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Sunday, 23 December 2007

"McLaughlin Awards" 2007

For the New Zambia 2007 Awards , we shall follow the fantastic categories provided by one of my favorite television programmes - The McLaughlin Group. Being a big fan of the screaming exchanges between Tony Blankey and Pat Buchanan, its only right I should pay homage by adopting their much celebrated categories of the yearly "McLaughlin Awards" (now celebrating a 26-year run, given out each December).

Biggest Winner of 2007

Iran - After having the specter of war hanging over them for the last two years, the Iranians not only managed to humiliate the likes of Great Britain over the "sailors", but also found themselves strangely vindicated by no other than the USA Intelligent Estimate.

Biggest Loser of 2007

Joseph Mulyata - The Southern Province Minister found out that kneeling for President Mwanawasa was not enough to prevent ACC bringing corruption charges, which has now got him kneeling in jail as he awaits the trial.

Best Politician

Barack Obama (USA Democratic Presidential Candidate) - within 11 months, the young American senator has climbed from a no-hoper to a potential President.

Worst Politician

Chrispin Musosha (Luapula Province Minister) who was reported by The Post to have beat up PF cadres who booed him during the Chingola bye-election, and thereby becoming the new face of "political hooliganism". To his credit, Mr Musosha has still kept his job.

Most Defining Political Moment

The defeat of the MMD candidate (and PF defector) Charles Chimumbwa to PF's Wylbur Simuusa in Chingola was unique. For the first time in Zambia we had a scenario where the electorate helped enforce party discipline. The next MP contemplating to switch sides will think much longer before he/she choses to defect.

Most Boring

The fight against corruption as led by the Task Force. Just about the most boring work in the nation. It has been going on forever but has actually achieved very little. The "latest achievement" has been the pardon of Katumbi.

Bummest Rap

Edith Nawakwi's poor attempt to shift the blame on the IMF / World Bank, when asked why she signed such poor mineral agreements on behalf of the Zambian people. The IMF / World Bank can be blamed for many things but not forcing you to be incompetent.

Fairest Rap

The hardhitting Undermining Zambia Report that claimed large mining companies were selling Zambia short whilst generating huge profits from the country’s finite natural resource. The pressure from the report was intolerable for KCM who were forced to respond.

Best Comeback

Jointly shared between Jacob Zuma (new ANC President) and David Cameron (UK Conservative Party leader). The former managed to do the impossible by beating a seating President. The latter managed, with a single speech, to engineer an incredible bounce back in the polls like we have never seen before.

Most Original Thinker

Ron Paul (USA Republican Presidential Candidate) who has grasped the powers of the internet and runway away it. Yes he wont win the Republican nomination, but his ability to raise money online has been phenomenal!

Most Stagnant Thinker

Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe's President), who has kept to the same line since I can remember "its not my fault, blame the British".

Best Photo Op

Its gotta be George Mpombo who continued the culture of kneeling!

Enough Already!

The National Constitution Conference. Zambians have had enough. Enough of the talking with no results and enough waste of money!While many of our people live on less than $1 a day, NCC delegates are being payed a staggering $350 per day over the one year life of the NCC.

Worst Lie

The international media led by the Guardian and Times Online who predicted Zimbabwe's collapse by December. As I write Zimbabwean leaders are now locked in fruitful talks to resolve the situation. The economy is still in tatters but the anarchy predicted by the international media and certain "experts" has not materialised.

Capitalist Of The Year

Celtel Zambia. The growth of Celtel which has been discussed at length this year has been nothing short of extraordinary. Long may it continue!

Person Of The Year

General Petreaus (USA General) for doing the impossible in Iraq. Petreaus has actually managed to bring order out of chaos. Reports from Iraq still show that it is not yet an oasis of peace, but since Petreaus took charge the situation has radically improved.

10 comments:

  1. It was a close call between Mpombo and the Korean legislators....who had a punch up....lol!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Most Stagnant Thinker

    Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe's President), who has kept to the same line since I can remember "its not my fault, blame the British".


    I completely disagree on this one. What is happening in Zimbabwe is revolutionary, and unlike anything even attempted in Zambia.

    Robert Mugabe must get a lot of credit for being the first African country to finalize decolonisation, by taking back his economy, and starting by taking back the land.

    Even Thabo Mbeki in South Africa has not dared to go so far.

    As a result, of course, Mugabe and Zimbabwe as a whole are mercilessly punished for it, by the known and usual suspects.

    The West has no rights in Africa that can be placed above the natural rights of the people of the continent, let alone the right to stifle development of Africa's economies. The ownership of Zimbabwe's prime agricultural land by a mere 4500 farmers was an outrage that he set straight.

    History will be very kind to President Mugabe. When all the dust settles, and vested interests in Africa's land have been swept away, people will see clearly who was right, and who lied in the media, in order to protect land that wasn't theirs, and to protect their egos.

    With so little of Africa's land under cultivation, it is no mystery at all why people in Africa starve, or why they are poor. Return the land to the people, and most problems will disappear.

    The old nationalists have the guts to do this. The neoliberal accomodationists do not.

    Best Photo Op

    Its gotta be George Mpombo who continued the culture of kneeling!


    I don't know if kneeling itself constitutes and entire culture, but that is more of a semantic criticism.

    However, the first thing that struck my eye was not George Mpombo kneeling, but Levy Mwanawasa's matching suit and sofa. And who decorated that room, I wonder.



    Bummest Rap

    Edith Nawakwi's poor attempt to shift the blame on the IMF / World Bank, when asked why she signed such poor mineral agreements on behalf of the Zambian people. The IMF / World Bank can be blamed for many things but not forcing you to be incompetent.


    We have been through this before, though. There is no way the IMF/WB can escape the majority of the blame, as they the donors suspended a large part of the government's budget until they would privatise.

    They should have been tough and as a reprisal, threatened to expell all US and UK nationals, and nationalize all US and British owned companies in Zambia if the IMF and donors did not reinstate 'donor support' immediately.

    But then, they are neoliberals and accomodationists, led by a crook called Frederick Chiluba. Although to be fair, the same trick was pulled on Kenneth Kaunda back in the early 1990s, and the result was multiparty elections and the ascent to power of the MMD.

    I think it is Edith Nawakwi who received the bummest rap in this post, not the IMF.


    Fairest Rap

    The hardhitting Undermining Zambia Report that claimed large mining companies were selling Zambia short whilst generating huge profits from the country’s finite natural resource. The pressure from the report was intolerable for KCM who were forced to respond.


    We can both agree on that. The SCIAF report, as well as the guys at MineWatchZambia have done a great job.

    And let's end on a positive note.

    Let's resolve to start with rolling back government waste and the opportunity for corruption that it represents.

    Matipa Masuwa's letter to The Post is absolutely commendable, and should be read by everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Cho,

    If you had an award for Most Inspiring, it would have been a close call between Thandiwe Chama of Lusaka's Chawama township, and Lewis Hamilton, the Formula One ace who did it all but win the season title in his rookie season.

    ReplyDelete
  4. MrK,

    Unfortunately farmland in Zimbabwe is still owned by a few, it's just that now they are Mugabe's friends and relatives. It's no improvement.

    Anyway, the Zambian government did buy the mines in the late 60s in order to nationalise it. The idea for that was good, but parts of the deal were very corrupt so overall it was probably bad.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous wrote,

    Unfortunately farmland in Zimbabwe is still owned by a few, it's just that now they are Mugabe's friends and relatives. It's no improvement.

    But that is rather easy propaganda, isn't it? Can you prove that that's true?

    Or in other words, cite your source on that (an independent one would be great, or preferrably a statement against interest, like from the Zimbabwean government).

    From this website at the University of Florida:

    INTRODUCTION

    With the advent of majority rule in 1980, the government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) adopted the goal of ‘growth with equity’. New policies included bringing underutilized land into full production and reducing the inequality in land holdings.[1] The first phase of the Land Reform and Resettlement Program (LRRP1) began in 1980, which by 1997 had redistributed 3.5 million hectares to 71,000 families from communal areas—well below the initial target of 8.3 million hectares and 162,000 families.[2] A second phase of resettlement (LRRP2) was begun in 1998, followed by an accelerated fast-track resettlement phase in June 2000, and then the announcement of an end to land redistribution in August 2002.[3] Although it has been more than two decades since the start of Zimbabwe’s resettlement experience, this massive socioeconomic change remains relatively unstudied.

    Intersting, from Greg Elich's website:

    Western reports repeatedly charged that land reform was an exercise in rewarding President Mugabe’s "friends and cronies." With 90,000-some families settled throughout the first twenty years of independence, and an additional 134,000 receiving allocations during fast track land reform in 2000-2, one can only conclude that President Mugabe was an extraordinarily popular man to have so many friends and close colleagues.

    And also...

    The image of land reform as presented by Western media is almost solely one of corruption, yet such a portrayal is deliberately and highly misleading. Out of the 134,000 resettled farmers, those who abused the process to grab multiple farms accounted for a minuscule 0.3 percent of all allocations. These individuals characterized the entire land reform process, Western reporters told us. But to accept that argument, one would have to regard 99.7 percent of land recipients as exceptions to the rule. Nor did Western reports ever have an explanation for why many of those who received land were members of the opposition MDC.

    ReplyDelete
  6. MrK, isn't it hard to say one way or the other without a free press?

    Ok. That's a cop out...

    Definitely a lot of the reporting about Zimbabwe has been exagerated and biased. On the other hand, I refuse to believe that anything that disorganized was fair and just.

    People say that there is uncultivated land now. Something obviously is wrong with that.

    Looking at the rest of the situation in Zimbabwe, it's clear that things are not going well. I tend to not give Mugabe the benifit of the doubt...

    Sadly MDC is just as corrupt and bad.

    But yes... There are specific cases where people stole land for themselves but I don't have numbers to show that it happened the majority of the time.

    ReplyDelete
  7. More people were resettled in the 2 years of 00 to 02, than in the entire 20 years of independence.

    This should say something about the efficacy of the new land reform program.

    The real question is - why is the BBC engaged in yellow journalism, and spins everything about Zimbabwe in a negative manner?

    Or, why are they lying about Zimbabwe, the way they were lying about... weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Or the idea that Iran must be nuked (the first application of a nuclear weapon since 1945) because they have a nuclear weapons program?

    There is a very strong Rhodesian element in the BBC that will not report positively on ZANU-PF. Nearly every report on the economy in Zimbabwe goes through John Robertson, who actually still lives in Harare and whose regular job is being part of the Economist Intelligence Unit (contradicting the lie that the BBC has been 'banned from Zimbabwe' - their only source on the economy of Zimbabwe lives in Harare).

    Contrary to the idea that there is no freedom of speech in Zimbabwe, there are plenty of organisations that spout their bs straight from Zimbabwe. Funny though, that none ever mention the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001, which banned the Zimbabwe government from borrowing from most international institutions. Or the withdrawal of any donor support from their budget overnight (as happened in Zambia in 1991 and 1999). Or the fact that the MDC is calling for more sanctions? Or even foreign invasion?

    Or the fact that the number of people fleeing Zimbabwe has been massively overstated, and yet taken as gospel by the BBC?

    Media exaggerate Zim 'tsunami', says report - I haven't seen any public retraction about that from the BBC or any of the anti-Zimbabwe news organisations. In fact, doesn't seem to have been reported on at all. And where did I find any mention of this report at all? In The Herald.

    ReplyDelete
  8. http://www.hrw.org/reports/2002/zimbabwe/ZimLand0302-02.htm

    By the end of 2001 ... the Ministry of Land, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement had recorded that 114,830 households had physically moved and resettled on 4.37 million hectares.

    Well over 100,000 households, that doesn't sound like 'family and cronies' to me.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I was thinking of the perfect
    'demand side economics' business model.

    - companies pay out 80% of their profits as salaries to workers

    - they forfeit all their assets if they do not correctly report their profits

    Such companies could be tax exempt, and their employees could have much reduced or no income tax.

    That would stimulate the economy, keep money circulating locally, and lift wages. In other words, it would include people in the economy of the country. At the same time, it would not interfere with the profit motive. Companies would still have to be profitable to maximize their 20% of profits. Also, not all companies nationwide would not have to adhere to this model, but they could choose to do so. There could be a combination of the two - if they want to operate one main business for profit, they could do so while their suppliers or manufacturers would use this kind of model.

    It isn't capitalism, and it isn't socialism. It would avoid the type of 'investors' who are just looking for low wage countries.

    Meanwhile, the mines should be financing the country's infrastructure through taxation and/or profit sharing (joint share ownership with the state local government). If the latter was the case, again there will have to be strong penalties against misreporting profits. To be fair to both sides, there should be clear reporting guidelines that at the same time make it easy for the state to monitor profits.

    ReplyDelete

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