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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Random Thoughts, 8th Edition

I recently came across an article that illustrates that the madness of "in a speech read for him" has reached epic proportions. In a recent Times of Zambia article we are told : "Vice-President Guy Scott in a speech read for him by Community Development Mother and Child Health Minister Joseph Katema....". And the later we are told, "...And Dr Katema in a speech read on his behalf by his deputy Jean Kapata..." What is the point of such nonsense? Why can't people just read speeches for themselves?  Does it really matter whether the speech is by a Deputy or a full Minister? Doesn't government speak as one voice?

Having gone through Mr Sata's recent speech to parliament, it clear that the speech was largely a summary of what Government has done over the last year and is doing. There was very little on setting out the strategic direction of the country or any new policies. In fact there only two new interesting facts related to recapitalising the Zambia National Building Society and establishing Youth Training Centres! Everything else regular readers of Zambian Economist would have been aware of already. I was rather shocked how many people praised its "new policies". Did I miss something?

Gender D Minister Freedom Sikazwe recently stated government policy with respect to distribution of condoms in schools : "If we allow the distribution of condoms in schools, what will that show to us as a community? There are a lot of challenges in this; because I feel we will be asking children to be experimenting. We have a moral obligation as a country, as families, to ensure that we look after our children. There is a certain age where anything can start. Why taking condoms to schools, where there are four, five-year-old children? Even if we are in a democratic society, it's not everything that comes that will be taken on board. It's not everything that is western that will be taken on board. As a country, we have to assess things but we will also look at our tradition". Needless to say the debate on this issue was heated on our Facebook page.

Government allegedly stands to lose over US$80m for cancelling the the supply of the Public Security Safety Network. Apparently procurement rules suggest that the cancellation could cost government about 40 percent. Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu recently cancelled the US$210m dully awarded contract to ZTE Corporation for the supply of the public security safety network. This is despite process having undergone all procedures and endorsement from the Zambia Public Procurement Authority and Attorney General’s office. Absolutely shocking incompetence! 

Chola Mukanga | Economist
Copyright © Zambian Economist 2013

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