Find us on Google+

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Quote of the week (Levy Mwanawasa)

I remember the last time I went to Chiengi, I mentioned that there is plenty of water here but you the people of Luapula Province are too lazy to exploit this water for irrigation. There is plenty of water, fish has been taken away; are you going to leave this water unattended to?

Levy Mwanawasa (The Post)

The President explaining to the people of Luapula Province why he thinks the province has remained poor. In return the Minister for Luapula, along with some local chiefs, promised to name the new Chembe bridge after him. Unfortunately, such comments only serves to perpetuate stereotypes and seek to hide the real reasons for Luapula's underdevelopment - poor infrastructure and a lack of a proper investment strategy for the province. To his credit, the President is doing something about the former.

Update: The Post Editorial on the issue of the poor and laziness.

4 comments:

  1. Cho,

    You have to wonder, why does this leading politician have such a low opinion of his own people?

    If it came from the mouth of someone white, we all know what we would call it.

    And yet, he seems to be hardly better informed.

    They recently built a 'customer center' at the ministry of lands (not a bad thing) to the tune of US$22 million.

    Now what I could do with half of that...

    The whole notion of attracting a (foreign) private sector, instead of building a Zambian private sector is 'lazy' - but then the whole 'do nothing' philosophy of neoliberal economics is.

    And Mwanawasa has said stuff like this before - calling the popular will the socalled popular will.

    The way I see it is that until the person in charge starts seeing the people as central to all development, no meaningful development is going to take place. Until he sees farms as the workplace of Zambian farmers, and not simply a way to produce food, or mines as the workplace of Zambian miners instead of tonnes of ore produced, then we aren't going to see the development of Zambia's greatest resource - it's human capital.

    ReplyDelete
  2. From The Post's editorial:

    But it is not true to say that most of the poor people are not hardworking. Most of our people are not poor because they are lazy; they are poor because of exploitation and as a result of the way our economic relations are arranged. We think that the highest level of political thought was reached when some men became aware that no people and no man had the right to exploit others, and that the fruits of the efforts and intelligence of each human being should reach all others; that man really had no need to be a wolf, but could be a brother to man.

    People are poor because they do not have assets, a good education or access to financing. So let's make sure they do.

    Most Zambians find themselves in a state of poverty, the injustice of which cries to heaven for vengeance. The alienated masses in our rural and urban areas are increasing at a fast rate. And the traditional society is disappearing along with its specific culture.

    The present situation in Zambia calls for some radical changes. And as Fr Pete Henriot has correctly observed, the lack of equal opportunities lies at the base of the unjust social structures in our country. Every human being of goodwill should be committed to changing a social order that is cruelly unjust because it is preventing most of our people from achieving personal fulfillment.


    Ok, so let's link some policies to that.

    1) Works Projects

    These can put money into people's pockets, creating a consumer market. At the same time, it can make the remoter parts of the country economically accessible and attractive, reducing poverty and creating opportunities in rural areas, where most people live. There should be a nationwide roads and rail network that connects all rural areas, making it possible for all the country's farmers to contribute to the national and global economy.

    2) Land and Agricultural Reform

    Hundreds of thousands of subsistence farmers should be encouraged to farm on a commercial scale. This will lift millions of people out of poverty, while at the same time creating food security nationwide and employment opportunities in rural areas.

    3) Devolution of powers of state

    Powers should be devolved from the Presidency toward parliament and the civil service, and from the ministries to local government.

    4) Oversight

    There should be independent government comptrollers and compliance officers on every government contract, with powers to stop payments, stop the project and inspect all the books, while reporting on progress. Give more power to the PAC, so they can actually look into funds as they are being spent. As BOZ government Fundanga said, government money tends to be wasted, so let's stop wasting it. That alone would involve hundreds of millions of dollars from procurement and the like.

    5) Regional Integration

    Zambia's future is in logistics, because of it's central location between East, Central, Southern and West Afria. Future goods should easily flow through the country. Integration with other economic markets in the region will also create markets for Zambian goods. It would reduce food insecurity throughout the region.

    You could even slap a name on it and call it the People's Party.

    ReplyDelete
  3. ”There should be a nationwide roads and rail network that connects all rural areas, making it possible for all the country's farmers to contribute to the national and global economy. “

    Funding is the problem here. Any ideas on how that can be achieved?


    ”Hundreds of thousands of subsistence farmers should be encouraged to farm on a commercial scale.”

    Absolutely. Though I would say we need to invest in agricultural schools.
    Also as I have said before people will engage in farming if they are guaranteed someone will buy their products. The question is how to bring that certainty back which existed before through marketing boards, but without the inefficiency.

    ”Powers should be devolved from the Presidency toward parliament and the civil service, and from the ministries to local government. “

    Which powers the President currently has, would you devolve?


    ”You could even slap a name on it and call it the People's Party.”

    When are you planning to venture into the world of politics?


    By the way, I was reading about the Kenya Transfer Fund. Have you looked into this?

    Its very similar to your idea of transferring resources to the local level. Except the proportion is 5% :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Funding would come from:

    - mining tax
    - road tax
    - funds like

    The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (“EAIF” or the “Fund”) is a Public Private Partnership able to provide long-term USD or EUR denominated debt or mezzanine finance on commercial terms to finance the construction and development of private infrastructure in 45 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. EAIF is able to provide between US$ 10 million to US$ 36.5 million (or its equivalent in EUR) to projects across a wide range of sectors including telecoms, transport, water and power, amongst others.

    ReplyDelete

All contributors should follow the basic principles of a productive dialogue: communicate their perspective, ask, comment, respond,and share information and knowledge, but do all this with a positive approach.

This is a friendly website. However, if you feel compelled to comment 'anonymously', you are strongly encouraged to state your location / adopt a unique nick name so that other commentators/readers do not confuse your comments with other individuals also commenting anonymously.