The 2008 Zambian Economist (McLaughlin) Awards are in two parts. Last year we only managed part one, this year I hope to complete both parts. Here is the first part :
Biggest Winner of 2008
The Zambian people - the Zambian people once again showed that One Zambia, One Nation spirit at the moment challenging time of our history. We united and mourned our President in peace, and held by most accounts, very peaceful and fair elections.
Biggest Loser of 2008
A joint prize : Godfrey Miyanda and Thabo Mbeki. The former for achieving the impossible of getting less votes than "void" ballots. The latter for a humiliating exit from the powerful seat in Africa.
Rupiah Banda - the man came from nowhere and snatched the MMD crown, leaving in his trail a broken Mwanawasa dynasty, denying Magande a shot at the Presidency and forcing Pf back to the drawing board.
Another joint prize between Mulongoti and Mugabe. The latter continues to hold onto to power at all costs, the former for uttering some of the most bizarre statements we have heard from a Zambian politician for a very long time, including his promise to ban the Post, if RB was elected.
Most Defining Political Moment
Undoubtedly, the death of His Excellency President Levy Mwanawasa .
The Zimbabwe dialogue between ZANU-Pf and MDC factions. We started off with the elections, that did not work so negotiations begun, that has not worked either. The whole situation I am afraid to say is now just unfortunately boring to most observers. Many now have grown tired of Zimbabwe and wish the people of Zimbabwe can do more to make Mugabe see sense.
The foolish attacks at the Post newspaper. I once came across a poorly written article called "gatekeepers now turned poachers". So poor that I never blogged it. In it the author purports that the Post lost its social direction. But what the author missed is that the Post is "privately owned". It holds no formal obligation to the Zambian society. If you don't like the Post start your own paper, and while you at it, send a note to GRZ to complain the poverty of ideas that govern the Daily and Times.
Michael Sata's continous insightful challenges on the failure of the NCC process.
From the beginning, he argued that the process was flawed and was likely to see significant cost overruns. The incentives were always pointing to prolonged and inefficient dialogues. As of December 2008, the NCC have nothing to show for it, not even a website! To make matters worse, they now want a costly extension to their proceedings.
Vernon Mwanga - and we thought the man had disappeared from Zambian politics, only to make his way back.
Most Original Thinker
Owners of Lusaka Times - legend has it that Lusaka Times came on board and killed all the websites that existed where Zambians congregated for political discussions, and now the main websites like the Post, Times and Daily Mail appear to be under threat. Its website has two key features that these others don't have - "interaction" and "RSS"!!
Most Stagnant Thinker
Hakainde Hichilema - when is he going to get it? He'll never be President of Zambia. Its time for UPND to recognise that Zambia has no political space for more than two parties. HH's arrogance cost the opposition a serious short at Plot 1.
Best Photo Op
Its gotta be Rupiah Banda caught practising food based corruption. The government latter tried to offer explanations, which only made things worse.
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 .
Two lies, I am afraid, all linked to LPM.
The first was the updates we appeared to receive of his condition. I am confident that history will judge those updates as not genuine. No one really knows how those updates came about, and who released them.
The second relates to the mystery "LPM chosen successor". When the President's Will was read on television, we found out that not only was it old, but had nothing in it to suggest that LPM had someone in mind.
Capitalist Of The Year
Person Of The Year
Barack Hussein Obama or as Fox News calls him BHO.