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Thursday, 17 June 2010

We made the Post!

Another bit of shameless self promotion.

The Post carries some quotes from my letter to Minister of Finance Musokotwane and Commerce Minister Hon Mutati (copied to Andrew Chipwende - CEO Zambia Development Agency ).  I was very happy when I received a text from my nephew in Lusaka that indeed the story has also appeared in the hard copy version!

This is not the first time of course (the Maravi blog keeps some record of my press musings etc) , but I thought this was particularly different because I was inspired by one of our readers Whisper to get active - we all need a gentle reminder! I hope the readership will get on board and write their emails. Please see the post here requesting this report is released. The government is currently in a state of confusion over this matter. Hon Mutati believes it will be made available. Some other elements are not so keen. Pick your side and make your email count!

I should also assure the readership who support the MMD. I know we have many such and I value your sense of balance. I would repeat what I said in that letter - "this is not a party political issue - it is common sense". We must take a stand and begin to push for greater transparency. Otherwise we may as well quit intellectual dialogue.

During the week I wrote to a group of Zambian intellectuals and I urged them as a group the time had come for them to take critical steps to become more proactive in pushing for change in our country in a non-political way.  They have spoken and theorised for too long. I am saying the same to all the readers of the Zambian Economist.  My father always said, if something is worth doing then do it well with all your heart otherwise don't do it at all. It is this motto that has driven all my involvement in any Zambian related enterprise including this website. Life always presents an opportunity for us to decide. Are we change makers or arm chair critics? If it's the latter then we may as well close down the Zambian Economist. Endless banter while our nation wallows in poverty is morally irresponsible. Let us get active. Let us push the confines of our debate outward to those that make decisions. Let us pick up those phones, get your email box open and start emailing and demand for better transparency. Call newspapers and get your voice heard. And yes, on top of all get on your knees and pray that the Lord will turn our nation around. But prayers without action is a sin - God does not promote those who pray as an excuse for laziness or indifference.  Don't look to politicians to change Zambia for you. They won't because it is not in their interests to do.  Change comes when the citizen recognises that he is the master, the politician is merely the servant. This is what realigns the incentive for politicians to act.

A couple of people have emailed me trying to tell me about ZAMTEL and the need for it to be privatised.  I should remind those that it is pointless. All readers of this website know that I have been a champion for reforming ZAMTEL from day one - who can forget the contraversial post Zamtel monopoly....why I oppose it? . Indeed I have been quoted in the press many times arguing just that. This issue is about transparency and due process.  The end does not justify the means. Whether privatising ZAMTEL is good or not is meaningless at this point because procedural justice appears to have been violated. No formal consultation, no proper consideration of alternative views and on top of all secret reports and foreign beneficiaries who are rumoured to control a strange cartel in Southern Africa.


  1. Chola, I am really glad your letter got picked up by the Post, and that more people will be able to see the wisdom in your arguments. The post article was very well written, and I like that they attributed your quotes correctly!

    Big ups to Whisper for nudging you into action, and to you of course for having the courage to take a stand.

  2. Cho, I'm over the moon that your letter was published. Hopefully it will help enlighten another mind to the fact that acceptance without questioning is sometimes worse than collusion.

    I have made it my personal mission to seek redress from politicians (both in Govt and opposition)when I percieve there to be questions that need answering. I would urge ALL readers to do the same and energise friends, family and colleagues to follow suit. As Cho has so articulately put it, 'Are we change makers or arm-chair critics?' Therefore I have written to all the people listed by Cho and have also written to 'Dr' Simbao (I don't know who bestowed this title on him because his highest academic achievement is BSc in Engineering) asking that he release the letter confirming that funds from the Global Fund haven't been frozen.

    Finally, some of you might remember that I sent an email to the Clerk of the National Assembly asking for clarification over remarks made by Honerable Peter Daka. During a session Hon. Daka made contradictory statements about the level of Kenya's debt when attempting to justify Zambia accessing loans from China.

    Although I had to chase up a response, the Clerk did reply with a very nice email. In it she attributed the conflicting figures to mistakes in note taking, which were discovered when the recordings were reviewed. Just goes to show if you don't ask you don't get!


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