The task of the church is set forth in the Great Commission, which involves not only baptising, but also discipling, "teaching them to observe all that I commanded you" (Matthew 28:20). God has not given the sword to the church; our only weapon is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. But the Word of God speaks comprehensively to all aspects of human life (1 Corinthians 10:31). The Great Commission does not restrict the church to preaching a simple gospel, the way to escape divine judgement. Rather, the preaching of the church presents to the world a way of life that transforms everything, including politics. Chirstians are not saved, of course, by political action. But they must bring their faith with them into their families, their workplaces, and their politics. Of course, in some culture there is not much that Christians can do, other than pray, to influence political structures and policies. But when they can influence them, they should. In modern democracies, all citizens are "lesser magistrates" by virtue of the ballot box. Christians have an obligation to vote according to God's standards. And, as they are gifted and called, they should influence others to vote in the same way.
Friday, 29 April 2011
Thursday, 28 April 2011
Other than the few misguided colleagues in the MMD led by a UNIP clique that have taken over the party and a few nuisance one- man NGOs created by the MMD to fern trouble and led by such obnoxious characters as Edwin Lifwekelo, Gregory Cifire, Moses Kalonde, Chanda Chimba, Mulenga and whose despicable mouthings are the in trade of the MMD government controlled Times of Zambia, Zambia Daily Mail and the ZNBC television and Radio networks, all peace loving Zambians organised in all church organisations, women’s movement, workers organisations, young people and student organisations, professional organisations and all those underemployed village farmers and unemployed citizens in the informal sector – are agreed that change in our country is an inevitable historical necessity, that the bad governance of President Rupiah Banda must come to an end as the country goes to the polls.
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Why did the government's bid to replace the current royalties regime with the resource rent tax proposed by the Henry Review fail? Mainly, because profitable international companies don't like paying tax, and have few qualms about setting up complex legal structures, stone-walling tax authorities and otherwise fighting dirty to shell out as little as possible....I firmly believe that if Australians had understood that the tax international super-profiting mining companies didn't pay on their windfall profits would be clawed back by the Gillard government through attacks on life-saving cures, childcare centre rebates and middle-income jobs, they'd have insisted the Billionaire Liberation Front – a term coined by Lindsay Tanner – pay up. The reason they didn't requires a book to fully explain but boils down to political and communication nous and – you guessed it – finance. Background Briefing reports that the big mining companies spent $22million to defeat the super profits tax by way of a PR campaign that made the government's communications efforts – to use an analogy offered by legal expert Michael Kobetsky – look like the football under-10s. These days big business dirty tricks are the rule, not the exception. Politicians must be armed and ready.
You can read the rest of the piece here.We are constantly bombarded by expert opinion, by all sorts of people – with or without Ph.D. after their name – who tell us exactly what to think (though rarely why we should think it). On the other hand, most of us are woefully inadequate to practice the venerable and vital art of baloney detection (or, more politely, critical thinking), which is so necessary in modern society.
You can think of the paradox in another way: we live in an era when knowledge – in the sense of information – is constantly available in real time through computers, smart phones, electronic tablets, and book readers. And yet we still lack the basic skills of reflecting on such information, of sifting through the dirt to find the worthy nuggets. We are ignorant masses awash in information.
Of course, it may be that humanity has always been short on critical thinking. That’s why we keep allowing ourselves to be talked into supporting unjust wars (not to mention actually dying in them), or voting for people whose main job seems to be to amass as much wealth for the rich as they can get away with. It is also why so many people are duped by exceedingly costly sugar pills sold to them by homeopathic “doctors,” and why we follow the advice of celebrities (rather than real doctors) about whether to vaccinate our kids.
But the need for critical thinking has never been as pressing as in the Internet era. At least in developed countries – but increasingly in underdeveloped ones as well – the problem is no longer one of access to information, but of the lack of ability to process and make sense of that information.
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
Monday, 25 April 2011
"Ethiopian Airlines is Africa's oldest airline and....it has continued to perform well in the African aviation industry. It has in its existence taken some battering from heavy competition in and outside Africa, among the competitors being South African Airline, Kenya Airways and British Airways among others and the only way to counter this was to set out a strategic plan. The just ended five-year plan brought success to reinstall the airline among Africa's finest and is an example of how well an airline could be managed by maximizing on profits. In the just ended five-year strategic plan, the airline surpassed all targeted by raising its income to US$ 1.3 billion when the target was $1 billion from the $390 million at the start of the plan....The 100 per cent Government owned company also raised its profitability last year to $123 million..."
The current challenges in health services are humongous. I was recently at Ndola Central Hospital and saw many horror stories – an entire city hospital for example with only one dialysis machine. HIV patients are kept with people suffering from severe skin diseases. Patients sleep on the floor. Stories abound of people jumping from the sixth floor to commit suicide because of poor conditions. The stench alone is enough to consign an alien visitor to mental asylum. That is in the province that is the "home of copper"! Now, what about rural hospitals? Then there’s the never ending corruption and procurement scandals. It is no surprise that the sector continues to experience a massive "brain drain". The challenges facing any new government appear insurmountable.
Sunday, 24 April 2011
The efficient, effective and orderly functioning of our civil service would require creating a thick line marking a distinction between the government and the ruling MMD. Lack of this distinction between the ruling party and the government creates a climate of political patronage, leading to the lack of independence in the decisions and actions of civil servants. We are increasingly seeing civil servants and other public officers identifying themselves with the ruling MMD. This is leading to confusion in the conduct of the affairs of government.
Ours is not a one-party state where there is no meaningful separation between the ruling party and the government. Ours is a multi-party political dispensation where the affairs of government are conducted by civil servants and public officers and not by party cadres. And no political party has the right to usurp the functions of government.
Saturday, 23 April 2011
A fellow Luapulan economist on the causes of the recent Mansa riots. More detail via IRIN."These rumours of ritual murders are just a scapegoat. The people here have been frustrated by years of poverty, the absence of industries, and the lack of jobs...If the reasons for the riots were genuine, these people would have just been burning these properties... but they are always starting by looting. This thing of saying the richest people are practicing satanism, black magic, killing people and stuff like that is just a façade. People are just desperate for a solution out of their poverty, and this is why they are now targeting the rich..The government would do well to come up with deliberate programmes that would empower the people of Luapula Province and create jobs - then we would stop seeing these kinds of economic-based riots"
An update to the annual book reading goal. Over the last two weeks, I have completed two different books.
Books Read So Far : 12 books
Remaining Books to Achieve Target : 38 books
Weeks Remaining to Achieve Annual Target : 36 weeks
Friday, 22 April 2011
We are delighted to add the new Movement for Multi-party Democracy Manifesto. We hope to review this alongside other manifestos - see Manifesto Analysis. UPND remains the only leading party that does not have a manifesto.
Movement for Multi-Party Democracy Manifesto 2011-2016
An interesting excerpt from Paul Collier's book The Plundered Planet:
The challenges of implementing a large public investment program go far beyond corruption. First, the program has to be designed : what should be included and what excluded? Both technically and politically this is difficult. Technically, how can the government work out the likely return on different investments and choose the best projects? The conventional answer has to subject projects to the discipline of cost-benefit analysis. The technique has, however, been pretty useless in guiding public investment in low-income countries. For larger projects it misses out on many of the benefits because they accrue across the economy in ways that are immeasurable....
Cost-benefits analysis is also impractical for most of the countries of the bottom billion because it requires the services of a small army of economists. The typical civil service has nowhere near the manpower to undertake such analysis except for a few large projects, and these are precisely the projects that are least suited to the technique. Even where there are sufficient technocrats to perform cost-benefit analysis, their results are only good as their independence. The typical government ministry in the societies of the bottom billion provides little protection for technocrats who cross the pet priorities of a minister. Yet countering politically driven priorities is half the purpose of cost-benefits analysis.
Thursday, 21 April 2011
We found that high “growth spells” were much more likely to end in countries with less equal income distributions. The effect is large. For example, we estimate that closing, say, half the inequality gap between Latin America and emerging Asia would more than double the expected duration of a “growth spell”. Inequality seemed to make a big difference almost no matter what other variables were in the model or exactly how we defined a “growth spell”. Inequality is of course not the only thing that matters but, from our analysis, it clearly belongs in the “pantheon” of well-established growth factors such as the quality of political institutions or trade openness.
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
The current challenges in health services are humongous. I was recently at Ndola Central Hospital and saw many horror stories – an entire city hospital for example with only one dialysis machine. HIV patients are kept with people suffering from severe skin diseases. Patients sleep on the floor. Stories abound of people jumping from the sixth floor to commit suicide because of poor conditions. The stench alone is enough to consign an alien visitor to mental asylum. That is in the province that is the "home of copper"! Now, what about rural hospitals? Then there’s the never ending corruption and procurement scandals. It is no surprise that the sector continues to experience a massive "brain drain". The challenges facing any new government appear insurmountable. But these challenges is also what the PF proposals in this area interesting. Health should be the PF’s strongest suit because the party President Mr Michael Sata is famed for the many positive changes he introduced while he was Minister.
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Mozambique continues its quest from transport supremacy, with announcement of a US $102m new airport in the northern city Nacala in an effort to expand infrastructure to attract tourists and. A military base is being moved to make way for the airport, which will facilitate travel to a key city in the underdeveloped north of the country. Nacala has Mozambique’s only deepwater port and is vying to serve as an export centre for Zambia and Malawi once a railway is built to connect the southern African hinterland to the city. Mozambique has been engaged in massive infrastructure projects. In aviation alone, there have been upgrades to Vilankulo and Maputo airports as it seems to capitalise of its untapped tourism potential.
Related posts :
The quest to become a SADC hub, 3rd Edition
The quest to become a SADC hub, 2nd Edition
The quest to become a SADC hub, 1st Edition
Monday, 18 April 2011
“I just want to take this opportunity to thank many of you who have sent whatever little assistance you have to the party. The Ambassador to the EU was telling me that the convention was wonderful; it was wonderful because of those little monies that you sent to us...We spent all this money in order to ensure that our party has an open convention. I am saying little only as a description but we are so appreciative as the party that you sent us this support.....We still need your support as we go forward because of the elections which are there this year and we are going to need money for fuel to move, we are going to need money to feed our cadres, we are going to need money for materials for the campaign; we are going to need a lot of help, so whatever organisation you can make in order to support us we will really appreciate. Thank you very much for the support you have given us so far..."
Sunday, 17 April 2011
From Collier's interesting piece - Information is Power: But Where Will It Lead? The necessity of drawing out the linkages between resource revenue and wider diversification or general employment creation in other sectors, is something I touch on in our monthly essay - Five Questions on Zambia's Diversification. The problem in Zambia is that we are not willing to get this resource revenue windfall.The transmission from growth to jobs is not automatic. In Africa growth has been driven predominantly by the price boom in natural resources. This does not directly generate much employment: revenue growth has been mainly due to higher prices rather than increased quantities, and in any case the sector is not labour-intensive. Indirectly, it can even reduce formal wage employment through the standard Dutch disease squeeze on domestically produced manufactures as a result of real exchange rate appreciation. So how, during a commodity boom, is employment best generated?
Jobs will come from that part of the economy which is internationally non-tradable. Further, since the revenues from resource extraction are unsustainable, much of them should be devoted to assets rather than consumption. The sector which satisfies both these conditions is construction: it is non-tradable, and its outputs, structures, are capital goods. But what structures should be produced? The conventional answer is infrastructure, but its construction is often not employment-intensive. An alternative is housing: were Africa's slums replaced by decent, low-cost homes it would create mass employment for young men. Housing is an asset that is relatively easy to collateralize: the homes for Britain's nineteenth century cities were financed by building societies.
Channelling the revenue from commodity booms into urban housing is a long way from conventional growth-focused economic thinking, but it is the sort of idea that will be needed if the new power of the street is not to turn dangerous.
Friday, 15 April 2011
Yet another party is born! The new political party called is People of This Way led by a "Lusaka businessman" called Bernard Mumba. The party symbol is the bible.
Actually, shouldn't the party be called "People of The Way"? The Way being what Christians were first called - that is to say Christians are followers of the The Way. Jesus Christ being "The Way, The Truth and The Life". There's certainly room for a party like this in Zambia. Its an oddity that a supposedly "bible based" party does not actually exist. Though such a party would clearly perform better under proportional representation. Whether this is that party is an entirely different question. They have a huge task though to develop a Zambian theonomy - one hopes they wont just be handing bibles out as campaign material. The unregenerate after all can't comprehend the things of God. So how do they plan to campaign?
Related Posts :
Another day, another party, 9th Edition
Another day, another party, 8th Edition
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
(Elias C. Chipimo Jr.)
COMMENCEMENT OF PREPARATIONS FOR THE 2012 NATIONAL BUDGET AND THE 2012 – 2014 MEDIUM TERM EXPENDITURE FRAMEWORK - DEADLINE : 31 JULY 2011
Lusaka, Tuesday 12th April, 2011. I am pleased to inform the public that the Ministry of Finance and National Planning [MOFNP] has commenced preparations for the 2012 National Budget and the 2012 Medium Term Expenditure Framework.
In this regard, all Zambians are called upon to make submissions on Tax and Non-Tax Revenue Policy proposals which they hope to see in the 2012 National Budget and the 2012 Medium Term Expenditure Framework.
The deadline for submissions is 31st July 2012. The three months consultation period has been set to ensure that all citizens, including the youth, women groups, the private sector, and all other stakeholders are given a fair deal and ample time to participate in the formulation of the 2012 Budget.
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
April 8, 2011 : "Lungwangwa goes alone without consultation"
April 9th, 2011 : "the people react"
April 10, 2011 : Now for the "humiliation"
Minister of Communications and Transport Geoffrey Lungwangwa has announced that the Government has suspended the revoking of a Statutory Instrument that compels Public Service Vehicles (PSV) operators to maintain a stipulated colour code for their vehicles. According to Zambia National Broadcasting Services (ZNBC) main news bulletin monitored last night, Professor Lungwangwa said in Lusaka that the suspension of the statutory instrument followed numerous concerns from members of the public and would hold consultations with various key stakeholders. (Source : Lusaka Times)
Monday, 11 April 2011
"A cursory look at the so-called Vision 2030...and even the recently launched Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) confirms the lack of application of economic analysis and more. It is difficult to see what government economists spend their time doing. This is part of the reason why investments made in Zambia have not been of greater impact on the economy, and why still the country is one of the poorest in SADC, in spite of never experiencing natural or man-made calamities..."
Sunday, 10 April 2011
Dr Haglund and many other commentators have no direct interest in the politics of Zambia. They base their recommendations on evidence. Ironically, even institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which in the past were the usual scapegoats for policy inertia, are now all loudly criticising Zambia’s mining tax policy.
Despite all this criticism, Rupiah Banda’s MMD government is unmoved. After all, his focus and that of his government officials is on self aggrandisement and not to serve the people of Zambia. Rupiah and his friends are benefitting from mining because the mining corporations give them all sorts of personal favours – they bankroll their election campaigns. For this, they are ready to sell the taxes that are due to our people. This is criminal. This is corruption. This is what happens to a country when greed and selfishness reign supreme.
Saturday, 9 April 2011
Friday, 8 April 2011
According to Joseph Stiglitz an economy in which citizens are doing worse year after year is not likely to do well in the long term for three reasons :
You can read the rest of the article via Vanity Fair.First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets—our people—in the most productive way possible.
Second, many of the distortions that lead to inequality—such as those associated with monopoly power and preferential tax treatment for special interests—undermine the efficiency of the economy. This new inequality goes on to create new distortions, undermining efficiency even further. To give just one example, far too many of our most talented young people, seeing the astronomical rewards, have gone into finance rather than into fields that would lead to a more productive and healthy economy.
Third, and perhaps most important, a modern economy requires “collective action”—it needs government to invest in infrastructure, education, and technology. The United States and the world have benefited greatly from government-sponsored research that led to the Internet, to advances in public health, and so on. But America has long suffered from an under-investment in infrastructure (look at the condition of our highways and bridges, our railroads and airports), in basic research, and in education at all levels. Further cutbacks in these areas lie ahead.
Thursday, 7 April 2011
Africans are increasingly taking to the web and not necessarily in search for knowledge but for "community" :
More from detail via African Renewal.Studies suggest that when Africans go online (predominantly with their mobile phones) they spend much of their time on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on). Sending and reading e-mails, reading news and posting research queries have become less important activities for Africans. In recent months Facebook — the major social media platform worldwide and currently the most visited website in most of Africa — has seen massive growth on the continent. The number of African Facebook users now stands at over 17 million, up from 10 million in 2009. More than 15 per cent of people online in Africa are currently using the platform, compared to 11 per cent in Asia. Two other social networking websites, Twitter and YouTube, rank among the most visited websites in most African countries.
Wednesday, 6 April 2011
South Africa's AGZAM Project Developers Ltd plans to build a $US251 million sugar and bio-ethanol plant, one of the largest non-mining investments in recent years. According ZDA, "The company will produce 200,000 tonnes of sugar and 28 million litres of bio-ethanol per year...Production is expected to start by 2013 and we expect that the project will create around 4,000 jobs". The company will cultivate about 15,000 hectares of cane sugar in Kazungula and support about 3,000 hectares of plantations by out-growers. It is thought that once completed, it will increase Zambian sugar production by 50 percent which should be good for export revenues. Domestically this looks like good competition for Zambia sugar. But the scale of land involved seems huge. Presumably some chiefs have struck a bargain somewhere.
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Monday, 4 April 2011
Sunday, 3 April 2011
In 2007 I spent half a year in Zambia conducting the primary fieldwork for a PhD thesis (embedded below) I was writing at the University of Bath. The primary aim was to understand how mining sector policy evolves in a context of a ‘presidential’ political culture and a diverse set of mining companies (from emerging economies like China and India as well as the ‘west’). A secondary aim was to explore whether organisational learning was leading to convergence across companies’ operating standards.
Saturday, 2 April 2011
Conditioning : For the most part women aren’t conditioned to consider the political arena as a viable means to effect meaningful change. Our socialisation still runs towards men in politics and women in civil society. You can see a microcosm of this in our schools where student government structure (if it exists) is mostly male dominated, and females are directed towards more genteel activities such as theatre or school fundraising. Being bold and assertive is not something that ‘good girls’ do....
The Government is working out measures which will ensure money in mineral royalties collected from mine companies is used for development projects in the respective communities the firms operate in. Secretary to the Treasurer Likolo Ndalamei said the Ministry of Finance and National Planning is formulating a system to ensure that the collected revenue from mineral royalties directly benefited the communities.....
I recently acquired a Kindle which I have found tremendously useful. Also my wife has been urging me to get the many books I have acquired over the years "rationalised". However, my use of it has been somewhat limited because I am still working through a backlog of around 12 physical books. I managed to whittle it down to 11 this week with the completion of Which None Can Shut : Remarkable True Stories of God's Miraculous Work in the Muslim World, by Reema Goode.
It's selected autobiography of their family's story living in the Arabian peninsula as Christian missionaries. Christianity of course is banned in these places and converts are punishable by death. As you can imagine it keeps you on the edge, so I managed to chew 165 pages within a short space of time. The book has given me greater thirst to read more stories of missionaries. Those who are serving Christ in the most extreme environment. So I am now on the look for some.
Book Reading Goal Review
Books Read So Far : 10 books
Remaining Books to Achieve Target : 40 books
Weeks Remaining to Achieve Annual Target : 39 weeks