Tag Archives: Zambia

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.

 

gcb-jan-2015_cpy

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, Mission 2017, by Gabriel C Banda

gcb-jan-2015_cpy

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’s Independence and Our Elders Pensions, by Gabriel C Banda

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.

 

 

 

 

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

 

Zambia Elections 2016, some Cast and Crew dynamics

By

Gabriel C Banda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cross Overs and Defectors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GCB, By August 12, 2016, LUSAKA

Zambia Elections 2016 Casting, Some Factors and Dynamics, by Gabriel C Banda

 

Zambia Elections 2016 Casting,

Some Factors and Dynamics, I

by Gabriel C Banda

IN Zambia’s Elections and Referendum 2016, some factors will be at play. These will help or impede candidates. The candidates’ cast, crew, and set up greatly affect decisions of voters.

Out of respect for other candidates, the voters, the voting process, and also for one’s self discipline, it is still important to wait for the final results before declaring that someone has won or lost.

We find that some projections, such as those attributed to the Economist Intelligence Unit, which at times does useful work, did not consider, understand or appreciate, or perhaps they just for other reasons ignored, various important local factors and dynamics.

They write: “Assuming a reasonably credible vote, we continue to expect Mr Hichilema to win a narrow victory.” The EIU implies a likely second round run off.  But both expectations of HH to win and a second round election were opinions that may have had no basis on mood and issues on the ground.

The EIU write-up is not systematically considerate of the various factors at hand. It comes out as some subjective view of the candidates, some “Like” and “Dislike” of candidates and the preferred direction of the outcome . It is sometimes better to wait for the actual result as expectations brought about by error or subjective view may be misleading.

The Economist Intelligence Unit writing also mentions that, unlike the sceptical President Edgar Lungu, UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema, “HH,” has now openly agreed to an IMF programme if he comes into office. And also that, “Regardless of the outcome of the election, a tighter, IMF-backed fiscal framework is likely and our forecast of a gradually narrowing fiscal deficit in 2017‑20 remains unchanged.”

Of course, sadly, both candidates are likely, one willingly and the other perhaps not willingly, to be pushed into some IMF programme, which is likely to greatly have strong negative impact on the basic needs of many people. Sadly,  the IMF had in recent months still managed to get the Edgar Lungu administration, although reluctantly, to begin preparing for a possible IMF agreement that would start after the elections.

If PF’s Edgar Lungu gets back into office, an IMF programme will put pressure on his government and bring dissatisfaction in many of those that voted for him. This will affect who ever will be the PF presidential candidate in 2021.

Neither some in opposition nor the Edgar Lungu administration seem to appreciate the negative impact that IMF programmes have had on Zambia and other parts of the world, including, recently, in Greece and other European societies. The IMF programmes have led to deaths, riots, instability, and decline in quality of life of many in society. And there ARE alternatives to IMF programmes. And unlike before, it IS possible to avoid the IMF and its negative machine.

At the same time, the economy is not the only factor voters in Zambia consider. Some factors are stronger than the economic and financial situation of the voters. Voters consider many other factors, including the person they feel more safe, at home, and friend with. Many factors will affect turnout.

                                                               The Turnout Factor

But, back to the elections, we observe that crucial to the final results of Zambia’s 2016 elections will be the volume of turnout of voters. The turnout will help some candidates and work against some candidates. Many factors will affect the level of turnout throughout Zambia.

A high turnout is likely to boost some candidates and weaken the chances of others. Those who had previously scored high turnout in their support areas may, even with the addition of high recent 2016 Elections voter registration in their support areas, be worried of a high general turnout in Zambia, especially in areas where your opponents are strong.

But some in Zambia were expecting that a huge turnout may not be favourable to key opposition candidates. Others felt high turnout may help opposition. While both Edgar Lungu and opposition HH were likely to increase their votes due to a high turnout, the ratio in the difference will be much higher and definite than in January 2015. But, still, it is better and honourable to wait for the actual count.

Violence

The elections also witnessed some violence that, bearing in mind Zambia’s long relative stability, was of great concern. Much of the violence was PF-UPND cadre violence. But other parties had also been affected.First President Dr Kenneth Kaunda called for “practical work towards “Zero Violence.” He said political party cadres should not be used as militias and troops.

And while at some point the Elections Commission of Zambia suspended campaigns in some two areas due to violence, this suspension was useful but, sadly, also affected other parties that did not engage in violence. The suspension was useful but would have been even more effective if the main actors, PF and UPND cadres, had their campaigns suspended while the other parties not involved were allowed to continue campaigning in those areas.

This would have allowed the imposing of necessary sanctions while those playing fairly would have been rewarded by being allowed to be free to campaign in the areas. It would also have prevented further PF-UPND violence.

In addition, violence does affect turnout for votes. Many women, who are often registered more than men, will keep away where they feel there is violence and high tension.

For now, we should consider various factors and dynamics that will contribute to the final results of Elections 2016.

                                                                    Parties Transformation

It is worth remembering that in Zambia, parties have been transforming greatly. The MMD of third president Levy Mwanawasa was not the same as the original one of the Frederick Chiluba administration.

Although Levy took over from Frederick Chiluba, his administration ended up moving away from the harsh, Thatcherite, individualistic “swim or sink” economic policies promoted by IMF and World Bank.

Levy’s team even began to provide some subsidy support for farm production, leading to high production. The administration also began to allow free health services, starting with the rural areas.

There was no longer the attitude of government being completely removed from supporting enterprises and members of society. Under the Rupiah Banda administration, these programmes continued and were sometimes expanded.

The changes in transition are both on policies and practices and the leaders of the parties and administrations. When President Michael Sata came into office in 2011, infrastructure projects like roads, which had been there under MMD and RB administration, were gone into in a big way, so big that there were concerns about how national budget and financial balance would be affected.

When Sixth President Edgar Lungu took over after the elections of January 2015 that followed the passing of President Michael Sata, the roads projects, and others like health and education facilities construction, continued being implemented. This was to an extent where, again, some persons were concerned that the national finances would be greatly affected by the infrastructure projects.

But some important change related to President Edgar Lungu and President Michael Sata related to their approaches, styles, and demeanor. We can note that the PF administration became more systematic and organised in programme and other approaches. And under Edgar Lungu, the PF moved from the image of being led and controlled by persons that could be considered “tough.” While President Lungu still paid tribute to the late fifth president, the PF began to appear with some more gentle clothing.

                                                           Parties as Vessels

Again, we should note that leaders of parties have sometimes used parties as vessels they get onto and can dump for other available vessels. This has happened from 1991.  While their cadres may quarrel with those of other parties, party leaders and officials do easily move across parties, even to those they previously strongly condemned or ridiculed.

                                                           Running Mate.

Running Mate. There is now in the Constitution the requirement of a “Running Mate” to the President. It was meant to provide security of tenure of the Vice President and smooth transition if the need arises. This Running Mate arrangement has some weaknesses and challenges, with examples from Brazil and Malawi, that may at times create difficulties. These may, or may not, happen in Zambia.

The selection of running mates in Zambia’s elections of 2016 will have quite some bearing on the results. Some are liked and some are not. The concern by many is that, under the new system, the Vice President is always a potential president and actually in some instances acts like a President or co-president.

So voters opposed to a particular running mate may turn out to cast a vote against the presidential candidate. It is a way of preventing the running mate from acting in the office of President. Or they may like a running mate and thus turn out to vote, even where they initially may not have planned to go and vote.

The Running Mate factor may not in large numbers reduce voters pledged to a candidate but may lead to high turn out by those who oppose the candidate and running mate and would otherwise have stayed away from turning up. People may decide to turn out to vote when they are worried about the combination of presidential candidate and running mate.

Also, besides presidential running mates as factors in turning out to oppose or support a candidate or team, others taking part in the elections under a party affect support of the whole team standing as a party in the roles of President, MP, Mayor, and Ward Councillor.  Many candidates for parliament, mayor, and councillor were putting their presidential candidates and their parties on the flyers.

But, actually, in some cases, associating with some party, president, parliamentary, mayor, or ward council candidate can distance you from some voters that do not like those.  While some voters may consider candidates linked to a party as a package, others consider individual candidates. This may thus lead to one voting for an MP or mayor or councillor of one party, or an independent, and not voting for that candidate’s aligned or preferred presidential candidate. Sometimes, aligning with some candidate of another office may be a burden.

Because they do not like some candidate or running mate, some voters may turn out to vote, and vote against the candidate and crew they do not like. They vote against that candidate and running mate by voting for another that may not be their very preferred candidate but will support as a way of contributing to the defeat of the candidate the voter does not recommend.

Some voters will not turn up to vote when they are displeased with the presidential candidate and running mate. Yet some will turn up to vote when they find there is a candidate and team they do not like.

They may be turning up to vote in order to come and stop some candidate and running mate. You are sometimes judged by the company you keep. The candidature is not just about you, but those you turn up with as crew and team. In Elections 2016, this will be a major factor in voter turn out. In Elections 2016, some presidential candidates seemed unprepared for a running mate and did not handle it smoothly.

*                        *                    *

– GCB, July-August 2016, LUSAKA.

WE WILL LATER CONSIDER OTHER FACTORS IN ZAMBIA’S ELECTIONS OF 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Divided House and emerging of Edgar Lungu, by Gabriel C Banda

“Why Edgar Lungu?” I had been asked, by my friends, why Edgar Lungu ended up being the PF presidential candidate. This writing I did is some excerpt dealing with Why, in the conflict, within PF, around the Zambia’s Presidential by-election of January 2015, Edgar Lungu came out with much support amongst members of PF and the public. I wrote this and shared with friends. This was written with a focus on internal PF situation and how that affected them. The topic of Elections 2016 and inter-party contesting, I will deal with at some other point but very soon. ………Thank You. GCB, LUSAKA.

                                                   Why Edgar

Some persons have asked me why Edgar Lungu emerged the preferred candidate within PF and the public. The reasons are many but will include various issues. Edgar Lungu was considered to have been in good favour of the Fifth president, Michael Chilufya Sata. Sata gave Lungu key positions within the PF party and government. When Wynter Kabimba was removed as Secretary General of PF, the position was given to Edgar Lungu. Besides the party position, Edgar was, unusually, was, unusually, given two ministerial positions: that of Defence and Justice.

Key for his supporters within PF, was that Michael Sata made Edgar Lungu to act as state President while Sata was out of the country. In fact, some ministers like Dr Joseph Katema have said that President Sata insisted on handing over the instruments of state authority to Edgar Lungu before he could leave Zambia for medical attention abroad.

Other factors in favour of Edgar Lungu’s candidature and his rising appeal amongst many non-PF members of the public was that many members of the public became sympathetic to Edgar when Guy Scott and team within PF were acting against the Secretary General. It is possible that without the actions against him, his backing from the public could have been less.

An important factor in the support for Edgar Lungu was his perceived personality. Edgar Lungu was considered to be modest, somewhat gentle, and showing some humility, and therefore likely to be a considerate and listening ruler, a servant of the public rather than an aloof master and boss.

We must remember that Edgar Lungu was coming out as a contrast to some other officials within the PF. Other many PF officials supporting him seem to have felt that this time it was important to present a candidate who was by character accepted and admired by more across Zambia.

We must remember that in rural Zambia, character – especially of the humility, humble, fair, and service type – is greatly respected and promoted. The one who demonstrates tolerance and patience when faced by attacks or stress will be considered a more respected person and winner.

And people in Zambia’s rural tend to turn out for voting. The women tend to come out in large numbers to vote – although where there is violence, many women will keep away from the voting booth.

In many parts of Zambia and Africa, and even Asia, when there is a vacancy, one who would be a leader or ruler will not offer and promote them self. It must be others around you who have confidence in you who should point out that you must be the leader to take the position.

In many cultures, it is rude and not very cultured to show a lot of the “I” in your move towards public office. One must be a provider of service who is proposed by others to be a leader or ruler. Many persons make the mistake of openly promoting themselves when seeking office. That may work in cultures in America but is not respected by many in Zambia’s cultures.

A leader must appear self less. Edgar Lungu was emerging as a person of choice by the people, not one who was by ambition driving himself to some public seats. Edgar Lungu would be different from the image of the Patriotic Front being a party of tough acting persons.

At the same time, Edgar Lungu was considered one who would follow on with programmes under Michael Sata, thus getting him the support of those who were pro-Sata and wanted a feeling of stability through continuity. Edgar Lungu was careful not to make remarks that attack late Michael Sata. In the cultures of Zambia and others, one must show respect to elders and deceased and can only address issues without openly attacking an elder or deceased person.

In fact, one of Edgar Lungu’s appeals to many was to express that he did not have his own vision but was carrying forward the vision there around Michael Sata. This was not weakness but considered a strength in local cultures. In Kenya, President Arap Moi had talked about “Nyayo,” continuity with programmes of the late Jomo Kenyatta. It avoids the image of a radical rebellion or revolution against a predecessor and their supporters.

Edgar Lungu, having been born and grown up on the Copperbelt, also appealed to a huge segment of voters – those on the Copperbelt. They would consider Edgar one of them. That Copperbelt support could extend to nearby areas of Central Province, Luapula, and even Northern provinces.

Thus for many in the rural and urban areas, Edgar Lungu was a person they could understand, feel at home with. We must also remember that a lot of “Ba Kopala” had since 1991 migrated to the huge urban centre of Lusaka. Thus, besides other Lusaka residents, there were bound to be many Copperbelt migrant linked pro-Edgar votes in Lusaka.

Because of his roles and positions in PF and government and because of his character, Edgar Lungu was more likely to appeal to many voters across Zambia than some other PF officials. It was likely that, as a party in government, and even with some members of PF having left the party or campaigning against him, if many voters turned up to vote, the contest between Edgar Lungu and other candidates may be very tight.  ………../GCB, Lusaka..

(MORE WILL FOLLOW, ON COMING ELECTIONS, 2016)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mama Hillary Clinton in Zambia, by Gabriel C Banda

In 2011, Hillary Rodham Clinton, then United States Secretary of State, visited Zambia. I wrote about her in relation to some key challenges facing humanity and human relations.

Hillary Clinton, in whom many of us have for long been well pleased, has just had official endorsement as Democratic Party’s 2016 US presidential election candidate.

Of course, I differ with her on events of Libya and Syria. Unlike persons like John McCain and Sister Hillary Clinton and Bernard-Henri Levy, I believe that President Barack Obama did the right thing not to directly invade and strike Syria. If more armed pressure had been made on Syria and Assad had fallen, ISIS would have risen earlier and things would have been worse now.

On Libya, I believe, then as now, that Barack Obama, reluctant at first, should not have allowed himself to join France warlord Nicolas Sarkozy and others to invade Libya and destroy Muammar Qaddafi, leading to the chaos that will be with us for long. Western support for armed rebels in Libya and Syria, as the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, has created difficulties and some instability for the whole world, including Western societies.

And in the view of many of us in various parts of the world, Hillary Clinton will definitely make a good president for the United States.  The rule of Barack Obama has dignified America in the world and managed to make many outside the United States appreciate the projection of a United States that has a more friendly and humane nature, a society that is surely a close family member of humanity rather than its boss and bully and actor for the Superpower idea, “Superpower” being a myth that cannot be achieved in nature by any government or group. 

Hillary Clinton would more likely continue the improvement of human relations than, say, a person like Donald Trump, a personality that may lead to increased tension and division in human relations. Already, Hillary Clinton has made some remarkable contributions to the Common Good. More good than bad will arise from Hillary Clinton’s rule.

Here, I reproduce, courtesy Post Newspaper, Lusaka, the piece published on my then “Another View” column in the Post of Saturday June 18, 2011:

 

Mama Hillary Clinton’s Challenge

By

Gabriel Banda

“ALL too often, we were doing programs that continued year after year, and we, frankly, did too much of the talking and not enough of the listening, ”said Mama Hillary Rodham Clinton, USA Secretary of State, in our city Lusaka, Friday, June 10, 2011. She was closing the AGOA, African Growth and Opportunities Act countries, forum.

She observed that, “despite the best of intentions, for too long, in too much of our development work, the United States was not focused on the kind of partnerships that should be at the root of development,”

And Mrs Hillary Clinton said the United States administration of Barrack Obama aims to be more sensitive.

“In this Administration,” said she, “We have embarked on a new way of doing business.” And, “Our approach is based on partnership, not patronage.”

Also, “Ultimately, it is aimed at helping developing countries chart their own futures and, frankly, end the need for aid at all.”

Sister Hillary Clinton’s words in Lusaka highlight some key problems in human relations and development. These issues face not only people in USA and Africa relations, but governments and persons all over the world. It is about patronage or true partnership.

Problems of patronising attitudes and practices affect various fields. Besides the social development field, in politics example is the George W Bush administration’s March 2003 invasion of Iraq. The results of the invasion continue to affect not only the United States and the Middle East, but all of us, worldwide. Tensions increased.

Before invasion, the Bush regime had been cautioned, by many worldwide, of unjustness of the actions and the likely negative effects. These came to pass. Even now, clearly, instead of using the United Nations system to broker peace, in Libya the current external governments’ military role, which does not meet “just war” criteria, will bear huge negative effects worldwide. The war lord attitude has not been restricted to Bush rule.

But in development, trade and business, civil society, and other fields, actions arising from the patronage mindset are still with us.

Apart from other variations in nature, human variation is noted in issues like skin colour, being male or female, religion, ethnic link, culture, language, nationality and citizenship, and location.

Variation in many aspects of the world contributes towards a more whole earth and life. That there is variation on earth is great resource for us to learn and grow from many angles. This variation actively contributes to the making of the whole and the balance of that whole.

Each individual part is unique and gifted. Each we must appreciate. I believe that none is inherently superior or inferior by being born in some particular community. I believe a person born in the deserts of Africa can learn to fly a Boeing 747 while a person born in the skyscrapers of Manhattan can learn to live well in a desert.

We need to open ourselves to other persons. There is no stranger in the world. And the earth being circular, each point of the world is the centre of the world. Each individual or place is important for the maintenance of the whole world. Wherever you are is the centre of the world.

And wherever each person is, they must actively contribute their skills, experiences, and thoughts. A problem is when we are doing “too much of the talking and not enough of the listening.” This has meant closing, or limiting, ourselves off from the skills and experiences of others.

Often projects and activities are tackled without the active consultation and involvement of the ones who live the practical situation. This has led to projects not working well. Even where much money is poured in, lacking the essential human ingredients, the projects have reached less than they would have had they involved input from a wide variation.

Some who handle cash and resources tend to control the direction of projects and activities. They leave out the thoughts, skills, experiences, and visions of others they consider less able because those persons in material, finance, resource, and background situations are thought to be lesser than controller’s.

Many projects do not take in input of local persons as the projects merely implement templates designed from outside. In Zambia, Africa, and elsewhere, work against HIV and AIDS could have advanced further or earlier had there been more listening to others. The resources would have reached and done further. This is a bigger problem in mono-donor situations, where some donors dominate particular fields. They stifle creativity and growth.

Various talents, skills, and experiences willingly shared can contribute to the benefit of many. We are fortunate that with some six billion persons, male and female they are, we have chance, if we open ourselves to them, to live some six billion lives and deep experiences.

Slavery, slave trade, and apartheid have been evils because of pain and working against preferred choices of the enslaved as things are directed to service of the slave masters. Left to their own choices, enslaved persons could have contributed greatly, in many other ways, to the world. Slavery made the world lose out in growth and opportunities.

Currently, there are so called “experts” who are not competent, while some have skills but are not very appropriate, relevant, to the situations. Some do not do “enough of listening” and allowing other persons.

IMF and World Bank and their allies have shown arrogance, bullying, incompetence, and dictatorship. They pushed aside local views and imposed some inappropriate programmes. They kept imposing their activities through various sanctions and threats against governments and society.

The fruits of IMF programmes include increased poverty, crime, corruption, environmental impact, and inequalities around factors like ethnicity, cultures, gender, and regions. Their programmes have caused reduced capacity of societies. The programmes worked against growth and opportunities of societies. The activities have acted against peace and the integrity of life.

They have not organised resource and other reparations to redress the damage they have done to societies and humanity. Perhaps some recent debt write-off may be considered silent reparations. But the organisations still control economic programmes which are still inappropriate for societies

But, even though many have sought it and others been assigned, in this unitary and interdependent world, there can be no superpower. Superpower is a temporary human created myth without basis in truth.

Now or in other generations, the action of one in one place affects all others everywhere. To grow, we should be moving towards relationships of mutual respect, growth, and realisation that the work of all of us on earth seeks to eventually pull together towards a common good.

The world will flourish through partnership and creativity, not through patronage. It is important to allow others. Every one will nourish and grow. Many should listen to, and practice, some of Mama Hillary Clinton’s words!

END

– GCB June 2011, LUSAKA.

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