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Thursday, 5 May 2011

Michael Sata - Special Lecture at Oxford University

We are delighted to make available this week's lecture by Mr Michael Sata (President, Patriotic Front) at Oxford University. (Huge thanks to folks at Oxford University for forwarding this to us).
Michael Sata Paper - How to Be a Successful Opposition Leader in Africa


  1. I have always revered Oxford , more generally the Oxbridge crowd , they are usually very probing , analytical and never sycophantic. I am encouraged that Mr Sata went to Oxford and made a favourable impression. I do not know if this question ,or a version of it, was asked ? I may have missed both the question and the answer(Anyone please? Please provide a link)

    Does Mr Sata believe that- having an irongrip, of his party and not allowing intra-party democracy are crucial 'factors of success' in being an opposition leader in the developing world ?

    If otherwise why has he never allowed an elective congress in the 10 years life of his party?

    And crucially if he is elected as State President will he continue with unilateral appointments or will he allow the democratic process to unfold?

  2. I think the PF Congress is next month. It keeps moving!

    The reason PF has not held a convention is simple - and was alluded to in his speech - MONEY.

    It is very expensive and until recently PF had no members. That may sound strange but it is true. PF has no membership cards for obvious reasons. Now they have 'mobile phone' subscriptions - you register via SMS.

    For a party to fund a convention it needs sponsors. To have sponsors the sponsors need to know you will govern and so it won't be wasted.

    MMD spent around K50bn for their convention. And that excludes regional conferences!

    If you are Sata you would probably prefer to spend that on campaign.

    I don't think Sata fears a challenge. He is too popular in the party. So it's not like RB. It is down to money.

  3. As an opposition political party source of money to hold a convention is not easy. In Zambia most business houses will not align themselves with the opposition political party. Hopping funds will be sourced for their national convention.

    Recently the Patriotic Front had their provincial conferences, were they elected their provincial committees

  4. What a cheap excuse to defend a fascist set up. In over 9 years of existence, not single convention in the meantime funds are always available to mount country wide Presidential campaigns, how hypocritical can it get.

    Talk about democracy without freedom to choose, that is what PF's democracy is all about.

    The lack of funds should never be used as an excuse to cook another version of democracy.

  5. Sata can not in any bit have a semblance of a democratic figure. His own party's history is enough evidence of this. There have never been any sort of elections to choose the their party hierarchy. No further need to discuss this fact.

  6. Not sure this is a good reason for PF not to hold a convention. This part is on paper claiming to be the best party which to some extent I agree with them. How can they fail to raise money to hold such an important convention to authoticate Ba Sata's position. These are bad practices if not checked PF will be a not democratic party and so will the govt they will run. Sad, thety agree that they have no strategies in place to raise funds for a party. which means when in power they will use state funds like MMD to run their conventions, sheme.

  7. Cho

    'I don't think Sata fears a challenge. He is too popular in the party. '

    This is true and I honestly do not see him losing if and when they ever hold a convention. But is that true of all his appointees? Are the appointees beholden to the doctrines of the party or is to the Appointer? Are these appointments on merit or are they predicated on other factors? Will these tendencies be transferred from Party to govt? Are we about to mount a tiger from which we can not dismount?

    These questions keep me awake at night and I desperately hope , Cho , that you are right that it is only money and logistics that prevents the PF from expressing how democratic they are.

  8. Kaiba,

    Though your fears are natural they are not necessary.

    Zambian democratic march is inevitable.

    If Sata wins we shall all be around to hold him to account. Zambians are learning to value their free speech and a sense of entitlement. They will not tolerate anyone quenching the march of progress.

    Be assured, that RB has been moved by the imperative and not the goodness of his heart. Yes, we have lost a few battles (e.g over windfall taxes, constitution reforms) but 2011 presents the people an opportunity to pass their verdict.

    We have nothing to fear. I am very hopeful of Zambia's future. Not because I trust politicians but because I see it in ordinary Zambians. They are learning to dream big and that is the start.

  9. CHO
    ....If Sata wins we shall all be around to hold him to account...

    I hope you do not mean we have not been around to hold RB to account or that this is only possible at the end of a presidential term... through the ballot.

    RB was elected just like SATA or HH can be elected. Whether RB has been controllable by those around him over the constitution review mechanism, single-sourcing, media reforms and mining tax issues is clear for all to see. If you asked me on who seems more pliable between SATA and RB I would say RB without hesitation. The fact that appointments in PF have been dictatorial gives us a snippet of what political experience is about in Mr Sata. In comparison UPND has had elective working structures at all levels of their party and it is the reason behind the better performance they showed in the Kafulafuta local bye election.

    The question Kaiba raised was..." are we about to mount a tiger we can not dismount?..." and it requires serious consideration.

    Sata's inconsistencies on many issues...democracy (the Chawama modus operandi), Taiwan, the BAROTSE issue, FTJ's 3rd term bid, Chineese investment, FTJ's theft cases... are enough to leave a level-headed person apprehensive about a possible SATA-led government.

  10. I think putting sata into office as President is like committing suicide. I think we have known Sata and his savagery Kaponya type leadership style. I still don't think Zambia is short of leaders and above we are not in a crisis to be desperate about who should be the next President. Forget about SATA people of Zambia. "BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW......."

  11. What is disheartening and appallingly vexatious is how seemingly educated, exposed and modern young men could yet without shame root for a shameless dictator whose traits are well written all over him and unhidden enough for any lad to see.

    Sata, amongst Zambia's leading Political figures, stands out as a type of 'Robert Mugabe'. This trait, especially, accounts for why many youths are drawn to him, a populist with the very message they want to hear, that promises emancipation from what they perceive as imperialist's influence on poor Zambia.

  12. How on earth can any sane people carry out an experiment with the objective of finding out how a Dictator can fair running a democracy - Absolutely insane.

    What further evidence does anyone need to suppose that Sata will not thwart our Democratic progression or is it just another version of Democracy that some people would want to see?

    I mean, what madness to experiment with with how light a fire in a gasoline filled chamber. Just what is wrong with some people?

  13. 'If Sata wins we shall all be around to hold him to account. Zambians are learning to value their free speech and a sense of entitlement. They will not tolerate anyone quenching the march of progress.'

    If this is not the highest naivity ever then I don't know what it is. Does a Dictator care about 'free speech? Does he care about the peoples entitlement?

    It is like, 'tonight let the john (their child) lie in the lions lap for its thick fur my darling husband' Are we on the same planet?

  14. I am ashamed of you Zambian Economist. If it is for the excuse of the 'blood linkage, would you please at least, I beg you, care to be more subtle and restrained, than the bluntness with you express your incline, much to my utter revulsion, and I am sure, to others as well.

  15. Anonymous

    I take cognisance of your sentiments on why it baffles the mind that 'how seemingly educated, exposed and modern young men' can begin to side with Sata.
    I also take note of your view that ' better the Devil we know....

    What just saddens me in this whole episode is how short a time it has taken for RB to fall so far. The inexplicable strategic blunders he continues to make in his quest for another term are difficult to fathom.( Courting Chiluba, distancing himself from the Levy legacy, dismantling the anti-corruption organisation, kicking out VJ etc etc )Incumbency in Africa is a huge, huge factor in any presidential election- (I think Kaunda is the only sitting president to have lost an election in Africa.) RB's election should have been a shoe-in , but now he finds that he is facing head winds

    I respect the analytical abilities of Zambian Economist contributors and when you see that Cho and Kaela can even begin to consider Sata you realise that we are really scrapping the bottom of the barrel. It is not an easy choice to make between two evidently flawed leaders - but a choice has to be made-and I applaud them for not sitting on the fence.

    But again there are only two leaders you can look at! or maybe, is there is another viable alternative leader out there ?

  16. The truth for all who care to acknowledge it is that RB is winning these elections. Very few people visit these blog site and chances are the majority are out of the country and probably not even registered to vote. The deciding factor in Zambian elections is the rural vote and this huge portion of our electorate still side with the MMD. RB's strategy has been to invest in the rural area and boy has he done a good job.
    People will post critical comments on ZE, ZWD, Zedleaks, Lusakatimes and all available sites but the inalienable truth still remains. You can't win a war by air power alone, you need foot soldiers and MMD has plenty in all parts of the country.

  17. General,

    I would hate to think this website is a sort of rallying point for the opposition.

    The website exist merely to encourage people to develop critical thinking to national affairs regardless of whose in power.


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