual. Another way to think about it is, if you had every Zambian at your disposal / control and you were able to decide who worked in which job, where would you place Prof Chirwa?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Cho-
    Did you stay up too late last night?
    This is your personal website and you have the right to express your oppinion, however you may consider taking the road less travelled and admit a little conceit. This would not make you neccesarily a bad person, we all fall into it occasionally.

    Try putting youself in Prof Chirwa boots, then consider this trail...

    "I am not familiar with Prof Chirwa's accomplishments. What has he achieved?" Cho (the bemba translation of this question is even more contemptuous)

    "Whenever someone is successful as an engineer we always try and elevate him/her to non-engineering role." Cho ( you might want to research the power and capability of a human mind and what can be accomplished in 24 hours of effective living ).

    Please do not take any offense, am only expressing my humble oppinion am still a fellow Zambian.

    ReplyDelete
  18. "I am not familiar with Prof Chirwa's accomplishments. What has he achieved?" Cho (the bemba translation of this question is even more contemptuous) - Anonymous

    lol!!
    Except I am not speaking in Bemba. At this stage I get pleasant memories of my late father, who always counted in Kwachas when we talked in Pound Sterling...

    The question should be read as it was written. This is why MrK who I exchange thoughts with on a regular basis simply provided the link and did not assume I was being condescending to Prof Chirwa. I have the ultimate respect for Prof Chirwa and his academic accomplishments. Especially, now that I have been exposed to them by MrK.

    I do think that Prof Chirwa's "comparative advantage" lies in Engineering and therefore as a Zambia I would rather see him do what he can in that field when he goes to Zambia in 2009.

    "Please do not take any offense, am only expressing my humble oppinion am still a fellow Zambian" - Anonymous

    Not to worry!
    Good dialogue requires openess.
    Although, I do encourage people who atleast use the anonymous tag to state their locations (if they prefer not to enter any other nickname). At the moment I detect atleast two individuals using the anonymous tag on this particular post. Which can be confusing :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Cho-
    I hate to have to come back to this but there is a fundamental aspect of our culture( respect) at stake, if such trends remain unchecked.
    You may not realise this and I truly hope, human frailty as evidenced by your late father's trouble with currency is NOT the only thing you learnt from him.
    You are in England and probably speak english all day ( I hope you have shaken off first language influence).
    I only used the word comtempt because you choose a crude tone of questioning Prof Chirwa's accomplishments even after you had googled his name.
    Like you the first time I heard his name , I did a google search and I couple of results came up with Bolton appearing a number of times. Besides his title is Professor, what jusfification can there be to pose a crude question like -
    "What has he achieved?" cho.

    We can debate comparative in refernce to his decision to join politics advantage but how would you take it if an economist like you, was ever asked a question like;
    What do you know about currency?
    I just wish you had phrased your question better tone for example -
    What is Prof Chirwa's expertise?

    You can spin your view, how ever you please.This is my last word on this.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Cho,

    Since Ministers should not be operating in markets they administer, the opposite argument is that you would be removing a potential investor from the sector :)

    I think there wouldn't be much competition, as these parks would have a very local nature. There should be at least one in every major town, so if he just starts one...

    And I think markets themselves and and should be created by governments, where it is desirable.

    There are perfectly good examples of 'capitalist' economies where the state owns the roads, public markets, etc. As long as there is a healthy exchange of information between the state and the users of these facilities, it can even help ensure competition within those markets, by preventing markets becoming property of the major business that uses it - which can then exclude competitors from using them.

    What we are really talking about is creating the infrastructure for privately owned companies to use. And doing that would do a lot more for development than simply depending on FDI, as the neoliberals would.


    Anonymous1,

    Chill out man. This blog is about the exchange of ideas, not about being overly cautious about stepping on some person's toes.

    Nobody here has really said a bad word about professor Chirwa - yet. :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous1,

    I have not said a bad word about Prof Chirwa. My apologies if my question caused offense.

    Can I just say, that of course now that Prof Chirwa has entered politics, he will expect much much much worse than my 'innocent question'. I notice that some are already calling Prof Chirwa a hypocrite. See here.

    ReplyDelete
  22. MrK,

    I agree, there's a strong role for Government to create so called 'missing markets'. Markets that do not exist due to high upfront costs, or suffer from 'coordination failures'. Government can be the first mover that bears the costs in order to encourage others to take part.

    But, my comment was not so much about Government's role. It was whether an individual minister should operate in a market that he/she looks after. There are pros and cons. The pros is that they would really look after the interests of producers...wait that may be one of the cons!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I do not think Professor Chirwa can rightly be called Zambia's foremost engineer.

    He is one of Zambia's formeost academicians in the engineering field. I would like to see what momentous Engineering project he has implemented or innvation he has introduced. How many patents does he have to his name. Other than that to me is another academic with lots of letters after his name.

    As for engineering well I want to see his Kariba Dam or Airbus A380 or volkswagen or Golden Gate bridge. If hehas no such record he is just another academic churning out papers and theories. We have enough of those in Zambia thank you let alone abroad.

    Until then prof. Chirwa for me is nothing remarkable.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This recent post

    "I do not think Professor Chirwa can rightly be called Zambia's foremost engineer....

    Until then prof. Chirwa for me is nothing remarkable." Anonymous

    Is the reason, I do not let what others call minor indiscretion pass without comment.

    Again, Prof Chirwa is the world's foremost expert in HIS field ( Structural crashworthiness of substances used in cars, planes,trains etc).
    I do not know if its the poor quality of the education system in Zambia or not but we seem to have difficulty understanding the impact on changing meaning adjectives have in writen words.
    Anonymous and others -the next time you see an Isreali government spokesperson explain an incident in Gaza, listen very, very carefully how they choose their words and the impact on your perception of the incident, you might learn something you may have missed in school.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Cho,

    Government can be the first mover that bears the costs in order to encourage others to take part.

    And it can always privatise (in the true sense of the word) later on, by floating shares on local markets.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Are Ford or Daimler-Benz, Toyota or Hyundai or Boeing beating a path to his door ? I take your word for it that his the world's formost expert in this field. Though I do wonder what he is doing at a rather mediocre red brick University or Polytechnic like Bolton or whatever.

    Can you please provide links to published papers patents to buttress your statement. Until then to me he is just another Zambian academic and as I pointed out we have surfeit of those albeit he is in a field not normally known to have eminent Zambian practitioners.

    Sweeping statements like the world's foremost expert in anything really have to be proved.

    All we want is some proof ofthis elevated status that is being ascribed to this man of letters.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anonymous-
    You have access to the internet, do not rely on my word.
    Mrk has links listed in his posts on this page- there is a place to start, Good luck and don't forget to tell us what you find.

    ReplyDelete
  28. For links on professor Chirwa, check out:

    http://maravi.blogspot.com/search/label/CLIVE%20CHIRWA


    http://www.nwua.ac.uk/docs/pdf//NW_Objective_2.pdf

    After initial enquiries within the University of Manchester, UMIP
    located a world authority on vehicle crash testing and set up
    meetings with Professor Clive Chirwa at the University of Bolton.
    Prof. Chirwa was able to confirm that the design exceeded the
    requirements of the relevant roof crush-resistance standards.

    ReplyDelete
  29. David Kabamfwile , USA9 September 2007 at 19:30

    Cho and Mrk-

    Cho thank you for been fair, on Prof Chirwa's accomplishment, I did not mean, to put you on the spot.
    Back to the main subject- the comparative advantage of brilliant minds participating in politics, what are your views on Gary Kasparov's attempt at making a run for the big office in Russia?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Here is what I found on Prof Chirwa:

    Clive Chirwa
    PhD

    Title: Professor / Head of Engineering Research, University of Bolton, Bolton,UK

    Clive has the following academic degrees:
    PhD, Aerospace Engineering, Cranfield University, UK
    M.Sc, Automotive Engineering, Cranfield University, UK
    B.Sc, Automobile and Tractor Engineering, Volgograd University, Russia in 1980

    Dr. Chirwa is the Chair of Automotive & Aerospace Structures and Head of Bolton Automotive & Aerospace Research Group (BAARG) as well as the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The International Journal of Crashworthiness. His recent paper: Flaws in Malibu I and II interpretations of test results that have influenced many poor rollover roof designs.

    Born and bred in Mufulira, Clive, studied and married in the Union of Socialist Soviet Republic in the late 1970's. He then worked briefly at the Mechanical Services Department before joining the University of Zambia as a Lecturer. After obtaining his doctoral degree in 1986, he briefly worked at UNZA in the same capacity before moving on to University of Liverpool, UK.

    He recently told an interviewer, "I've worked tremendously hard to reach this particular position. To complicate the issues I am African and foreigner. I am a pioneer in my engineering field of crashworthiness, indeed I am number one in the world and people come to me for advice on technology. Therefore, presidents, prime ministers, ministers, senators, EU Commissioners, company directors, technical staff, academics and my colleagues who are totally Caucasians have come to accept me because of my input to modern science, technology and engineering as a whole. ". To read full story, click here.

    In 2004, the joint American National Academy of Sciences and the British Royal Society gave him the title of Distinguished Professor of Crashworthiness. He is the elected president of the European Union of Transport and Safety Network, and often consulted upon by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transport. He is the world-class engineer.

    Address: Chair of Automotive and Aerospace Structures, The Bolton Institute; Deane Road, UK-BL3 5AB Bolton, UK.

    Tel: +44 12 0490 0600 Fax: +44 1204 399074 in Zambia (till 9/7):+260 0977376600.
    e-mail: c.chirwa@bolton.ac.uk
    Website: University of Bolton

    ReplyDelete
  31. "what are your views on Gary Kasparov's attempt at making a run for the big office in Russia?" - David

    Chess players are not necessarily brilliant minds. I speak as someone with an ELO of 2100. What chess players are able to do is think 'logically' and possibly analyse issues from many angles. I would therefore say that Kasparov may well struggle with some of the intricacies of the policy world, unless he can be more than a Lt Spock. People talk about how chess mirrors life, but what is interesting is what makes chess different from life. In chess the rules are clear, in life all is blurred.

    ReplyDelete
  32. My skepticism about clive chirwa is because of what we went through with chiluba.

    His first cabinet was full of dr this and dr that and what did we get ?

    Furthermore clive Chirwa seems to have a talent for self promotion. Why ? What are his real motives ?

    There has also been a tendency in Zambia and in Africa to laud to the skies anyone percieved to have made it abroad as being somehow better than the ones who have stayed in Zambia.

    Also a healthy skepticism is necessary in life. I feel we have had too many messiahs or saviours promising to lead us to the promised land and instead we have be led into the waterless desert which we are now slowly making our way out of.

    Kudos to Clive Chriwa for all his achievements but let us keep a level head here. Is the one to lead us to the Holy Grail ? I have my doubts.

    ReplyDelete
  33. "There has also been a tendency in Zambia and in Africa to laud to the skies anyone percieved to have made it abroad as being somehow better than the ones who have stayed in Zambia". - Anonymous

    I am inclined to agree with Anonymous on this particular statement.

    I think the question for me is not what qualifications someone has or where they got them from. It is whether that person has PRACTICAL experience of the job he is being asked to do. EXPERIENCE is the key.

    Most of the politicians in Zambia who aspire for the high office have never worked in a Government before at any level [either local, regional or national]. I am not saying experience is the only driver. But it has to be a major part.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous,

    You wouldn't happen to be Prof Lungwangwa by any chance?

    He said exactly the same thing as you yesterday:

    "We are tired of graduates who are not practical and productive. Zambia is in a hurry to develop and cannot afford to have people who think in terms of their credentials instead of proving their relevance and be of service to others," .

    http://allafrica.com/stories/200709100059.html

    ReplyDelete
  35. Cho and Anonymous-
    Prof Chirwa my have blown his trumpet liitle, I might us - What have you two done for Zambia that exceeds what Prof Chirwa has accomplished to back up this view you both espouse?

    ReplyDelete
  36. excuse my L1 interference, the "us" in the previous post was meant to be the word "ask".

    ReplyDelete
  37. David,

    Its unfortunate I have to point you to the "Comments Policy" of this blog [see the side bar]. It makes it clear that "ad homimen attacks" are not encouraged.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

    They do not advance the discussion forward.

    I hope you understand.

    Thanks,

    Cho

    ReplyDelete
  38. David Kabamfwile, USA10 September 2007 at 22:56

    If the question I pose is an "ad homimen attack", what would you categorize this in reference to my former lecturer at UNZA?

    "Until then prof. Chirwa for me is nothing remarkable." Anonymous

    "Furthermore clive Chirwa seems to have a talent for self promotion. Why ? What are his real motives ?" Anonymous

    "We are tired of graduates who are not practical and productive. Zambia is in a hurry to develop and cannot afford to have people who think in terms of their credentials instead of proving their relevance and be of service to others," . Posted by Cho

    And you agree with all these statements!
    This is my last comment on your blog, Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  39. David,

    I am extremely puzzled by your last message.

    First an "ad homimen attack" cannot occur against Prof Chirwa because he is not taking part in the discussion. I gave the link precisely to be clear what "ad homimen attack" meant. An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the person", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to an irrelevant characteristic about the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim.

    By definition Prof Chirwa is not taking part in this discussion and therefore you cannot accuse Anonymous of making an 'ad homimen attack'. On the other hand, you made such an attack. Instead of challenging Anonymous / myself based on reasoned arguments, you chose to attack us as individuals.

    Secondly, you wrongly attributed comments to me, that belongs to PROF LUNGWANGWA. I simply quoted him to substantiate my point - that in general I favour leaders who have practical experience. My aim was to spark a broader discussion on the qualities of leaders - something you started with the Kasparov question.

    As an aside, I think if Prof Chirwa is what I believe him to be - and we are bound to meet since I go up north often. He would not mind someone like Anonymous stepping on his toes. In our work, we all face many challenges. Our opinions are constantly challenged. We use the negatives to highlight the positive. I have heard much worse said about academics.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I think people like David do not understand my point of view. My point of view is very simple.

    I am skeptical of someone who appears from nowhere and seems to somehow insinuate he has the answers for everyone.

    I have been told there are at least 300 Zambian professors teaching all over the world. There are maybe ten times that number of PHDs also beavering away mostly in academia all over the world. There are thousands upon thousands of degree holders also working aboroad.

    One of them comes home and blows his trumpet loudly about what he has achieved and so on. He is widely praised and promoted all over the press. All of a sudden he is now being lauded to the skies as the answer to Zambia's problems.

    I have my doubts. As pointed out earlier chiluba's cabinets were full of Dr. this and Dr. that. A whole bunch of Dr. this and Dr that were also put in charge of the civil service.

    Anyone can tell you that the government machinery under Chiluba almost collapsed. Civil servants were not only receiving salaries late but at times the payroll processing was not being done on time.

    Everywhere the only tangible thing people could see where endless seminars and four wheel drive vehicles in Lusaka. Service delivery actually retrogressed and became worse.

    We Zambians have learnt a hard lesson. Phds do not ensure water flows from a tap when you open it. Nor does they seal potholes in roads. Or ensure medicines are in hospitals.

    As for Profesor chirwa as far as I can tell he has done much more for foreigners abroad than he has done for Zambia. he has not died in Sierra leone as some simple soldiers did. Nor has he delivered babies in primitive conditions without proper equipment as our medical officers do every day. Nor does he fight crime in our towns and cities without proper equipment as our gallant policemen do every day. Nor does he struggle to teach children with no materials in dilapidated or even non existent clasrooms like our brave teachers do.

    Please let us get things in perspective. Teaching white people in foreign Universities and wrihting lots of learned papers in foreign academic journals does not contribute anything to Zambia.

    It does wonders for personal achievement like tenure in a UK university and gaining a chair there. It does nothing for Zambia.

    We have a right ot be skeptical. Real education is about questioning and exploring your subject matter. Not taking anything you read in the newspapers as gospel truth.

    Ladies and gentlemen, Clive Chirwa maybe Zambia's next great hope. If he is, he must expect thorough examination of all his credentials. It is that simple.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Anonymous (11 September 2007 00:53 ),

    As for Profesor chirwa as far as I can tell he has done much more for foreigners abroad than he has done for Zambia.

    What do you expect from the guy? That he's Superman, and that he has done everything? What does it matter if he worked abroad? What would you want him to do for Zambia?

    Professor Chirwa is an engineer, and a specialist in crashworthiness. Should he walk on water and lead his people out of the desert too?

    Maybe it is time that institutions were strenthened, so this emphasis on individuals can be replaced with systems?

    By the way, it is interesting to hear finance minister Magande wanting to see greater development of systems in the Daily Mail.

    http://www.daily-mail.co.zm/press/news/viewnews.cgi?category=5&id=1117454730

    ReplyDelete
  42. Reading through the post I sense a common Zambian illness regarding comment abou proffesor Chirwa -PHD- or Pull Him Down! We as a people have been conditioned not to like anyone that put their heads above the pulpit. Like any serious thinking Zambian I have looked up Chirwa, There is no place were I have found him proclaiming to be Zambia's saviour or propagating his credentials or archievments(He happens to be an academic.. is a man not supposed to talk about his work!) Surely, it is every Zambian's birthright
    to have political ambition, I see nothing wrong with any Zambian presenting themselves to the Zambian people and offering their expertise or services. Give him a chance and remember he is an academician(who has spent many years abroad)He may not neccesally have a softisscated understanding of Zambian politics or people of someone barely litreate such as Sata. So I say , with all the mediocre leadership that we have -Give the man a chance.

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  43. Wrong my friend. It is not Pull Him Down it is please let us know you better.

    AS I have repeatedly pointed out we had a whole bunch of highly educated academics in charge of our country from 1991 to 2001 the results were calamitous.

    I would challenge anyone to prove to me that Chiluba's government could actually be called a smoot running administration.

    We saw a situation where the civil service became even worse than before, education crumbled, the health sector stagnated and corruption skyrocketed.

    Pull Him Down is the syndrome where any Zambian when challenged to tell us who he is and when his record is thoroughly examines runs and hides behind instead of standing firm and proving all doubters wrong.

    So my brother please it is very simple show us how an expert in car crashes and vehicular integrity will contribute to this country's well being.

    People do not eat aeronautical post graduate degrees or professorships in medicine ?

    In the end any aspiring leader or for that matter incumbent leader should articulate the real issues which eventually can be crystallised into one simple sentence:-

    When can every Zambian live in clean healthy surroundings, eat well, clothe themselves and enjoy basic essentials of life like security, gainful employemnt, good health, fair and judicious use of their country's resources.

    So it seems to me if Clive Chirwa is the man he should be examined from left right and center it is called democracy. I want ot know who wants to lead me.

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  44. The gentleman that addreses me as a friend..I accept your friendship,but I am afraid I do not accept your argurement that Chirwa wants to 'lead' you.

    As far as i can see the man has only expressed oponions on how we can improve our nation.

    Is joining a political party a declaration of leadership?I thought every Zambian was free to join any political party or express his opinion.

    I just do no share some people's preoccupation with the man's education. It really does not matter much. Leadership is much more than having stacks of degrees.

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  45. Pandawe Nobi Champo,

    I just do no share some people's preoccupation with the man's education. It really does not matter much. Leadership is much more than having stacks of degrees.

    I don't think anyone here has gone gaga over anyone's credentials. However, why shouldn't academic credentials be a condition for the higher ranks of government?

    And, then there is the issue of the capacity he would serve in. Minister, special advisor, president? I think that is mainly why people are upset - that he could somehow become the MMD's president in 2011 (although I doubt he will).

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  46. I sense there are two separate conversations taking place.

    Anonymous's central point if I have understood it correctly is that Zambians should not look to PHD / Professors as saviours.

    I believe his comments are directly linked to the "Quote of the Week" article since in that article the debate is whether in 2009 Prof Chirwa would be a force to be reckoned with. Prof Chirwa has publicly declared his membership and MMD have signalled that he represents the future of MMD. Anonymous is therefore right, I think to examine him.

    Pandwe's point on the other hand relates to the very assumption that Prof Chirwa intends to run for high office. I think Pandwe is right in so far as we have no clear statement from Prof Chirwa that he will indeed do so. However what we have from him is the announcement that he will return in 2009 and take active part. The MMD hierachy are also touting him out as future leader in the party. So I think it is safe to assume that Prof Chirwa won't just return and sit idle!!

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  47. Mr. cho. You have hit the nail on the head. Mr. K also buttressed my opinions with one pithy comment. We should be building institutions not individuals.

    I have reservations about people claiming to have answers to our problems and they come touting along list of degrees after their names.

    The leafy campuses of New England or cambridge or MIT or the boisterous lecture rooms of UNZA are very far away from the dusty streets of Chipulukusu, Kamitondo, Msisi and Chawama.

    Zambian academics unfortunately have a poor record so far in leading this country forward into its rightful place in the pantheon of nations.

    We need the right mix of practical experience and intellectual brain power.

    Proffessor Chirwa is a breath of fresh air. A Zambian who has done us proud with his academic achievements abroad.

    He is being touted as Zambia great new hope. This is where for me the doubts begin to creep in.

    What is his CV as regards management of resources ? Management of people ? Administrative brilliance ? Where is his common touch with the people ? After 30 years in Europe does he still eat cibwabwa and rape and kapenta ? Does he have the necessary in depth knowledge of our country in order to formulate policies that will pull us out the ofthe abyss of poverty and stagnation we languish in ?

    I have a suspicion he does not. he is talking about establish supply chains in Zambia. Has he had to grapple with our tortorous logistics supply chain ? Our critical lack of skilled man power of all types from machinists, draughtsmen, boiler makers, electrician all theway to engineers ? Our crippling power shortages ? Our corrupt, inefficient and meddlesome bureaucacy ? Our weak and inefficient judiciary which ensures enforcing contracts is an iffy proposition ? Our high taxes ? Our poor, creaking infrastructure ? Our inefficient, extremely expensive telecommunications infrastructure ? Our high HIV rates ?

    I think not. He has to learn and learn fast if 2011 is the year for him. Let him prove critics and skeptics like me wrong. Iwill admire him even more for it.

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  48. I agree that we need to know where Prof.Chirwa stands on a multitude of issues(education,health,tax, etc).

    It is my central argument that we should move away from the politics of personality to a more mature form of politics based on policy.

    In other words , What does Chirwa stand for?What is his manifesto? Although I agree and believe that a good all round education is essential in a leader,I refuse to pass judgement on Chirwa based on his educational qualifications.. I just do not care about his degrees!

    I would rather discuss his ideals about the important challenges that we face as a nation.

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  49. "After 30 years in Europe does he still eat cibwabwa and rape and kapenta ?" - Anonymous

    hahaha.....

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  50. "it is my central argument that we should move away from the politics of personality to a more mature form of politics based on policy." - Pandwe

    I agree.

    But Zambia's current political system invests too much power in the individual than the system. So inevitably attention is always draw to the personalities who seek that office.

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  51. for starters let me add my own rumblings.

    first of all prof chirwa is master in crashes and how to avoid them in theory and maybe that mterialises in practice?

    the fact he is willing to invest so much of his hard earned cash i hope the focus is most zambians to benefit not the case of those close to him.

    well can he manage other people and handle their qualities, i don't know.

    he has already said the they call him the perfectionist in politics their people that know the job but don't know how to handle critisms.

    well we wait and see how far he can bottle it up with the majority of us that are not so fortunate.

    good luck prof. i guess you have already analysed the situation back home.

    do you remember the contractors in western province trying to build the road in the plains?

    ReplyDelete

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