Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Professional standards in all Technical fields are lacking in Zambia. Recently, after coming from London to work in Zambia as an Architect, I became convinced that sooner or later the rest of the world would re-colonise Africa, because it could not afford to do otherwise. The world would require that the resources and potential of Africa’s production be more efficiently exploited.
Monday, 27 February 2012
Friday, 24 February 2012
Even more important is the fear that a destruction of the euro and the EU would lead to a catastrophe pushing all European nations into an abyss. However, no chaos leading to an economic and political collapse of Europe is to be expected. Such a view is far too pessimistic.The individual countries in Europe will quickly form new treaties among themselves....The result will be a net of overlapping contracts between countries, which the various nations will join at will. These contracts will not be based on a vague notion of what ‘’Europe’ may mean, but rather on functional efficiency. Crucially, the individual treaties will be stable because they will be in the interest of each member...
Thursday, 23 February 2012
The amount of aviation passengers in 2011 reached 1.22m across the four international airports. International passengers were 0.99m up by 17% on 2010 figures. Domestic passengers were 0.23m up by 11% on 2010 figures. Naturally, KK (Lusaka) accounts for the larger share of traffic (65%) but it is also encouraging to see SMK (Ndola) growing by 25% over the year, with equal share of traffic as HMK (Livingstone). Clearly SMK has benefited from increase in the international segment, driven by introduction of direct flights by both South Africa Airways and Kenya Airways.
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Monday, 20 February 2012
Mr Besa said while the recent calls to reform the judiciary were legitimate, the solution did not end at removing Chief Justice Ernest Sakala. "What has been the problem? Is it individuals or is it the system? There have been these calls to retire the Chief Justice but does it end there? He proposed that Zambia needed a jury system so that an independent panel would sit to assess the facts of any given matter. Mr Besa said a system where the judges did not sit as assessors of both the law and facts of matter before the courts should be introduced. Mr Besa, author of Constitution, Governance and Democracy, said the judiciary was an important arm of any functional democracy. He said as one of the three arms of Government, the judiciary was critical in resolving conflict in society.
Friday, 17 February 2012
Thursday, 16 February 2012
The fact that Chinese aid is driven by political and commercial motives is not outstanding in international development cooperation. Many studies have shown that Western donor countries provide aid based on strategic considerations....Therefore, we compared China’s aid allocation decisions in 1996-2005 with those of the so-called traditional donors, organised in the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC), and other emerging donors. There is no evidence that China's allocation of aid is inferior from a humanitarian point of view when compared to other donor countries. When it comes to democracy and indicators of governance, there is also little evidence that China's allocation of aid is inferior. Although China does not take institutional quality into account when deciding on its allocation of aid, the same holds for most other donors in our sample. In particular, we did not find that China's aid is biased towards autocratic or corrupt regimes as claimed by its critics. Based on our analysis of China's aid allocation decisions, it seems that fears that Chinese aid undermines the efforts of other donors to promote democracy and good governance are exaggerated. The same holds for commercial motives. While commercial interests matter, our empirical evidence does not support the idea that China puts greater weight on giving aid to either countries with strong commercial ties, or to countries that are more abundant in natural resources, in comparison to other donors.
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
This copper is not like vegetables where one might suggest that by tomorrow it will go bad and lose its value. Even after 15 years, that copper will still be there, so what is important is our lives first then copper. It is the mine that emphasizes that safety must always be first but they are not respecting that principle on this matter… The government has an obligation of protecting our lives as citizens of this land. Now we don’t know if those people in offices respect Mopani’s Copper production at the expense of thousands of lives.
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Monday, 13 February 2012
More than K700m allocated for the rehabilitation of a docking bridge at Chilubi harbour has gone missing. The K700 million released for the rehabilitation of the floating jetty in 2007, appears to have been be misappropriated according to area Member of Parliament Obby Chisala.
Friday, 10 February 2012
Thursday, 9 February 2012
"For the whole of this year windfall tax will not come up unless prices go up to the region of $10,000 per tonne...The projections are that it will hit $10,000 and at that time we may sit around the table. If the prices hit those ranges it is only logical that we talk"
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
The first of a series of articles from our resident geo-politics expert Dr Mpundu Mukanga focusing on the current Syrian crisis.
The Syrian Conundrum Part 1
Prisoners of Regime Change - Part 2
Prisoners of Regime Change - Part 1
Monday, 6 February 2012
"According to research, there is also no impact on poverty reduction. This should tell the government that if you are not getting anything, then there is something wrong. What us Zambians and the new government need to understand is that for a lot of money being spent on maize, there is a school that hasn't been built; drugs that haven't been built and many more...The government spends about US $500 million to purchase maize from the farmers which they do not even have capacity to store. There is no return on the investments made in the manner that the government has made on maize. About 40 per cent of budget on agriculture spent on input support."
Friday, 3 February 2012
Thursday, 2 February 2012
"The intellectuals in this country have gone to sleep. Some of the problems that we are facing now would have been avoided had our intellectuals stepped up to help the country. There is need for people who have been educated using taxpayers money to step up and plough back to the governance of the country"
Wednesday, 1 February 2012
President Sata’s decision to create a ministry dedicated to traditional affairs provides a unique opportunity to review the constitutional position of the House of Chiefs and how it fits in with broader national development. Under current arrangements the House of Chiefs continues to be merely an "advisory body" that carries no weight. The Republican Constitution states under article 130 and 131:
The House of Chiefs has no legal tooth and serves mainly as a talking shop for chiefs. This underlines the criticism once expressed by Chief Puta that the failure by the then MMD administration to take seriously recommendations by the House of Chiefs had reduced it to a “mere white elephant”. As currently constituted the second chamber is not functioning as it should and in fact continues to drain resources from the national coffers that could be better channel in fighting poverty.
The absence of credible power has also had another unintended effect. It has created a situation where very few credible chiefs take House of Chiefs matters seriously, leading to a de facto house of lemons. The poor reputation of the House of Chiefs has led to good chiefs staying outside because it is not worth their time and effort, despite the enticing allowances. The exit of credible chiefs from the second chamber has given way to corrupt and illiterate chiefs who are attracted to the chamber in equal measure. In short it’s a classic “market for lemons”, with only the bad eggs left in the business. It’s no surprise therefore that over the last decade the House of Chiefs has largely been dominated by corrupt and politically captured chiefs. Corruption is always rife in advisory bodies because such entities are used by the Executive to reward political friends in exchange for staying in power, as was witnessed under the MMD rule with its many electoral endorsements from traditional leaders.
The case for reform has never been more urgent. However in reforming the House of Chiefs we must first ask a broader question – what role, if any, should there be for culture / traditions in
The standard approach to development issues has tended to see economic improvement as the essence of development. Economic growth expands choices and improves social welfare. Development comes essentially to mean higher and higher growth. A large amount of time is spent finding ways in which national economic growth can be enhanced. Current consensus points to the need to develop “open institutions” that are much more suited to higher quality growth e.g. greater democratic institutions. Under this largely “western” model there’s no special role for cultural or religious functions. Where such exists, these must necessarily be subservient to higher ideals of national growth. There’s certainly merit in the standard model that Zambia has unreservedly embraced over the last two decades. However, for development to be meaningful to our people it must be owned by them. Stated differently, it must have an intrinsic Zambian definition, especially at the local level.
The problem with the standard western centric development model is that it presupposes the nature and meaning of “development” for every Zambian and seeks to realign national institutions accordingly to deliver those ideals (i.e. high quality growth). However, it is quite feasible that an alternative definition of development may command different requirements on the type of local institutions that delivers that development. It is arguable that until that is done Zambians will never see development. Indeed, the reason why people are not experiencing the benefits of current national growth spurt is not only that the growth patterns are unequal, and increasing, but also that Zambians have inherently different expectations of what development means to them. Real development is not something that can be delivered from the top down, it must be defined from the bottom-up. It is not something that can be defined by bureaucrats in Lusaka. It must emerge from our villages in Kashikishi and other places. It requires an explicit local approach.
Development therefore rightly understood is the increase in the freedom of local communities to determine their own destiny, consistent with their cultural and social beliefs. To have genuine development
Now it might be the case that Mwansabombwe residents may see “development” in terms of greater emphasis on traditional norms (e.g. less democratic openness) combined with participatory budgeting, but with minimal emphasis on economic growth. Mufulira residents may have the opposite view (more democratic openness and growth, but erosion of traditional forms), with Kapiri Mponshi residents opting for a mid way house between two extremes. The important point is that we should allow each area to define their vision of development and the appropriate local institutions that accords to their goals. It should not be the role of central government to super impose its world view on local people. Such an approach does not deliver development because only local people really know what development means for them. In some cases, they will reject democratic openness and in some others they’ll embrace it.
This approach raises the inevitable question of how we integrate the constituent parts to form a meaningful whole. The starting point is that we must start with a basic affirmation: strong societies are those societies which are supported by a tripod of strong markets, strong democratic foundation and religious or cultural institutions. Despite the limitations of markets high quality growth at the national level is necessary for delivering increased choices that improves social welfare. Culture plays a strong and dynamic role in creating durable societies. Equally, we hold that democracy has 'intrinsic value' and is important in its own right. The question is: how do we ensure that our vision of local people driven institutions support the emergence of this strong national apparatus?
It is in answering that question that the role of the House of Chiefs becomes important. Having recognised that the notion of development and culture are interlinked, the next step is to ensure that nationally there’s a greater affirmation of our traditions by bring them to centre of decision making. If this logical connection is accepted then, the chieftaincy that are the very heart of our cultural traditions must be recognised as having a primary role in shaping national life. This would be most viable through reinforcing the chieftaincy in local government and ensuring that the House of Chiefs becomes a credible second chamber that links local preferences on traditions to national ideals on high quality growth.
The local role of chiefs would be dictated by how localities define development and the level of emphasis they place on using existing cultural institutions to foster development. For some areas, the role of chiefs may open up the possibility of a new model that improves on role they played during colonialism as “native authorities”, working hand in hand with local administrators and representatives. The problem at the moment is that everyone in the village runs to the chief for justice administration and economic sustenance (more on this in future essays). Unfortunately many chiefs have no financial budget or clearly defined role in meeting these needs. The travesty of colonialism is that it reduced the chieftaincy which prior to that period had served the people so well to an irrelevant spectator. The local government apparatus has continued that parallel approach (government imposed system and traditional authorities) and with it a huge and inefficient struggle in delivering local development.
At the national level, the key is putting in place a much stronger House of Chiefs. A second chamber, also drawing in religious leaders, would provide checks and balances to Parliament. This would be similar to the House of Lords in the UK. However, unlike the British version, chiefs would have direct link to the grass roots since they would operate both through chiefdoms and within a revised and integrated local government system. By moving the chieftaincy to the legislative centre, it would enhance democracy rather than weaken it. For example, under the proposed model land redistribution and reform of customary law would be easier to undertake because chiefs would be connected to the centre and with real administrative power, they would not feel ‘threatened’.
Opposition against a stronger House of Chiefs centres on the “undemocratic” nature of such reforms. This position is misguided because it essentially suffers from the illusion of pervasive democracy. Much of what affects our every day existence is thrust on us by unelected people. The entire bureaucracy of government that drafts legislation and builds complexity upon complexity in our laws and policies is not elected. Indeed, in Parliament we continue to have unelected nominated parliamentarians. The argument also fails because it is built on a presupposition of democracy as a means to an end. As noted the goal is to have a stronger society, of which the democratic aspect is an important supporting leg. If we can have a less democratic second chamber that helps deliver that strong society that is development.
The vision above neatly fuses modern principles of governance within a traditional framework. In the end