Tag Archives: Africa

The Erotic Gospels, by Gabriel C Banda


The Erotic Gospels,


Gabriel  C  Banda

NOW, in recent years, we have noted increase in church “Gospel” song and dance involving erotic movements. We have witnessed the erotic performance of “Gospel Music” in churches, religious settings, on public screens, and video play.

That many performers use sensuality and sexuality to attract viewers and listeners to their music productions is common in Zambia and worldwide. It is in various fields. It has been going on for a long time.

In some performances, such as those by some members of the fraternity of some types of Rap, some performers touch their genitals. At first this was common among males but can be observed even among females. Of course, for one to do good music and reach many persons, it is not necessary to touch their genitals.

                                                                 HIV and AIDS

Some performances in music and dance casualise sex and sexuality. It is not uncommon for performances at functions on reversing HIV and AIDS to involve movements and images whose effect seems, directly or in other ways, to try to arouse the audience.

And these days the children that dance as they bring knives to cut cakes at weddings have recently taken on erotic movements that are beginning to be a culture at many wedding ceremonies. Some audience members move in to pay the young ones highly as appreciation of skill.

Erotic dancing tends to be somewhat acceptable or tolerable in performances considered to be in the secular, non-religious, environment.

But so too has Gospel Music performance been infused by erotic dancing. An interesting development we have observed in recent years is the use of erotic dance and movement in religious “Gospel Music,” the sounds performed by members of churches and groups that link themselves to Christianity.

                                                     Various Traditions

We must note that there are various attitudes, practices, and traditions towards religious worship and activities.  So there will be differences in how persons worship and do music in the religious environment. Some will regard worship and music as celebration.

Just as some shout in prayer and others are softer, there is variation in performance of religious music or music for religion.

                                                       Deep Silence

Some celebrate very loudly and expressive of voice, body, and music instrument. Some regard music worship as sacred and are often solemn. Even where the message is joyous, there will still be an atmosphere of reverence and sacredness.

Some persons worship in deep silence, where they can more feel the presence of God. Or they will have music that has some mood of sacredness. They may vary the mood, but throughout will have deep respect in their devotion.


The erotic gospels we find on our screens and even in church performances involve invoking, and performing, sexual movements.  Sensuality may be visual or vocal or in some other ways.

While in other settings they may not raise much in terms of reaction and issues, in the church and religious environment, one must think about purpose and effect.

Sex and sexuality, very crucial forces and processes of life, are treated with some casualness, not with sacredness and deep respect.

Of course, it is important to deal with issues of sexuality. Various cultures and institutions have developed platforms for dealing with sexuality in ways that are respectful and contribute to deep learning.


Of course, like in the way that if one wants to escape the police, a secure place to live in is a police camp, some persons are finding the church environment the place to do erotic dance.

Some will argue that the erotic movements are part of “traditional,” local, culture and are being used to celebrate religious life or proclaim religious message.

One is not sure that in traditional religious practice of time ago, the approach was similar. It is possible that there were some fertility dances in some ceremonies, but we cannot be sure that that music and movement dealing with praying to God and feeling God’s presence were not solemn.

These erotic gospels we can observe publicly performed by members of various groups, from the earlier established churches to the Pentecostal groups.

Actually, the erotic dancing can be found in many, many, Gospel Music pieces.


The performances involve movements that are very openly sexual in nature, with movements that casualise sex and sexuality.

The hip movements, thrust, and other movements are normally performed in some atmosphere or event tolerant of sexuality. It seems out of tune to see them performed in prayer, or sacred song, to Christ and God.

Some persons will even do some sexual thrust or other movement as the name Jesus is mentioned.

Here, I am not saying that the dancing in Gospel Music should be banned. We are saying that the performers need to deeply consider the context, environment, and purpose they are performing in. They need to think more about the effects of the dancing in relation to the main purpose at hand.

They sing and dance in groups and choirs but individual members may need to think about the total product they are participating in.

Presently, there is some combination of gospel music and erotica, or Gospel Music is accompanied by erotica.

The erotic gospel dances may have been affected by the type of music beat chosen to accompany the religious music. Various music types have invoked various movements, some very sensual.

The erotic gospel performances are not limited to adult performers. Even child performers can be observed dancing erotically to gospel music performance.


The directors, conductors, and choreographers, who are in charge of designing movement, need to think about how they can perform Gospel Music in ways that focus on spirituality and not sensuality and casual sexuality.  We are not forcing them to change. I am not talking about censoring the erotic gospels. Nor should some persons turn our points into some attack on cultures of Africa and worship in Africa.

One is just bringing up some issues for the digestion of those linked with erotic gospels. It is up to them to consider purpose and effects. It may be their intention to have erotica to accompany religious music and one can only watch them as they claim artistic and creative licence, or even freedom of worship. It is up to them, but let other performers and audience think about purpose and effect.




GCB, May 2018/ January 2019, LUSAKA

Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the author is independently involved in Writing and Arts, Cultures, Social Development, and observing Peace Issues.

*                 *                *








Kofi Annan and Us, a Tribute from Africa, By Gabriel C Banda


Kofi Annan and Us,

A Tribute from Africa


Gabriel  C  Banda


THE passing of Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary General January 1997 – December 2006, has left us with deep reflection and key life lessons.

His sudden passing, Saturday August 18, 2018, at Bern, in Switzerland, immediately made us reflect on Kofi Atta Annan as a person and some of the times he was involved with. Born April 1938 in Kumasi, Ghana, he has died at 80.

Kofi Annan’s personality and leadership has much to teach those living now and in future. Dr Kofi Annan, who spent a lot his working life as a servant of the United Nations system, was a remarkable example of rulers and leaders.

Always Calm

Kofi Annan was always, always, calm. He was extremely polite. He was thoughtful. He was measured. He was a listening person, no matter who he was speaking with. He was unhurried. He was friendly. He showed great humility.

Grey-haired yet youthful, Kofi Annan was soft speaking. He showed that to make a valid point and be listened to, you do not have to package and wrap it in an aggressive tone.

It is in the mood or adopted style of some persons to make their points aggressively and in offensive tones that their disturbed audiences end up reacting to instead of considering the merits of the points.

Sample of Peace

Kofi Annan was a sample of a person at peace. He was what a United Nations leader can be expected to be. Very composed.

He was unruffled.   Kofi Annan seemed to have mastered himself. He came out as a Sage, wise and calm. And understanding and tolerant of others. He had an air of deep sincerity. You found you loved him and had some bond with him.

These are qualities that many wish in good leaders and rulers. The world would be less violent with more leaders and rulers that are students of Kofi Annan.

The seventh Secretary General, he was concerned about the mission of the United Nations and was sincere in its implementation. He was concerned about how leaders and rulers, some he did not name but we can name, have caused tensions that have brought disharmony amongst governments and citizens of the world.

In an audience-attended BBC World Service feature facilitated by my sister Zeinab Badawi to mark his 80th birthday anniversary, Kofi Annan called for selfless contribution by rulers instead of being self-centred and negatively driven by ego.

Even after he retired from the United Nations, the United Nations mission in his spirit did not leave him. He continued to contribute to various activities all over the world.

At United Nations, Two to Three Minutes meeting

What the Kofi Annan came across as in the media is what person he was when met in person. I met Kofi Annan on May 25, 2003, at the United Nations headquarters, New York. For some two minutes or so, perhaps some three minutes, the two of us spoke, just the two of us.

I had gone with Dr Kenneth Kaunda, first president of Zambia, to the United Nations where KK had been asked to make a key-note address in recognition of Africa Day. It was the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Union, later turned into the African Union.

So, after the talk, away from the hall, there was a time I stood together with Kofi Annan. There was just the two of us. And that is when we talked for some two to three minutes.

I commended him for his composure and thoughtfulness. I said he was representing well many in the world, we who were citizens of humanity and believed in deep human cooperation.

Perhaps, as with many things in many fields of life, some things could have been approached differently.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

I was unhappy with the recent invasion of Iraq by the George W Bush administration as it would have many implications for the whole world.

The March 2003 raid and occupation by USA and team, on the unproved pretext of Saddam Hussein and “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” had largely been condemned worldwide.

Then living in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, I had known about fairly wide local American opposition to the threatened raid on Iraq. When the possibility of invasion was gathering, there were even some protests. It was moving to see school pupils marching against the coming invasion.

As one supportive of non-violence and critical of impact of armed conflict, I was hoping, like others, that the invasion would not take place.  But it took place on March 19, 2003. The consequences were as feared, and even worse, for many in the world. The effects are still with us today, just as the effects of the invasion of Libya and offshore supported rebel attacks on Syria are with us worldwide.

Withdrawing Weapons Inspectors

As an observer and student of peace and conflict-settlement, an issue that has occupied my mind was how the invasion of Iraq could have been aborted.  One thing I have always wondered about was what would have happened had the United Nations not withdrawn its weapons inspectors from Iraq.

I believed that the Kofi Annan administration could have helped abort the attack on Iraq by refusing to remove the weapons inspectors. From the beginning, I believed that the US administration would not have gone ahead to bomb Iraq if UN weapons inspectors did not leave Iraq.

The weapons inspectors were from various countries, including the USA. I did not see how the USA forces would have gone ahead, starting with horrible air bombardments, to attack Iraq with the weapons inspectors present. That is something I continue to think about.

That day at the United Nations, in May 2003, after commending his dignity, as an observer of peace issues, I very briefly wondered about that to Kofi Annan. We did not go into discussing this as I was aware that, although I had been privileged to have met him, his time was limited.

A person who at some point came close to where we were standing was Gideon Manasseh, the New York photographer and teacher contracted by the South Africa UN mission to cover the Africa event. Recently, I learnt that our brother Gideon Manasseh passed on in 2016.

I have always wished another occasion to meet my Big Man Kofi Annan and ask that question about withdrawing weapons inspectors and its effect on USA raiding Iraq.

Of course, Kofi Annan and team were dealing with more factors than I may know.  In recent times, in some BBC feature, Kofi Annan indicated that, while hard he tried to prevent the invasion, it was already cast by a determined George W Bush Jr administration.



Sadly, now I will not have the opportunity to directly hear from Kofi Annan more about this issue of withdrawing weapons inspectors and its effect on possible aborting of invasion or going ahead.

The state funeral and burial ceremony in Accra, Ghana, Thursday September 13, 2018, will be very moving and will give many persons further reflection and inspiration.

What is clear is that Kofi Atta Annan’s composure, thoughtfulness, dedication, and dignity have inspired many and will have great impact on us and many around the world, for generations to come.


Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing and the arts, social development work, and observation and analysis of peace and conflict-settlement issues.


*                      *                         *

GCB, August/September, 2018, LUSAKA.

Mama Aretha Franklin and Us, a View from Africa, by Gabriel C Banda


Mama Aretha Franklin and Us,

a  View from Africa,

by Gabriel C Banda


ARETHA Franklin has passed on!

Many persons in America and other parts of the world have been greatly moved by the passing of the very gifted singer, music artist, and actress Mama Aretha Franklin, Thursday, August 16, 2018, in Detroit, Michigan, USA. She went down following some cancer condition.

Aretha Franklin, born 1942, was from her childhood and teens performing and reaching many church and popular audiences. She established herself in the hearts of many worldwide.

Mama Aretha Franklin came onto the wide world stage at a time of great transformation in human relations.

Aretha Franklin reached more than persons of African descent. Yes, in America, Africa, and other places with numbers of persons of African descent, people were inspired by persons like Aretha Franklin.

People in various parts of the world did not consider her American, but foremost as one of them, a human being close to them.

                                             One of Our Mothers

For the young in Africa, Aretha Franklin was considered One of our Aunts, One of our Mothers. For those older, such as our biological fathers and mothers, Aretha Franklin was one of their Sisters.

In Africa, some widely respected singers we then considered our Mothers and Aunts included Mama Miriam Makeba and her friend Mama Dorothy Masuka. Mama Dorothy Masuka we considered one of our Mothers when at some point of my childhood she lived some forty metres or so near us along Mulilima Street, Libala II, Lusaka, Zambia.

In America, there were singers like Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, and Joan Baez. Music artists, as with other artists, could be both gifted singers and activists in favour of rights, harmonious humanity, and life.

                                                       Of  African Descent

In the 1950s and 1960s, as Africa’s societies were getting independence, there was still organised racism and apartheid in USA. The US Constitution had some two hundred years earlier proclaimed the freedom by birth of human beings while it had massive, organised, slavery against persons of African descent.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Martin Luther King and others were fighting racism and apartheid in the United States.

In 1960s Africa and the Americas, images and symbols were important. Music and the arts were important channels for freedom. In the 1960s and 1970s, fighting for their fundamental rights, Africans and persons of African descent were wearing themselves with pride.

They were parts of the human race. They were legitimate parts of humanity in both its unity and its deep and pleasant variation. No person was by birth in a particular group born superior or inferior to another of some other group. Africans were not on the margins. They were also on the centre.


Rather than just fit into the agenda being designed and dominated by others, artists of African descent sought clothing and colours that they found creative for their situation. They made creative and artistic expressions that were very innovative.

The physical features of Black African persons were not to be stigmatised and repressed, but to be celebrated. The African, in all particular features, was a legitimate part of humanity. The African was not inferior. Thus the decision to take a stance of acceptance and pride in their inherited features.

It was not one’s fault that they were Black or White. In fact, it was not a fault to be Black. Being of African descent was to be accepted and celebrated.  Thus the skin tone was accepted.

And thus, the Afro hair style, as promoted by persons like Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Angela Davies, Muhammad Ali, and millions of persons in USA, Africa, the Caribbean, UK, and other places of residence of persons of African descent, asserted their hair as part of being a person and being a natural part of the human world and life itself.

For persons of African descent, Mama Aretha Franklin and others were symbols of self-appreciation and self-acceptance.

It was not just about the message in their songs. Some fans were not concerned about the message but that the singers were persons of great deepness. The singers could stand up as great persons of African descent. Some were inspired not by their songs but images they proudly pronounced, images like Afro Hair style.

And when they were singing, they DID sing!  It was singing from the soul and reaching your soul. They not only moved the listener who was of African descent but others of other backgrounds. The artist of depth is able to reach the human soul in whatever circumstances the person is found in. True art is universal.

Many loved these persons, these beings, these beings showing and sharing deepness.


Mama Aretha Franklin has been one of those that stand out as great movers of the various sectors they are in. Indeed, their work affects people from other fields.

This is in similar ways that during the struggle against racism and Apartheid in Southern Africa, a person like Mama Winnie Mandela, sparked strength in many persons in various fields, including music and the arts.

In various fields, they have affected how things will be done.  They move things in directions that forever transform sectors and, indeed, the whole society.

They affect many things near and far. They heavily affect those in later generations.

                                                                  Deep Talent

From their presence, musicians and artists like Aretha Franklin have set the direction in which things will move. They do their remarkable works with ease. The easiness flows with great depth and reach.

They come in and do angles that other persons will be inspired with. They show others how things could be done. Their talent fills up and provides the direction and the minimum standards to follow. Their innovation becomes a way of doing things.

Mama Aretha Franklin brought out deep talent. She was deeply passionate in her singing. She was confident in her talent. She was one of those eternal artists that take a space in their generation and move on to reach generations that follow.

They reach relevance in all generations. They cross generations. Deep art is boundless. True art is eternal. True art lives on after the maker. The maker lives on in the art.

Their arts and works reached many in the world. They were appreciated as innovators and masters in their fields. What they said and did had great influence on many others.

                                                               Foremost Human

From various backgrounds, Aretha Franklin and colleagues were foremost human. They showed that each is valuable. We are valuable to others and to the body of humanity as a whole.

Apartheid and racism were sins against humanness. They were sins against humanity, as individuals and as a whole. Apartheid, racism, tribalism, and sexism are crimes against humanity. They are sins against life itself.

Africans and persons of African descent, as all humans, were human first. We were legitimate. All skin tones of humanity were legitimate. Wherever you were born was also an important part of the world.

Aretha Franklin reached and crossed generations. She linked generations. Aretha Franklin has been an important figure in people emphasizing the humanity of all persons from all backgrounds.

Over the six and half decades, performing to her Brothers and Sisters of various backgrounds, singing at the Martin Luther King funeral in 1968, singing in the presence of President Barack Obama in 2009 and later, or presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton before that, with a Presidential Medal of Freedom given to her by George W Bush Jr in 2005, or playing roles in the very memorable and enjoyable Blues Brothers movie, Aretha Franklin put her soul into her performance.

Aretha Franklin did not hesitate, delay, or avoid practising her talent. She expressed the deep wisdom that Barack Obama was to, decades later, in 2008, say:

“… Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. We are the hope …”

Yes, “we are the ones that we have been waiting for.”  I believe this, from Barack Obama, is one of the biggest transforming realisations you will find.  And, without hesitation, decades earlier, Aretha Franklin had started to follow and practise her artistic gift.

Like others, I felt some bond with Aretha Franklin. Some of us have lost another of our Mothers and our Aunts.  Mama Aretha Franklin has passed on and her works continue to live on in the souls of many worldwide, now and in future.


The writer, based in Lusaka, Zambia, is independently involved in writing and the arts, social development work, and observation of peace and conflict process issues. 

*                         *                         *

GCB, August 2018, LUSAKA.





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


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.


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

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

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


Zambia Elections 2016, some Cast and Crew dynamics


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


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.


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

*                *                    *

GCB, June 2016, LUSAKA.





IMF and Zambia’s power, by Gabriel C Banda

IMF and Zambia’s power


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.


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.


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.

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

*                     *                 *

GCB, Jan – May 2016