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Monday, 22 September 2008

Chiefs and election fever (1)

Despite the laws of Zambia forbidding chiefs to be partisan, we continue to see significant courting of chiefs by all Presidential candidates. This column will keep track of what the chiefs are up to - its critical background for our on-going series on traditional leadership and development.

Chief Nkana reckons that people should adopt a young candidate (code for HH), and crucially one who has money, so that apparently he wont have a strong incentive to steal :

As chiefs, we have started debating presidential candidates. We know before president Mwanawasa became president, he already had K12 billion. That is why he never stole from government when he came into power. We are also debating Sata, HH and Rupiah Banda

Not sure how that works, it strikes that the rich always want more money. Unless of course what he means is that Zambia is so poor, that any rich person elected as President will not find it profitable to steal! umm....anyway, what I would advocate though it an increase in the fee people pay to stand as Presidential candidates (in the absence of strong electoral reform). That would certainly make sure candidates where sure it was value for money to go solo. Though I do worry that high fees could make for very bad losers.

Some reports in the State Media that Paramount Chief Chitimukula is backing Rupiah Banda, and apparently is asking all bembas to follow suit (is that really all bembas or just people under his direct control ?). The actual text is less equivocal, and seems to simply say that Chitimukulu supports the government as now being led by RB. Make of that how you will.

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