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Monday, 23 September 2013

Random Thoughts, 7th Edition

In case you have been wondering what happened to the ZANACO probe instituted in January 2012 by President Sata led by former Justice Minister Sebastian Zulu. Apparently the Government has closed the probe. And Rabobank will continue to manage it. Earlier this month Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda said the probe report into the privatisation of Zanaco has been overtaken by time. In a response to a question, he hurriedly responded, "We don't want negatives; Zanaco is growing…I will not deal with that question. It has been overtaken by time". I like to record things here as a matter of public record. So there you have it - case closed allegedly. I wonder how much that cost? And how many other inquiries have not publicly reported!

One of the biggest successes of this website is its Facebook page with around 16000 readers. It is engaging and has excellent debates generated by readers. So who is reading and following the Zambian Economist on Facebook? The top five countries : Zambia - 88%, UK - 2%, South Africa - 2%, USA - 1%, and Namibia - 1%. The top five cities : Lusaka - 55%, Kitwe - 9%,Ndola - 6%,Livingstone - 2% and Chingola - 2%. This information is particularly helpful for those checking which way the wind of public opinion is blowing on certain issues. But more what it tells is the power of Facebook to reach directly those being affected. The website is good for the global audience. But to really engage Zambians you have to have a Facebook! Its non-negotiable. One key thing I have done is to ensure that all the content on this website is shared with our Facebook readers. This is very exciting for me - and ensures that what I write is shaping opinion to those that matter.

Defence Minister GBM earlier this month confirmed to the Daily Nation that there is a cartel seeking to replace President Sata : “I don’t have any intentions of challenging President Sata’s leadership; I am a genuine follower of President Sata. I did not support President Sata with conditions attached, I am not like him (Fred) whose support for Sata is attached to something, not at all. He thought by supporting President Sata he will have his K18 billion forgiven but he is choked that the President has not intervened and that is why this small and weak clique scheming to replace President Sata through Bwinjimfumu”. It seems the Zambian Watchdog has been right all along. I mention that just to remind you what I had said before : the accuracy rate of the Watchdog remains at good rate of around 70%.

Former Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) Chief Executive Officer Clive Chirwa and ZRL Director of Finance Regina Mwale was recently arrested and charged by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) for two counts. In the first count, he is charged with failure to Disclose Interest contrary to section 28 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act No.3 of 2012. In the second count, he is jointly charged with Ms. Regina Mwale, 50, and Finance Director of Zambia Railways Limited for Abuse of Authority of Office contrary to section 99 (1) of the Penal Code Cap 87 of the Laws of Zambia. The court has since set October 22 and 23, 2013 as trial date while the accused are on police bond. Many people will feel Chirwa should not be charged. But no one is above the law. Most importantly this is actually good for Chirwa. It is a good opportunity for him to clear his name properly. One hopes the trial will proceed and conclude quickly. He should also be given flexible bail conditions that allows him to travel to the UK to see his wife who is believes to be unwell.

Chola Mukanga | Economist
Copyright © Zambian Economist 2013

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