On Thursday more than a thousand people will be in London to stand up for justice. Just by turning up to the Tea Time for Change mass lobby on international development issues, they are showing solidarity with the poorest people in the world. By sitting down with their MPs and lobbying them to take action, they can make a profound difference to those people’s futures.
Zambia, my home, is rich in natural resources such as timber, minerals and wildlife, but my people are some of the poorest in the world – still struggling to meet their basic needs. Despite the improvements of recent years – with rising economic growth, debt cancellation and more effective poverty reduction programmes – more than 60% of Zambians still live in abject poverty, unable to afford a daily decent meal.
Zambia is ranked 150 out of 169 on the 2010 Human Development Index (HDI) with the average life-expectancy of my fellow countrymen and women standing at just 47 years. For every 100,000 women who give birth, nearly 600 die; and for every 1,000 children born alive, more than 100 will die before their fifth birthday. The improvements of recent years are real and tangible, but they are still too little and too late for many of my fellow citizens.
How can this happen in a country so rich in resources? Zambia is unable to benefit from that natural wealth, especially in the mining sector, because it lacks the expertise and the necessary capital to create indigenous industries and recycle the resulting profits here at home. As a result, Zambia relies heavily on foreign direct investment. The efforts of successive governments to attract those foreign investors have forced Zambia to create a so-called enabling environment of financial incentives and lax regulation, which provides huge profits for multinational companies setting up shop in our country, but little benefit for the population as a whole.
Not content with those advantages, many multinationals use avoidance schemes to minimise their tax bills even further, and in some cases, make under-the-table payments to officials to secure additional concessions. These are major industries in Zambia operating as the equivalent of “cowboy builders” in Britain, their payments and profits hidden from view. As a result, the mining sector only contributes 2% to Zambia’s official GDP, compared with 17% in the 1980s when the mines’ majority shareholdings were held by the government.
There is a critical need for transparency in the operations of these companies and the way they deal with governments like ours. How can the Zambian people hold its democratically elected government to account if it does not know what payments it receives from these companies, what concessions it offers them, and how much tax they should properly be paying? With transparency in tax and all payments to government, Zambia would be able to meet its obligations to its people – to create well-paid jobs and improve living standards, and to provide the funds needed to offer better healthcare and education, and build roads, hospitals and schools.
In recent years, a new policy regime on investments has been developed in Zambia, including better promotion of transparency and accountability, and that in turn has improved the confidence of companies who want a stable and reputable business environment to invest in our country for the long term. But much more can still be achieved if Britain and other countries ensure that multinational companies taking profits out of Zambia are obliged to open up their books to public scrutiny and are prevented from dodging the taxes owed to our government.
At the Tea Time for Change mass lobby of parliament in London, people from all over Britain will be standing up for economic justice and transparency in my country and in many other poor nations around the world. Please add your voice and urge the UK to make it easier for the people in poor countries to get what is due to them.
George Tizirai-Chapwanya (solicitor with Bake & Co Solicitors)
BRITAIN has announced a new student policy which points to plans to restrict the current Post-Study Work Migrant programme from April 2012. The purpose of the new reforms is to encourage graduates who have studied in the United Kingdom to stay on and do skilled or highly-skilled work.
Readers will remember the requirements for either leave to enter or to remain under this category. I shall not concern myself with these requirements here with these requirements, suffice to indicate that the applicant must score a minimum points under Appendix A, B and C. These mainly relate to: Attributes, English language and Maintenance (funds).
Whilst it has not been problematic to satisfy most of requirements where leave to remain was being sought, it will be noted that the perennial problem seems to have centred on the £800 requirement (This has been discussed extensively by colleagues in the legal fraternity).
Be that as it may, what the new student policy says is that this current arrangement will be removed and those graduating from a United Kingdom university will be able to switch into Tier 2. It must be remembered that the purpose of the Tier 2 route is to enable United Kingdom employers to recruit workers from outside the EEA in order to fill a particular vacancy that cannot be filled by a British/EEA or settled worker.
The requirements of this route are generally known and I will not be going through them here as well, suffice to mention the particular important requirement for employers to satisfy the Resident Labour Market Test. This is the process an employer must follow before employing a person who is not a permanent resident of the United Kingdom if he or she is first required to show that no resident worker could be found to take a particular job. The fact that employers will not be required to satisfy this test may be viewed in a positive way as it widely opens the job market to students from outside the EEA area.
The new policy indicates that the normal Tier 2 requirements will continue to apply except for the Resident Labour Market Test. However, what is also pertinent to note is that applicants will only be able to switch if they are in the United Kingdom before their current student visa expires. What it means, therefore, is that current students who want to exercise their right to switch to Post Study Work Migrant must take note of these requirements and make sure that all supporting documentary evidence is in place by the time of the intended application.
Another interesting aspect that may be a source of worry to current students who may want to switch to Tier 2 Migrant is the so called immigration cap or whether in pursuit of this policy the UK Border Agency will impose a limit on switchers. The good news is that there will not be a limit to those who can switch.
Readers will be aware of my previous article when I gave a critique of the immigration cap policy, especially as it relates to those applicants from the Commonwealth countries, who by virtue of historical links may be deemed more closer than most EEA countries, yet appear as being treated unfairly when it comes to exercising their right to stay in the United Kingdom. Whilst it is the UK’s right to frame its immigration rules as it pleases, and in this regard could have applied a cap, it must be applauded that the Secretary of State saw it prudent that the immigration cap will not be activated in this instance and this must obviously allow all those who meet the requirements of switching to Tier 2 to be processed.
Tied to this discussion is also the debate on what happens to current Post Study Work Migrants. The immigration rules provide that one can be assigned certificate of sponsorship and score 30 points if switching from Tier 1 (Post-Study Work). Conditions attached here are that you must have worked for your current sponsor for a continuous period of at least six months immediately before the date of your application and you must be applying to continue to work in the same job that you are doing in the UK on your application date.
The important point to note is that if your application is approved, you will be given permission to remain in the United Kingdom for a maximum of three years or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter. Following up on this obviously is the fact that you may be able to extend this leave as appropriate until you are granted Indefinite Leave to Remain.
However, since this article has been concerned with those who are yet to enter the Post-Study Work category, it must also be highlighted that, the UK Border Agency nevertheless remains committed to ensure that those students with exceptional entrepreneurial ideas would be able to remain in the United Kingdom in order to turn their business ideas into concrete projects. On this basis, it is hoped the quandary currently besetting the student fraternity may just be a passing phase; and who knows the new rules may actually turn to be a blessing in disguise after all!
Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It has been already of old time, which was before us.Ecclesiastes 1 vs 10
It is 200 years plus now since that barbaric practice-trafficking in human beings was abolished and yet, the former slave masters have just reincarnated into absentee imperialists controlling Africa’s wealth and even the so called independent states from 10 Downing Street and Washington Capitol.
In short the Trans Atlantic Slave trade has just metaphorsised into Trans Atlantic State trade!
The wind of change that British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan spoke about only birthed pseudo-political independent state heavily dependent on former colonial masters who still control the economies and political direction of their former colonies.
In Nigeria, one of the most significant and most populous African country, independence has been marred by carryover of ethnic differences (many fanned by colonial masters), control of oil fields, regionalism and chaotic leadership making the west-influenced country almost ungovernable.
Since Portuguese explorers, Nigeria has had many uncaring and profit-minded lovers who have exploited its rich natural resources in connivance with chiefs and in Post-colonial Nigeria-politicians, mostly army leaders.
It was in 1885 though that the troubled country was ‘officially’ chartered by Britain following the Royal Niger Company under the leadership of one Sir George Taubman Goldie. It was the beginning of an illicit, cunning and highly manipulative influence that needs radical changes to redeem.
In 1900, the company’s territory came under control of the British government, which consolidated its illegal control of what was to become modern Nigeria. The following year in January saw the country becoming a British protectorate.
In 1914, the Niger area was formally united as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. Administratively, Nigeria remained divided into the northern and southern provinces and Lagos colony. Western education and encompassing of British values developed much faster in the south than in the north especially among the Ibos who were open to progressive change while maintaining their rich indigenous culture.
Many historians have identified the unifying of the north and south as being one of the major problems affecting the country complete with the two different religions -Islam and Christianity practised by in the two regions.
The British colonialists used the divide and rule tactics successfully by discouraging the better-educated southerners in holding political office in preference to their ill-educated northern brothers whom they favoured to hold positions of leadership.
Following the wind of change that saw Nigeria get independence in 1960, the problems that had been sown by the now absentee colonial masters who were still interested in the country’s economy surfaced with grave consequences.
Further down south, one notorious imperialist Cecil Rhodes who dreamed of a Cairo to Cape imperialistic scheme opened the Southern Africa to plunder and looting through the British South African Company, which like the Royal Niger Company was formed to enrich the small European island by looting resources from Africa.
Like in the case of Nigeria, several charters, treaties and pacts were signed with chiefs like Lobengula and Lewanika to allow the mine prospectors access to the wealth that lay in the once African-owned regions.
One would think I am delving too much into history which has no significance to our modern Africa, but it is history that determines who we are now. In southern Africa, the alliances which started with chiefs still has effects on the economy of countries in the region.
Throughout his reign Kaunda had a love/hate relationship with Anglo/America who run the mines in Zambia. Kaunda knew the colossal profits they reaped from owning the mines despite Zambia also getting some substantial income.
One has to look at countries like South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, which are not independent per se considering the influence of the whites over the economies of these states. Zimbabwe freed herself recently from the control of whites recently by grabbing land from the few farmers and redistributing it to the rightful owners.
In Congo, which King Leopold of Belgium considered as his own farm, the western world especially America intervened by orchestrating the murder of Patrice Lumumba who championed communism to replace him with their blue-eyed boy Mobutu SeSe Seko. Mobutu shocked the world with the same cruelty of former colonial masters by taking the country as his personal property.
Congo is not the only country in Africa where leaders have been imposed from the west. The list of leaders who have been remote-throned from the west is long and it include almost all regions in Africa especially those blessed with natural resources.
However, arm-chair critics of African politics and pedestrian analysts who do not dig deeper in understanding the country’s problems don’t know what is involved in the Faustian pact Africa leaders make with the former colonial masters.
In the case of Nigeria, the west intervenes in order to buy oil for a song. In other countries which have diamonds, it is the same story of plundering the country’s minerals while the locals are fighting. Ian Fleming, the late British author was right when he wrote that Diamonds are Forever. He forgot to add, so are wars especially in African countries which have the precious stone.
The Western media has deafened our ears with shouts of bad governance in Africa and corruption. While this is true, the West also plays a part in banking the money of former and serving African leaders.
The strategies which have been used to fight this Trans Atlantic State Trade by concerned parties has been flawed with misunderstanding of what the problems is, or worse still the intervention needed to address them. It is high time the new progressive African patriots organised better strategies to bring permanent solutions affecting the vast continent./ End…
A fall in mortgage rates during the last three years means that an average three bedroom property costs £608 a month in mortgage payments compared to £709 in rent.
It is a sharp turnaround compared to three years ago at the height of the credit crisis when higher mortgage rates meant it was more expensive to buy.
In March 2008, it cost £1,060 to buy the property compared to £761 to rent it, according to the research by Halifax, Britain’s biggest mortgage lender.
Back then, average mortgages rates were 5.82 per cent compared to 3.59 per cent today.
Although the current trade-off between buying and renting is expected to narrow when interest rates start to rise again, the long-term benefits associated with investing in bricks and mortar are likely to ensure that buying will continue to be viewed favourably by many.
Where do you come from ? I am sure any Zambian living in the UK has been asked this question by an indigenous British at one time or another. Sometimes this question is innocent but often times it carries a myriad of negative sub texts including ‘What are you doing here?’ ‘Your kind does not belong here’ or even ‘when are you going back home?
When you answer the irritating question that you come from Zambia, you are asked yet another question ‘where is Zambia? When you answer that it is in Southern Africa, some would comment ‘Is that near Zimbabwe?
Since Zimbabwe has been in the news for negative reports about land grabbing, the so called despotic leader, violence and mass immigration of it’s citizens, some whites can’t believe that you come from a peaceful country that is not making headlines for some unpalatable news. You have to understand how geographically-poor most whites are. A few of them know Zambia as a country which shares the Mosi Oa Tunya falls with Zimbabwe. Some knowledgeable ones will even mention Kaunda.
I have answered the question ‘where do you come from?’ a countless times. I remember one time I was in a pub called The Crown in London. I was the only black person and I think I was darkly conspicuous.
I was playing some oldies on a jukebox. Some patrons were surprised at my selection. I was playing The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Cilla Black, Bob Dylan and Lonnie Donegan. A white patron sitting on a stool next to me asked how I knew the kind of music I was playing. I had to give a detailed explanation that I hailed from a former British colony called Zambia whose modern institutions and values are British.
The patron was well meaning and his surprise had more to do with lack of knowledge on Africa than to do with racism. He later explained that he had been to Kenya on a Safari when he was in the Navy. He however added that he loved animals and Africans! Again I could see no sign of racist aloofness but gross misunderstanding of non-westerners and their cultures.
I remembered how we used to study about the western world in History and Geography classes back home in Zambia. We even knew some rocks and rivers in Canada!
Considering this mass ignorance, I was not surprised to hear the Prime Minister David Cameron recently saying multi-culturalism has not worked in Britain. Britain’s history of owning colonies in the West Indies, Asia and Africa makes multi-culturalism an inherent feature of the Kingdom’s link with it’s former colonies. If multi-culturalism has failed, the Commonwealth, whose head is the Queen herself should be scrapped.
We are not here by accident. If Zambia had been colonised by France, the bulk of us would have migrated to France. We come here, largely because of the values that were imposed on our country by our former colonial master-Britain.
Indigenous pupils who went to school before Independence used to sing the national anthem God Save The Queen. Members of the Boy Scout promised to serve God and The Queen before the allegiance was changed to ‘serve God and Zambia.’
So friends, countrymen and Zambians lend me your ears. Iif someone asks you rudely where you come from, start by saying you come from a former British colony called Zambia. Maybe that will send some message of our affiliation with this Kingdom./End…
LONDON: The British Conservative party pro-rich bias appears intact if its latest immigration policy is any indication.
Under a fast track scheme,any foreigner willing to park 5 million pounds in a British bank or building society will be granted leave of indefinite stay in the UK. An investor who keeps 10 million will secure this right even faster in two years. The residency right will come after an entrepreneur visa is granted.
The UK remains open for business and we want those who have the most to offer to come and settle here, said Whitehalls immigration minister Damian Green while announcing the policy at a London Stock Exchange event on Wednesday. Entrepreneurs and investors can play a major part in our economic recovery, he said.
Rules for entrepreneurs are also to be tweaked if they either create 10 full-time jobs or generate an annual turnover of 10 million in a UK business, they will be entitled to settlement within three years.
Alex Ruffel, a lawyer who specialises in immigration matters, was quoted as forecasting that the number of super-rich entrepreneurs and investors pitching their tents in the UK per annum would double from last years figure of 275.
A person maintaining a balance of 1 million in a British bank would also benefit by being guaranteed indefinite stay after five years without having to pass an otherwise mandatory English language test.
The policy towards the wealthy contrasts sharply with the British governments plan to do away with the automatic right to settle hitherto enjoyed by students and temporary residents after a five year stay in this country.
Indeed, definitive proposals to impose deep cuts in the number of overseas students coming to Britain so as to adhere to the Conservative partys election manifesto promise of containing net migration to below 100,000 a year are expected to be announced soon.
Under the new rules which come into effect this April, foreign students at the many private colleges in the UK will be banned from doing any work or allowed to bring in their spouses or family members…
The rules are expected to reduce the number of study visas for people from outside the European Union by 80000.
Experts say the new law blocks the foreign students from working in the UK, and therefore many will be unable to fund their studies – and hence get student visas.
They will not be allowed to bring in their spouses or family members either, who usually were able to work full-time and help fund their studies.
Under the new rules which come into effect this April, foreign students at the many private colleges in the UK will be banned from doing any work.
Previously, they could work part-time during term time and full-time during holidays, which helped many of them earn money to pay the steep international fees.
The popular “post-study work route”, which allowed students two years to seek employment after their course will also close. Foreign students can pay up to £10000 per year (or more) for a course.
In December, Immigration Minister Damian Green stated that the government was focusing on reforming the current 300000-a-year student immigration programme, which is understood to account for two thirds of migrants to Britain annually.
Cutting down immigration figures is a key policy of the Tories, who have pledged to drastically reduce the numbers of immigrants to the UK.
High levels of immigration remain a hot issue for the British public. The Home Office insists these new rules will curb the number of bogus students in the country.
Marissa Murdock, a legal advisor at the London-based Visa Bureau says the rules will affect students from Africa badly.
“I think it will have a massive impact,” she says, “the fees are very high. A lot of them used to rely on being able work to pay their fees while they were studying. This will put pressure on families (back home) to fund their children.”
In addition, the students will be banned from bringing their spouses or family members along to live with them, unless they are on a postgraduate course at university. At the moment all students on longer courses are able to bring dependants.
Home Secretary Theresa May says of the new rules: “It has become very apparent that the old student visa regime failed to control immigration and failed to protect legitimate students from poor-quality colleges.”
“The new system is designed to ensure that students come for a limited period, to study not to work, and make a positive contribution while they are here.”
This week I will look at colonial Zambia and add pieces from the post-independence Zambia.
Note that my memory lane sojourn is largely concentrated in Lusaka and on the Copperbelt because of the influence the two regions have on Zambia in almost all spheres.
1. Conductors on Thatcher Hobson buses popularly known as sacha-a corruption of Thatcher- examined the armpits of young girls to decide whether they were of the required age to be charged bus fares. The determinant was black hair growing in the armpits which qualified them to pay fares. The racist practice infuriated Africans but the conductors din’t care. The buses had first class compartments for whites and second class compartments for ‘natives.’
2. Parents used to send good-for-nothing boys to school and kept their favourite ones at home because they wrongly believed that whites spoiled children at school. It took them a good number of years to realise their mistake that the opposite was true; it was the schooled boys who became smart.
3. Educated girls from early girl secondary schools like Mable Shaw Chipembi, Elizabeth Miller (Kasama Girls Secondary school) were considered to be prostitutes because they were somehow considered as emulating white women dressing and lifestyle challenging the patriarchal society that Zambia was then.
4. Police stations were called Charge Offices in colonial Zambia up to the early 60’s. Policemen wore a pair of heavily starched funny looking shorts with puttees on their ankles-impatishi. Up to the early 70’s Policemen were dreaded because they had powers to beat a suspect.
5. There was no Copperbelt, Luapula and Lusaka provinces at independence. Copperbelt was under western province while Luapula was part of Northern province.
6. The region called Zambia was first owned by the British South African Company-BSAC (1891-1923), It was later handed over to Britain as a colony called Northern Rhodesia (1923) then it was incorporated to Zimbabwe and Malawi under the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland also known as Central African Federation, a semi-independent state that lasted from August 1 1953 to December 31 1963. before finally being named Zambia at independence in 1964. It is unknown who first coined the word Zambia. Many contend that it was Simon Kapwepwe but records show Sikota Wina publishing a poem using the word Zambia early before the official use of the name ZAMBIA.
7. Owning a gramophone or a saucepan radio was a status symbol. People would gather around the gadget to listen to news from the Central African Broadcasting. Music from South Africa by musicians like the Manhattan Brothers, Spokes Mashane, Lemmy Special,Miriam Makeba and the Dark City Sisters was popular. In Zambia pre-colonial musicians like Alick Nkhata, Tolomeo Bwalya and Isaac Mapiki were also very popular.
8. A facial cream called Ambi Special was very popular in the late 60’s and early 70’s. It contained the dangerous chemical hydroquinone which left ugly blotches on the face of the user. There was even Ambi for men. Women who used Ambi were considered as being loose. Popular soaps included Reward, Rexona, Lux, Sabina, Choice, Life Bouy, Ebu and The was also facial creams like Ponds, Beauton and Cleartone.
9. Popular TV and radio personalities included Mario Mario, Haggai Chisulo, Harold Besa, Joseph Kuluneta, Peter Mwemba, Emeldah Yumbe, Agness Morton,Sarah Mubanga,Charles Mando, Lawson Chishimba, Kenneth Maduma and Mark Boti.
10. As children we would buy condensed milk and make two holes on top of the tin to suck the milk. Golden syrup, Dairy Choc, fizzy Coca Cola, Mazoe or Mazoi, Chewing gum or Jungamu and local buns were common among the children in what we called ukupulila-excessive spending of money on food.
11. Popular adverts included Maggie Cube vans with a jingle in ci-Bemba shiteni Maggie cube,shiteni Maggie Cube. The product was made by Lever Brothers, a company responsible for many essential commodities like Stork Margarine,Soaps and detergents. Emment Kapengwe, an early soccer export to America was used to feature on the Dairy Choc milk advert posters. Cafenol or Aspro posters featured a smiling handsome man. Minora Razor blades featured four pictures of a man shaving under supervision from another man. There was an advert of Coca Cola with a picture of a dancing man in sun shades holding a bottle of Coca Cola. Strike washing powder featured an afroed woman sitting on a packet of strike with the words ‘I am on Strike.’ Vaseline white petroleum jelly was also widely advertised. A popular ci-Bemba programme ifyabukaya sponsored by Colgate Palmolive advertised the company’s products like Morrison and Colgate toothpaste. Other products of the time included Pepsodent-a toothpaste, Pepsi,Stork Margarine with a picture of a stork on the tin, Milo-with a picture of an athlete in action, Good Morning cough syrup ( a potent liquid medicine that tasted like boiled chilli ) Sun Beam floor polish-red and white,Gripe water with a picture of a baby and Cow and Gates milk.
12. OO7 Belts that changed colours when tilted were common. So were trousers and pants with a small hip pocket we called secha. Wearing a boot was macho. Some men carried Okapi knives in their boots till carrying of the weapon was banned.
13. Chikaponya language a hybrid of several Zambian languages has gone through many stages. Policemen at one time were called Pombozi,Buju or Kokoshi. Thieves were called Kazolo,njeke, nshima went by names like gamani,ichipe,ichize,five finger.Cigarettes-mogolo,umuzele,skave. K 50 note was at one time known as Ninja because of a portrait of a brutish man in shorts breaking chains. Later it was known as senkanti a bastardisation of the French word of the same name.
14. Being strong in the late 60’s and 70’s was revered because fist fights were very common in public places. Strong men were called Kapeta or impeta. There was Tarzan the city guy, a Kaonde man whose real name I can’t remember (now late ) Tarzan performed at Trade Fairs and agriculture shows pulling VW vauxwagons or having 12 bags of cement mounted on his chest. Another strongman Mike Okpara, the wrestler and weight lifter from Nigeria popularly known as Power Mike did stunts at shows. Power Mike died on March 11 in 2004.
15. Being strong in the late 60’s and 70’s was revered because fist fights were very common in public places. Strong men were called Kapeta or impeta. There was Tarzan the city guy, a Kaonde man whose real name I can’t remember (now late ) Tarzan performed at Trade Fairs and agriculture shows pulling VW vauxwagons or having 12 bags of cement mounted on his chest. Another strongman Mike Okpara, the wrestler and weight lifter from Nigeria popularly known as Power Mike did stunts at shows. Power Mike died on March 11 in 2004. 15: In the early 70’s, there was a dance called bum dance. It was usually performed by a man and a woman. The couple would hit the side of each other’s bum or touch their shoes to the beat of the song. When carried away a man would touch a woman’s groin with the back of his hand suggestively.
I will end the down memory lane write ups with a question whose answer I will give next week. You can write the answer if you want or keep it in your mind. It is not a quiz.
Question : What tribe in Zambia is the most anglicised ?
Most African countries have been wrecked by various types of social strife. Civil wars, Coup d’états and various expressions of violence fanned by xenophobia, tribal ideologies, racism, economic inequalities, religious intolerance and the struggle over scarce, natural resources have characterized the political economies of Africans in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Liberia, South Africa, Somalia, Rwanda, the Sudan, Angola, Uganda, Mozambique and Kenya, respectively.
In the case of Zambia, however, the circumstances have been somewhat different. Ever since she won independence from Britain in 1964, the Southern African nation and Africa’s top copper producer has neither experienced any major social upheavals nor interstate conflict. The country has enjoyed long periods of relative peace and political tranquility – except, perhaps, when Zambia witnessed the tragedy of the UNIP-Lumpa war of 1964 and the Mushala rebellion in the northwestern part of the country. Both conflicts claimed thousands of lives.
Unlike other African nations, on the other hand, Zambia has hosted thousands of refugees from her war-torn neighbors. She has played a significant role in brokering peace across the width and breadth of the African continent. The country has also managed the transition from a one-party-dictatorship regime to plural politics and democracy without any bloodshed. She has posted an average economic growth of 5% in the last five years. In spite of these achievements, however, the country appears to be edging towards the unconceivable – the possibility of a civil war.
In debating this important subject, the article first defines what is meant by “civil war conflict”. We then take a brief glance at the current theoretical models which attempt to examine the circumstances of civil war conflict in Africa. The research data and analyses are then applied to the current political economy of Zambia to justify why, in our view, we believe that the country is sliding toward a civil strife. We demonstrate that the situational context for civil conflict in the country has been determined by a combination of factors such as the flawed constitution, a dysfunctional government, poverty and economic inequalities. We also show that the use of religious sentiment, political rhetoric and other forms of state sponsored social coercion and control have shaped the setting for a civil war in Zambia.
By “civil war conflict” we simply mean a war between various groups of people within the same nation state who are engaged in an armed struggle for the control of the country or a region, or particular groups fighting to achieve independence for a region, or to change government policies. A civil war usually involves regular armed forces and is sustained, organized on a large-scale. According to another definition given by Singer J.D and M. Small (1994) in “Correlates of War Project: International and Civil Data, 1816 to 1992” a civil war is defined as an internal war in which: “(a) military action was involved, (b) the national government at the time was actively involved, (c) effective resistance (as measured by the ratio of fatalities of the weaker to the stronger forces) occurred on both sides, and (d) at least 1,000 battle deaths resulted”.
In his paper titled, “Economic and Political Causes of Civil Wars In Africa: Econometric Results” (2004) Professor John C. Anyanwu investigates whether civil wars in Africa have economic and political causes. The affirmative assumption is based on the Collier-Hoeffler “greed” and “grievance” theory in which rebels will conduct a civil war for “loot-seeking” and “justice-seeking” reasons. “Using logit models the propositions were tested empirically. In particular, six variables – GDP per capita growth rate in the preceding period, the amount of natural resources (proxied by primary commodity exports-GDP ratio), peace duration, democracy, social fractionalization, and population size – are significant and strong determinants of the onset of civil wars in Africa.”
The conclusions of the study are reiterated by E. Elbadawi and N. Sambanis who, in their work, “Why are there so many civil wars in Africa? Understanding and preventing violent conflict” observe in the Journal of African Economies – that:
“Contrary to popular belief, Africa’s civil wars are not due to its ethnic and religious diversity. Using recently developed models of the overall incidence of civil wars in 161 countries between 1960 and 1999, we draw lessons with special reference to Africa, showing that the relatively higher incidence of war in Africa is not due to the ethno-linguistic fragmentation of its countries, but rather to high levels of poverty, failed political institutions and economic dependence on natural resources.”
Jeffrey Hebst, in “African Militaries and Rebellion: The Political Economy of Threat and Combat Effectiveness” brings a different dimension to the literature of civil war conflict in Africa. He examines the geographic, political, and economic determinants of how African militaries face the threat of rebellion and of differential levels of effectiveness in combating insurgents. The lesson he draws is that the size of the country appears to be an important determinant of the initial course of an insurrection.
“In small countries there is often a battle for the capital that can end fairly quickly, but in big countries different armies can occupy important pieces of territory far from each other and avoid having to fight an immediate battle to the death. Once conflicts have begun, it appears that the nature of the rebel threat – especially whether it is internal or external – and the degree of fungible resources provided by the international community are both important determinants of how well African armies are able to mobilize to fight.”
Hanne Fejeld, in “Authoritarian Regimes and Civil Conflict, 1973 – 2004” examines how political institutions influence the risk of civil conflict. Hanne argues that authoritarian regimes such as the military, monarchy, single-party, and multi-party electoral autocracies differ both in their ability to cogently manage opposition and in their capacity to co-opt their rivals through offers of power positions and rents. Authoritarian regimes thus exhibit predictable differences in their ability to avoid organized violent challenges to their authority. Hann finds that, “military regimes and multi-party electoral autocracies run a higher risk of armed conflict than single-party authoritarian regimes, which on the other hand seem to have an institutional set-up that makes them particularly resilient to armed challenges to their authority. These findings suggest that the emerging view, that political institutions are not a significant determinant of civil conflict, results from treating a heterogeneous set of authoritarian regimes as homogenous.”
In “Ethnic Politics and Armed Conflict: A Configurational Analysis of a New Global Data Set” Andreas Wimmer, Lars-Erik Cederman and Brian Min, respectively, agree that ethnic diversity breed armed conflict. They demonstrate that although more diverse states are not more likely to experience civil war states characterized by certain types of ethnopolitical configurations of power are more prone to experience violent conflict.
“First, armed rebellions are more likely to challenge states that exclude large portions of the population on the basis of ethnic background. Second, when a large number of competing elites share power in a segmented state, the risk of violent infighting increases. Third, incohesive states with a short history of direct rule are more likely to experience secessionist conflicts.”
These hypotheses are tested for all independent states since 1945 using what they call “the new Ethnic Power Relations (EPR) data set.” According to Andreas et al, ethnic politics is as powerful and forceful in predicting civil wars as is a country’s level of economic development. Using multinomial logit regression, they have shown that rebellion, infighting, and secession result from high degrees of exclusion, segmentation, and incohesion, respectively.
The theory is also supported by a review done by Prof. Garry J. Bass in “Why are there so many civil wars?”. To summarize, Bass examines religious and ethno-conflicts in different parts of the world and draws on research by the Stanford civil war experts James D. Fearon and David D. Laitin, who looked at 127 civil wars from 1945 to 1999, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. They found that regardless of how ethnically mixed a country is, the likelihood of a civil war decreases as countries get richer. “The richest states are almost impervious to civil strife, no matter how multiethnic they might be — think for instance of Belgium, where Flemings and Walloons show almost no inclination to fight it out. And while the poorest countries have the most civil wars, Fearon and Laitin discovered that, oddly enough, it is actually the more homogeneous ones among them that are most likely to descend into violence.”
The study noted that “while the world was full of political grudges, ethnic and otherwise, civil wars only begin under particular circumstances that favor rebel insurgencies. The most common situation involves a weak, corrupt or brutal government confronting small bands of rebels protected by mountainous terrain and sheltered by a sympathetic rural population, and possibly bolstered with foreign support or revenues from diamonds or coca. These insurgents may be ethnic chauvinists, but they could equally well be anti-colonialists, Islamists, drug lords, greedy opportunists, communists of various stripes and so on.”
What the Fearon-Laitin thesis suggests is that the civil war debates should shift their focus from ethnic demography to the need for good government, economic development and adequate policing. Although sectarian or ethnic strife take place, they should be understood from their deeper sources because ethnic wars do not just happen; they are made.
On the contrary, the Fearon and Laitin argument has been challenged by the Oxford economists Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler (whom we alluded to earlier), who observed that when an ethnic group makes up more than 45 percent but less than 90 percent of a population, strife becomes more likely. This was because such a group would be tempted to exploit smaller groups.
Other scholars have, however, found the Fearon- Laitin’s general argument credible. For instance, Crawford Young, an African politics expert at Wisconsin and a former dean at the National University of Zaire, maintains that recent African civil wars were largely due to novel financial and military factors. He pointed to the illicit sale of arms from the former Soviet Union and the rising professionalism of foreign-trained guerrillas (including jihadis who fought the Soviets in Afghanistan) as well as the use of child soldiers in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Young insists that “rebels do not need much popular support if they can manage to finance themselves: trading in illicit diamonds helped bankroll and sustain Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia, not to mention rebels in Sierra Leone and Angola. This argument also helps explain why Colombia’s civil war, fueled by coca profiteering, has dragged on for so many decades. Far from needing ethnic grievances to perpetuate them, some civil wars can perpetuate themselves.”
In an article titled “Rebellion in Africa: Disaggregating the Effects of Political Regimes” Sabine C. Carey suggests that the selection process for the executive affects the risk of rebellion and insurgencies in sub-Saharan Africa. The four executive recruitment processes studied are the following: (1) a process without elections; (2) single-candidate elections; (3) single-party, multiple-candidate elections; and (4) multiparty executive elections. The study suggests that “single-candidate elections and multiparty elections substantially reduce the risk of insurgencies compared with systems without any kind of executive elections. [It] further show[s] that during times of political instability, the risk of large-scale violent dissent increases substantially. The article supports findings of the civil war literature that higher levels of income are associated with a lower risk of intrastate violence, while oil-exporting countries are at a higher risk of rebellion. In short, this article further strengthens the need to use more specific measures of elements of political regimes that also take into account regional particularities, in order to paint a more informative picture of how political structures influence the risk of internal violence.”
Finally, in an address to the 70th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Algeria, 8 July 1999 titled “The Economic Causes and Consequences of Civil Wars and Unrest in Africa” K. Y. Amoako, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of Economic Commission for Africa said that there were four hypotheses to explain civil conflict in Africa.
“The first is innate ethnic and religious hatred, where these hatreds are then exploited by ambitious leaders; the second is national grievance, where the performance of a
government is held to be against the national interest; the third is distributional grievance, where government performance is held as having been particularly discriminatory against a given group or groups in society; the fourth is employment, where rebellion is an employment choice motivated by the opportunity cost of employment and the prospective gains from capturing the state and its resource base.”
We have attempted to sketch (albeit in brief,) the literature of civil conflict in Africa. From the a foregoing discussion it is clear that the probability of a civil war is inextricably related to social-economic factors such as poverty, unemployment, and the inequitable sharing of valuable natural resources. Ethnicity, underdevelopment, dysfunctional governments characterized by weak, undemocratic, economic and political institutions, the selection process for the executive, a weak government military capability and the failure by governments to address national grievances leading to frustration and ways to seek solutions through various forms of dissent are also factors. The sentiments of national anger, anguish and disenchantment are exploited by ambitious political leaders who advocate alternative political discourses.
On the other hand, the more governments respond to the issues their people raise, the lower the risk of civil war. In the Anyanwuan sense, “the proxies for this level of grievance include social (ethno linguistic and religious) fractionalization, the degree of political repression/democracy, ethnic dominance, and economic dysfunction – slow growth; high inflation; high income or asset inequality”.
The United Kingdom is experiencing yet another week of snow and sub-zero temperatures. There is snow from southern Scotland, in the Northeast and Midlands.
This has caused major disruptions in air, road and rail travel across Britain. According to reports, there are delays and cancellations at George Best City Airport in Belfast, Glasgow Airport has reopened but flights face severe disruption.
The East Coast line between London and Edinburgh is running a reduced service.
And also some Northern Rail services in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire have been cancelled.
A man has been reported to have died while trying to clear snow outside his home in County Durham on Sunday. His death brings to at least nine people who have died in weather-related incidents.
The Met Office has issued warnings in place for heavy snow in Northern Ireland and north-east England.
The goods new is that temperatures are expected to begin to return to their normal levels by the weekend according to forecasters.