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Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Zambian Economist Awards 2009 (Part 2)

The second and final part of the 2009 Zambian Economist (McLaughlin) Awards (first part here) :

Destined for Political Stardom

Given Lubinda. The formation of the UPND-PF pact has given Given Lubinda a much stronger platform to emerge as a credible voice of reason on the current political platform. He has been active with many conferences and has been instrumental in presenting a united front. Going forward Lubinda stands a good chance of being a key figure if the Pact were to form government.

Destined for Political Oblivion

Saviour Chishimba. The honorary medical doctorate is not enough to save his political career. Dr Chishimba misjudged the public's appetite for new parties. He has found himself saddled with a one man party and without prospect of a parliamentary seat in 2011 or beyond.

Best Political Theater

The shock resignation of George Mpombo as Defence Minister and Chairman of Energy sent shock waves in MMD, which are still reverberating.

Worst Political Theater

The famous Presidential press conference full tirade of rants culminating in a request for the police to arrest members of the Post for bringing to government's attention pictures of a woman in labour. It also qualifies as the most expensive rant because it spawned a court case which brought disgrace and a waste of tax payers money.

Worst Political Scandal...

The Dora Siliya scandal. It is remarkable that despite being found to have breached so many things she was reinstated because she did not apparently "breach the constitution". Don't complain, we all have governments we deserve.

Most Under-reported Story

The abuse of tax payers fund by sending ministers and chiefs for treatment. It appears Zambians have accepted that indeed some lives are worth more than others.

Most Over-reported Story

The constant reports over the MMD convention have been over the top. The outcome is certain but yet it occupies our many pages.

Biggest Government Waste

Too many :
The President's new merc at the cost of around $700,000, if not more....

Then there's President Banda's many foreign trips... should I go on?

Best Government Kwacha Spent

Abolishing the Task Force on Plunder. It was a bad idea from the beginning and in the end it cost us too much money with zero output. Abolishing it was money saved.

Boldest Political Tactic

Formation of the PF - UPND pact. The UPND was on a verge of extinction, but in an era of tribal alliances it was still bold for them to choose a better and more credible path. Zambia has only got space for two parties.

Best Idea

The North - South Project is a wonderful idea.

Worst Idea

RP Capital valuation of ZAMTEL. Day light robbery, with the outcome fully determined.

Sorry To See You Go

The late Hon Tetamashimba. He'll be missed by foes and friends alike.

Best Spin

The "RP Capital valuation of ZAMTEL". The definition of an Oxymoron.

Most Honest Person

Pete Henriott of the JCTR. You can trust him to call a spade a spade. He has tried to do just that throughout the year.

Most Overrated

Political NGOs (PONGOs) and Government NGOS (GONGOs). A number of these have sprang up, with no vision or any ounce of intelligence. They constantly issue statements which are paraded by uninformed reports as gospel.

Most Underrated

Local stations. We have seen local community radio stations take a prominent role in shaping debate. I believe their role in shaping political outcomes in 2011 should not be underestimated.

Honorable Mention

Three stood out for me this year :

Zambia Diaspora Connect : Perhaps I am being biased, but no group has done more for the Diaspora than ZDC. This year they successfully lobbied heavily for dual citizenship and the Diaspora desk. The challenge for the diaspora is how to solve the "collective action" problem given the incentive to free ride. ZDC appears to have successfully done that and in the process are putting the diaspora on a better footing with Zambians at home.

ZIPPA : They continue to put out wonderful journals out which have been a great source for many issues we discuss. Its not easy having a credible think tank in Zambia, but with ZIPPA and JCTR we have two sources who may come from opposite spectrum but in their different ways are moving the country forward intellectually.

Fr Frank Bwalya. Yes he lost his job at Radio Icengelo, but his energy and enthusiasm remains undiminished. We need more voices like his in our country who will stand for truth, liberty and justice.

Not So Honorable Mention

Rev Shikapwasha (Information Minister). It is so easy to forget the man is a Reverend given the many dangerous statements he continues to make, not least the constantly peddling to untruth.


A couple of predictions :

The MMD will hold a convention in 2010 and will elect President Banda. This will undoubtedly split MMD and lead to a new party allied with Mulipi and co.

The pressure for the windfall tax will become too difficult for President Banda to resist. In 2010 it will be back on the table.

Globally, the world economy will once again enter into recession mode towards the back of 2010 as the stimulus packages wear off. The new recession will take a while to recover, as some governments will simply have no new cash to inject. 2010 is not a time for people to overspend.

New Year's Resolutions

First, to complete the current book I am working on Zambia.
Second, to finish our now two year long blog specials on chiefs over at the House of Chiefs.

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