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Saturday, 3 November 2007

Quote of the week (Edith Nawakwi)

"We were told by advisers, who included the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, that not in my lifetime would the price of copper change. They put production models on the table and told us that there was no copper in Nchanga mine, Mufulira was supposed to have five years life left and all the production models that could be employed were showing that, for the next 20 years, Zambian copper would not make a profit. [Conversely, if we privated] we would be able to access debt relief, and this was a huge carrot in front of us - like waving medicine in front of a dying woman. We had no option [but to go ahead]"

- Edith Nawakwi (ex-Finance Minister)
Edith Nawakwi trying to shift the blame on the IMF / World Bank, but only succeeding in making herself sound incompetent. The 'devil made me do it' has never got anyone off a crime. For indeed it appears that we came under pressure from young graduates at the IMF and World Bank who spent one week in Zambia and flashed a few models on the table and we crumbled. Full discussion of the Undermining Zambia Report here.

12 comments:

  1. Nawakwi may have more success from being liable for Zambia's bad judgement regarding the sale of mines by pleading temporary insanity. All other explanation, I will not accept! Where were the former ZCCM experienced executives and especially their very educated young graduates from Engy at the sale of mines? Did they not have access to geologic and financial data to deduce models from by themselves??

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  2. Cho,

    Whatever everyone's faults, haven't we just concluded that the IMF actually withheld donor aid?

    That seems to be the operative, coercive action that should be condemned, and that will probably cost them dearly in court.

    They withheld 1/3 of the Zambian government's budget, so their buddies at the mining companies could enrich themselves and 'buy' Zambia's mines for next to nothing.

    No need to blame Edith Nawakwi any further.

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  3. "No need to blame Edith Nawakwi any further."

    I humbly disagree :)

    As fitty_ngwee shows there are plenty of questions she must answer.

    Not least because she is our only hope for getting to the bottom of this fiasco. What data did they have? We need to get to the bottom of these questions.

    Nawakwi' explanation so far does not make sense. We need to make sense of it.

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  4. Out of incompetence or corruption, I guess I prefer incompetence... :/

    We knew from square one that it wasn't handled brilliantly.

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  5. Cho,

    You're right.

    Fitty_Ngwee,

    Where were the former ZCCM experienced executives and especially their very educated young graduates from Engy at the sale of mines? Did they not have access to geologic and financial data to deduce models from by themselves??

    My guess is that the IMF wouldn't have liked to involve them at all.

    But exactly how they were excluded would be for Edith Nawakwi to explain.

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  6. Critical thinking was not applied. This was and continues to be the case in Zambia for a number of reasons:

    a)Colonial hangover (Inferiority Complex)- Some professionals have no faith in their own credentials and abilities to analyze the information and apply it to serve the needs their own people. We feel inferior to westerners so much so that we will defer to them and their suggestions even when the westerner in question is - to use an Urban English colloquialism - 'chatting shit' that will only benefit them.

    b) Wanting to be nice. Zambians are a genteel people. To be seen as hustling for a slice of the pie is perceived as uncouth. We like to be nice. Unfortunately you cannot afford to be nice when you are swimming in a sea of sharks. They will eat you alive. Our niceness is an affliction thats killing us.

    c)Lastly - Muzungu wanga/Yes Bosses culture prevalent when you have few people wielding almost absolute power and everyone else dependent on them for professional survival. (e.g. MPs appointed by the president, Judges appointed by the president and so forth). When the person at the top wielding all the power is compromised everyone else is screwed(Yes I have no facts but I believe that Chiluba and all his cronies must have collected fat cheques from the IMF and westerners in General). The fact is that professionals in such a predicament can't afford to start challenging or being critical of the hand that feeds them. They can no longer serve the nation as they are now dealing with issues of personal survival.

    This whole saga has brought a few issues to the surface and it's time for the nation to introspect. We need to get over our collective inferiority complex, we need to start looking out for number one & we need a new constitution that clips the Presidents powers back a little.

    IMF, World Bank & foreign investors will do what they need to do to make money. Be it lie steal cheat or bribe. That is not going to change. We are the ones that need to change and acknowledge our collective responsibility for this mess.

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  7. ANGELICA,

    Thanks for a great post. I hope to read your opinion here more often.

    Yes I have no facts but I believe that Chiluba and all his cronies must have collected fat cheques from the IMF and westerners in General

    I really hope so, because that would put the agreements on an extremely shaky legal foundation, if it didn't make them illegal outright.

    This whole saga has brought a few issues to the surface and it's time for the nation to introspect. We need to get over our collective inferiority complex, we need to start looking out for number one & we need a new constitution that clips the Presidents powers back a little.

    A proper division of the three powers of state and a free fourth estate.

    A lot of the powers that now rest with the president should be devolved to the civil service, parliament, independent state agencies and civil society organisations.

    Please check out my Manifesto and don't hesitate to comment.

    http://maravi.blogspot.com/2007/06/my-manifesto-for-economic.html

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  8. Beyond economics, business models and politics, Zambia's development continues to be undermined by a lack of meaningful land reform and transparency in governance as Cho and others have outlined in other discussions.
    The presentation that lead to the Lumwana project was prepared by three graduates, probably withless credentials than most former ZCCM engineers. The guys travelled to Zambia, Lumwana and spent less than 90 days there, yet apart from their geological and economic models they identified vulnerabilities in Zambia's land tenure and taxation policies that have together worked to undo the terribly weak leg of whatever legal or moral case we can ever hope to stand on.
    Since the land on which lumwana stands, falls into to the craft we created between customary and state law - Equinox managed to get us on both ends ( the got the local chief and our President) and now hold title to the land.
    What we need is to reform our land policy, the exploration of Lumwana started way back in 1932 yet who knows where the next potential Lumwana scale discovery will be made? not the chief in the area not the people in the area but only a few guys at the anglo america ,mines ministry or the president. I get sick thinking about this, should not the land in Zambia be vested in the people of Zambia! not in a corrupt President!
    Then perhaps average Zambians will take a keen interest in the exploitation of our national resources.
    Taxation/mining royalties is another pain in my neck, can we please have open, transparent discussions about these matters especially in relation to mine sales, government needs to put this process thru parliament not in some private office.
    Nawakwi and other may have heard that small voice of their own conscience protesting the terms of the mine sale but temptation of inducement and the general cloud of secrecy in which this whole affair was undertaken may have served to seal our sad fate.
    If the Zambian parliament was involved as is the case in the US congress -everytime Gov borrowed or spent tax payers money or resource perhaps we would not be having this discussion or the loss of proceeds from the exploitation of our God given natural resource in Lumwana.

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  9. I think this is the time for all parliamentarians to stand up, and state that a future government that contains their party will not honour any development agreement or mining contract, if it has not been debated in parliament.

    It is time for parliament to assert it's right, including under international law, to oversight.

    It will send a very clear message to any mining company that if these agreements are not made in public, they will stand on very shaky grounds where it concerns future governments.

    It is time for parliament to start claiming it's rights.

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  10. Edith Nawakwi trying to shift the blame on the IMF / World Bank, but only succeeding in making herself sound incompetent.

    I would like to make two points about that.

    1) If the IMF did actually suspend $530 million in donor aid, they are responsible first and foremost.

    2) Why doesn't she appear to be supported by a professional civil service technocrats? Certainly the Ministry of Finance should have people with experience in the copper markets and the copper industry.

    In fact, how much support does the average minister get from the civil service?

    By the way, I see you have added word verification. I too have been hit by blog spam.

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  11. MrK,

    Yes, the spammers can keep one busy! So I thought word verification is best. Hope its not inconvinient.

    On the substance.
    I agree the IMF / World Bank should shoulder the blame, but as citizens we have not the elected the IMF / World Bank. We have elected our leaders. It appears in this case that those we have elected have not fully explained themselves and are simply putting forward loose excuses. This is what annoys me.

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  12. So Edith Nawakwi chose to believe production models put forward by the IMF? What did production models from the Ministry of Mines suggest? Or should I be made to believe that technocrats from the Zambian govt new nothing?

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