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Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The People's President

In Memory of His Excellency, President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa (1948 - 2008):

21 comments:

  1. i'm not trying to be disrespectful or anything, but why do he get to be called the "people's president" ?

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  2. Because the other 2 were definitely not....

    Its a relative measure....

    All Presidents are people's since we get the government we deserve...

    lol!

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  3. Because the other 2 were definitely not....

    How so ? once again, out of curiosity..

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  4. he's the first president to die in power in zambia, and quite frankly we dont know how to handle this and because of his age and what may have been going on in the last month we might just call him the peoples president out of sympathy and not so much of what he wanted to achieve, and remember he was poorly for a while so he was not really incharge, so that explains why things may not have gone as planned for a long time.
    MHSRIP

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  5. I think it is also fair to say that in Africa we judge presidents by what they didn't do...

    The presidents before him abused the law.

    KK was responsible for killing people in the Lumpa Rising...

    KK tortured his opponents like Musakanya...

    the list is endless...[funny how people forget KK use of torture...]

    Chiluba...plundered the nation and possibly had his own "extra judicial activities"....

    To my knowledge whilst there are well document flaws in Mwanawasa's governance....which are allover this blog....he definitely strayed away from the extremes of predecessors..and put Zambia back on the path of growth..

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  6. I think it is also fair to say that in Africa we judge presidents by what they didn't do...

    Yeah, we do. The "at least he didn't..." thing. And to an extend people everywhere do too. For instance George Bush Senior looks a lot better, even to Democrats, now that they experienced his stupid son.

    The presidents before him abused the law.

    KK was responsible for killing people in the Lumpa Rising...

    KK tortured his opponents like Musakanya...

    the list is endless...[funny how people forget KK use of torture...]

    Chiluba...plundered the nation and possibly had his own "extra judicial activities"....

    To my knowledge whilst there are well document flaws in Mwanawasa's governance....which are allover this blog....he definitely strayed away from the extremes of predecessors..and put Zambia back on the path of growth..


    Here's the thing though.. KK did a lot of bad thing but he also led the independence movement and presided over huge improvement in education, healthcare, wages etc.. In a non-sustainable way, but still.

    That is how people value things in a way..

    I don't know how Mwanawasa compares. Although it's clear Chiluba doesn't compare well at all.


    But let me not distract you guys. Like you said, he's the first dead Zambian president. You're not used to it like I am.

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  7. I believe we should honor Levy Mwanawasa for his achievements.

    Anyone who was in ZED during the Kaunda days remembers the long waiting lines for meal, milk, cooking oil etc.

    Don't forget he lost the elections to Chiluba with an 80 % - 20 % margin. At the end of his reign he wasn't popular at all. People didn't chant 'God in heaven, on earth, Kaunda' out of love but out of fear.

    Of course KK was an independent hero. He LIBERATED us from the British, he improved Zambian education, he made medical care widely available. But these things matter today, not in 1991! He also built his legacy by campaigning for hiv awareness.

    Then came Chiluba. Chiluba wasn't popular at the end of his reign. Corruption was widespread and had a negative impact on the daily life of many, the economic strongholds were sold of cheap, thousands laid off. He almost made his party loose the 2001 presidential elections, in the south Zambians still say the MMD lost the elections...

    But today Zambians seem to rediscover that this tiny corrupt man also LIBERATED them from daily difficulties. All of a sudden it was a piece of cake to travel from the Copperbelt to Lusaka and no longer a matter of 2/3 days. Yes indeed it could take up to 3 days to travel to Lusaka. But also housewives were delighted ... they could choose the cooking oil soothing them: on the basis of sunflower, groundnuts,... Basically life became much easier for the middle class.

    Levy Mwanawasa failed in his attempt to reduce poverty, he failed to create a stable Zambian middle class, he failed to recognize the children he had outside his marriage lol, etc

    But Levy LIBERATED Zambia from destructive politics. He made the country aware of moral values. Corruption today is bareble! He wasn't afraid to call things like they are: Katumba Katele, Chiluba etc are thieves ; Mugabe is a murderer ...

    Let us hope we leap forward by choosing a president who will restructure the country benefiting from the work of his predecessors.

    Maybe HH can be the man? It would mean all presidents came from different provinces ...

    I must say he convinced me with his analysis, my distrust of him being Tonga actually melted away, lol

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  8. Dear Bloggers,
    I am of course saddened by the death of our president. He was a leader of our nation and we owe him that respect.

    He of course had many failures among them his inability to vigorously pursue constitutional amendments to limit the powers of the president and critically look at constitutional succession procedures that have left us in a pickle due to his passing.

    His death is blow to our nation and in some weird way, an opportunity for us to critically look at the presidency not as just a person but as institution that warrants full constitutional protection from everyone including the sitting president and his administration. The task now rests on us as Zambians to keep the peace, elect a new president and continue the constitutional debates and amendments.

    May the soul of our dear leader, Dr. Levy Patrick Mwanawasa rest in eternal peace.

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  9. How about Rupiah Banda for President? He seems a decent person. Any thoughts?

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  10. Kafue001,

    I think Rupiah Banda has no new ideas to transform Zambia.

    We really should now look to fresh leaders who can raise the bar beyond what Mwanawasa provide...and in truth the Mwanawasa bar is not too high for someone serious to now jump....

    Also I think the team is more important than the President...so we need someone who can assemble a good team not just fill it with relatives...if I have any criticism of the late, it was his tendency for nepotism....yes he tackled corruption but failed miserably on nepotism...

    Also we can do with someone more bipartisan...

    So the question is, what sort of team do we want, and who in Zambia is a uniter rather than a divider??

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  11. "How about Rupiah Banda for President? He seems a decent person. Any thoughts?"

    He is an outsider to the MMD, you need a ready poltical platform to win elections, esp given the 90 day period. He's not a (serious) contender for the presidency of the MMD and his former party UNIP is no longer a major player.

    Also opponents will create a fuzz about him being born outside zed.

    It will be Sata, HH or whoever the MMD rallies around (Robbie Shikapwasha, mr. corruption aka Katele Kalumba, Kabinga Panga, Felix Mutati, Maureen Mwanawasa, ...).

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  12. Thanks for the info regarding Rupiah Banda and other candidates. Whoever is chosen I hope will be at least above corruption, nepotism, etc.

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  13. http://www.economist.com/world/mideast-africa/displayStory.cfm?source=hptextfeature&story_id=11968403

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  14. Thanks for the Economist link...I have now uploaded it.

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  15. "The People's President"

    Ok. Levy Mwanawasa was never 'the people's president'.

    He was an IMF appeasing, free market, neoliberal the way all other contenders are. On top of that, he was pretty elitist in his thinking. He called the popular will 'the so-called popular will', implying that the people's will can be bought with beer and chitenge.

    He engaged in nepotism in hiring government officials.

    And the fight against corruption was always flawed because of a lack of legal reform that would allow the creation of a proper framework for procurement and other government processes that are still mainly as secretive and untransparant (even apparently to ministers) as it has always been.

    What Zambia need and the people deserves, is universal government services (education, healthcare, amenities), and to know that everycent is well spent, and that the mines are taxed to the maximum so money can be poured into infrastructure and other economic sectors (agriculture and manufacturing).

    They also deserve to get government services where they live, which means decentralisation of government offices, by giving more budgets and legal power to local government.

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  16. MRK: "implying that the people's will can be bought with beer and chitenge."

    Hello mrk, first and foremost it s after 4am and i had too much champagne but let me nevertheless respond to your claim.

    The people's will can be bought. maybe not as much with beer but certainly with nshima! My dear friend Moishe Katumbi helped getting the MMD elected with millie meal in 2001.

    He has become the most popular politician of Congo by buying votes with "social work". In reality gifts for the poor, including chitenges, bricks, sponsoring their favourite football team and handing out meal.

    You should know beer is too expensive as a campaign extra. Lutuku could be affordable but it just hurts your image lol.

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    MRK: "And the fight against corruption was always flawed because of a lack of legal reform that would allow the creation of a proper framework"

    Very true. As a matter of fact, make me the next president of Zed and corruption will drop to an alltime low. On a side note, i would be killed within months.

    Zambia is not ready for a society without corruption. My friends in the Copperbelt do things I find very corrupt. For them, however, it's very acceptable.

    Remember our saying "he who works the field, eats from the field". They just eat from the field. To us, westernized Zambians, it may be flagrant corruption but not as much in our beloved Zed.

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    MRK: "They also deserve to get government services where they live, which means decentralisation of government offices, by giving more budgets and legal power to local government."

    I fully agree with you but realise this will have also less appealing consequences. The more you regionalise in Africa, the more the economy of ethnicity plays. Hey im already blasted by some friends because I (half Lunda, half Lamba) support a Tonga for the presidency. lol.

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  17. Hi CF,

    The people's will can be bought. maybe not as much with beer but certainly with nshima! My dear friend Moishe Katumbi helped getting the MMD elected with millie meal in 2001.

    He has become the most popular politician of Congo by buying votes with "social work". In reality gifts for the poor, including chitenges, bricks, sponsoring their favourite football team and handing out meal.

    You should know beer is too expensive as a campaign extra. Lutuku could be affordable but it just hurts your image lol.


    That is very interesting. I think a lot of that might be avoided by making services available free of charge, so they don't need to be traded off. Efficient government assistance could change a lot of that.

    MRK: "And the fight against corruption was always flawed because of a lack of legal reform that would allow the creation of a proper framework"

    Very true. As a matter of fact, make me the next president of Zed and corruption will drop to an alltime low. On a side note, i would be killed within months.

    But by who? The mining companies, their stooges, the army or any political chancer? :)

    I fully agree with you but realise this will have also less appealing consequences. The more you regionalise in Africa, the more the economy of ethnicity plays. Hey im already blasted by some friends because I (half Lunda, half Lamba) support a Tonga for the presidency. lol.

    KK sidestepped that issue very deftly by 'tribal balancing' his cabinet and other positions in government. However, to solve it on a permanent basis, I think two things can be done:

    1) Have a bill of rights

    Make sure that everyone in the country is legally protected against discrimination by government officials on grounds of tribe/ethnicity in employment, housing, etc.

    2) Make local governments so small, that they are smaller than any tribe

    I have proposed the creation of 350 local councils as the backbone of local government, catering to about 30,000 people each. That would be smaller than any tribal entity, and it would ensure than everyone has a council where his/her tribe is the majority. In case they living in one where they are not, they should be protected in their civil and human rights by a national bill of rights.

    Please check out my Manifesto For Economic Transformation

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

    It's a little rough, and can be commented on at the bottom of the page (please feel free to do so).

    And just asking, what is your reason to support HH - I'm pretty much leaning toward him myself, but I would much rather see a full out anti-neoliberal, pro-big government or mixed economy candidate run.

    I find the neoliberals aren't simply pro-capitalist, but pro-corporate. If there is too much accumulation of wealth, the result is too much accumulation of power which starts to distort the expression of the people's will in government policy. In other words, corporate lobbyists start to write the laws for their own benefit.

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  18. Hello MRK

    RESPONSE 1:

    "That is very interesting. I think a lot of that might be avoided by making services available free of charge, so they don't need to be traded off. Efficient government assistance could change a lot of that."

    Don't forget the impact of our culture. Are you Zambian?

    Gift are very important in our daily life and create reciprocity. It s more a culturale debate than an economic one!

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  19. Hello MRK

    RESPONSE 2:

    "But by who? The mining companies, their stooges, the army or any political chancer? :)"

    Well, corruption means extra income for politicians ...

    Some of my friends work in the administration; however all in very junior positions (given their young age). Still a junior ZRA officer can double his official income of about 2 million kwacha. A junior engineer can triple his income when working on chinese road projects...

    My friends at the Kasumbalesa border are even better off, they earn "at least 1.000%" of the original wage (this is a quote from a friend who works there).

    I don't have to explain how this works through the whole of Zambian society.

    If you effectively want to declare war on corruption, you better hire the same southafrican security agents as Mugabe -)

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  20. Hello MRK

    RESPONSE 2:

    "And just asking, what is your reason to support HH - I'm pretty much leaning toward him myself, but I would much rather see a full out anti-neoliberal, pro-big government or mixed economy candidate run."

    Well it's a negative choice for my part.

    He's the lesser evil to me.

    Im not happy with the MMD. Mwanawasa actually was the least corrupted in that party so I don't see how they can reform zed.

    Sata is just mad. He adresses real problems. The continous unemployment of young Zambians, the loss of self respect by Zambians girls, the lack of and African middle class.

    But his answers are outagous.

    Let me elaborate on them during election time.

    PS Ill read your reform suggestions on monday

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  21. MrK,

    ""The People's President" Ok. Levy Mwanawasa was never 'the people's president'."

    lol! I was waiting for your assessment!

    "He was an IMF appeasing, free market, neoliberal the way all other contenders are. On top of that, he was pretty elitist in his thinking. He called the popular will 'the so-called popular will', implying that the people's will can be bought with beer and chitenge."

    But he also embraced China?

    "He engaged in nepotism in hiring government officials."

    I think this is a cardinal point. I have been very surprised that the issue of nepotism has been grossed over. For me nepotism is just as bad as corruption. It elevates incompetence and turns the Executive into a personal toy.

    "And the fight against corruption was always flawed because of a lack of legal reform that would allow the creation of a proper framework for procurement and other government processes that are still mainly as secretive and untransparant (even apparently to ministers) as it has always been."

    I would add, it was not properly focused on the corruption that matters. I would certainly have focused on judicial and police corruption, with better resourcing of the Human Rights Commission and giving them more powers. LPM failed miserably in this area, leading to corruption that hits poor people as I argued in the Corruption Wars series.

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