Tag Archives: Africa

The ICC and Us, by Gabriel C Banda, (a reproduction)

Three years ago, in October 2013, this writing was published on WordPress, some three years before the recent October 2016 moves by some governments of Africa, starting with South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia, to practically pull out of ICC. “The ICC and Us” was published on WordPress.com as Number 05 of “Gabriel Banda Peace Notes,” done on WordPress. I here reproduce it, exactly as it came out, to contribute to current, October 2016, discussion on ICC, Africa, and human justice.

Gabriel Banda Peace Notes, 05: The ICC and Us,

October 12, 2013UncategorizedAfrica, Africa Union, Crime of Aggression, Crimes against Humanity, George W Bush Jr, ICC, International Criminal Court, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Tony Blair, Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto Edit

The ICC and Us,

And How ICC Can Worsen Conflict

By

Gabriel C Banda

IT was eventually bound to come to this! This October at Addis Ababa, Ethipoia, Africa’s rulers gather, as the continental African Union grouping, to discuss whether their governments should continue to be part of the International Criminal Court, ICC.

The ICC has the task of helping humanity through the trial of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression. While the ICC can be an important institution for the world, it has been considered partial, selective, in picking who to prosecute.

There is increasing concern that the ICC prosecution has targeted rulers from Africa while some possible offenders from other parts of the world, including the western world, have not been brought before international judicial platforms, including the ICC at The Hague.

The ICC has decided to put to trial Uhuru Kenyatta, the president of Kenya, and his deputy, William Ruto, who has already been at The Hague for trial. Kenyatta and Ruto had been on opposite sides in the national elections of 2007. They were accused of organising violent attacks on each other’s supporters.

But in March 2013 elections, the two stood together as a pact for president and vice president, and emerged winners. There are accusations that some external forces had not wanted Uhuru to be president and thus moved the ICC charge to prevent him from standing for elections and winning.

From the Kenya case, there are practical issues. How will a country function when its president and vice president are not around because they are out of the country, and on trial?  The two are not convicts. How does ICC deal with sitting rulers?

The earlier reluctance of Africa’s rulers to support arrest and trial of Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir by ICC may have been more linked to potential effects of the trial on society, at a particular time, than shielding the ruler. There are many stability factors that Africa’s rulers may be considering.

Some persons consider ICC prosecutions as Made for Africa. Some persons in the West are considered, from their actions as government rulers, to have caused huge suffering of societies and humanity. They are not being touched.

While there is talk about details of crimes some persons of Africa are accused of, we hear no proper answer about why George W Bush Jr and Tony Blair have not been brought for trial before international crime platforms. George W Bush Jr, besides the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, has over him some warrants issued for torture. So far, he is not being touched.

If the USA is not part of ICC, the UK still is. There seem strong reasons to consider the trial of Tony Blair for crimes of aggression over Iraq, with the deep suffering and instability that followed.

There is also need to deal with crimes that may have been committed in Libya by external and local forces fighting the Muammar Gaddafi regime. There is need to investigate the targeted killings and harming of Black Libyans and Black Africa migrants during the Nicolas Sarkozy’s French forces 2011 campaign in support of some opponents fighting Gaddafi?

And in Libya, UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973, over Libya, did not allow external governments to have troops on the ground. Yet anti-Gaddafi external coalition forces and troops from neighbours like Qatar and Sudan where on the ground fighting the Gaddafi forces. International systems should consider investigating crimes of aggression.

As in Libya and Syria, some consider the ICC as another front against some regimes targeted for change. The ICC, United Nations, and others cannot just sit by and say Africa’s governments have no reason to pull out from ICC.

And it is not enough to say Africa’s rulers are against ICC because they are thinking of escaping justice. To avoid being ignored and going into a cocoon and decline, there is urgent need to address concerns raised by critics of the ICC.

Fearing that membership of ICC has potential punishments, many may withdraw membership. Withdrawal may be a safety, protective, mechanism against possible arrest. And not all who will pull out have things to fear but may just believe the ICC has been unfair. Even clean rulers may leave the ICC.

Criticism of ICC is beyond Africa. Already, besides Rwanda in Africa, China, India, Israel, Syria, the United States, and many others do not cooperate with ICC.

Now, I believe issues are more than about ICC being partial and biased against Africa. Away from issues of leaving out non-African offenders, one believes we also must, worldwide, consider concepts of punishment and retribution and their effects.

In some situations, ICC may, unintentionally, act as an instrument fanning war, strife, and conflict. What are effects of ICC trials on conflicts and societies? And we must consider other factors like the timing of ICC action and how that affects societies.

The ICC can end up worsening a situation. The threat of ICC over members of Gaddafi’s Libya regime may have contributed to more vicious conflict. Similarly, threats of ICC charges against Syria regime members may actually harden the current armed conflict.

Whether guilty or not, there are times when some arrest, punishment or sanction, or their timing, end up causing many others to suffer, beyond the convicted persons. Many generations can be negatively affected.

In some cases, the primary objective is to stop atrocities and heal a society. Poorly applied punishment will create further problems, especially for fragile or divided societies. Instability may follow.

Yes, it is crucial to stop atrocities and their causes. But the ways of the ICC may not be the best to deal with conflict in some societies. While reigning in guilty actors, a harsh judicial retributive approach may actually worsen armed conflict. Thus the ICC may be contributing to continuation of wars, instability, and delay of ending armed conflict.

There is need to consider how proportional ICC processes and judgement are when related to various potential effects on a society. Poorly timed and executed, ICC action can lead to further suffering and disharmony.

Although not perfect, South Africa’s landmark Truth and Reconciliation process showed humankind possible ways of dealing with injustice and moving towards healing.

One’s argument is not that the ICC should not be there, but must be fair. ICC must be just. Its actions, focussed on punishment, must not cause the suffering of many others. Its concept of “justice” needs to be broader than just achieving some narrow accountability, punishment, and retribution.

The ICC can be an important international instrument for protection of basic human rights worldwide. It can help avoid biased local prosecution of opponents by those who control governments.

Those who conquer others and get into government may affect the fairness of local trials of their vanquished opponents. It is not easy for Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi to be tried in his native Libya. Thus, for fairness and basic human rights, there is need for international legal institutions beyond states.

It is important not to dismiss concerns raised about the ICC by persons from Africa and other places. It is important to answer the issues raised.

International and state systems must not be biased to prosecute or not prosecute some persons because of factors like colour, culture, religion, language, origin, citizenship, political link, social status, being male or female, and other conditions.

The international community needs to consider issues of selective prosecution, timing, and effects of ICC procedures on stability of societies. October 2013 is a turning point for Africa, the ICC, and all of us worldwide.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing, social development, and peace issues.

–          GCB September, +Thursday, October 10, 2013, LUSAKA.

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Zambia Elections 2016, Cast and Crew dynamics, by Gabriel C Banda

 

Zambia Elections 2016, some Cast and Crew dynamics

By

Gabriel C Banda

IN our previous writing posting,  we shared our thoughts related to Zambia’s Elections of 2016. We will now discuss more on the factors favouring or challenging the candidates.

We have discussed the Running Mate dynamics, which may help or hinder a candidate. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s recent reporting on Zambia says, “Mr Hichilema has been able to tap into growing resentment over the dismal economic performance over the past 18 months, including a rapid rise in living costs, and he has benefitted from the backing of some senior PF figures.”

And, the EIU writing adds, “We expect him to win a narrow victory, but the unlevel electoral playing field poses a major risk to this forecast.”

These views from the EIU report may not hold in some situations. We have argued that there are many factors in Zambia that the EIU reporting has not considered, has ignored, has been subjective on, or has been weak on. We argue that it is not easy to be definite with some win prediction. There are many issues to appreciate and understand.

The issue of “dismal economic performance” has to be weighed together with other factors. In urban areas, the roads that some of us have been cautious about have actually received huge support from town dwellers.

Traffic congestion has eased with the commissioning of the roads. In residential areas, roads have been repaired or newly built. These have greatly affected the residential areas. In rainy season, people in peri-urban residential areas will now walk and travel with more ease.  But even in rural areas, some road works have eased the situation of persons in many areas.

Personally, I believe that the roads programme should have been more limited, with resources targeted on more essential basics, particularly water and sanitation. If I had the authority, I would immediately reduce the roads programme and redirect or find resources towards water and sanitation. But a lesson is that the same zeal used on roads, if used on water and sanitation, can bring great progress in more critical, and immediate, basics.

The bigger argument in elections of 2016 is that the roads some of us are critical of are actually a key reason for many registered voters to turn up and vote. In rural and urban areas, there has also been infrastructure like health facilities and schools built.

Cross Overs and Defectors

And on the “backing of some PF members,” we believe that the effect of crossing politicians on Edgar Lungu’s candidacy is minimal. Some of the PF members leaving to join the HH campaign were already against Edgar Lungu in 2015.

Some had tried to prevent him from standing for the 2015 by-elections through removing him from his PF and government positions while some stood as candidates in some parallel convention to select one to stand as President. But the response of other PF officials and the public made Edgar Lungu retain his positions and even become the official PF candidate for the 2015 presidential by-election.

The actions of some of those that have now left to join HH actually contributed to public sympathy towards Edgar Lungu and his election in January 2015. In fact, some voters are turning out to go and vote for Edgar Lungu because some PF officials have embedded themselves with the opposition candidate.

So, the official defection of the officials from PF to the opposition is not a significant handicap but may actually have helped the situation of Edgar Lungu. For some defectors like Mulenga Sata, son of late president Michael Sata, things may sometimes depend on what some voters think about his late father.

It is not automatic that people in the public think Michael Sata did some work they applaud. Some may applaud Michael Sata but do not like the son’s shifting to the HH crew. The influence of one-time PF Vice President, and Acting/Caretaker President when Michael Sata died, may be limited with some voters being against him because of the events around the time he was acting president.

It will be interesting to find out what results those persons, and their associates and politician family members, who have defected to the opposition and are standing as candidates during the 2016 elections in positions like MP, will get.

Some voters may turn up to vote against HH because of the team and crew he has with him. The persons who joined HH’s campaign may have advantaged him to some and disadvantaged him with others. Only the actual numbers will show.

So, unlike what the EIU report says, there might be negative effect on Edgar Lungu’s popularity as defectors abandon PF and Edgar Lungu but that effect may be very minimal.  Those who cross-over may sometimes lead to difficulties for their new host. In elections, the company you take in may advantage or disadvantage you.

GCB, By August 12, 2016, LUSAKA

Muhammad Ali and Us, a View from Africa, by Gabriel C Banda

 

Muhammad Ali and Us,
a View from Africa

By

Gabriel C Banda

IN Africa, from the 1960s, Muhammad Ali was widely respected and loved. People followed, and accepted, as the boxing champion changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali. In newspapers, magazines, and broadcast, they keenly followed Muhammad Ali.

The 1960s were a period when many societies of Africa became independent states. But the United States of America was still struggling with some apartheid after passing through the sin and evil of slave trade. Persons like Martin Luther King Jr and Malcom X and millions of other persons were fighting organised racism in America from many angles.

People of African descent were focussed on developments in Africa, the United States, the Americas, and many places of the world. The projection of Muhammad Ali onto the world stage light affected the feelings of persons of African descent.

Straight from achieving independence through various experiences, it was time of courage. Many persons of African descent were asserting themselves as equal human beings of humanity, no lesser than others in the human family. None is inherently inferior or superior by nature of their birth grouping.

Ali was one key symbol of asserting humanity. Being born in January 1942, he was still young, but very assertive. Many people in Africa observed and accepted as Muhammad Ali changed from the Cassius Clay name, mentioning the unfair slavery circumstances from which the name had come about. And Africans of various religions accepted his choice to turn Muslim.

Throughout, Muhammad Ali, as persons in Africa against colonial and apartheid racism, was a very vocal critic of the apartheid in the United States.

And then Muhammad Ali refused to fight armed war for the USA in Vietnam. He said it was unfair to travel 10,000 miles to go and kill Vietnam citizens. In Africa, and other places, many persons were critical of the US war in Vietnam. They supported Muhammad Ali.

They further applauded when he sacrificed the boxing crown for his principle against the war. Of course, at those times, there were also many other Americans, like singer Joan Baez, another person of greatness, who were against the war in Vietnam. People were with Muhammad Ali when some years later he got back to boxing. And won. His following and support increased. New generations began to join the following and support.

So, persons in Africa admired Muhammad Ali and his courage. Ali became a heroic icon. And, more, he was to affect persons across colour, religious, culture, language, politics, location, economic situation, and other factors. United by a common person, the fans were from various backgrounds.

Many bonded with him. They loved Muhammad Ali. He was a friend. Muhammad Ali united humanity from many angles. He was an active child of the family of the whole of humanity.

Boxing has been called organised violence and is many times violent, and even brutal. But in Muhammad Ali, many did not consider brutality. He did not come out as brutal. He was friendly. His situation was that of a skilled person entertaining the audience with physical tact and verbal talk. In boxing, here was a master. He was showing what one in any sport should achieve.

Muhammad Ali had grace. He was alert. And calm. He had endurance and stamina. Clearly, any one that wants to attack must first learn to defend. Muhammad Ali could take punches and attacks to the body. And much of that he was doing while he was in control of the situation.

Ali was creative and strategic in his game. A quick reader of things, he was a careful observer of the forces affecting him. He tested and sized up the other contestant. He was careful, rarely careless.

Surprisingly amongst most persons in the heavyweight divisions, Muhammad Ali was swift in response. He was efficient with his size and weight. And he enjoyed playing with words, psyching his opponents in the match and outside. He spoke in very direct manner. He had spontaneous rhyme and poetry for persons, matches, and situations. He enjoyed working on others through words.

Unlike now, in the 1960s and 1970s, in Africa, just after independence, there were few persons with television sets. But when there were boxing matches involving Muhammad Ali, people, young and older, would go to watch at neighbours and relatives places. Many times, because of the time difference involving Africa and places like the USA, the boxing matches were in late night and very early morning.

In the morning, people would go over to work and school. Many who watched Muhammad Ali ordinarily did not like boxing. It was not fighting they were watching. They were watching Muhammad Ali the person, Muhammad Ali the big soul. Boxing was merely the means that allowed them to watch a big soul like Muhammad Ali.

The boxing was not an end. Ali was an inspiration touching other persons also be lifted and soar in their own fields. A master’s work inspires others in other fields. In a master of any field, the mind and spirit of the master has control over the results the body does. A skilled boxer, soccer player, or other sportsperson, will learn to use many limbs.

In addition, Muhammad Ali contributed a lot in time, money, mentoring, and friendship to those in need. His name and resources became means of supporting others. He interacted with persons from various backgrounds and reached with them the point of Human to Human, and perhaps Soul to Soul, communion.

People knew Muhammad Ali’s family history and who was who. They followed events in his family life. They knew the trainer Angelo Dundee (1921 – 2012). They knew about his cheer person Bundini Brown (1928 – 1987). When Muhammad Ali retired from boxing contests in 1981, his following did not fade. New generations joined the veneration.

Muhammad Ali met people from various fields all over the world. They felt their journeys were linked to his.

The condition of Parkinson’s disease greatly affected him. But his soul was still active and interacting with people. When he passed away recently, June 3, 2016, aged 74, great memories and appreciation came into hundreds of millions of persons all over the world.

As Muhammad Ali’s funeral was being organised in Louisville, Kentucky, for burial on Friday, June 10, 2016, it was clear that this was one rare moment where such a huge number of persons, from various backgrounds, and from all over the world, are united around a person.

Muhammad Ali touched and lifted up many persons. Millions and many generations appreciated Ali. As when he was boxing, in his death, Muhammad Ali has united humanity.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the Author is involved in Writing and the Arts, Social Development, and observation of conflict and peace issues.

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GCB, June 2016, LUSAKA.

 

 

 

 

IMF and Zambia’s power, by Gabriel C Banda

IMF and Zambia’s power

By

Gabriel C Banda

TODAY, we will consider some efforts of the IMF and World Bank duad in actually preventing the building of electricity generation capacity and increased consumer access in Zambia.

Over the decades, besides writing on conflict and peace building issues, we have written much on interaction of economic policies and practices with the situation of basic needs in Zambia and worldwide.

Recently, considering the IMF, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank late 2015 and early 2016 courtship visits to Zambia, I have written reflection and analysis on the dynamics of Zambia’s relationship with IMF and World Bank. The writing has covered the early lending relationship, impact of the economic measures in the short term and long term, and Zambia’s current situation.

We covered the anti-austerity protests and riots that resulted in Zambia and elsewhere. We considered effects on the stability of individuals, households, and societies. We have brought out questions about economic policy dictatorship.

We have also shown some similarities of Greece’s current stressful experience with Zambia’s earlier ones involving IMF, World Bank, and creditors.

An interesting angle we are dealing with today is the forgotten, unheard, ignored, underrated, or hidden influence of IMF and World Bank in the electricity energy situation that Zambia is currently in, in the year 2016.

World Bank before Independence

Now, while Zambia became a member of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, in 1965, a year after Independence, World Bank had some relationship with Zambia before independence. In mid 1960s, the World Bank’s opposition to Zambia building its own power station at Kafue Gorge was in major part linked to the Bank’s own activities in the 1950s.

Besides some railways and agriculture projects, the World Bank had actually been involved in the funding of the Kariba Dam and its hydro-electricity power station jointly owned by two Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland members Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia, now Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In June 1956, the World Bank loaned 80 million US dollars to the Federal Power Board. A huge amount then, this was one of the biggest lending World Bank had ever made. Amongst the basket of lenders, it was one of the biggest loans towards the Kariba Dam and power station.

Even after the 1963 breakup of the Federation, Zambia’s independent government was over the years liable to servicing its part of the loan to the World Bank. The payments were to be through the Central Africa Power Corporation, which entity later, linked to the 1963 dissolution of the Federation, replaced the Federal Power Board.

Siting Kariba against Kafue Gorge

The siting of the dam for the power station was itself a controversy. While Kafue Gorge, in Northern Rhodesia, may have been a better site in terms of impact on humans, environmental impact, and other factors, the Federation’s affairs were tilted in favour of Southern Rhodesia, which had a big and influential White settler community, the site was eventually fixed for the Zambezi River at the border at Kariba.

The Kariba Dam, which became the biggest artificial lake in the world, had massive human, social, and environmental effects – still living with us today, almost sixty years after building. And there are earthquake and seismic effects still happening.

Perhaps it was the times or available technology and terrain factors, but we may argue that Zambia’s later Kafue Gorge power station system has had less impact than Kariba and has delivered very high returns in electricity generation. Kafue Gorge had a built capacity of 900 Mega Watts while Kariba South bank started with 705 Mega Watts.

UDI

In September, 1964, a month before Zambia’s independence, another World Bank loan was approved for CAPCO to embark on a second transmission line from Kariba to the Copperbelt and other capacity expansion works. The guarantors of the loan were the United Kingdom, Northern Rhodesia, and Southern Rhodesia.

But the cooperation of Zambia and Southern Rhodesia was to be greatly affected. In November 1965, Ian Douglas Smith and his white team illegally, against the colonial authority of the British government, forced Southern Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence, UDI.

This led to tension in the region and the world. United Nations economic and other sanctions were declared against rebel Rhodesia. This meant that Zambia’s ties with Rhodesia were broken or not the same again.

When Rhodesia threatened to block off Kariba electricity, whose control was on the South bank, the Rhodesia side, from flowing to Zambia, President Kenneth Kaunda’s government made urgent efforts to have an own power station. An immediate site for a station was at Kafue Gorge, which had been rejected during Federation.

World Bank against Kafue Gorge

However, when Zambia’s government started making arrangements, the World Bank tried to block it. The World Bank’s reasons seem to have rested on the fact that World Bank had invested hugely in the Kariba Dam and power station. In September 1964, they had even approved another loan for the join CAPCO.

World Bank’s preference was for Zambia to continue relying on the jointly owned dam and power station and ignoring the difficult situation of the politics of UDI. Just as Zambia had approached Western governments to help build the TAZARA railway line as a way of keeping with the United Nations sanctions and links with Rhodesia and the West refused to help, now the World Bank did not want Kafue Gorge power to be built by Zambia.

As on TAZARA, there was an assumption that the situation of UDI and Zimbabwe becoming independent could be solved in a short time. But UDI took some fifteen difficult years and war to settle.

An official remembers that President Kaunda’s government, unhappy with the World Bank position, appealed to the USA president. Dr Kaunda, fresh from a mindset of achieving Independence, sent a message to President Johnson, saying Zambia had an independent government and the World Bank had no authority to prevent Zambia from building a power station.

USA, then in good books with the anti-UDI Africa and world movements, told World Bank not to block Zambia and to allow Zambia to build. Thus the Kafue Gorge power project went ahead. Supported by civil engineering from Yugoslavia and electricity generation machinery by Sweden, it was a huge but efficient engineering project.

Zambia, in those days part of the Non-Aligned movement, and proclaiming a “mixed economy,” dealt with both Eastern and Western governments that were themselves in their own hostilities of the “Cold War.”

Kafue Gorge power station was build with Itezhi Tezhi dam further away, at Namwala. Built for the future, Itezhi Tezhi dam was built with a provision of a power station, which was fulfilled by Zesco and Tata in early 2016.

Zesco

Meanwhile, in 1970, Zambia consolidated electricity supply by local authorities into an enterprise, Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation, Zesco. This was publicly owned, with government shares, a “parastatal,” which IMF and World Bank have been against. They believe business, especially utilities, should be “private sector driven.”

After Kafue Gorge’s opening in early 1970s, Zambia also built Kariba North Bank on the Kariba Dam. Kariba North Bank was also built with the future in mind, with provision of adding a Kariba North Bank Extension station. Zesco was to over the years go into other capacity building projects.

Meanwhile, in the 1970s, World Bank’s role in Zambia included involvement in a Lusaka housing upgrading programme and a useful scheme of building low cost material schools as Zambia’s government implemented its focus of increasing most people’s access to basic’s like education, health, water and sanitation, and infrastructure.

Southern Africa, Petro, and Copper prices

In the early 1970s, some key factors affected Zambia’s balance of payment and the whole economy. There was the January 1972 border closure by Rhodesia in the South. This led to further re-routing and other costs.

Meanwhile, the 1973 Arab-Israeli war led to higher oil prices. Around the same time, prices of copper, Zambia’s key export, fell. Economic pressures of sanctions and supporting the anti-racism and anti-apartheid struggles in Africa affected Zambia’s economy. Balance of payments was affected.

Thus Zambia for the first time got involved in borrowing from the IMF. The SDR (Special Drawing Rights) 19 million, which was then US $22.92 million, or K14.75 million with the Kwacha being stronger than the US dollar, was some soft loan to cover the economic impact of the Rhodesia border closure.

Structural Adjustment

The IMF and World Bank followed on with other lending. They then implemented tougher “Structural Adjustment Programmes.” As in other parts of the world, as in Greece recently, these led to hardship amongst a wide population. Protests and riots, as currently in France, Greece, and Chile, happened over basic needs.

People have died as a result of IMF economic policy conditions. Social foundations have been shaken and societies destabilised. The integrity of life is affected. Zambia tried to leave the IMF programmes but facing IMF and World Bank organised sanctions and, isolated, Zambia was forced to go back to some IMF programme.

Over the years, even when they are not lending money, IMF and World Bank have got close into government and public body systems. The World Bank and IMF have penetrated electricity utilities. They get involved in administration, management, strategic planning programmes, and studies.

World Bank and Tariffs

In the 1990s, World Bank and IMF pushed for Zesco to increase electricity tariffs to so-called “cost levels.” Into 2016, World Bank and IMF have kept on pushing for increase. The World Bank and IMF are doing the same push with other SADC governments and utility providers. Individual governments are told their tariffs are the lowest in the region and in Africa.

At one time, in Zambia, with huge water resources and hydro-electricity potential, Zesco worked on plans of building power generation and export projects while keeping tariffs affordable to households.

In the early 2000s, as Zesco was about to implement some major projects, World Bank and IMF stopped Zesco, saying it was not right for a publicly owned utility firm to be involved in the electricity generation projects. World Bank was calling for private sector running of electricity utilities.

This has been the IMF-World Bank call and their aim, even now, and in the future, where the enterprises will be removed from public ownership and taken to private sector ownership. Yet it is known that both public and private owned enterprises are useful for society. Some can be co-owned.

IMF and World Bank stopping Zesco from building power facilities contributed to Zambia having limited capacity especially in times of drought, like the recent one of rain season 2014/2015.

Had the Zesco power generation projects been done in the 1990s and early 2000s, Zambia would have been in a stronger position now. In drought, electricity imports could have been minimised or avoided.

Business incentives

Another way in which IMF and World Bank policies affected Zambia’s power generation was through the imposition of incentives and concessions to help bring in investments. Mining investment to enable privatisation was targeted for concessions.

Firstly, the selling prices of the mines were very, very, low. Then business taxes were made favourable to the new mine operators.

And the mine operators could export 100 percent of earnings as foreign exchange. The tax system was later to create controversy between government and mine investors.

Government tried to reverse things, but not in a stable and fair way to both the mines and the public and thus things still have to be worked out and to be fair to both mine operators and the society.

The mines were given concessions in electricity tariffs for some ten years. This means some of the cost fell on house hold users, in some ways subsidizing the big businesses. The incentives measures benefitted mines and other investors but were unfair on the public purse.

We find that IMF and World Bank incentivisation measures for investors on mines and other enterprises contributed to limitations in resources for citizens and the public. The electricity field was greatly affected.

Generators and Regulators

Using supporting and financing of projects and tools like cost and tariff studies, World Bank and IMF penetrate energy regulation boards, including the regional RERA association of regulators. Sadly, instead of being fair to both producers and electricity users, electricity regulators, “watchdogs,” are now favourable to producers’ demands and are on the road to increase of tariffs.

Zambia’s electricity capacity built after independence now provides most of the available electricity generation capacity, which is now at slightly over 2,000 MegaWatts.

But Zambia continues to be an attractive energy and electricity potential that others envy. And in recent times, as before, IMF and World Bank have been pushing for the increase of tariffs. We believe the call is based on shaky premises. It uses the situation of monopoly and potential cartels to increase tariffs.

The IMF and World Bank promote “market forces,” yet in the electricity field they are promoting the fixing of prices through monopolies and cartels they support. But we believe that, with good management of enterprises, good capitalisation, and not the raising of prices and tariffs by monopolies and cartels, can answer some situations.

Cultures and Prejudice

Key is the attitude that says people in places like Zambia do not like paying for things and have some culture of getting things for free. This constant World Bank attitude is sometimes driven by prejudice against persons of some cultures or groups.
In electricity, the production costs, history, cultures, and other factors, such as the relationships of ownership and public resource investment in projects are complex in Zambia.

Effects Now

The effect of high IMF induced tariffs will be great impact on households and businesses. As with other energy price increases, all sectors of the economy and society will be negatively affected by price increase. The sectors will in turn increase their prices, while wages remain low, thus leading to higher price levels in society, levels which may be difficult to come down from. Tariffs increases will also have big bearing on trees and the environment.

Factors like drought, such as the one of the 2014 to 2015 rain season, will continue to be excuse used to talk about investment in power generation. Drought and flood often follow some cyclical patterns and should be considered in various production activities.

However, current house hold tariffs, considered low by IMF, are NOT the cause of limited electricity generation in Zambia. IMF and World Bank have contributed to limitations in Zambia’s electricity sector.

Alternatives Now

The IMF and World Bank should not be allowed to bully governments. Governments have responsibility to run affairs in independent and relevant ways. IMF and World Bank have worked through imposition and dictatorship.

They have often evaded responsibility for the negative effects of their economic policies and measures. But governments and societies do not have to suffer from IMF and World Bank. They can choose not to be limited by IMF and World Bank.

Recently, the Africa Development Bank, AfDB, has unveiled plans for supporting energy projects in Africa. We hope that, in economic policies, funding, and bonding, funders like AfDB do not become partners and agents of World Bank and IMF negative policies. Yet things have changed. There are alternatives to policies and borrowing from IMF and World Bank, the negative machine.

ginfinite@yahoo.com
– Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the Author is involved in Writing and Arts, Basic Needs issues, Social Development, and observation of Conflict and Peace issues.

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GCB, Jan – May 2016

 

 

 

Zambia Constitutional Amendment 2015 Issues, the Running Mate

Zambia Constitutional Amendment 2015 Issues, the Running Mate

by Gabriel C Banda

President Lungu’s assenting to the Constitutional amendments bills of 2015 on Tuesday January 05th, 2016, will be a major mark in Zambia’s life.

Those Constitutional contents of Zambia will have various effects, some positive and some negative.

The 50 Per Cent Plus One provision in the presidential elections is likely to contribute to a succeeding Presidential candidate who, because of the second round where voters all over the country will zero in on two candidates and make choice, will have wider national acceptance than has happened in some elections.

There will be wider acceptance of the President ascended and serving in office. Previously, there are those of us that were worried that a candidate with the highest votes may have, say, 30% of the votes cast and will become president yet around 70% of the voters may not be for the person. This was unfair and undemocratic.

But from the 2016 elections, there will now likely be less discontent and hostility towards the elected President because people would have been given chance to select the final candidate, the President-Elect.

One hopes that the provisions on presidential election candidates will not lead to the emergence of a two-party system and some parties going into decline. Sadly, there have been some calls for parties to merge so that they may be bigger and stronger. This may negatively affect political advances in Zambia.

It does not mean that all who head political parties do so because they feel they will win the presidency. It is important to have various political parties as their members and leaders provide the very needed variation. They contribute various ideas, views, and positions. They are needed and should not phase out due to big-party political systems.

And the financial cost of a 50 Per Cent Plus One system should not be excuse not to have it. The cost is a necessary expense, worth it through the wide, national, and more democratic approval of the elected President. The cost is cheaper than discontent and hostility arising from a president that is not popularly elected.

There are other comments to be made about the various parts assented to. We will also be interested in considering practical issues and effects that might arise from some of the amendments done. Among others, practical challenges can be around provisions like minimum academic qualifications for Presidential, MP, and Councillor candidates.

For now, we will consider the Presidential “Running Mate” provision. It is about a Vice President candidate who is legally tied to the Presidential candidate and their term. They are a team.

The Presidential Running Mate clause has both advantages and potential problems. The Running Mate system has worked fairly well in places like the United States. In some places it has not worked well or, rather, it has failed.
The provision can help the public decide who should act as President when the President is not available. At present in Zambia, an acting President, whether the Vice President or another, and whether a good worker or not, is imposed on the public.

Currently, the President chooses the Vice President and, if required, can change them anytime, while still in term. This has both advantages and challenges.

The experience around the Michael Sata administration showed the difficulties of having to select who should be acting President even when the president goes out for a normal visit. This becomes a bigger problem when there is discord within a ruling party and various forces within are trying to take or influence presidential authority.

While there were some challenges around transition at the time of Zambia’s President Levy Mwanawasa’s passing away in 2008, the issue was very serious and disturbing at the illness and passing away of President Michael Sata in 2014.

This was due to weak, unstable, inconsistent, unavailable, or inadequate internal processes. There were challenges around structures, channels, management, practices, and succession procedures associated with the management practices of the then PF party administration.

The experience constitutes some of the weak parts of the legacy of our beloved Big Man, late Michael Sata, in his role as President. It is important to avoid similar situations happening.

In the new system, the Running Mate, the Vice President candidate, will be accepted as President to complete the term when a President, through factors like impeachment, ill-health, or death, ceases to be head of state.

And in the field of political party negotiations and concessions, a Running Mate will help parties in alliance, as the Vice President from another party in an alliance cannot be removed by the President after being voted in. This provides security of position to the Vice President but can also create national instability when the President and Vice President are at loggerheads, as happened in some countries.

Of course, there are many factors to consider over a Running Mate. Because the president will be bound to the person who is Vice President, the selection or choosing of a candidate must consider long-term factors. It must be more than just about the present. The Vice President, who in Zambia facilitates cabinet, parliamentary, and government issues, must be very competent and not just ceremonial.

The Vice President must respect and get on well with the President. For the stability of society, they must get on well throughout the term. It is expected that the Vice President will not attempt to directly or indirectly harm the President and the President’s office and government.

It is not exaggeration to say that it is possible that through differences or ambitions involving the two, a Vice might attempt to take over the Presidency from one who is still in term. Foul play may be attempted.

We also need to ask what happens when a Running Mate Vice President stops their role due to ill health, graft, or death. How smooth will be the process of replacing the Vice President while the President’s term is still on?

For some other limitations over a fixed Running Mate, we can also consider practical examples, such as that in our neighbourhood. The experience of Zambia’s neighbour Malawi provides lessons that are warnings or points to consider and rectify in order to make things smoother.

In 2004, President Bingu wa Mutharika, of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, DPP, had Cassim Chilumpha, of the UDF party, as his Vice President. Later, the President and Vice President had strong differences. But Mutharika legally was not able to easily fire Chilumpha.

And later, in the elections of 2009, Bingu wa Mutharika got Mrs Joyce Banda as Running Mate. And, later, Vice President Joyce Banda and President Bingu wa Mutharika had big differences. But as she had been a Running Mate, Joyce Banda could not be removed as State Vice President, even though expelled from the ruling DPP party.

Meanwhile, because she was the holder of the state office, no one could be actively appointed to replace her. So, the Vice President had differences with the President and the Vice President was not reporting to the President.

She sat on the position and was not removable so that another person could do that state Vice President official role. She even formed her own party, the People’s Party, while being an official Vice President who was in practice not working for the president.

Thus there was some tension when Bingu wa Mutharika died, in April 2012, and she, being the official Vice President even though she had stopped working for the President and had formed her own People’s Party, PP, was lined to take over, by law.

Eventually, after difficulties, she did take over and became President. Now, it also happened that when Mama Joyce Banda was going for Presidential elections in May 2014, she had differences with her Vice President, Khumbo Kachali, who she chose not to adopt as her Running Mate.

Instead, she chose Sosten Gwengwe, a young man who had joined the ruling DPP party from opposition MCP and later, after Bingu wa Mutharika’s death in 2013, joined Joyce Banda’s PP, People’s Party. He became her Running Mate in the May 20, 2014 elections.

Of course, the selection of Running Mate created problems in her ruling party. Joyce Banda did not win the elections. Running Mate Sosten Gwengwe did not even win his former parliamentary seat. In 2015, there was talk of Gwengwe getting back to the MCP.

But clearly, the Running Mate condition was an important issue. The differences also created other difficulties in the country.

Thus, with our neighbours’ experiences as practical lessons, the Running Mate provision Zambia is trying to adopt now must be carefully thought through, with potential challenges dealt with and sealed.

Of course, the Running Mate provision affects political parties in various ways. It will have implications in ruling and opposition parties. Some will find difficulties to field a Running Mate. The provision may shake and divide some parties. The provision will also affect alliances of political parties as they try to offer a common candidate and make deals on who should be President and Vice President candidates.

Because of some of the reasons discussed, I do not believe that the Vice President Running Mate system may always work well in our Zambian situation.

I believe the Vice President should not replace a President-Elect when the President-Elect is unable to take up position. Let the voters choose again. Some Vice Presidents may be alright as Vice President but not as President. In any case, the race is based on the Presidential candidate who comes with a known Vice President candidate.

The key candidate is the President and the Vice is subsidiary. I believe the Vice should not substitute a President-Elect that is unable to be sworn in. Many voters may not believe a Vice President candidate can necessarily be the lead presidential candidate.

The Constitutional clauses for assent in Bills 17 and 18 of 2015 were not made by the Edgar Lungu administration but were extracted from the last Constitutional draft that had open input from members of the public from various sectors.

In Constitutional clauses in earlier administrations and the recent public process, some parts are influenced by persons that are trying to affect some other persons they do not want to succeed as candidates.

Some clauses done in the Chiluba administration were considered unfair and divisive but nevertheless remained unremoved by succeeding administrations. Some had, away from the spirit and motto of One Zambia One Nation, contributed to a nation of citizens and lesser citizens.

Nothing was stopping succeeding administrations from undoing the destructive clauses planted in the Chiluba administration. Later administrations seem to have felt they would come back to the unwanted clauses later.

The Chiluba administration’s provisions contributed to some social stress that still needs to be healed. It is pleasing that the Edgar Lungu administration, through the Constitutional Amendments of 2015, acted to undo some of the divisive seeds sown by the Chiluba administration through the Constitution.

But not all is smooth. For some aspects in the recent draft constitution used as base for the 2015 Amendments will bring unnecessary difficulties. These aspects include some minimum educational qualifications for candidates for President, Vice President, and Councillor.

This will be complex and not easy to settle. Some amendments are in principle progressive and meant to help the Common Good, but may require supporting mechanisms in order to be smooth and not give problems.

It is also likely that Edgar Lungu’s haters and hard tackling opponents may question the issue of number of terms President Edgar Lungu will want to have and whether, because with his 19 months in office finishing late Michael Sata’s term, he will have in August 2016 done less than half a five year term. In the Constitution draft clauses, less than half a term is not counted as a term.

Thus Zambia’s new Constitution may require other supporting details and mechanisms to make its parts smooth, fair, and sustainable.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing and the arts, social development, and peace issues. He has been on the MA Peace Studies programme of University of Bradford, England.

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GCB, December 2015/January 2016

Burundi and Solomon’s Child, By Gabriel C Banda

Peace Pieces – Peace Points, by Gabriel Banda, June/July 2015:
Shorter than Gabriel Banda Peace Notes, these are compressed, shorter, pieces on topical issues.

Burundi and Solomon’s Child

Gabriel C Banda

By Gabriel C Banda

THE recent events in Burundi have deep implications not only for Burundi, but the region, the whole of Africa, and beyond the continent. They affect current and future generations in Burundi and many places.

The President, Pierre Nkurunziza, wants to push on with elections where he will stand. Opponents say he does not qualify to stand as the Constitution restricts candidates to two terms. He has argued that the first term he has had, given in August 2005 when he was elected, unopposed, by parliament, should not be counted.

In August 2010, he was elected for another five year term in elections opposed by some parties. Opposition regard his current 2015 attempt to stand for another five year term as a third term attempt. He regards it as his second term. Whether his interpretation is true or not, there are many factors to consider.

Already, differences have led to protests, violence, and even deaths. An unsuccessful coup attempt happened on May 13, 2015. Many persons have been displaced and fled Burundi. Neighbours and beyond have been affected.

This being one common and very interlinked world, one person’s action in one place affects the lives of many others in other places of the world. That effect will be now or at some later time, even to those who are not yet born. The lesson is not just for Burundi and Africa. It is an issue of human action in any place of the world.

Even now, actions with great negative consequences for people in other parts of the world, such as on Libya and Syria, are being made by rulers in the western world.

Key here for leaders and rulers in various situations is how to handle contested issues that have grave bearing on the life, or even death, of many persons in many places, now and in the future. What is the effect of our individual or team situation on others? What is the effect of our actions on the greater society, on current and future situations and generations?

In Burundi, there is a situation where a significant number of persons and with significant force, are opposed to Pierre Nkurunziza standing for another term. Parties involved are dug in. The effects for now and the future are heavy. In such case, whether Nkurunziza’s stance is legally correct or not does not help the situation where people are deeply divided.

The elections will not have the blessing of significant numbers of the population. Clearly, even the days leading to the election day will be stressful. If Pierre Nkurunziza gets into office again, he will not have the acceptance of a significant number of persons. The disapproval and forces against him will be such that it will be difficult for Nkurunziza to rule. In such situation, he and his colleagues will not have real calm and peace.

Ruling works best through consent and support by significant numbers and forces in a society. Already, Burundi has some long history of violent conflict and insurgency. In very recent times, there was a political settlement after some long armed rebellion. But in this current situation, a culture of armed reaction may again come into play.

It is important for Pierre Nkurunziza’s team, the opposition in Burundi, the East African Community, the African Union, the United Nations, and various actors, to settle the current dispute before it gets further damaging, more costly, and more difficult to settle.

Key is how to consider the stability of the society, and humanity in general, and let go one’s personal situation and interests. In fact, there are times when letting go is not loss, but very healing and fulfilling. There is no other purpose higher than the harmony of life.

In that harmony, our contentment and happiness will also be. Acting to fulfilling that purpose, we will inside ourselves find contentment. There is no loss in doing something good. Letting go may be gaining one’s peace. Holding on to stress imprisons us.

We may need to yield in order to save the greater society and serve the greater Good. There are lessons about how letting go frees us. There are practical examples amongst governments. There are practical examples amongst heads of governments.

Zambia’s First President, Kenneth Kaunda has received great respect, for, amongst other things like the building of basic infrastructure and people’s access to basic needs, national unity, and also supporting freedom struggles against racism and apartheid.

Another reason for the respect he receives is how he managed transition of political situations. With a unified party system, a form of Government of National Unity, Zambia’s UNIP government was in 1990 confronted by pressure for change of government system back to a multiparty system.

In December 1990, sidestepping a proposed referendum required by law, Dr Kaunda signed the reversal of the Article 4 legislation that had restricted the formation and operation of opposition parties. Kenneth Kaunda yielded to changing the system and, in the process, cutting his government’s term in order to allow for new elections, which took place in October 1991.

Around the time, even before elections, Dr Kaunda told the story of Solomon and the two women claiming a child. In the Bible, in 1 Kings Chapter 2, is the story of two women brought before King Solomon. Each of the two women claims a living baby hers. King Solomon eventually asks for the living child to be split into two and shared between the two women.

One woman says the child should not be split but be given to the other woman. The other woman says, yes, the child should be split into two and shared so that, “he shall belong to none of us. Cut him in half!”

Then King Solomon ordered that the child not be cut into two but be given to the woman who had said the baby should be left alive and given to the other. King Solomon knew that woman, with interest of the child’s life, was the real mother. The mother had sacrificed so that the child would live.

In thinking about the Solomon story, Kenneth Kaunda’s decision was, like the good mother in scriptures, to let go so that the Zambia society he loved could be stable and go on living and growing. Zambia’s multiparty elections took place in October 1991, with results declaring opposition’s Frederick Chiluba winner and new president. Kenneth Kaunda let go and yielded to the results.

Dr Kaunda later got very involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS. But from that experience of letting go through cutting short his term and accepting the results of the elections, Dr Kenneth Kaunda gained much admiration worldwide. Sought after, he travels a lot and continues to be greatly respected.

Letting go for the common good can be honourable. It can be freeing. Like Rwanda, a place of many Christian Church goers, many Catholic, in Burundi it may be necessary to learn from events in scriptures. Also, we can learn what happened in places like Côte d’Ivoire, and other places of the world, when rulers do not let go to allow the child to live.

We can also follow the examples of letting go as Kenneth Kaunda and others have shown and benefitted themselves and societies through. Letting go and making some fair settlement will benefit Pierre Nkurunziza, the people of Burundi, neighbours, and humanity.

                                   Contact email: ginfinite@yahoo.com

Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing and the arts, social development, and peace issues. He holds an MA in Peace Studies, University of Bradford.

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GCB, June/July 06th, 2015

Nations and Foundations, By Gabriel C Banda (Gabriel Banda Peace Notes, 13)

 

 

Gabriel C BandaNations and Foundations

By

Gabriel C Banda

HOW, and why, do some nations and governments collapse while others keep on being strong? Some societies keep on being relatively stable even where the same forces affecting them, with similar weights, could have led to some societies and governments collapsing and destabilized?

The recent case of Zambia after the passing of President Michael Sata October 2014 shows us the principle of the foundation greatly affecting the resilience and stability of a society or group. Following the death of Michael Sata in London, and the expected presidential by-elections, his ruling Patriotic Front, “PF,” party became embroiled in internal hostilities.

Of course, part of the foundation of the infighting was to do with cracks and defects in the party’s leadership style, structures, systems, and practices that were evident even when President Sata was alive. There was a lot to be healed even when President Sata, regarded as a very strong person, was alive.

With his passing, the centre removed, as W B Yeats would have said in the poem “The Second Coming” in words used in writer Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart novel’s title, things began to fall apart. Only refinement and healing could strengthen and stabilize the party.

A concern by many of us was that the PF difficulties were bad enough for any political party but for a ruling party, the stability of the whole national governance is shaken.
For in the weeks of late October, November, and mid December 2014, there followed acrimonious actions by differing groupings and interests within the PF. Party officials, cadres, and their supporters openly differed. There were even violent protests.

Guy Scott expelled from the party Edgar Lungu, PF Secretary General who was minister of both defence and justice ministries. In response, other senior party and government officials resisted Guy Scott’s action and Scott announced the re-instatement of Edgar Lungu.

As further infighting happened, Edgar Lungu’s popularity with sympathetic members of the public was rising. Eventually, with various further incidents between the Scott and Edgar Lungu teams, it was announced that Scott was removed from party roles and even acting as state president. The majority of cabinet ministers passed resolution for Scott stepping down from the position of acting president. All this while Guy Scott was playing role of Zambia’s president.

Officials of the PF went to court for rulings over positions and party elections.
In the differences, some officials of the PF left the party while others openly supported some presidential candidates from the opposition. The whole internal PF hostilities were affecting the stability of the government and the nation.

Members of the public were concerned about reaching the point where we could have witnessed:

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,…”

Eventually, the pro-Edgar Lungu side became the one more recognized by the wider party membership and the public. Some in the pro-Scott team eventually came along to the Lungu campaigns and supported their party.

Greatly driven by public support, the Edgar Lungu team had pulled through and were the official PF front driving the party. Although slowed down by weeks of internal quarrels and litigation, PF was now fielding Edgar Lungu as one of the by-election’s prominent candidates.

But the whole experience of the ruling PF party had shaken Zambia. But still, Zambia was standing. Zambia had been resilient where other places would have experienced a general instability which would have taken a lot of time and effort to heal.

It seems the reasons for stability and instability are greatly linked to the foundations of governments and societies.

The foundation factors are around policies, systems, structures, processes, relationships, and practices that have been made in support of social cohesion and harmony. What was first put into place and how it was nourished over the period to the present time is important for our current state of health.

It is evident that the seeds of the past affect the state of fruits of the present. The seeds of the past affect the strength and stability of the society today. The past has a strong link to the strength and resilience of the current situation.

How could such recent events in government have occurred in Zambia and, while people have been worried and concerned, the nation did not fall? Many of the actions would in many parts of the world have led to a failed government.

A key explanation is that Zambia did not fall because of the foundation which had been laid from Independence time. There are many aspects of the foundation. But key amongst them have been first President Kenneth Kaunda and his colleagues’ early independence time emphasis on social cohesion and togetherness.

There was constant focus on the national motto “One Zambia, One Nation,” which emphasized the togetherness, unity, equity, and participation of persons of various backgrounds, from all over the country.

And while it had its critics, the implementation, from the 1960s up to 1990, of the “Philosophy of Zambian Humanism,” a “Ubuntu” forerunner based on traditional and Christian values of co-operation, welfare, and Common Good, contributed to the relative cohesion and stability of Zambia.

Another major contributor to the future stability was the “One Party Participatory Democracy, ” which also had some critics. Then, Zambia’s was more of a unified political system covering persons that previously were from many political parties. Members of the key opposition party ANC, led by Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, made an agreement with UNIP to have one party, using the UNIP name, under which parties would be united.

Active from 1972 to December 1990, Zambia’s “One Party” was different from that found in some other countries where the opposition was banned. In Zambia, members of opposition signed an agreement, with the ruling governing political party, to be in one party. Members of the opposition were taken into governance roles.

When the one party state system was in place, fights, violence, and injuries linked to inter-party conflict stopped.

Quite early, from independence, there were policies and programmes for people in all areas of Zambia to have relevant basic needs, infrastructure, facilities, and services. Zambia had resilience because of the foundation laid by those who played various roles in politics, government, and development.

Also affecting Zambia’s social cohesion was the situation of being a major centre supporting independence and liberation movements. Zambia was under military siege from neighbouring forces of racism and apartheid and, besides active defence by its security forces, its citizens had to get together in support of the cause.

Many persons, in various sectors, have over the decades contributed to building the resilience that Zambia has exhibited.

Because of the foundation, from October 2014, when there were pressures on the nation through conflict within the governing Patriotic Front party, Zambia was alarmed but still resilient. The foundation helped. Many, from various political lines, where concerned and, remembering the social cohesion built in the society, wanted stability.

Sometimes a person may not be thinking about the vaccination or immunisation that their parents gave them many years before. Yet the vaccination has contributed to what the person is today. But when unexpected health challenges come, as happened in HIV and AIDS, the person has to find ways of surviving something they are not immunized against.

Of course, during Zambia’s fifty years of independence, there have been some challenges. Yet lessons for all is that the deeper the social cohesion and togetherness in societies and teams, the easier, and longer, it is to be resilient and withstand pressures.

For the health of societies and teams, it is important for political and governance systems and practices to continuously support social cohesion, creativity, inclusion and participation, and respect for human variation. Respected should be persons of various political leanings.

We must respect as part of our humanity the variation of colour, ethnic link, cultures, language, origin, religion and spirituality, and location. We must embrace young and elderly, female and male. We must accept persons living with disability. We must respect persons in various material and financial situations.

We actually need policies, structures, systems, processes, and practices that nourish social stability. Instead of sitting back and expecting things to happen in whatever way they may turn out, practically working on them makes things happen.

Resilience is a situation of stability under pressure and great challenges. Resilience is linked to social cohesion and togetherness. Stability is linked to the foundation laid. The foundation of the past has contributed to our current situation just as our actions now lay the foundation for the future.

The future arises from Now. The future is Now. The future is here. Societies, nations, and teams are affected by past and present foundations.

Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the writer is involved in social development work, writing and the arts, and is a keen observer of conflict and peace issues.

Author email contact:   <ginfinite@yahoo.com>

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– GCB, December 2014/January 15th, 2015, LUSAKA.