Tag Archives: Kenneth Kaunda

Inspiring Sir Ketumile Masire, by Gabriel C Banda

 

Inspiring Sir Ketumile Masire

by

Gabriel C Banda

OVER the years, many a time I told friends that I found Sir Ketumile Quett Masire an exceptional and inspiring person. Botswana’s second president was a living good example of how to relate to other persons.  A few times I have met him and interacted with him.

He has been one of those rulers, former rulers, and leaders in politics, governance, and business that do not let positions make them have some aloof attitude towards other human beings others will consider lesser.

                                                               True Strength

My Big Man Sir Ketumile Masire was just himself, without imposing airs. He had the calmness of those that have true strength and are therefore comfortable with themselves and do not need to degrade other human beings in order to lift themselves up.

The problem of abuse of authority is not confined to presidents and ministers. It happens in various positions of life. Some people will demean and dehumanise the house servants they employ to perform vital functions in the household.  Some persons will reach positions of director, permanent secretary, minister, and president, and begin to push around others they consider having low positions and status.

A major part of growing and maturing as a human being is to handle our positions with respect and without degrading other persons performing other roles. You must do your role, however high it may be considered, without falling into arrogance. A leader or ruler must first be a servant.

                                                                      Stable

In the early 1980s, my Brother and friend Theo Samuheha told me that those who visit Botswana were sometimes surprised that the President could be seen crossing a road, walking alone, to buy some items. In Botswana was some stable, secure, and relaxed politics and governance.

In 2002, I was in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States, living there as a Special Assistant to Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s first president, who was then the African President in Residence at Boston University.

In April 2003, some former heads of state of Africa came. At one time the team members witnessed the famous Boston Marathon. This was around the finishing point. This was the point that ten years later, in 2013, there was a bombing.

                                                                      Listening

But that time, in 2003, at some point President Ketumile Masire and his team visited us at our Bay State Road residence. And at some point, Sir Ketumile was in conversation with me. We spoke for some time. He inquired about some things. He listened to what I said. Sometimes he asked further. But he was a keen listener. Later, he made a major decision which seemed to have considered what I had said in our conversation.

Over the years, I met him again. One time, in late 2003, we were in Swaziland at the Commonwealth SMART Partnership meeting. There was some urgent item that Sir Ketumile and President Chissano, Mozambique’s Second President, wanted to work on with President Kenneth Kaunda.

President Masire saw me walking near the hotel gardens. “Angel Gabriel!” he cheerfully called out to me. After a brief discussion, he said we should immediately go to “KK,” Dr Kenneth Kaunda. He held my hand in a friendly way. Walking together, we meandered through the hotel premises, passing through gardens, party groups, diners, and others.

Dr Masire moved, oblivious of the persons around him. I do not think many persons knew he had been Botswana’s second president, the one who had succeeded the late Sir Seretse Khama and for 18 years was well known as President.

                                                                      Immediacy

We moved on, just the two of us. I do not think many persons we passed knew he was Quett Masire. Eventually, we reached Dr Kaunda. So, incognito, Ketumile Masire could move and do his needed work in many places.

Ketumile Masire was a person of immediacy. If something needed to be done or you needed to go to a place, you made it happen by doing it. Some friend of mine has said this about Mahatma Gandhi. If something to be done was discussed, it was to be implemented and, if needed, done immediately.

At various time, if he and Dr Joaquim Chissano felt they needed to meet Dr Kaunda, they would just come, without notice. Both of them had great respect for Dr Kaunda, who they had worked with closely during their presidencies when Dr Kaunda was chairperson of the Frontline States team. It seems that in that closeness, they felt they were a family with KK and did not need to give notice to meet him.

Over the years, at various times, I saw how President Masire gave respect not only to Dr Kaunda, but others in various situations. He respected those who worked with him and those who met him.

In group meetings, Sir Ketumile Masire would appear reserved, yet thoughtful and expressive in his thoughts and beliefs. He calmly expressed himself. He could take independent positions and was not afraid to speak his mind, but still politely.

                                                                Farming

Sir Ketumile, who was also well respected for his interest in farming, responded in informal manner to other persons. He was lovable. He was not one to show power over another person, even if that person did not have a highly rated position in society.

We are fortunate that there are actually other former leaders from Africa that are available in the field of humility. Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia respects those persons he meets and in return is loved by many all over the world.

Another is the Mozambique second president Joaquim Chissano. I have met him. He calmly listens and analyses situations. He will listen to others, whatever their position. He reaches out to others. He does not forget those he meets.

President Thabo Mbeki, Nelson Mandela’s successor of South Africa, is also an analytical listener and very polite to persons of various positions. I have spoken with him and can testify his respect for others. Ali Hassan Mwinyi of Tanzania is also another person that has great humility. I have spoken with him a few times.

On the topic of listening, I am reluctant to begin talking about Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe because his fierce critics will be annoyed to learn that I found that, in personal one-to-one discussion, he actually pays close attention to what you are speaking with him, and remembers.

Like President Ketumile Masire, I am sure there are other rulers and former rulers that show great depth in their relationship with other persons.

                                                                   Others

Actually, there are many others, in various roles of life, who, even unknown by many, are great persons that are quietly doing their part, without showing off. Sir Ketumile Masire was clear example of those persons that practically live by the principle of respect for others.

Born in 1925, Ketimule Masire was an activist for Botswana’s independence. As minister, Vice President, and President July 1980 to March 1998, he greatly influenced economic, social, and political programmes that helped build current Botswana. He passed away in Gaborone in the night of June 22, 2017. Burial ceremonies have been scheduled for Thursday, June 29th, 2017.  Mrs Gladys Olebile Masire passed away in 2013. Dr Ketumile Masire’s humility and service have remained shining for all to note.

                                                                       ginfinite@yahoo.com

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                                                                      – GCB, June 2017, LUSAKA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMF and Zambia, 30 Years Again, by Gabriel C Banda

 

Zambia and IMF, 30 Years Again

By

Gabriel C Banda

MAY 2017 has been exactly thirty years after Zambia broke away from a harsh IMF-World Bank economic “Structural Adjustment Programme.”

In May 1987, President Kaunda announced that Zambia’s government was stopping the IMF, International Monetary Fund, Structural Adjustment Programme. It had been harsher than expected.

There had been much suffering. The quality of life of most people had worsened. Malnutrition had increased. Many persons had died due to the conditionalities. There was social tension. Riots related to food prices had occurred in December 1986. From the food protests and riots, some persons had died.

Women and children were particularly affected by the harsh conditions. Dr Kaunda had started off hopeful about the IMF programme but the nation had found it very destructive. Some gains made from independence on basic needs for all were being reversed.

Shylock

The debt conditions were like those of Shakespeare’s Shylock, who insisted on taking both flesh and blood, the lifeline, as debt service. Taking flesh and blood would kill the borrower.

Dr Kaunda announced that Zambia would embark on its own Economic Recovery Programme. The programme would be a “home grown” one sensitive and relevant to the local situation. It would be more friendly and at a stable pace.

Debt repayments ratios would be reduced so that Zambia had something for meeting basic needs instead of servicing debt to IMF, World Bank, and creditors at high ratios to national income.

Alternative

IMF, World Bank, and their allied institutions and governments, including Sweden and Norway, the Nordic normally friendly to Dr Kaunda and Zambia, were unhappy about Zambia breaking away from the IMF programme. They said there was no alternative to the harsh IMF-World Bank programme.

Although Zambia made some gains in its own economic programme, IMF and creditors came down very heavily on Zambia’s government. Sanctions were imposed on Dr Kaunda’s government.  Zambia did not have support from other debtors and partners and was thus compelled to get back to an IMF programme.

At that time, the economic powers were not as now and IMF and allies dominated and controlled the much of the lending and debt of many nations.

Riots

Under IMF and World Bank dictatorship, the economic adjustment programme continued to be harsh, leading to further food riots and deaths in June 1990.   As a result of suffering and discontent arising from the IMF programme, in June 1990, there was a coup attempt. The coup attempt failed but things were never the same again in politics and economics.

By the October 1991 elections, Dr Kaunda’s UNIP left office, letting in the MMD government of Frederick Chiluba. As in other places, an IMF programme had led to regime change. IMF was interested in governments that would follow its economic programme, however harsh the effects of the imposition.

From late 1991, the MMD government deeply embraced IMF. Again, for most people, poverty increased.

The IMF aggressively tried to promote private business and control and undermine public enterprise. Public enterprise can be through projects like state owned parastatals and cooperatives.

Yet for the health of a society, we believe that both private and public enterprises are necessary and must respect each other. There must be fairness for both business and members of the public. It is healthy to nourish both individual creativity and public enterprise.

Decline

The IMF economic policies of the 1990s led to the decline of local industries, enterprises, and formal sector employment. Local economic production was being dismantled in a de-Africanisation process.

Zambia became a market for externally produced goods, much from a South Africa just making its transition from apartheid. All sectors of society were greatly affected. And Zambia’s external debt was still very high.

These effects also happened in other places, and continents, the IMF programme was imposed in. Poverty increased. Many persons died. The quality of life declined. The integrity of society and life itself were greatly affected.

Regime Change

And there was regime change, with those getting into office being pro-big business and pro-IMF.

A global campaign against debt conditions helped Zambia and other governments with some relief in debt service. Key amongst the campaigners against debt conditions and unfair debt service was the Jubilee movement. Church and Civil Service Organisations and NGOs were major drivers of the world-wide Jubilee campaign.

Thirty Years, Now

Now, May 2017, exactly thirty years after President Kaunda’s courageous but foiled attempt to move away from a harsh IMF programme, and years after the success of the anti-debt campaign, Zambia and IMF have been preparing for an IMF economic programme.

Lessons Ignored

The lessons of Zambia and many governments of the world over the years are being ignored. Even more recent is the example of Greece, which has had huge difficulties with IMF and creditors.

Over the past two years, there have been discussions and preparations for an agreement. Signs can be noted with the recent, May 2017, introduction of IMF insisted increase in energy tariffs.

World Bank and IMF have already penetrated, and now influence, electricity production enterprises, such as members of the Southern African Power Pool, and energy regulator members of the regional RERA, Regional Electricity Regulators Association, Southern Africa.

World Bank has some projects in these, thus, as an opponent within, devouring and influencing things from within, moving the energy sector towards the IMF and World Bank vision. As before, World Bank and IMF use institutions, agents, and networks within countries to influence things in some desired direction, even if it is against the interest of the Common Good.

                                              Silent

Whereas Civil Society members were critical before and fought for the Common Good, they have now, as with “regulators,” been penetrated by IMF and World Bank. Some receive funds and resources from World Bank or associates of World Bank. Our Brothers and Sisters are now silent as IMF moves against the public.

More serious, they sometimes have voiced support for the IMF and World Bank programmes. They will also say, falsely, that there is no alternative to the programmes and to funding.

Foothold

Meanwhile, to get some foothold, World Bank has needlessly provided government with grants and loans for projects governments can do by themselves or find alternative sources with fair conditions.

The influence of IMF and World Bank will lead societies towards a vision of big business and business leaders controlling governments and politics. For Zambia, this will lead to the pre-1924 situation, where big business ran the country.

Again, after the experiences of Zambia and others, at this time when there ARE alternatives to IMF programmes and resources, why should Zambia go back to Shylock? After surviving Shylock, why would someone agree to go back to Shylock and the knife that will devour both blood and flesh?

Negative Enterprise

Sadly, Zambia’s Finance Minister Felix Mutati has expressed confidence in an IMF programme. He says it will be home-grown. This may turn out to be a naïve, even if innocent or sincere, approach.

One is not sure Felix Mutati has appreciated the tactical complexity of the IMF and World Bank negative enterprise.

I do not think Greece, from their current experience, and others would agree that IMF and creditors will allow a programme that deviates from the IMF script and template.

We wonder if IMF will allow Zambia’s government to change things according to the way things are turning out.

Future Generations

For some $1.6 billion only, the welfare and harmony of Zambia’s people and future generations are likely to be sacrificed to Shylock.

Felix Mutati should realise that, trying to deliver Zambia to IMF, he will bear responsibility for the harsh effects of the IMF programme on the society, now and in future.

From the IMF programme, what might develop in Zambia? The possibilities are that there will be hardship on the wider society. Increased energy tariffs will lead to higher costs of goods and services for the public. The various economic conditions will lead to difficulties in various sectors of life. People will be unhappy with the government.

Because of the effects of the IMF programme, the position of President Edgar Lungu and his administration will be shaky as 2021 elections approach. Some candidates favourable to IMF, World Bank, and big business will become prominent on the scene.

Those men and women may emerge from within the ruling PF party, the government, from other political parties, or from other sectors, such as business and finance.

BSA

The desired IMF-World Bank programme direction will be towards Zambia as at the time of BSA Company, although in some other forms but under the same principle of control of politics by big business. Yet there are alternatives to IMF and its negative programmes.

In May/early June 2017, when the attention of most Zambians was on the Under-20 soccer World Cup event in Seoul, South Korea, and where the Zambian team was heavily rated, the IMF team came into Zambia towards finalisation a loan agreement.

In March 2017, the IMF team also came around when people were busy on the Africa Under-20 tournament in Lusaka.

Reversing Africa’s advances

Now, the month of May enables people in Africa to pause and deeply reflect on Africa’s freedom struggles. To fix some IMF deal that reverses Africa’s advances and compromises the future is of concern.

Thirty years later, in 2017, the experiences of the government of Dr Kenneth Kaunda, other places, and the Jubilee Campaign should not be in vain.

*     Gabriel C Banda, May 2017, LUSAKA

The Author is independently involved in Writing Arts, Social Development, and observation of Conflict and Peace processes.

Following below, we share some more detailed writing we have previously done and published, among many others, on Zambia and its relationship to IMF and World Bank programmes. “IMF and Zambia, Mission March 2017,” came out on WordPress.com, at gabrielbanda.wordpress.com.

 

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IMF and Zambia, Mission March 2017

by

Gabriel C Banda

WHILE many people have their attention focused on the Africa Under 20 soccer tournament taking place in Zambia, the IMF team has come back to Lusaka, seeking agreement over financing Zambia’s government.

As before, the arrival of the International Monetary Fund team will have great implication on Zambia’s economy and the current and future quality of life of Zambia’s people.

It will also enable us to understand how much has been learnt, or not learnt, or even unlearnt, from the experiences Zambia has had, over the decades, with IMF and its twin sister, or brother, the World Bank. It will show how much institutional and collective memories are utilised, or not utilised, in dealing with current issues. It will also reveal IMF and World Bank tactics.

                                                     World Bank, 1950s

Zambia’s relationship with the World Bank was already there in the 1950s, before independence, when Zambia was still Northern Rhodesia and neighbour Zimbabwe was Southern Rhodesia. There were some farming programmes supported.

But the big one, in 1955, was also one of the biggest in the world. This was the joint Southern Rhodesia-Northern Rhodesia Kariba Dam and hydro-electricity project, put on the Zambezi River bordering the two territories, and opened 1959. Kariba was then the biggest financing ever by the World Bank in the world.

There was a better site, at Kafue Gorge, in Zambia, yet a very costly and environmentally and socially damaging Kariba project was preferred. In 2017, close to sixty years after opening, Zambia and Zimbabwe began programmes, externally financed, to pay for the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam wall.

(We have already written about the IMF and Zambia’s energy programme and how the World Bank, to support Zambia’s dependence on Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa, tried to prevent Zambia building the Kafue Gorge power station and, just after 2000, IMF and World Bank prevented Zesco from building some electricity generation projects, thus contributing to the vulnerability recently experienced, in 2015/2016, due to low rainfall.

IMF and World Bank are trying to promote and impose energy sector arrangements that are unstable and are costly for users. Throughout the region and beyond, IMF and World Bank have promoted, and are actually imposing, some invalid basis for the increase of household electricity tariffs).

                                                                Enter IMF

While the relationship with World Bank was earlier, Zambia’s membership of the IMF began in September 1965, shortly after Independence, October 1964.

For many years, the Zambian government did not borrow from IMF. From its own programmes following independence, Zambia had made advances in various basics, like education and training, health, and infrastructure. Quality of life increased. Life expectancy increased. Much of the resources were from Zambia’s own, with some support from partners in the West and the East.

While independent Zambia had some few helpful projects financed by World Bank on basics like shelter and schools, the first IMF lending to Zambia was linked to balance of payment pressures brought about by the Zambia-Rhodesia border closure of January 1973.

                                                                  Southern Africa struggles

Zambia, supporting independence and freedom movements in Southern Africa, was then implementing various international sanctions on neighbouring Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa. Zambia, with its big development programmes, had its economy greatly affected by the impact of the struggles for independence and freedom.

Apart from the effects of the freedom struggles in Southern Africa, Zambia was in the 1970s affected by increase in price of fuel imports. The Arab-Israeli war of October 1973 had effects on the worldwide price of petroleum. Zambia also had reduced income due to low copper prices. Zambia’s balance of payments was thus by the various factors affected.

Zambia then took its first IMF facility, of 19 million SDR (Special Drawing Rights) soft conditions loan. This was equivalent to K14.75 million Zambian currency or US $22.92 million. (The Kwacha was then stronger than the US dollar).

Then in the mid-1980s, an IMF Structural Adjustment Programme came into effect. It was meant to help pay external debt and harsh “austerity” conditions were put into place. President Kaunda pleaded for patience from the public, saying the sacrifice from austerity would lead to things getting better.

                                                                  Conditions

The IMF market forces and commercialisation programme came with particular conditions that restrained various activities. There were measures that liberalised the finance environment. Subsidies and public spending were reduced or removed. State firms were to be privatised.

Wages were frozen.  As a way of reducing costs in public service, retrenchments were done and retirement age brought forward to 55 years. Workers in government, councils, and parastatal enterprises were retrenched. Staffing establishments were reduced. These measures were to later affect institutional memory and capacities in many fields.

Schools and other institutions had maintenance staff laid off.  Councils had their staff reduced. Some important fabric components like Community Development and garbage collection were eventually reduced and even disbanded.

(The reduction of council capacities contributed to the 2017 situation were households are throwing garbage within their premises and residential areas because the commercialised and privatised garbage system is not working well for most.

Before commercialisation, garbage collection fees were added to the rent and councils, who provided the garbage service, were generally performing better in that than what is happening now. Garbage collection is a Common Good that cannot be easily carried out just by profit motivation).                             

                                                              Surgeons not Butchers

But by 1987, in Zambia, the IMF medicine, or surgery, was destroying the patient!  A true surgeon is not a butcher.  And a butcher is not a surgeon.

Thus, in May 1987, due to the worsening negative effects, President Kaunda, to prevent further destabilisation of the society, announced that Zambia was breaking away from the IMF programme while still remaining a member of the organisation.

Dr Kaunda said there was to be a home-grown alternative programme. The local “New Economic Recovery Programme” was in place in 1988. Some advances were made. But IMF, World Bank, and allied governments and institutions said there was no alternative to their killing medicine and surgery and imposed sanctions.

Through sanctions and pressures by IMF, World Bank, and allied governments, President Kaunda’s government was in 1989 forced back to some IMF programme relationship.

The hardship continued. In June 1990, with riots as a result of the IMF programme’s impact on food and basic needs, there was a coup attempt.

President Chiluba’s government that followed in November 1991 was more open and willing towards the IMF programme. In the 1990s, the programmes created much hardship in the general population.

The impacts of the 1980s and 1990s still live on in Zambia now and are in our lives in various sectors. Dubious “Health Reforms” led to the exclusion of many persons from health services and death and suffering of many persons. Maternal deaths increased. Malnutrition increased. Life expectancy declined.

                                                              HIV and IMF

The combination of IMF economic Structural Adjustment imposition with the emergence of HIV and AIDS had deadly impact.

                                                         De-industrialisation      

As in other places of the world where IMF imposed its measures, as a result of the programme, and by intention of the programme, employment in the “formal” sector reduced. The programmes led to some de-industrialisation of some societies and de-Africanisation of enterprise ownership.

                                                                Cohesion

Apart from many persons dying as a result of the measures, many persons and families went into material decline and poverty. Social stability was shaken. And social tension increased. Social cohesion was put under pressure and declined.

Many persons died as a result of the IMF measures. Protests and riots happened, with violent deaths arising. The combination of SAP measures nourished corruption.

The capacities of societies in various fields have declined. In various sectors, Zambia’s current capacities are lower than they would have been without the effects of IMF and World Bank programmes.

The IMF programmes, forcibly imposed, have been instruments of violence.  They fight the balance and integrity of life.

                                                                      Regime Change

In some places, IMF programmes have, through economic pressure and hardship, led to regime change. Governments have been voted out or removed in other ways. In Zambia, there was, in 1990, a coup attempt following riots over high food prices brought about by the IMF programme. The economic hardships experienced contributed to UNIP losing office in the elections of October 1991.

Some rulers agree to the dictatorial IMF and World Bank imposition because of fear of being removed from office.

IMF and World Bank have leaned towards politicians that can deliver economic policy and practice environments favourable to IMF and World Bank “market forces” and strong pro-business positions. Yet, we believe, both public and public sectors are needed in a healthy society.

                                                                Big Business

An extreme and strong pro-business direction may lead Zambia to the situation before 1924, when big business, the BSA Company, was government. Big business in control can decide who rules or controls a country.

                                                             Greece, Disastrous

But even when their programmes have created hardship, IMF and World Bank move away from responsibility and put blame onto the victim government and society. The IMF and World Bank enforcers have been unrepentant.

Overall, there have been bitter experiences with IMF programmes in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and even Europe, in places like Greece.

Greece Minister of Labour and Social Security told BBC Hard Talk in March 2016 that while other lenders have been considering better and more socially sustainable economic and debt measures for Greece, the IMF “insists on further measures. And it is now the IMF which is isolated, not us.”

Continues George Katrougalos: “I have the conclusion that the austerity policies applied last five years were really disastrous and we must change the mix of these policies…”

                                                              IMF in Zambia, Now

Over the recent two years, IMF and World Bank have tried to reach out to Zambia and hook a programme. There was time, especially before the August 2016 elections, those in authority, knowing the consequences experienced in Zambia and elsewhere, were cautious or even reluctant about getting involved with an IMF programme.

But IMF and World Bank are still reaching out, although they will turn things around and say the Zambian government is the one driving the interest to have assistance from them.

This will be helped by local officials calling an IMF programme “home-grown.” If an agreement is made, we do not know whether it will really be allowed to be locally visioned and driven. How far will it differ from IMF templates?

Will IMF sit back and allow Zambia’s government to drive the programme? We do not know to what extent IMF and World Bank will drive it, directly or working at the back as puppet masters. Why don’t IMF and World Bank let local persons, and whoever the local persons decide to work with, to drive their governments’ programmes?

The IMF and World Bank have taken advantage of some errors or inappropriate or inadequate decisions and actions made affecting finance and resource management after President Sata and the PF came into office in 2011.  But, we believe, the errors and their effects can be dealt with and society healed and balanced without going into some IMF programme.  An IMF programme is likely to destabilise the society.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thirty Years Now

May 2017 marks some thirty years since Zambia’s abandonment of the harsh IMF programme.

We must accept that many persons now do not recollect the harsh mid 1980s experiences invoked by IMF and World Bank conditions. Some have forgotten, or let go, the pain and anguish. Some, a huge number, only hear stories from older persons.

Some of these persons currently are in some positions of authority and take lightly the idea of implementing IMF programmes. They do not realise or know that the measures have led to death, riots, social turmoil, and reduced capacity in many parts of the world.

Some members of staff of IMF and World Bank may not be aware of their employers’ role in bringing about great negative impact through imposed policies. Not knowing the results of the actions they are working for, a danger is that they will continue contributing to the same problems their institutions have been growing.

Ill advice from IMF and World Bank, perhaps by persons with, at best, poor understanding of local situations or incompetence when related to the situation, and, at worst, following negative interests, led to inappropriate IMF measures that greatly affected quality of life and capacities of societies.

                                              Organised Hold

The IMF and World Bank continue to have influence on governments through some very organised ways. They have cultivated some sympathisers and agents, in key positions, who will influence their governments and institutions to have relations with IMF and World Bank, even where it is not necessary and will lead to negative consequences.

The IMF and World Bank have put a foot hold into governments by continuing to provide small loans and grants that enable them to stay around and have presence in government policies and programmes.

In Zambia, and other places in Africa, IMF and World Bank have penetrated the energy sector, with its huge potential, and are trying to influence it, even by doing projects with energy generators and energy regulators.

IMF and World Bank are compromising energy regulators, to switch off their role dealing with fairness between energy providers and users, so that the desires of the IMF and World Bank machine are imposed, leading to control of the energy sector by those friendly to the spirit of IMF and World Bank.

                                                                  NGOs

And years before, NGO and Civil Society organisations, including churches, were active in issues of people’s quality of life and did much to campaign against debt conditions. This was done, and to some extent achieved, through activities like The Jubilee Campaign.

These days, civil society and NGO organisations are silent on the effects of IMF and World Bank programmes. Some civil society and NGO organisations receive funding for their activities and thus will not criticise IMF and World Bank for impact of their programmes. They are embedded with IMF and World Bank.

Some organisations do not only avoid criticising IMF and World Bank, but will actively support the imposition and implementation of IMF and World Bank programmes. They will side against governments and take IMF and World Bank as their kith and kin.

Sad is that IMF and World Bank come back and forth and many times do still manage to hook governments into activities that are destructive of economies and society. IMF and World Bank bondage techniques continue to work, leading to enslavement of governments and needless hardship in societies.

Sad that those who survived the shackles and sharp blade of Shylock the money lender will some years later go back to the same Shylock, who still insists on the pound of flesh that will also drain blood from the organism.

                                                               Alternatives

Actually, there ARE alternatives, if you open up your mind. There are alternatives to IMF and World Bank programmes. And there ARE alternatives to getting support, lending or grants, to move out of economic situations. The situation now is not that of the 1980s and 1990s IMF and World Bank monopoly and bullying.

But as IMF and World Bank fear that more and more persons and governments will be seeking assistance and links elsewhere, they are getting more active in reaching persons and institutions they can use to influence the direction of governments and societies.

And a question must continue to be asked: with all hardship from the IMF and World Bank programme self-evident over the decades, and knowing that implementation is even dangerous for their societies and governments, and added the fact that there are alternatives to the conditions and partner helpers or lenders, why do governments still, even in 2017, go to IMF and World Bank for borrowing?

As the Africa Under-20 soccer tournament progresses in Zambia, let us also keep our focus on the IMF-Zambia ball play.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

February, 2017, LUSAKA

 The author is involved in Writing and the Arts, Social Development Work, Social Research, and observation and analysis of Conflict and Peace issues. For over three decades, he has researched and written extensively on basic needs and economic policies, including economic adjustment programmes. This piece is some summary of the writer’s more detailed writing on the issue. 

Zambia, Independence and Elders Pensions, by Gabriel C Banda, (a Reprint)

AT the recent, May 13 2017, funeral of Mama Salome Chilufya Besa Kapwepwe, President Edgar Lungu rightly bemoaned the material situation of many persons who fought for Zambia’s independence. He called for them to be appreciated,and supported, while they are alive.

I suggest that, a) the situation of freedom fighters must be worked out and solutions found.  This, perhaps requiring complex solutions, will cover all those involved in the fight for independence. The complex situation will have practical solutions that will include establishing what type of support and activities can be established to support them now.

And, b), In the meantime, a more immediate and less complex task is to redress the situation of those that were unfairly denied pensions and benefits when the Chiluba administration took over office in November 1991 and cancelled an existing pension scheme for leaders, thus putting many who served as full-time staff  in the unified government-and-party under material stress.

This task is about reparation and restoration. It is about the right of workers to benefits that are gratuity or pension related. The task is easier to deal with. The solution can be some one time payment/compensation or series of payment or other benefits negotiated with those who were retired and had pensions revoked. To follow up on this issue, I reproduce the following piece I wrote, published as “Zambia’s Independence and Our Elders Pensions,” by WordPress.com, October 2016. Please read and share. Thank You. GCB, May 2017, LUSAKA.

 

Zambia’s Independence and Our Elders Pensions,

by Gabriel C Banda

OCTOBER is another opportunity to deeply express appreciation and reflect on Zambia’s Independence journey. Many persons, from various walks of life, and from various places, worked for the Independence of Zambia.

And since Independence, 24th October 1964, up to present times, many persons, from various backgrounds, have contributed much in nourishing the vision and achievements of our society.

October 2016, 52 years from Zambia’s independence, is another time to reflect on the current situation of Zambia’s Freedom Fighters. Our focus for now is on the situation of those who took up public office. As we remember to praise those that fought for Independence and are still around, let us consider how their situation is and how it has come about.

Yes, there are many persons, thousands and thousands, into millions, that got involved in the struggle, with some being leaders that helped to organise it. There was much suffering and contribution during the journey for Independence.

After Independence, some became officials in the ruling party and the government. Some persons had, for reasons like that of being young then, not been actively involved in the struggle but became workers and officials in the government and the ruling party.

Zambia started off as a multi-party system but, due to various factors, among them the solving of inter-party violence, in 1972 transformed into the “One Party Participatory Democracy.”  Many observers make the mistake of not distinguishing the reasons, type, structure, and systems involved in particular one party systems. The one party experiences were not the same.

In Zambia, the One Party state system, unlike in some other countries where there was banning of other parties, was actually some unified party system. Those from ANC and the ruling UNIP, many of who earlier before Independence had belonged to the same party ANC, were integrated. It was a form of Government of National Unity, a system recently more recommended, even temporarily, in various parts of the world, especially where there is great tension, conflict, and division.

There is no doubt that the merger helped deal with the problem of inter-party violence and tension. MPs and position holders concentrated on dealing with issues in their communities and the whole society.

-For persons of various backgrounds and places, the “One Zambia, One Nation” national motto was taking shape. The position of women became stronger in politics, society, and the economy, with women leading various directions.

-Also supporting this was the “Zambian Humanism,” a form of South Africa’s Ubuntu but much more practically and systematically organised. These were part of the foundation that has, through year 2016, made Zambia continue with relative cohesion and withstand big pressures where other nations have been shaken and destabilised.

This system unified the Party and Government structures. Officials, full time and voluntary, were greatly involved in public mobilisation and participation. Towards the end of the one party system, a leaders Pension and Benefit system was put into place to cover the public officials playing various roles.

There were advances made under Zambia’s One Party system. Of course, it had its challenges and limitations.

In December 1990, after calls for return to a multiparty system, President Kaunda signed away the One Party system, repealing Article 4 of the Constitution. He signed, putting aside the need for doing the planned Referendum. Going back to a multi-party system offered potential advancements in some aspects.

In some way, the One Party system experienced in Zambia had enabled some social cohesion that made it easier for persons of various backgrounds to go into political parties in relative unity. The system had enabled some level of togetherness available for respect for one another during a return to multiparty systems.

As preparations and campaigns for multiparty elections intensified, some officials in opposition said that when they took over government, they would make sure members of UNIP did not get any pensions. The opposition politicians in MMD openly pledged this at public rallies. They said they would push aside the benefits and pensions of UNIP officials who worked in the Party and the government.

Some who publicly pledged to ensure those from UNIP would not be paid pensions and benefits were even lawyers. The basis upon which they based their opposition to pensions of the targeted workers was not clear. The pledge not to pay benefits was openly repeated at rallies, such as the one at Woodlands Stadium, Lusaka.

As Zambia moved towards the elections, it was clear that some things had not been clearly settled. These included issues of distinguishing and apportioning assets of UNIP and Government. The leaders’ Pensions and Benefits were not discussed. It was assumed that, even with the words of MMD officials, the law would still continue and have the pensions administered.

Elections were held in October 1991, with Frederick Chiluba’s MMD taking over from President Kenneth Kaunda’s UNIP. Over the 25 years, there are some things that have worked better than were things at the time of the One Party state. Yet there are also things that have declined.

Among the negative legacies of the Frederick Chiluba MMD rule was the violation of the basic rights of those officials who worked in UNIP and government. Immediately upon coming to office, the MMD administration, true to the pre-election vows of its officials, nullified the Leaders Benefits and Pensions law.  That action displaced into hardship many workers and officials. President Kaunda was for some time also affected.

Although, under international pressure, some adjustments were made for Dr Kaunda, and that after much suffering, the benefits of other positions were not re-instated or even settled through negotiation. Many officials who served government before 1991 have continued without pensions. 25 years later, in October 2016, this wrong, this violation of human rights in the name of politics, this evil against the elders, has not been corrected.

Presidential and other officials’ pensions are designed to make leaders concentrate on their jobs. They should not in future suffer because of their contribution to society. The presidency and government jobs should not just be for those who are already rich.

Also, giving Presidents and ministers and other officials good pensions helps prevent corruption and unfair practices for financial and resource benefit. Of course, there is need to put parameters and limits around Presidential benefits, such as the value of the house being built, but not to remove the benefits.

For now, as we remember October and Independence, let us consider the plight of those leaders and officials that were unfairly put into hardship because of the bias and hatred of those who came into office. It is time to settle the issue of pensions and benefits of Zambia’s government officials.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

G C B,   October 2016, LUSAKA.

IMF and Zambia, Mission 2017, by Gabriel C Banda

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IMF and Zambia, Mission March 2017

by

Gabriel C Banda

WHILE many people have their attention focused on the Africa Under 20 soccer tournament taking place in Zambia, the IMF team has come back to Lusaka, seeking agreement over financing Zambia’s government.

As before, the arrival of the International Monetary Fund team will have great implication on Zambia’s economy and the current and future quality of life of Zambia’s people.

It will also enable us to understand how much has been learnt, or not learnt, or even unlearnt, from the experiences Zambia has had, over the decades, with IMF and its twin sister, or brother, the World Bank. It will show how much institutional and collective memories are utilised, or not utilised, in dealing with current issues. It will also reveal IMF and World Bank tactics.

                                                     World Bank, 1950s

Zambia’s relationship with the World Bank was already there in the 1950s, before independence, when Zambia was still Northern Rhodesia and neighbour Zimbabwe was Southern Rhodesia. There were some farming programmes supported.

But the big one, in 1955, was also one of the biggest in the world. This was the joint Southern Rhodesia-Northern Rhodesia Kariba Dam and hydro-electricity project, put on the Zambezi River bordering the two territories, and opened 1959. Kariba was then the biggest financing ever by the World Bank in the world.

There was a better site, at Kafue Gorge, in Zambia, yet a very costly and environmentally and socially damaging Kariba project was preferred. In 2017, close to sixty years after opening, Zambia and Zimbabwe began programmes, externally financed, to pay for the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam wall.

(We have already written about the IMF and Zambia’s energy programme and how the World Bank, to support Zambia’s dependence on Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa, tried to prevent Zambia building the Kafue Gorge power station and, just after 2000, IMF and World Bank prevented Zesco from building some electricity generation projects, thus contributing to the vulnerability recently experienced, in 2015/2016, due to low rainfall.

IMF and World Bank are trying to promote and impose energy sector arrangements that are unstable and are costly for users. Throughout the region and beyond, IMF and World Bank have promoted, and are actually imposing, some invalid basis for the increase of household electricity tariffs).

                                                                Enter IMF

While the relationship with World Bank was earlier, Zambia’s membership of the IMF began in September 1965, shortly after Independence, October 1964.

For many years, the Zambian government did not borrow from IMF. From its own programmes following independence, Zambia had made advances in various basics, like education and training, health, and infrastructure. Quality of life increased. Life expectancy increased. Much of the resources were from Zambia’s own, with some support from partners in the West and the East.

While independent Zambia had some few helpful projects financed by World Bank on basics like shelter and schools, the first IMF lending to Zambia was linked to balance of payment pressures brought about by the Zambia-Rhodesia border closure of January 1973.

                                                                  Southern Africa struggles

Zambia, supporting independence and freedom movements in Southern Africa, was then implementing various international sanctions on neighbouring Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa. Zambia, with its big development programmes, had its economy greatly affected by the impact of the struggles for independence and freedom.

Apart from the effects of the freedom struggles in Southern Africa, Zambia was in the 1970s affected by increase in price of fuel imports. The Arab-Israeli war of October 1973 had effects on the worldwide price of petroleum. Zambia also had reduced income due to low copper prices. Zambia’s balance of payments was thus by the various factors affected.

Zambia then took its first IMF facility, of 19 million SDR (Special Drawing Rights) soft conditions loan. This was equivalent to K14.75 million Zambian currency or US $22.92 million. (The Kwacha was then stronger than the US dollar).

Then in the mid-1980s, an IMF Structural Adjustment Programme came into effect. It was meant to help pay external debt and harsh “austerity” conditions were put into place. President Kaunda pleaded for patience from the public, saying the sacrifice from austerity would lead to things getting better.

                                                                  Conditions

The IMF market forces and commercialisation programme came with particular conditions that restrained various activities. There were measures that liberalised the finance environment. Subsidies and public spending were reduced or removed. State firms were to be privatised.

Wages were frozen.  As a way of reducing costs in public service, retrenchments were done and retirement age brought forward to 55 years. Workers in government, councils, and parastatal enterprises were retrenched. Staffing establishments were reduced. These measures were to later affect institutional memory and capacities in many fields.

Schools and other institutions had maintenance staff laid off.  Councils had their staff reduced. Some important fabric components like Community Development and garbage collection were eventually reduced and even disbanded.

(The reduction of council capacities contributed to the 2017 situation were households are throwing garbage within their premises and residential areas because the commercialised and privatised garbage system is not working well for most.

Before commercialisation, garbage collection fees were added to the rent and councils, who provided the garbage service, were generally performing better in that than what is happening now. Garbage collection is a Common Good that cannot be easily carried out just by profit motivation).                             

                                                              Surgeons not Butchers

But by 1987, in Zambia, the IMF medicine, or surgery, was destroying the patient!  A true surgeon is not a butcher.  And a butcher is not a surgeon.

Thus, in May 1987, due to the worsening negative effects, President Kaunda, to prevent further destabilisation of the society, announced that Zambia was breaking away from the IMF programme while still remaining a member of the organisation.

Dr Kaunda said there was to be a home-grown alternative programme. The local “New Economic Recovery Programme” was in place in 1988. Some advances were made. But IMF, World Bank, and allied governments and institutions said there was no alternative to their killing medicine and surgery and imposed sanctions.

Through sanctions and pressures by IMF, World Bank, and allied governments, President Kaunda’s government was in 1989 forced back to some IMF programme relationship.

The hardship continued. In June 1990, with riots as a result of the IMF programme’s impact on food and basic needs, there was a coup attempt.

President Chiluba’s government that followed in November 1991 was more open and willing towards the IMF programme. In the 1990s, the programmes created much hardship in the general population.

The impacts of the 1980s and 1990s still live on in Zambia now and are in our lives in various sectors. Dubious “Health Reforms” led to the exclusion of many persons from health services and death and suffering of many persons. Maternal deaths increased. Malnutrition increased. Life expectancy declined.

                                                              HIV and IMF

The combination of IMF economic Structural Adjustment imposition with the emergence of HIV and AIDS had deadly impact.

                                                         De-industrialisation      

As in other places of the world where IMF imposed its measures, as a result of the programme, and by intention of the programme, employment in the “formal” sector reduced. The programmes led to some de-industrialisation of some societies and de-Africanisation of enterprise ownership.

                                                                Cohesion

Apart from many persons dying as a result of the measures, many persons and families went into material decline and poverty. Social stability was shaken. And social tension increased. Social cohesion was put under pressure and declined.

Many persons died as a result of the IMF measures. Protests and riots happened, with violent deaths arising. The combination of SAP measures nourished corruption.

The capacities of societies in various fields have declined. In various sectors, Zambia’s current capacities are lower than they would have been without the effects of IMF and World Bank programmes.

The IMF programmes, forcibly imposed, have been instruments of violence.  They fight the balance and integrity of life.

                                                                      Regime Change

In some places, IMF programmes have, through economic pressure and hardship, led to regime change. Governments have been voted out or removed in other ways. In Zambia, there was, in 1990, a coup attempt following riots over high food prices brought about by the IMF programme. The economic hardships experienced contributed to UNIP losing office in the elections of October 1991.

Some rulers agree to the dictatorial IMF and World Bank imposition because of fear of being removed from office.

IMF and World Bank have leaned towards politicians that can deliver economic policy and practice environments favourable to IMF and World Bank “market forces” and strong pro-business positions. Yet, we believe, both public and public sectors are needed in a healthy society.

                                                                Big Business

An extreme and strong pro-business direction may lead Zambia to the situation before 1924, when big business, the BSA Company, was government. Big business in control can decide who rules or controls a country.

                                                             Greece, Disastrous

But even when their programmes have created hardship, IMF and World Bank move away from responsibility and put blame onto the victim government and society. The IMF and World Bank enforcers have been unrepentant.

Overall, there have been bitter experiences with IMF programmes in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and even Europe, in places like Greece.

Greece Minister of Labour and Social Security told BBC Hard Talk in March 2016 that while other lenders have been considering better and more socially sustainable economic and debt measures for Greece, the IMF “insists on further measures. And it is now the IMF which is isolated, not us.”

Continues George Katrougalos: “I have the conclusion that the austerity policies applied last five years were really disastrous and we must change the mix of these policies…”

                                                              IMF in Zambia, Now

Over the recent two years, IMF and World Bank have tried to reach out to Zambia and hook a programme. There was time, especially before the August 2016 elections, those in authority, knowing the consequences experienced in Zambia and elsewhere, were cautious or even reluctant about getting involved with an IMF programme.

But IMF and World Bank are still reaching out, although they will turn things around and say the Zambian government is the one driving the interest to have assistance from them.

This will be helped by local officials calling an IMF programme “home-grown.” If an agreement is made, we do not know whether it will really be allowed to be locally visioned and driven. How far will it differ from IMF templates?

Will IMF sit back and allow Zambia’s government to drive the programme? We do not know to what extent IMF and World Bank will drive it, directly or working at the back as puppet masters. Why don’t IMF and World Bank let local persons, and whoever the local persons decide to work with, to drive their governments’ programmes?

The IMF and World Bank have taken advantage of some errors or inappropriate or inadequate decisions and actions made affecting finance and resource management after President Sata and the PF came into office in 2011.  But, we believe, the errors and their effects can be dealt with and society healed and balanced without going into some IMF programme.  An IMF programme is likely to destabilise the society.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Thirty Years Now

May 2017 marks some thirty years since Zambia’s abandonment of the harsh IMF programme.

We must accept that many persons now do not recollect the harsh mid 1980s experiences invoked by IMF and World Bank conditions. Some have forgotten, or let go, the pain and anguish. Some, a huge number, only hear stories from older persons.

Some of these persons currently are in some positions of authority and take lightly the idea of implementing IMF programmes. They do not realise or know that the measures have led to death, riots, social turmoil, and reduced capacity in many parts of the world.

Some members of staff of IMF and World Bank may not be aware of their employers’ role in bringing about great negative impact through imposed policies. Not knowing the results of the actions they are working for, a danger is that they will continue contributing to the same problems their institutions have been growing.

Ill advice from IMF and World Bank, perhaps by persons with, at best, poor understanding of local situations or incompetence when related to the situation, and, at worst, following negative interests, led to inappropriate IMF measures that greatly affected quality of life and capacities of societies.

                                              Organised Hold

The IMF and World Bank continue to have influence on governments through some very organised ways. They have cultivated some sympathisers and agents, in key positions, who will influence their governments and institutions to have relations with IMF and World Bank, even where it is not necessary and will lead to negative consequences.

The IMF and World Bank have put a foot hold into governments by continuing to provide small loans and grants that enable them to stay around and have presence in government policies and programmes.

In Zambia, and other places in Africa, IMF and World Bank have penetrated the energy sector, with its huge potential, and are trying to influence it, even by doing projects with energy generators and energy regulators.

IMF and World Bank are compromising energy regulators, to switch off their role dealing with fairness between energy providers and users, so that the desires of the IMF and World Bank machine are imposed, leading to control of the energy sector by those friendly to the spirit of IMF and World Bank.

                                                                         NGOs

And years before, NGO and Civil Society organisations, including churches, were active in issues of people’s quality of life and did much to campaign against debt conditions. This was done, and to some extent achieved, through activities like The Jubilee Campaign.

These days, civil society and NGO organisations are silent on the effects of IMF and World Bank programmes. Some civil society and NGO organisations receive funding for their activities and thus will not criticise IMF and World Bank for impact of their programmes. They are embedded with IMF and World Bank.

Some organisations do not only avoid criticising IMF and World Bank, but will actively support the imposition and implementation of IMF and World Bank programmes. They will side against governments and take IMF and World Bank as their kith and kin.

Sad is that IMF and World Bank come back and forth and many times do still manage to hook governments into activities that are destructive of economies and society. IMF and World Bank bondage techniques continue to work, leading to enslavement of governments and needless hardship in societies.

Sad that those who survived the shackles and sharp blade of Shylock the money lender will some years later go back to the same Shylock, who still insists on the pound of flesh that will also drain blood from the organism.

                                                               Alternatives

Actually, there ARE alternatives, if you open up your mind. There are alternatives to IMF and World Bank programmes. And there ARE alternatives to getting support, lending or grants, to move out of economic situations. The situation now is not that of the 1980s and 1990s IMF and World Bank monopoly and bullying.

But as IMF and World Bank fear that more and more persons and governments will be seeking assistance and links elsewhere, they are getting more active in reaching persons and institutions they can use to influence the direction of governments and societies.

And a question must continue to be asked: with all hardship from the IMF and World Bank programme self-evident over the decades, and knowing that implementation is even dangerous for their societies and governments, and added the fact that there are alternatives to the conditions and partner helpers or lenders, why do governments still, even in 2017, go to IMF and World Bank for borrowing?

As the Africa Under-20 soccer tournament progresses in Zambia, let us also keep our focus on the IMF-Zambia ball play.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

February, 2017, LUSAKA

 The author is involved in Writing and the Arts, Social Development Work, Social Research, and observation and analysis of Conflict and Peace issues. For over three decades, he has researched and written extensively on basic needs and economic policies, including economic adjustment programmes. This piece is some summary of the writer’s more detailed writing on the issue. 

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 and Rhodesia UDI, 50 Years Later

Zambia and Rhodesia UDI, 50 Years Later

by

Gabriel C Banda

IMGA0003

NOVEMBER 2015 marks fifty years after the proclamation of UDI, Unilateral Declaration of Independence, in Southern Rhodesia. For on November 11, 2015, Rhodesia’s Ian Douglas Smith and his team forcibly declared Independence, under firm control of the local white population, of the territory of Southern Rhodesia. This move defied the authority of the British government, which was officially in charge of the territory. Africans referred to the country as “Zimbabwe.”

Southern Rhodesia had been part of the three state Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, sometimes called the Central Africa Federation. The Federation existed from 1953 to December 1963. Before and during the Federation, many things, from trade and commerce to export and import routes, were linked. There were commonly owned facilities of railways and airlines. Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia shared the Kariba Dam and hydro electricity station there.

Copper producing Northern Rhodesia was the richer and much of its finances went to maintain Southern Rhodesia programmes. Africans in the territories had fought the Federation believing the arrangement was mainly at the advantage of the white population in Southern Rhodesia.

In October 1964, Northern Rhodesia went on to become independent Zambia. Nyasaland had become Malawi in July 1964. The independence of Malawi and Zambia quickened efforts by the white settler community in Southern Rhodesia to take over and prevent a process of true Independence involving the native Black African population. The Smith team wanted to avoid the principle of “No Independence Before Majority Rule.”

                                                          UDI Acoming

The events leading to the treason against the British Crown and the people of Zimbabwe had been long acoming. UDI was predicted. Leaders of Africa and elsewhere asked the British government to step in and, if necessary, use force to reverse the coming defiance. Britain refused to use force. When on November 11, 2015, UDI was declared by Ian Smith and his team, the African governments still urged Britain to use force.

There were also plans by independent African governments, through the Organisation of African Unity, OAU, to use military force to crash the Rhodesia rebellion. Instead, Britain proposed economic sanctions, saying the Rhodesia regime would last not months but a matter of “weeks” as consequence of the economic sanctions.

The events around UDI were to affect Zambia for long. Indeed, the current situation of Zambia has been greatly influenced by those events of November 1965. Besides Zambia, many others in the world have been affected by the Rhodesia UDI. UDI Rhodesia was a factor in the entry of China into Africa and development of relations with various parts of the world.

At UDI in 1965, the newly independent state of Zambia, landlocked, was in a special situation. Independent bordering neighbours included Congo, Malawi, and Tanzania. But there was tension on other borders.

Besides Rhodesia on the Southern border, Zambia had Portuguese ruled territories of Angola, on the west, and Mozambique, on the East. Again on the West was the South Africa occupied South West Africa, popularly known as Namibia. This was a United Nations trust territory and occupying South Africa was expected to vacate the territory. Further South was apartheid South Africa.

Built on racism and widely isolated, the regimes of the Portuguese, in Angola and Mozambique, and Rhodesia and South Africa collaborated politically, economically, and militarily to fight Black Africans in struggle.

In 1965, Britain refused to crash the impending UDI. Zambia and others at the United Nations, trying to prevent UDI from happening, passed Resolutions 2012(XX) and 2022 (XX). A few days before UDI, the United Nations urged the use of pre-emptive force. Britain did not go along. Around that time, the USA supported Africa in the plan of force against the Ian Smith team.

When UDI happened, Britain still refused to use some force. Instead, it offered economic sanctions. In December 1966, through Security Council Resolution 253 Prime Minister Harold Wilson said that, through the obligatory sanctions, the UDI rebellion would be over “within a matter of weeks rather than months.”

But the Smith regime was to go on for some fourteen years, leading to a war that was costly for both Zimbabwe and neighbours like Zambia. Members of the armed forces and civilians on the Rhodesian side also suffered, with deaths, injuries, displacement, and isolation.

The Rhodesia regime lived on through various schemes, supported or shielded by South Africa, the Portuguese in Mozambique, and some western governments and businesses. Ian Smith is quoted as having said that there would not be Black Rule in his life time and in a thousand years. This contributed to making the freedom fighters determined and to use force.

                                                                           Various Ways

Zambia supported neighbouring freedom fighters in various ways. There was diplomatic assistance involving various platforms. Zambia used Mulungushi Club, the forerunner to the Frontline States. Zambia also worked with the OAU, Commonwealth, Non Aligned Movements, and the United Nations.

There were also various international and inter-continental programmes and organisations Zambia used to spread the message of support for those fighting for freedom. Zambia provided passports for members of freedom movements to travel on to various parts of the world.

Zambia supported the freedom movements through hosting refugees and cadres. Zambia provided accommodation, financial, and material support to enable persecution of the struggles. Zambia also provided safety, from harm, for the freedom fighters.

                                                                            Effects

Zambia and its people, largely following United Nations and international actions against the Rhodesia regime, were affected in various ways. Because of the close historical bonds over the decades, following economic and trade sanctions affected Zambia’s import and export routes. Zambia began to divert from the South routes that were linked to Rhodesia and South Africa.

It was some cost to begin to think of using and building new routes for export and import. Zambia then faced East, towards independent Tanzania. At great cost, Zambia transported exports and imports via Dar es Salaam. There were then no efficient roads and railways. In that emergency, Zambia transported copper, for export, by plane! And, from Tanzania, petroleum drums were flown into Zambia. The airlift was helped by the governments of Canada, Britain, and USA.
Zambia began to think of permanent, stable, routes.

The Great North Road, to Tanzania, was being built. Trucks, from Italy and driven by drivers from Somalia, ran the very rough “Hell Run.” The ZamTan transport company was started.

There was also need to consider a railway line. The possible rail route Eastwards had been known to be possible. When Kenneth Kaunda approached the government of China, he was told to first try the Western governments and get back only when the West declined to undertake the railway building.

Britain and some in the West were not in favour of Zambia building new infrastructure linked to routes and routing. They said the UDI rebellion would soon end and it was not necessary to build new infrastructure and facilities. Kenneth Kaunda and his colleagues then went back to China.

The long TAZARA, Tanzania-Zambia Railway, was built by the Chinese. That is how the Chinese government got close to Zambia and later began to spread to other parts of Africa, and the world. So, the events of Rhodesia and November 11 1965 greatly affected China and its direction.

Because the dissolution of the Federation had taken civil and military aircraft to Rhodesia, Zambia ended up trying to develop its own airlines, airforce, and required structures. Meanwhile, there was tension between Zambia and Rhodesia. Zambia’s military equipment imported in through Rhodesia was confiscated by The Smith regime.

Due to international sanctions, Zambia began to look elsewhere for both routes and actual trade in items.
Another vital commodity was energy. With the help of neighbour Tanzania, the Italian government helped Zambia build infrastructure for transporting petroleum. A refinery was built at Ndola.

There was also uncertainty over access to electricity as the major source at Kariba Dam and power station were jointly owned by Zambia and Rhodesia, hostile neighbours. Zambia thought of building the huge Kafue Gorge power station.
As with TAZARA railway, some in the West were reluctant to help Zambia in building. They considered UDI a short-lived action that would not require separate facilities and infrastructure for Zambia. They wanted Zambia to continue with the Southern routes, which also benefitted Rhodesia and South Africa.

Initially, the World Bank was opposed to Zambia building the Kafue Gorge power station. President Kenneth Kaunda sent representatives to the USA government, which had authority over World Bank and also appreciated Zambia’s situation over Rhodesia and South Africa. The USA told the World Bank to allow Zambia to have the power station built.

So it was. Yugoslavia, with its Energo Project and Energo Invest, dealing with the structures and civil engineering and Sweden, dealing with the electricity equipment, were amongst those involved in building Kafue Gorge power station.
Later, Zambia went on to build at Kariba North Bank. These increased Zambia’s capacity to withstand sanctions with and from Rhodesia and South Africa.

Zambia was affected through financial and economic sanctions. At that time, Tanzania’s President Julius Nyerere said that if Zambia, being in the frontline and greatly affected, were to opt out of the heavy sanctions, the rest of the world would understand. But Zambia believed in following the sanctions.

Zambia was also affected through the military cost. Zambia began to spend more to build capacity to withstand the hostile neighbouring regimes of Portuguese Angola, Rhodesia, and South Africa. People in Zambia feared letter bombs and parcel bombs. These killed and maimed people, such as the writer Chiman Vyas, in Zambia.

As nationalist fighters intensified against the regimes, the regimes, in “hot pursuit,” began to attack the liberation movements where they were based. Many of them were in Zambia.

                                                                       Green Army

The neighbouring regimes began to raid further into Zambia, attacking freedom fighters and Zambia’s infrastructure, military forces, and civilians. In response, besides training others from other sectors, in 1975, Zambia began conscription of school leaver females and males into training by Zambia National Service, which became part of the combined Zambia National Defence Force, ZNDF. This increased Zambia’s military troops. Eventually, dubbed the Green Army by Rhodesia and South Africa, they not only received training but served in the ZNDF.

From the 1960s, due to raids by the neighbouring regimes, many freedom fighters and Zambians were killed and wounded. Zambia’s infrastructure was bombed and some of it was rebuilt through public contributions. Fifty years after UDI, there are still some areas of Zambia known to still have unremoved landmines that were planted by the racist forces and freedom fighters.

                                                                      Basic Needs

Due to pressures in the independence and liberation struggles, Zambia’s programmes in basic needs, having deeply advanced from independence, deeply building capacities in various fields, were slowed down.

Economic impact of the 1973 Rhodesia border closure led Zambia to its first facility with the International Monetary Fund, IMF, that machinery whose negative programmes, some of them with the imprimatur of the force of evil, act against the integrity of life and have contributed immense suffering, deaths, inequity, want, and disturbance to life and living.

IMF later, in the 1980s, imposed harsh Structural Adjustment” austerity conditions that contributed to poverty and shaking of indebted Zambia’s social fabric. As in other parts of the world, it led, twice, in 1986 and 1990, to riots over food prices. Zambia’s role in supporting independence and liberation movements in Africa contributed to its debt profile. But there was no organised international programme to help Zambia cover the effects of the Southern Africa struggles.

                                                                     Africa wide

From Independence, with President Kenneth Kaunda quoting the Pan Africanist Kwame Nkrumah on the independence of one country being limited if the rest of Africa was not free, Zambia hosted independence and liberation movements that had initially been based in Tanzania.

The Pan Africa support had started from West Africa, North Africa, and Ethiopia. Ghana, under Nkrumah, and Egypt, under Gamal Abdel Nasser, supported others who in turn, on independence, also supported others with struggles. Emperor Haile Selassie and Ethiopia hosted the Organisation of African Unity, launched in 1963, at Addis Ababa. The advances for independence accelerated after formation of OAU and its Liberation Committee based in Tanzania.

                                                        Portugal Coup, 1974

A major event was the collapse of the Portuguese government in April 1974. Due to dissatisfaction over the impact of liberation wars in Africa, there was a coup de tat. The new rulers came over to Zambia and, in talks mediated by Zambia’s President Kenneth Kaunda, struck a transition agreement with the FRELIMO movement.

The Independence of Mozambique, in June 1975, followed by the Independence proclamation in Angola, speeded up the pressure on the Smith and South African regimes. The Mozambique front the Zimbabwe fighters began to use increased pressure.

Finally, in August 1979, the Lusaka Commonwealth summit managed to get Rhodesia back under British control. Talks were held at Lancaster House, London, with President Kaunda present to help if needed by any side. Elections came and Zimbabwe became independent in April 1980. Robert Mugabe became ruler.

Becoming a member of the Frontline States, this Zimbabwe Independence helped Namibia, reaching Independence in 1990, and South Africa, with Kenneth Kaunda negotiating with Frederik de Klerk for the release of Nelson Mandela and colleagues.

In 1994, the “Last Laager” in Africa had transformed from the apartheid system, with Nelson Mandela becoming President of South Africa. For Africa and the world, it had been some experience with much suffering that could have been avoided through willingness to dismantle the structures, processes, institutions, and cultures of racism and oppression.

                                                                   In Various Places

The fight against UDI achieved through the actions of persons, governments, and institutions in various places of the world. Zambia was greatly affected. At the same time, Zambia could not have survived without the support of many others all over the world. In a world then divided by the “Cold War” political blocs, Zambia’s governments tried to be Non Aligned and managed to acquire much and build capacities through links with those from both West and East.

Zambia survived the many hostile neighbours because of both local support and the assistance of many others in the world. They provided support in various fields, including trade and commerce, finance, material, diplomatic, military, planning, and friendship. They helped Zambia build capacities to survive the situation. Some of that capacity has reached 2015, some fifty years after UDI.

                                                              Open Support

Zambia’s support for the independence and liberation movements was very open. However, there were other governments of Africa and other parts of the world that supported Southern Africa liberation movements in some quiet or hidden manner.

Those avoided being directly attacked by forces of the Portuguese, Rhodesia, and South Africa.
Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda said the fight against UDI and racism was not against white persons but “what was wrong.” He cautioned that people should be careful not to see an Ian Douglas Smith in every white face they came across.

Actually, Kenneth Kaunda, a supporter of the ways of his friend Martin Luther King Jr and Mahatma Gandhi had Non Violent struggle for Zambia’s Independence struggle. On Rhodesia UDI, Namibia, and South Africa, he still helped mediate or negotiate reaching some Non-Violent settlement during the disputes and at the end.

                                        Contact email: ginfinite@yahoo.com

This is a summarised version of a longer piece of writing. Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing and the arts, social development, and peace issues. He has attended the MA in Peace Studies programme, University of Bradford.

GCB, November 2015, LUSAKA.

Greece Debt Measures and Us, A View from Africa, By Gabriel C Banda

Greece Debt Measures and Us,

A View from Africa

Gabriel C Banda

By

Gabriel C Banda

THE recent situation of Greece and the referendum on further austerity measures for further lending by IMF and Europe governments is a major development in economic relations and, generally, human relations in the world.

Greece’s government and many in the population felt that the measures imposed by Greece’s lenders and anchored by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, were too strong and brought about great hardship.

In the five years of austerity measures imposed by lenders, unemployment increased, incomes were reduced, access to basics was reduced, and, for many persons, hardship set in. The young, the pensioners, whose incomes were reduced, and others in society have been greatly hit.

The IMF and European lenders insisted on harsh measures before Greece can get more loans to help overcome the harsh economic situation, much of the situation brought about by the loan conditions imposed by the lenders.

The government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, with his passionate finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, put to a national referendum the question of going through further harsh economic measures. The result has been a big “No.” Most people in Greece do not want the harsh measures.

Now, some officials from the lenders are upset with the Tsipras administration while some officials reluctantly say they recognise that the No had expressed democratic voice but it may not be easy to work on different measures. What has followed is Greece’s government and lenders sizing each other to have their way.

Greece is saying they will only agree to some reforms that are socially fair, healthy, and sustainable. They do not want the destructive economic policies that have greatly impacted their society and other people.

However, many officials from the lenders have continued saying there is no alternative to the harsh measures. Some even bring out their personal stereotype negative attitudes towards Greek persons. They consider Greece a burden that may need to be dropped.

In the negotiations that cannot be avoided, both sides will bring out various tactics and dynamics. Both Tsipras and lenders will be sizing up, reacting, and playing to each others’ positions while also considering the positions and attitudes of their populations.

                                                        Greece and Unlikely Exit

However, it will involve a lot of adjustments if Greece ends up leaving the Eurozone, and possibly the European Union. The lenders should not be in denial and cheat themselves into believing that a Greece exit will have minor effect on the Eurozone and the European Union. They should also think about NATO. Economies and people in the region and beyond will be greatly affected.

Actually, I believe it is not in the interest of the lenders to have Greece exit its common monetary bonds with other Europeans. Many things unknown will come into play, affecting the other Eurozone and European Union members. Already, the position amongst the creditors’ bloc is not unanimous. Some are concerned about Greece possibly falling away, something they would not like, and are prepared to come to some settlement with Alexis Tsipras and team.

                                                                       IMF Consistent

But the current standoff involving IMF, lenders, and borrowers is not new. At various stages of their debt relationship, from the time of negotiation for first lending to implementation and review for further loans, IMF and lenders have applied pressure on needy borrowing governments.

What IMF and lenders are doing over Greece is consistent with their bullying actions on governments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and other places. What is significant is Greece standing up to IMF and creditors and refusing to bow to pressure for further destructive conditions.

This Greece position of courage and bravery is significant not because others before them have unwillingly followed IMF, but because the sanctions and consequences imposed on dissenting governments by the consortium of IMF, World Bank, and lenders have been harsh and meant to make governments yield even when it is known the imposed measures have been very destructive.

                                                           IMF and Zambia

Another case of standing up to IMF, World Bank, and lenders happened in Zambia in May 1987. President Kenneth Kaunda announced that the IMF and World Bank “Structural Adjustment Programme,” SAP, measures had brought deep suffering to the population. He said Zambia was breaking off from the programme while retaining membership of the IMF organisation. He said Zambia would still service its debt, but in a manageable way that did not bring great social hardship.

From imposition of the austerity measures, suffering of Zambia’s people had even increased. The society was unstable. Zambia had reduced gains made from independence in 1964 in fields like health, education, and access to basic needs. Life expectancy fell. Infant mortality increased. Maternal mortality increased. Malnutrition increased. Deaths increased. Zambia’s capacity in many fields was declining. Structural Adjustment was a killer. In fact, in 1986, there had been riots over food when IMF and World Bank economic measures, imposed to service debt and reduce budget deficit, reduced people’s quality of life and access to basic needs.

Back to that time in May 1987, Dr Kaunda said Zambia would cut off from the IMF programme and implement its own that would lead to growth. Local economists, advisors, and persons from various sectors got involved in making the home-grown programme. When it was implemented, Zambia recorded some growth.

But the IMF and World Bank took on some position of ensuring that Zambia would be put under great economic pressure and get back to an IMF programme. IMF and World Bank acted with other governments to put economic sanctions against Zambia. Even governments that were friends to Dr Kaunda and Zambia abandoned the African government and fell in line with the IMF sanctions position. Even respected Gro Harlem Bruntland’s Norway administration acted with IMF and World Bank against Zambia’s position of abandoning harsh Structural Adjustment measures.

Kenneth Kaunda’s government was isolated. Many rulers of governments, sympathetic to fellow governments undergoing harsh economic measures, are silent. They fear receiving collateral economic pressure on them, with that pressure leading to unrest and removal of their governments from office.

In this inter-dependent world, no government or society can live without the support and collaboration of others in the world.Eventually, without practical support from friends who may have been sympathetic but fearing to oppose IMF and World Bank, in order to survive, Zambia was forced to get back to some IMF and World Bank programme. In June 1990, under continued economic austerity, further riots took place, leading to an unsuccessful coup attempt.

                                                                 Integrity of Life

In many places, SAP and austerity conditions have acted against peace and stability. The austerity conditions fight the integrity of humanity and life itself. The programmes to be followed were harsh. The debt service interests, ratios, amounts, and other conditions were unfair. Many people have suffered and died from IMF programmes. The austerity programmes lay seeds of discord and violence.

People have reacted through protests and violence. Protests and unrest have happened in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and even Europe. Many in Zambia, Africa, and elsewhere have died from protests against governments and harsh economic conditions.

When things do not work out or have created further problems, IMF says the medicine is still on its way to working, that there was light at the end of the hardship tunnel, or that instructions have not been well followed by the government. They turn around and make the governments take the blame.

Due to the harsh austerity conditions, some governments are voted out by their citizens. The new government, often by those who were critical of the conditions brought about by harsh measures, ends up also following the IMF and creditor conditions. Complaints continue while IMF watches in the background, shielded from their contribution to the situation of hardship.
Referendum has Worked

Thus, Greece’s current situation is interesting for the whole world. It is a landmark for debt and financial relations involving governments and lenders, multilateral or individual governments. Greece getting a fair deal, that allows a programme to be done with minimal impact on members of the public, especially the vulnerable ones, will encourage others to also be courageous and decline or renegotiate IMF and creditors’ conditions.

In many ways, Greece has won some renegotiation. The referendum of 2015 has worked. Of course, IMF and the creditors will try to show that the lenders are in control of the situation and are continuing to push Greece to debt service and restructuring. But the reality is that Alexis Tsipras, Yanis Varoufakis, their team, and the people of Greece have won the advance towards renegotiation of the loan and debt conditions.

Used to bullying and twisting others, IMF and creditors had not expected the referendum tool to come up. When it did, they were wishing, against reality, that Alexis Tsipras would be shown to be unreasonable. Media said there was a tie between Yes and No support while the truth was that an overwhelming number of persons was against the measures.

The referendum tactic worked well. Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis showed that they had significant numbers of their fellow citizens behind them. They show that even when abandoned by IMF and the Eurozone system, Greece will for some time receive the support of its public in other alternative programmes that may be embarked upon. Public support is important for any political or economic decision.

Most people in Greece had experienced so much hardship that they were prepared to endure the consequences of creditors’ sanctions than continue suffering. It is better to suffer and assert your human dignity than to continue being enslaved.

In other countries facing harsh IMF conditions, there has been no referendum on whether to follow or continue with IMF programmes. The programmes to be followed were harsh.

                                                        Greece Turning Point

The Greece experience of 2015 should mark some turning point in IMF, World Bank, lenders, and borrowing governments. The experience shows that it is possible, as Dr Kaunda did in 1987, to stand up to the bullying and thug behaviour of IMF and World Bank. Further, it is possible to get citizens openly participate in the decision about the way forward. With people’s voices openly registered and measured, the IMF and World Bank will fail the moral test.

                                                                                Shylock

The IMF and World Bank have been like Shakespeare’s Shylock. Shylock wanted to cut a pound of flesh, as agreed, from his defaulting debtor. But the problem was that cutting the pound of flesh was going to make the debtor lose blood. Blood had not been written into the loan and debt service contract. It was thus difficult to implement the pay back of flesh. But the history of IMF, World Bank, and some lenders has been that of cutting flesh with the blood in it. Societies have suffered.

Many societies of Africa are still handicapped by the forced IMF and World Bank measures of the 1980s and 1990s. The societies would have been stronger had they not been shaken down by the economic measures.

The frustration and even annoyance with which some creditor officials have in recent days responded to Greece people’s majority choice for “No” about continuation of austerities is example, though mild one, of how IMF and lenders have responded to Africa’s governments.

                                                                Stick

There are similar tactics of using a stick to try to bring governments back in line to the harsh policies and conditions the lenders, falsely or by error, say have no alternatives. IMF and creditors impose harsh measures. Then they insist on continuation of harsh programmes even when there is decline in quality of life.

They continue to say the harsh medicine is path to recovery. They punish governments refusing to further punish their people, punish them by refusing further funding.

The IMF and creditors will also make lenders and non-lenders not to do businesses with the dissenting borrower. IMF and lenders act as consortium and cartel imposing sanctions on some dissenting government.

SAP works through dictatorship. SAP is dictatorship. SAP has been imposed through the dictatorship of the IMF and World Bank against unwilling governments and peoples. IMF officials impose harsh measures against fellow human beings who are considered objects. One is not sure the IMF officials themselves can comfortably live under the conditions they subject their fellow brothers and sisters in many parts of the world.

                                                               Alternatives

Actually, there ARE alternatives to IMF programmes. Saying “there is no alternative” is narrowness and blocking creativity in self and others. It acts against the possibilities and progress of humanity. Currently, in Britain, the Conservative government, with a huge budget deficit, a deficit bigger than Greece and other European governments added on, is thinking of budget cuts for some items but, wisely, will not touch health and education.

Governments of Africa and other places were forced to cut spending on essentials, including food, education, health, and other basics. This contributed to capacity difficulties whose effects are still with us now and societies are still to recover from.

The Greece referendum of 2015 reminds us that economic austerity measures mainly work through imposition and dictatorship. In many countries, put to some vote, the measures would have been rejected. IMF and World Bank would have been forced to support more sustainable alternatives.

The Greece debt situation also reminds us that governments can be strong. Factors at hand will move towards some settlement between Greece and creditors. That will be healthy for all parties involved.

From the Greece experience of 2015, IMF and Company will now fear that other governments will follow Greece and now start invoking referenda. Should this not be some fair direction in democracy and governance by consent and participation? For instance, if it seems very contentious, shouldn’t people in other European societies have the right to vote on whether there should be landmark cuts on social welfare?

The IMF and creditors should also remember that now there are other significant governments and organisations that provide grants and loans at fair conditions. The current Greece debt situation shows us that the IMF, World Bank, and other creditors can no longer continue to intimidate and coerce governments and societies of the world. Shylock does not always win.

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 08th, 2015