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Saturday, 13 September 2008

Charity or food based corruption?

Source: The Sunday Post
MMD presidential candidate Rupiah Banda distributing sugar and mealie-meal to women at Vulamukoko village in Katete on Friday, during what is clearly an election period.


  1. this is why our politicians will never fight poverty because it is a strong campaign tool how sad!

  2. Old school, old tricks. Kinda hard for an old dog to learn new tricks. its a sad state of affairs

  3. it is not an old thing, it was happening even in the previous elections and any latest bye-election

  4. let them distribute consumer goods ... at least it's useful unlike flags or banners.

    it 's worse when they start handing out bikes, garden tools. ive seen local candidates demanding them back in the mid 90's after losing lol...

    besides it won't change much... in the end you need to be able to court the urban youths (18-29) and at least 3 big ethnic groups.

    this village won't make you win or loose the elections.

  5. cf,

    1. It is true that food based corruption is probably the least worst form of corruption since it actually feeds people directly.

    2. Its also true that it may not change the dynamics on the ground, atleast in the Presidential race.

    3. Equally true is that Zambians have learnt now not to be swayed by food. Nowadays they just collect food and then vote their conscience. The more elections we have the less effective food based corruption becomes (and let us not forget Kachasu).

    4. However, such practices fundamentally contravenes the ECZ electoral code and must therefore be seen as an example of ECZ being toothless.

    5. Although part of the problem with (4) is that Zambia has no effective parda...a period when the elections should ensure that no major policy announcements are made by government or no RB's distribution of food can be made. We have seen many announcements lately by Banda, which the media have reported as "government", when in true they can only be implemented after the 30th October by a new govt (e.g. oil price reduction) - so effectively these statements by an MMD presidential candidate...

    6. In view of (3), I can already see future electoral monitors picking this issue up as an example of malpractice.

    7. But the deeper problem is what such activities act as poor signals to others. If MPs see RB giving food out and not checked, in 2011 we are sure to see such activities continue...albeit less effectively.

  6. i launched a complaint on the acc website on sunday. i hope they will treat it with the seriousness it deserves. nominated mp mike mulongoti even has the cheeky to say that rb is not yet an official candidate because nominations have not taken place yet. what nonsense!

  7. Its only those who are living abroad who trully understand the mess and awfullness in this picture just like its only those who live abroad who may have found policemen whipping mourners at mwanawasas funeral disgusting and appalling, view pic on richies blog,as for the people in zambia this is the norm and the paper most likely to take this picure is doing it with an agenda because am sure the women are still dancing for theses chauvanists in chitenge material with the faces on.
    am sorry theres nothing old skool about this its still current practise done on daily basis,I wonder why the pics were not taken in last years election time????
    perhaps lets be honest ive practised corruption in zambia by paying for my passport so i could get it on time, we all do because we were brought up in that community that is why we have to learn to change and indeed we can if we see it in a system that works that is why we medical profesionals say thankyou and please every minute to our patients in the western world because the system is so, we the same mortals treated people in zambia like animals !!!!

  8. Mr cho

    Dont you think by the number of points you have made, you are contracdicting the fundamental point you have negatively addressed in Point no. 2 of your response.

    The number of villges in Zambia by far out weighs the number of towns or urban areas.

    Substantial population of villagers reside in the so called urban areas and easily as susceptible to manipulation as the typical rural dweller.

    The obvious fact is that we are a poor and uneducated country whose majority are simply hungry and vulnerable to enticement.

    On the other hand, how best can the Politian convince the poor rural dwellers that he means good without giving them substantial evidence of his commitment to fulfil.

    The Politician has no time pretending that the situation is not as I have tried to potray and as intimated by anonymous.

  9. I find this whole discussion a bit hypocritical ...

    When I want to return to Zambia in peace I need to bring presents. Not because I love my cousin so much or even know her that well but because society demands it. Believe me, i'd rather spend my money on paying back my mortgage.

    When a dude wants to marry my sister in Zambia, my parents will demand a lobola. Not that the guy insists on paying millions of kwacha but because society expects him to do so. Believe me he'd rather spend his money on an oversized tv.

    When a politician wants to get elected in office in Zambia, he will need to hand out gifts. Not because they think it's money well spent but because society expects them to do so. Believe me, they'd rather buy a property in sa.

    While the reasons behind it are complex, gifts are and always have been a way of levelling the playfield in our society... and a sign of gratitude from a boss to his followers.

    So please, you know how critical I am of the thieves in power, but don't give me crap about Zambian politicians bribing voters. It's a 2 way street.

    Do you honestly think my mom will vote for a politician who didnt give something material to the community? Ask your mom the same.

    We can comment easily about from our ivory tower in Europe. But in ZED we would probably also take on rare occasions company money to spend on the household because society expects it. We would probably also cheat on our wives because society expects it. etc.

    Keep that in mind.

  10. Iam surprised at some of the comments that has come through on this article some seem to feel it is ok to bribe or give a "gift" as the last commenter calls it and thinks that is what society expects! well THAT IS THE PROBLEM captalising on people 's poverty and ignorance,my thinking is that governments should strive to put money in education systems, creation of jobs so that people can work and buy sugar,fortunately most zambians now know that they can get your sugar or chitenge and still vote the way they want, thanks to civil rights campaigners like the late Sichone Lucy, and by the way I didn' have to pay to get my passport, driving licence,processing my late brothers estate. I did not have to offer the police K20,000 when I was found to be above the speed limt at a road speedtrap but instead went to the police and paid the K64,000 required at that time. on two of these occasions I bluntly told the officers I was not going to bribe any body and demanded that my reocrds be found which I was told were misplaced! So we don't all do it as suggested by one writer, Iam sure there are other zambians who do what I did. it just depends on what you believe in, yeilding to corrupt practices does'nt help, I would rather be inconvenienced but do the right thing!

  11. What I have a problem with, is politicians 'giving' the state's resources, making people think it comes from them, when it is in fact the people's money to begin with.

    Everyone should have basic services, just because they are citizens, not as 'a gift' from their elected representative.

    If people are going to bring develoment to a specific area, that is what mayors and civil servants are for.

    But I would have a problem with a politician taking food aid and exchanging it for votes.

    If the politician wants to give gifts, let him use his own money, not the taxpayer's.

  12. ANONYMOUS: "Iam surprised at some of the comments that has come through on this article some seem to feel it is ok to bribe or give a "gift" as the last commenter calls it and thinks that is what society expects!"

    Are you even Zambian?

    Are you telling me relationships of reciprocity in ZED are not based on gifts?

    This actually makes my day lol.

    What has a fine to do with his subject. I never had any fines but ive paid my taxes without bribing any ZRA official, that's not even the point here.

    Btw the reason im in Europe is because of the fact that I don't want my son to grow up in a corrupt society. Noone rejects corruption as much as me, till the extent I chose not to go back to my missed homeland.

    But I am talking reality here about up and coming elections. As much as I d prefer your dreamworld...

  13. anonymous

    'Iam surprised at some of the comments that has come through on this article some seem to feel it is ok to bribe or give a "gift" as the last'

    I believe, we are trying to exegerate our our perceived imperfections here.

    You have simply chosen to site(sic)areas you feel you have done well in like not bribing anyone.

    BTW the fact that you had committed a traffic offence just exposes you to your inadquacies.

    The point however, is this, this giving of gifts is not a Zambian thing only. This takes place everywhere, even in themost advanced countries like USA.

    Gullibleness knows no bound wether the and poverty only places those under its helm more susceptible to manipulation.

    I think the first thing for us to do before contextualising this discussion is to own up and acknowledge that this thing of giving gifts by Politicians occurs everywhere, more so in Zambia, and to deny this fact is simply being unrealistic.

    The Politician will not waste his time in shangombo about interest rates, trade agreements, conducive economic policies, I mean he will be speaking in a foreign tongue if you see what Iam getting at.

    The population is yet to reach that level where issue based campaigns are the order of things.

    The contradiction of trying to claim that we are above reproach when we at the same time acknowledge that we do offend is simply hypocritical- you did not bribe the police officer yet you were driving above the speed limit.

  14. Their response:


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