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Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The importance of consultation

This news report that a future opposition government would renationalise Zamtel, if elected in 2011, comes as no surprise to many regular readers. As we have previously noted, effective policy making is not just about having right policies (if such exists), but also the right processes of reaching policy decisions. Transparency and national consensus are key ingredients for sustainable and effective long term policies.

More importantly, if the government is genuinely confident about the decisions its making (whether its privatising ZAMTEL or low taxation of mining or MFEZs incentives), there is no reason why it should not subject them to significant public scrutiny by way of consultation. Without transparency we shall keep inventing and re-inventing. The party in government must stop behaving like it will always hold the reins of power, and begin to accept that transition is part of the democratic process and as such it must govern not just for today but for tomorrow.


  1. I cannot believe that this post actually supports the ludicrous announcement by the opposition!

    Such a move would have absolutely disastrous consequences for investment flows into Zambia, and would send the worst possible signal.

    Those of us living in Zambia can be broadly divided into two groups: those with Zamtel phone lines, and those without. Both camps will shout at the top of their voice in support of Zamtel's privatisation. Those connected suffer from poor quality of service and the high costs associated with owning a Zamtel line.

    Those without Zamtel connections are either waiting to be connected, or own alternative mobile connections. They too suffer because Zamtel's state ownership means that high costs of international telephony subsidise Zamtel's domestic operations.

    No matter how flawed the process has been, only good things can come out of private ownership of the utility.


  2. Where does the post SUPPORT renationalisation after the "privatisation" ?

    I comment on what the decision by the Opposition teaches us about effective policy making looks like, not on the merits of the Opposition' call per se.

    My position on ZAMTEL is set out elsewhere on this website.

  3. It supports it by saying that the opposition's statement actually has a moral attached to it.

    The statement is ridiculous, and follows a pattern of statements that have indicated a less than warm attitude towards foreign investment in the country.

    Just as this blog often attaches very little credibility to statements by Government (sometimes rightly so, often quite harshly so!), I think that the same attitude should apply to this statement by Sata on Zamtel, which are just rhetorical, angry, and are not even worth considering!


  4. So by virtue of the fact that I say their position, right or wrongly, offers wider lessons, I am supporting nationalisation?

    I try and respond to as many comments as possible. But you can't fault me in the future if I avoid responding to such statements.

    We should have a broad mind. The Lord can use the devil to convey any message. That does not mean he approves of his actions.

    As far critising the govt, I have a good relationship with members of govt. They understand our role is to hold them to account. Without being big headed, there's a reason why no blog like this one exists. It's because I am focused on substantive issues. No calling people names.


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