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Friday, 2 August 2013

Comparison of PF and MMD Performance (Guest Blog)

I was amazed to read today’s comparison between attitudes to PF and MMD. Lately a breakdown of law and order has spread from the capital to much of the country, and especially to parts affected by bye-elections. I use ‘break-down’ to describe areas where PF ‘activists’, often carrying offensive weapons, including even guns, are free to act offensively against opposition political parties, with little or no control by the Zambia Police.

Some 2 months ago there was a well organized attack on a politically motivated meeting in a well-known church in Lusaka headed by Bishop Mambo. The Bishop and several of his colleagues were violently attacked with sticks, hoes etc. Several were injured, and the Bishop was admitted to hospital. No action was taken against the attackers, though some were reported by name to the police. Miles Sampa later offered Bishop Mambo several thousand kwacha compensation.

It is now quite normal for opposition politicians to be attacked by PF thugs, often carrying weapons, and for no action to be taken by the police. Accounts of this kind of violence, and of lack of police action, are now reported almost daily by the Zambia Daily Nation, which can be found on Similar reports were until two weeks ago reported on, but its publication has now been banned. The Zambia Daily Nation is still published daily, but for how long? It is by no means offensive, and seems to be accurate. It is now the only non-governmental daily paper, as Mmembe is in Sata’s pocket. Parts of a paragraph on 25th July read as follows:
‘Zambia’s cooperating partners have observed that the PF’s unbudgeted expenditure risks crowding out resources from programmes targeted at poor Zambians.

‘UK Department for International Development (DFID) head Kevin Quinlan who spoke on behalf of the cooperating partners underscored that an active and free opposition is an essential element of democracy, adding that the partners were also concerned about the recent allegations of constraints of freedom of the media in the country. “The budget deficit is now much higher than planned….” He said.

‘Mr Quinlan said the cooperating partners also shared the concerns also raised by the Human Rights Commission (HRC) on the ongoing infringements of fundamental freedoms in the country.’
I could quote far more of that article and from others, but you can see it all for yourself on the web. I think you need to be wary about obtaining information from PF sources. Your table showing government services in columns illustrates heavy bias. It awards MMD no points at all for ‘Resolving violent conflict’ and ‘Reforming the judiciary’, and gives them a mere 25% for ‘Managing the Economy’ and 26% for ’Fighting Corruption’. I would say the truth is exactly the opposite As I see it, this report, unless corrected, will do serious harm to the high reputation of Zambian Economist for judgement and objectivity.

Your attentive reader

Murray Sanderson


  1. an example...

    ZCCM-IH Minority Shareholders Warn of PF Mismanagement
    Published August 1, 2013 By Nse Udoh

    Zambia’s largest state-owned copper mining interest ZCCM-IH has been accused of poor governance and ineffective management by the Patriotic Front (PF) government by minority shareholders, including the failure to recover more than $1 billion the company is owed.

    In an open letter written to Zambia’s Vice President Guy Scott, submitted to the Government of Zambia via its Embassy in Paris,France last April, thirteen French and UK minority shareholders in ZCCM Investments Holdings are accusing the PF of refusing to allow minority shareholders to exercise their voting rights or attend meetings.

    ZCCM-IH is 87,6% owned by the State, and 12,4% owned by private shareholders.

    The minority shareholders say that they still have not received any response from Vice President Scott, describing the ZCCM-IH matter as a “scandal” that is “probably too embarrassing.”

    “We do not know exactly why the chairman and the board fear from the nomination of a representative of minority shareholders to sit on the Board, but we are sure there are bad tricks and deals,” the open letter reads.

    Among the chief complaints raised in the letter are that the chairman and directors’ remuneration are hidden, that there has been no legal procedure brought against looters for fraud (eg Mopani/Glencore), and that management neglects to pressure First Quantum Metals to pay its $570 million minority interest from Kansanshi.

    The French and British shareholders emphasize their fears that ZCCM’s Executive Chairman Wila Mung’Omba may be attempting to undervalue the company’s assets by not taking in FQM interest payments in order to convert debt into equity to be passed to a “crony investor.”

    As FQM’s payments to ZCCM-IH account for 81% of earnings, the minority shareholders alleged that Mung’Omba and the management are destroying shareholder value at the company.

    “The minority shareholders have exactly the same interests as the majority shareholder, the GRZ: that ZCCM-IH becomes one of the leading companies in Africa. It has the means to achieve this, but so far, as a result of weak direction, it has lacked the will to make significant progress,” the letter reads.

    “Your honour Mr Vice President, on several occasions you have stated your intention to fight corruption, underhand deals and bad practices. We therefore humbly ask you to consider taking an active part to ensure that the corporate governance and management of ZCCM-IH are of the highest order and above suspicion so that the Zambian people can once again be proud of this flagship company and reap the benefits that should be theirs. You can be sure to count on the minority shareholders and their future representative to do all they can to assist you in this endeavour.”

  2. The MMD government upheld the rule of law,implemented projects only if there was finance for it and this translated into a stable economy we enjoyed for 20 years. The PF government is being run without a plan and there is no cap on expenditure. There are construction projects all over the country whose economic benefits has not been established. The PF has barrowed far more than the MMD did in the same period that they were in power.
    As in the UNIP era, there is currently no distinction between the party and the government. The vigilantes (cadres) are rulling with impunity. I am actually worried and fear that we are on course to the late 1980's. MMD came to power and corrected the wrongs and stabilised the nation. The result was respect and good will from the international community and not forgetting the many businesses that sprung up in the country itself. We should not forget.


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