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Thursday, 14 July 2011

Two decades of legal plunder

An important (and accurate) assessment of how the MMD in the last two decades of rule have used the constitutional process to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor :
For 20 years, the MMD and its successive governments have failed to come up with a constitution that is acceptable to the great majority of our people as truly reflecting their wishes and aspirations. Why? It is simply because successive MMD governments have tried to impose a constitution that is tailored to meet their own political desires on the Zambian people.

In 1996, the MMD leadership of Frederick Chiluba imposed on the Zambian people a constitution whose provisions were decided upon by Chiluba and the men and women he had handpicked as his cabinet ministers. The wishes of the people, as reflected in the report of the Mwanakatwe Constitution Review Commission, were ignored or rejected. A gigantic sum of money was spent on this commission to gather the people’s views as to what type of constitution they wanted for their country. But when the exercise was completed at a huge cost to the taxpayer, the Chiluba-led MMD government rejected or ignored the findings of the Mwanakatwe Constitution Review Commission, and instead put in the constitution what they wanted to see in it....

In 2003, another constitution review commission was initiated by the Levy Mwanawasa-led MMD government. The Wila Mung’omba Constitution Review Commission went round the country, at a gigantic cost, to gather the views of Zambians on what type of constitution they wanted. A very good job was done by Wila and his team but when this was tabled to Levy’s MMD government, there was reluctance to move and move in the suggested manner.

Levy died and Rupiah Banda took over from him the management of this process with the help of George Kunda. And it’s important to mention here that even when Levy was around, it was George who was in charge of this process and this continued when Rupiah also appointed him minister of justice and Vice-President.... Rupiah put up a National Constitutional Conference (NCC) at a very high cost to the taxpayer and in total defiance of strong opposing views from the main opposition, the Church and civil society in general. The end of this exercise is well known. Rupiah’s term of office ended without a constitution in place. The only thing he left the Zambian people with was a bill of over K200 billion spent on this futile process.

And to this, add the expenditure of the Levy and Chiluba regimes on the constitution review process. A huge amount of money that could have changed the lives of our people in so many ways was wasted. No one has seriously been taken to task, politically or otherwise, for this wastefulness and recklessness....It is also important to note that so far there has been no apology from the MMD leadership to the Zambian people on the time and money wasted on a constitution review process that was clearly destined to fail because of the autocratic and single-minded approach they had taken from the very beginning – where it was only their views, and no one else’s, that had to prevail, that had to dominate.

So far Rupiah and his friends in the MMD have shown no remorse or contrition over what they have done with the constitution review process. This is not a small issue. It is a very important issue that needs to be on top of our election agenda because, as we have already stated, the rock upon which a democratic government rests is its constitution.
The question I have for the Zambian people is : where is the anger? You can read more via the Post.


  1. And the question I have for this website is, how did this website transform from a non-partisan analytical platform, into an effort to foment revolution :)


  2. i do not see how 'anger' suggests revolution. Zambian leaders, like most other politicians, steal so much money because they can count on the fear and apathy of the people, and the continued compliance of donors. If the people tried to hold their leaders more to account, and if the donor community supported them, perhaps less abuse of power would occur.This is what Cho is hinting at i believe. Holding leaders to account does not imply revolution. That is a ridiculous extrapolation to make. Although, the mentality of MMD is perhaps now such that they view any challenge to their plundering as ' revolution'.

  3. Poor old 'anonymous', doubtless a paid-up member of the Zambian kleptocracy. I am very glad to witness Cho's mounting anger at the terrible plunder of Zambia, now increasing exponentially in this new epoch I call the Plundercene. This is a time to take sides; and as revealed in a comparison of the MMD and PF manifestos, the MMD is the party without a clue, a party filled with the hubris of power, now leading to their nemesis. As an investor whose rights have been traduced by the MMD, I will be clamouring louder than a vervet monkey caught out in the open for the thieves to be punished. There must be no clemency, no weakness...

  4. I.P.A Manning what ever you say, zambian economist in many articles seems to align him/herself with a particular political party. now anonymous is just making an observation, one i agree with and one you disagree with.based on this,me labeling you a paid PF cadre just isn't wise.
    Much as i dislike MMD when i compare the two manifestoes MMD is far far better than PF. PF manifesto is unrealitic, unachievable. simple example PF plans to expand the current national budget from the current $4.4 bililion while spontaneous reducing all sources of revenue in a space of 5 years.these is no mathematical sense in this. but this is done to simply tell people what they want to hear in exchange for a vote.
    anyway that aside, MMD has truly failed to give us a good constitution. UNIP also failed to give as a good constitution after 27years. i can bet that the next group of "eaters" coming into gov will fail for as long as the environment is not altered. here its not the politician who is the problem its the process itself.we need to change the process of constitution making and delivery.we as a nation need to agree on the path of constitution making before we even talk about constitution making. state house should not be the biggest stakeholder of the constitution making process.

  5. again talking about MMD they guys have done a lot of rubish for which we the people should punish them. but we should be able to accept that this country has never been in a better economical posture than this. Under UNIP even while people where seemingly living well, the roads were maintained, education was free, the economy was being eroded on a daily basis and by any standard zambian economy was not expannding.even when we didn't feel it. by the late 1980s the nation had come to its knees.
    so in the same way, the country is getting stronger even though the majority of the people are truly not feeling it. but it is getting better and there is nothing suggesting to the contrary.
    NB:just in case i am on nobody's pay cheque except mine.

  6. again talking about MMD they guys have done a lot of rubish for which we the people should punish them. but we should be able to accept that this country has never been in a better economical posture than this. Under UNIP even while people where seemingly living well, the roads were maintained, education was free, the economy was being eroded on a daily basis and by any standard zambian economy was not expanding.


    UNIP owned the mines, when the price of copper was $1,500 per tonne. They were making a loss keeping them open.

    The MMD has sold the mines, and the price of copper is now over $10,000 per tonne. They get $50 million a year in taxes, and don't run a loss.

    This is nothing to cheer about. If the MMD had not sold (given away) the mines, instead of getting $50 million, the state would get $3,000 million a year in profits.

    If there is an uptick in some people's living standards, it has nothing to do with the MMD, and everything to do with an over 6-fold increase in the price of copper. And those measly little advances are going to be wiped out when copper gets back to $3,000 per tonne.

    We shouldn't confuse the massive international rally in commodities prices with MMD rule. Rathter than make Zambia $50 million in mining taxes, they lost Zambia $2950 million a year (every year) in lost profits.

  7. I would question whether the country has ever been in a better economical situation . Whilst GDP must have risen considerably, and even per capita income, how much does this reflect the wealthier Zambians skewing the average ? Are things really much better for the average to low income Zambians ? Aside from economics, how is the country faring regarding life expectancy and literacy rates compared to 20 years ago ?

  8. I think it is erroneous to treat and analyse the 20 years of MMD in Govt as one unbroken rule by a single party. It may have been MMD in name for 20 years- but the Mwanawasa 2004-MMD was fundamentally different from the 1996-MMD of Chiluba. The Rupiah 2011-MMD, is an amalgamation of the first two and it seems to crave the vices of the first two but without the saving virtues. Personally I think there has been four epochs in this 20 year period. The first epoch was the 1991-1993 Aka/Chitala idealistic and thinker dominated period. Sadly by 1994 most of the idealists had been hounded out and replaced by the Kleptocrats

    The sad reality in Zambia is that Political Parties are not necessary groups of like minded people with similar and consistent ideas . Parties are all about personalities. That is why people do not seem to find it strange that people like Sylvia, at one time or another, has been a member of virtually all the political parties. It is not about ideology!

    Another incongruity Rupiah Banda was the Munali Candidate in 1991 for UNIP. Even as late as 2003 possibly even 2005 he was still UNIP. So for 75% of the time MMD has been in power, RB has been in opposition!it follows that he can not possibly be blamed or credited for 75% of the stuff that has gone on. Sata in 1991 stood on an MMD ticket and was in the upper echelons( he was virtual number 3 for close to 10 years) until Mwanawasa was woken up in the middle of the night.So Sata was a leading figure in MMD for 10 years, or 50%, of this 20 year period. So he has to take half of the credit and half of the blame. But it is worth noting that the first 10 years were the barren years when the kleptocrats reigned supreme and the economy shrank.

    So my way of analysing these legal plunders is to lift the party veil and look closely at the personalities that were inside those parties and wielding power at the time.( And please don't come with that tired excuse that 'only the president has power') We have to hold people to account for their action or inaction at the time.

    Using the criteria above it is evident that the current PF leadership crop is as much to blame for the legal plunder as is the RB MMD. Aaron has put it correctly when he says that we are about to have a 'new group of eaters'. I will correct him a little and say - its the same group, but they come under a new identity!. What worries me is why we are allowing ourselves to be deceived by basically the same group of political actors playing musical chairs.

  9. Sorry everyone, just to clarify, no one pays me to say anything. I'm not even Zambian. I'm a "very passionate about all things Zambian", but sadly a Mzungu living in Lusaka.

    I have always had issues with the political alignment of this website, not because MMD has always got things right (or for that matter made a proper mess of things to the point where they will face justice one day), but because of my passion to encourage a more non-partisan debate.

    I make many snide remarks only because I want to keep reminding authors and readers and commenters that the spirit of this site, as listed on its About page, is to be non-partisan.

    But thats not what it has become. I find a number of faults with the analysis done of the manifestos. One cannot convincingly argue that the manifesto of the PF, the same party that vowed to reverse foreign investment decisions and throw out the Chinese, is superior to that of the MMD in every single way possible. That to me is bias.

    As a disclaimer, Chola has demonstrated his non-partisanship by inviting me to write my own article on this blog, offering me a platform. Sadly, I have never found the right words, courage or sufficient time to be able to do it. That speaks poorly on my image.

    However, what I can, and will continue to do, is urge all of you to keep a balanced view in mind.

    If you compare the quality of articles a few years ago with what is being posted now, you will agree with me that the tone of this site has become more or less cemented as anti-MMD.

    I'm no fan of the MMD, but I think that they deserve their credit where it is due. No one can convincingly argue with me that there is none to write about.



  10. YM i once again i agree with you in all respects. i have on many occasions stated that cho is biased. if he does not change that is his problem but at least he needs to know what we think about his position.
    there are many criteria used to assess economic and/or political process. most of the parameters are internationally accepted. please MK use those to assess the performances of all our presidents.
    being a zambia i will say we should not depart from the path we have taken. this path give hope to the families that are hard working. their are more zambians making a living out side gov employment. this is good and it progress.
    the thought MrK that gov could have managed to capitalize the mines to their current level and still maintain the current money levels in health,education and agriculture is a dream.
    Besides let us not allow gov to use our money to run its businesses. let us run them ourselves as private citizen or cooperate bodies but not as gov.their is false security in the belief that gov can keep thing for us and look after us better than we can look after ourselves/each other.
    to avoid going into crippling debt gov has to be small.since gov is a consumer by nature big gov will consume a mountain of taxes. and gov run mines, telecom companies, media, electricity supply companies only leads to a very huge gov. we will be left to pay the bill one day.RB is making gov smaller by shedding off the responsibilities running business and relegating it(gov) only to policy formulation and supervision.
    that is why i say now we are on track. the poor we are championing don't need to own mines or land they need a good steady income to meet life's needs. and gov will never provide no matter who is has failed in the past and will fail in the future


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