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By Daniel Mwamba

Diaspora’s capabilities in terms of remittances, investment and knowledge transfer are crucial to the development of Zambia. Thus, Zambians in the Diaspora are equipped to invest in Zambian companies and establishing new ventures. The Zambian Diaspora should be encouraged to invest in Zambian companies and set up new ventures to become partners in achieving economic growth rate of above seven per cent and reduce unemployment among the youths.

With the knowledge and experience gained as academics, scholars, scientists, technologists, professionals and businessmen, the Zambian Diaspora can play a decisive role in the development of Zambia.

It is recognized that members of the Diaspora are able to make “Diaspora-specific contributions deriving from the absence of language and cultural barriers, and more specifically, their ability to better understand, and thus, more effectively adapt foreign approaches and technology to the homeland context” (Brinkerhoff, 2006).

A Diaspora can be broadly defined as a population “which has originated in a land other than which it currently resides, and whose social, economic and political networks cross the borders of nation-states or, indeed, span the globe” (Vertovec, 1999).

Diasporas are increasingly seen as a resource for countries of origin and an opportunity for effective knowledge transfer and capacity building in countries of origin. The involvement of Zambians in the Diaspora is crucial to further scale up the development outcomes Zambia has registered so far.

It is well established that Diaspora members are able to make Diaspora-specific contributions to their countries of origin. Evidence generally focuses on economic contributions of remittances and investments, but there is increasing evidence of non-economic contributions to human rights, good governance, and capacity building.

Zambians in the Diaspora can be strong support bridges in promoting the values of the country at large and investment opportunities in particular to the outside world. The Diaspora community can also lend its hand in tracking and comfortable placing Zambian produces at the international market.

The government of Zambia on its part can do its level best to bring about development through crafting, putting in place and enforcing policies, strategies, laws and regulations that suit to its development endeavours through without jeopardizing the stake Zambians in the Diaspora.

The government should explore ways and means to encourage deep participation by the Diaspora. The government should see the Zambian Diaspora as a stronger partner, not only in Zambia’s economic growth, but also in building Zambia’s knowledge society, while continuing to engage culturally and emotionally, and serving as the effective ambassadors that they have been for Zambia.
Excessive red tape, customs delays, bad infrastructure, corruption, lack of macroeconomic stability, trade barriers, lack of legal security, and mistrust in government institutions affect Zambians abroad decisions to invest in their home countries and to return.
Harnessing Diaspora contributions to trade, investment, and technology requires a favorable business environment, a sound and transparent financial sector, rapid and efficient court systems, and a safe working environment.
Zambians back home should learn to appreciate their own. We know that you make more money in a poor environment than in a rich one; the western world is built up already but Zambia is still virgin and waiting to be built and so anybody that takes the risk makes the fortune.

There is no communal life in Zambia, so how do we learn from each other when we don’t trust ourselves? The government, and indeed Zambians, can change our way of thinking; we need to engender ingenuity in everything we do to empower Zambians like the use of clay bricks to build houses and then you will see jobs and clusters of clay burning factories in the hinterland.

Zambians in the Diaspora send more than $350 million annually to their relatives and friends which is a testimony of both the emotional attachment and the fulfilment in investing in Zambia’s strong economy.

Top recipients of remittances among developing countries in 2012 were India ($70 billion), China ($66 billion), the Philippines ($24 billion), Mexico ($24 billion), and Nigeria ($21 billion).

According to the latest World Bank data, remittances to developing countries are projected to grow by 7.9 percent in 2013, 10.1 percent in 2014 and 10.7 percent in 2015 to reach $534 billion in 2015.

It’s known that Diaspora remittance can make up a considerable proportion of an African country’s income, especially for nations where there have been conflicts. According to data from the World Bank, Eritrea received remittances which were worth 190% of its export trade and 19% of its GDP whilst Nigeria receives approximately $1.3-billion every year, making it only second to oil for Forex income.

As remittances surge, several African governments and private companies are actively seeking ways to shift the resource from mere sustenance remittance of relatives and friends to more focused development and investment resources.

One innovative way in which governments are financing infrastructure, education and health projects is through Diaspora bonds, a concept that has gained momentum. Kenya, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia already issued such bonds while Zambia through the Ministry of Finance has discussed the possibility to issue in the future. Diaspora bonds can be a powerful financial instrument for mobilising Diaspora savings to finance specific public and private sector projects, as well as to help improve the debt profile of the destination country.

Allowing dual citizenship can encourage greater Zambian Diaspora participation by facilitating travel, avoiding the constraints foreigners face on some transactions (for example, temporary work or land ownership), and providing access to public services.

More broadly, dual citizenship can help maintain emotional ties thus encouraging continued contact and investment. But despite these benefits, only 21 of Africa’s 54 countries allow dual citizenship.

About the Author: He is the publisher of UKZAMBIANS.

By Kaela Mulenga

In a piece published in a Zambian Post newspaper (Rupiah, MMD’s carnage, Mbita Chitala, The Post Commentary – April 27,2011) – Mbita Chitala asserts that he is now ready to render support to Patriotic Front (PF) of Michael Sata rather than MMD run by President Rupiah Banda. And he gives three good reasons for doing so: lack of multi-party constitution, poverty incidence and demand for zero tolerance against corruption.

But Chitala’s commentary cannot just pass without an addendum or rebuttal. His aspirations needs to be put in a context so that the people can understand what is at stake. The first thing that comes to mind is: why is he doing this at this late hour? Has he come to that conclusion because indeed the PF’s Manifesto, vision of the country and the way the party is run is much more superior to MMD’s or is he just looking for some personal gain? Moreover, by pronouncing support for Michael Sata is it increasing the chances for PF to beat MMD or no value is added at all?

Let’s examine some of these premises closely. By claiming that he (Chitala) is one of the founding members of MMD – this goal is meant to appeal to the same sensibilities and conditions of 1990s. Then, unions, students, women, Churches, civil society, unemployed and others banded together to get rid of KK’s UNIP system. At that time, there were long queues for food basics everywhere in addition to a very strong wind of change blowing from Eastern Europe. Do we have the same situation today? Yes, more or less if you consider Chinese shooting workers and factor in the Tunisia/Egyptian fever.  But the assumption on which Chitala bases his analysis may or may not work because there are many Zambians who think that the situation after all is not too bad – at least economically.

 

So although the reincarnation of original MMD’s ideas in the skin of PF might be good, there is no unanimity. But good only if one makes that examination on level playing field. To begin with, there is a perceived PF’s ‘democracy deficit or deficiency’, in the sense that PF’s leadership has not come about through a proper democratic channels. No conventions or national elections have taken place. Is that not a problem or it should be brushed aside?

 

In the early days of MMD – Chitala and Akashambatwa  Lewanika (Aka) – belonged to the intellectual wing of the party. At that time, they themselves did not give any opposing voice a chance. Nobody could critique them until very late into Chiluba’s (FJT) 2nd term in office. That is the time when FJT was trying to hijack the party with intentions of securing the 3rd Term. So shouldn’t we be afraid of revisionism? If RB has managed to convert MMD into UNIPISM, why would we not be afraid of the same policy honks hijacking policy making in PF-run government? Besides, is there a shade of a difference between Sata and Banda? Both are in 70s, both are former UNIPISTS, and both like money and women. On each of those reasons Mbita advanced, there is no guarantee that Sata can deliver. If there was, would Zambians be foolish enough not to see that?

 

When MMD started promoting corruption – the Chitalas were silent. At least they said nothing until when the cancer had spread. Constitutional bungling started then. Late John Mwanakatwe gave it a shot, not to mention other attempts – nothing happened when those of Chitalas were Ministers. Now they want to preach a different language.  I see this myself as the beginning of a ‘transfer process’ of same crop from one regime to another. Look at it as a tectonic rearrangement of maintaining power.  Mbita Chitala and Sondashi’s messages are one and the same thing – that they do not want to cede power to a new generation. Both Chitala and Sondashi, if I may add George Mpombo are currently on the periphery of power block. They want in, hence the outbursts.

 

Ludwig Sondanshi the other day was even rebuffing the demand for youth presence/inclusion, using ‘lack of experience’ as an excuse. But yet the need to rejuvenate and modernize the political structures is very real. Up to today, the methods of organizing party activities remains the same across the board and those on top are old ‘madalas’ – albeit some of them are aging freedom fighters. Unless power is reallocated to involve even youth: the monopoly of power (rulers in UNIP moved to MMD1, then to MMD2, etc.) in the same hands will produce the same results – no change and hence, poverty for many.

 

Preaching overconfidently to Zambians on what is good or not good for them – as Chitala has initiated, may not be as successfully as it was then in 1991.  Thus, no one knows for sure if Zambians would buy into Chitala’s message. If they do, then Chitala can consider himself still a force to be reckoned with. Because only if he can contribute (positively) to the election of PF can we say that he is making a contribution. If not, his voice would only pass as any other from a ‘job seeker’. This is accentuated because, since MMD got basterdized after Chiluba – Chitala cannot boast of maintaining critical/influential members and MMD followers whom he can move to PF.

 

Only those with strong theoretical ideals about the “new Zambia” would be convinced by Mbita Chitala’s message. Diasporan Zambians may be such a group buying into this explanation. But these people, due to ‘absenteeism’ can’t vote therefore useless to PF’s election.

 

Zambians are notorious for resisting political change. Maybe that is why it is an island of peace. It took a Tsunami-like wind blowing from Eastern Block before they were convinced that KK was a relic. They seem to be guided by the instinct of “stick to the devil you know”, than the one you do not know. This idea alone could be sufficient enough for RB to pull through regardless of what Chitala and other pundits say. If words could move mountains, who can surpass those streaming out of The Post? There is nothing Chitala has said which people haven’t read from the Post before.

 

Moreover, Chitala’s appeal tends to be more ideological than political. Unlike Panji Kaunda’s practical approach of visiting Zambians province by province to garner support for PF – Chitala catalogues mishaps of RBanda’s modern MMD. Whether these concerns register with ordinary Zambians of course, remains to be seen. Remember, most Zambians believe and vote with their bellies. That is why as the election day approaches, bags of meal meal, kapenta, cooking oil and other necessities fly around.

 

As the process of distributing bribes takes off, simultaneously, ground troops are consolidated. And the party which makes the most contact with the people on the ground wins the day in that area. It is here where I think PF risks missing some votes. Can Chitala’s message rectify this? No! MMD continues to be a carpet grass party than any other party in Zambia. Take a case of Barotse (Western) and Eastern Provinces as an illustration. In these areas, yes, even Eastern Province – PF has lukewarm support. But we have never heard that PF is taking steps to consolidate this support. There have been no big noises, otherwise we would have heard. If actual visits/trips by Mr. Sata to some of these places cannot be done, clear public statements from PF are needed to endorse this support.

 

Therefore, it is not sufficient to pass academic comments such as the one issued by Chitala and hope that all is well. Even on the Copper Belt where PF is loved, consolidation is necessary by the ground troops. Simply put, with or without ‘good words’ from sympathizers like PPF, Chitala, Mpombo, Sondashi or anybody – PF has to energize its ground troops to make sure that people vote-in a progressive party.

 

Toronto, April 30, 2011

 

Kaela B Mulenga

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By Lady C

There is a growing, vibrant and strong Zambian community here in the UK and most of them consider this to be their adopted home. Apart from providing financial support to family in Zambia, a majority only have fond memories of the good times they had in Zed before coming to the UK and perhaps send old clothes to Zambia to help the less privileged in Zambia.

Very few have sound investments and projects to pursue or protect as things don’t always prove to be straightforward as there are always draw-backs with ‘unnecessary and ancient’ red tape bureaucratically installed to simply be a hindrance rather than a deterrent for unwelcome activities. Ultimately, they just deflate one’s hopes of improving the ‘standard’ or just simply helping the needy back home.

Let’s look at our African colleagues right here in the Diaspora who face the same issues abroad in Africa as they strive to make a living here in the UK. This is a land of abundant opportunities and it doesn’t take long before you see how well the numerous South Africans, Ghanaians, Ugandans, Nigerians, Ivoirians, Kenyans and Congolese are progressively setting up several small businesses and rallying around each other, helping one another to get things up and running for a common cause. Goodness me, even the newly despatched refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea are already establishing themselves here in the UK by setting up small shops and other businesses, serving large cohesive communities for a better standard of living all round. A healthy picture of self-empowerment indeed!

What on earth happens to us Zambians as a ‘people’ or even a community when it comes to starting small businesses or running successful organisations? Do we really feel that brotherly/sisterly bond with each other or are we always ready to stab one another in the back at the first opportunity to stop a newcomer from progressing because one feels they got here first and a newcomer shouldn’t be progressing faster? To what end? Opportunities and ideas can come from any situation so why should one deny oneself of blessings when they are surely hidden in another person’s progress/success?

These are questions that constantly come to the surface as we are yet to encounter big strong signs on the streets of the UK that ‘Zambians have arrived’. Perhaps one or two restaurants, a pub, a growing football team (ZedUnited) and that’s about it! Apart from UKZAMBIANS, there’s no other Zambian website/mag that serves the Zambian community here with such brilliant ideas and serious issues being addressed.

dias

There are several Zambian beauty queens making their mark and representing Zambia as very strong and serious contenders on the beauty circuits but beauty should not only be on the outside. What do Zambians have to show for a lovely country to everyone else? You only have to go to the local high street to be faced with so many Ghanaian or Nigerian food stores, wine bars and restaurants selling their local foods and wares or offering their products and services from ‘their’ music, videos, cultural events and Friday night boogie spots to a strong cohesive presence as they gather together to honour and support their own. There’s a very strong sense of unity, support and warm-hearted love amongst one other. Talk less of the several money transfer outlets providing very good products and services for their local communities here but most importantly stimulating their own economies back home with much increased foreign exchange activities. Surely isn’t this something Zambia can benefit from?

Are we content with the likes of Western Union and MoneyGram dominating our money transfer markets when a local money transfer outlet could provide a very competitive service at very low rates and give back to the local community in Zed, via a small percentage of the profits to help the local communities in Zambia through local projects? Would this not steer the local economy in the right direction and give everybody a chance to get up and ‘just do it’? Could this attitude help Zambians realise their own potential at self-empowerment as folks who are willing to help themselves and not rely on other entities to provide vital services. We are yet to hear about that the two giants in the money transfer market embarking on local projects in Zed or ploughing some of the profits obtained from Zambians in the Diaspora flowing back to their families in Zed. Or is it a case that Zambians do not need to be empowered as other ‘nationals’ can always do this for them at a small price? Perhaps Zambians do not believe in standing up and doing things for themselves? If that’s the case, then what really happened to all the teachings instilled in us from our founding father Dr David Kaunda? “Be a Humanist! One Zambia! One Nation!”

And there we were thinking the Zambian Constitution was always there for our protection and progress as a people. A Constitution quite outdated, it seems, as it offers nothing concrete or holds no real substance for the protection of its own people living in the Diaspora. It reminds us all that should you live outside Zambia for a period of ten years, you are not eligible to run for presidency; It also forbids dual nationality amongst several other ‘hot’ topics. Ultimately, it promises to protect our civil liberties and rights in unison with ‘Human Rights Laws’ but as we read on and dig deeper, we are forced to acknowledge that most of these rights are violated as a matter of course rather than the Constitution serving its purpose to protect us all. Surely, individuals living in the Diaspora become exposed to much more in terms of acquiring knowledge, law, education, political science, wealth management, business ideas, international travel, international economic and social awareness, encountering various nationals from all walks of life from around the whole world – Surely folks would benefit much more from an exposed progressive individual, rather than one with inherited vision, archaic rules and limited social, economic and management skills – wouldn’t they?

And why are we still having a debate on dual nationality? Comments from individuals from commonwealth countries find it astonishing that we are still ‘dithering’ on this matter. And most Zambians who are very passionate about investing heavily in Zed would feel better equipped to do so if they were awarded dual nationality like their African colleagues. They believe it’s all about having the freedom to travel very freely and set up businesses and send money to Zed much more frequently. Does this not ring a bell that should 5000 individuals send £200.00 per month to Zambia for 2 years, the amount of foreign exchange this would stimulate would stir up huge economic activity that would positively ‘affect’ the country’s national income. (And by the way, there are thousands of Zambians living in the UK – both officially and more so unofficially), so small things like this would have a huge impact on our economy and it’s our responsibility to start changing the history books as we move forward and make a statement right here in the Diaspora.

We all have relatives in Zed, and the powers that be in Zed also have relatives here so why are we hurting ourselves and stumping the future growth of the next generation? Why should the Constitution and other selfish individuals put a spanner in the works and prevent Zambians from outshining other Africans and start to put poverty behind us? Why can’t we just stand united and change the history books for a better Zambia?

mulenga_kaelaLet’s begin by agreeing that – the whole purpose of having a Constitution is for it to act as bedrock on which a democratic, fair and progressive society can be built.

In our case [Zambia] –since such matters as: – tribalism, presidential elections, concentration of powers in the Executive, judicial and land reforms are still problematic – we are far away from fulfilling the yardstick.

Ours therefore, remains a work-in-progress because:

our elections are not yet completely free and fair; our judicial and electoral commission systems are not yet independent;

and that the acquisition of land and property rights continues to be fuzzy. 

Unless we sort all these things out, we cannot consider ourselves to have produced a constitutional document which can stand the test of time. 

My small input in this process therefore, is nothing but to complement to what has already been presented by other, more eminent people and/or to endorse popular views circulated in our local media, blogs, Talk Radios, discussion groups and the like.

 To come up with this story, I glossed through a lot of this material. But I take full responsibility to the interpretation, opinion or anything that is contained herein. The conclusions I have made on the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) Draft Constitution are mine.

I must however, recognize that I relied on comments and feedbacks I got through Zambian Economist and UKZAMBIANS – the later for which I am one of the Columnists. 

The Process Our neighbors in Kenya are beaming with glow that their Draft Constitution has been voted on by people and passed the referendum test. By all means we have to emulate them. Our process has been, to say the least, bumpy. Even though we have had many attempts among them – Chona, Mvunga, and Mwanakatwe Constitutional Review Commissions (CRCs), we are not there yet.

These CRCs have culminated in the latest Mung’omba Constitutional Review Commission, which the NCC has been dissecting to come up with theirs, the one being debated now. When National Constitutional Conference (NCC) was being set up – engineered by the late President Levy Mwanawasa, some quarters in the civil society, Churches and notably Patriotic Front (PF) – were opposed to the move. The rejection was based on two reasons.

They felt that not only that the Mung’omba CRC was drawn from peoples’ views, which it had gathered by going around the country (therefore reflecting the public opinions) – NCC sittings would not in any way be representative. This is especially so, because some of the important stake holders had boycotted the process.

PF for example, was staunchly opposed to NCC, for in their view, NCC was regarded as a tool for the ruling party MMD for rigging the upcoming 2011 elections. They also argued that – NCC would be an unnecessary expensive exercise. And it may just prove to be so, if the adoption of the constitution ends up going through a referendum. In spite of all these complaints and reservations, the work of NCC proceeded as envisaged by Mwanawasa, which has ended up with a final product – the Draft Constitution to be tabled to the Parliament by NCC as soon as public debates are over. One had hoped that some of these flaws would be addressed first. Where we are now is that – the forty days (40) allotted to the gathering of peoples’ views is over. Several corners among them – the Catholic Church, General Godfrey Miyanda and many others, have complained that it has been impossible to collect all peoples’ opinions. Hence, they argue, one cannot come up with a progressive, people-driven document.

This implies that the process itself has been intentionally designed to short change public views. For sure rushing through is not helpful. Besides, copies of the NCC Draft Constitution have not been readily available to the ordinary people. There have also been no translations into the local languages. Thus, any adoption of a constitution which is not grounded on the majoritarian principle could render the whole thing illegitimate and therefore, a recipe for total rejection by the people. One other drawback pointed out, has been that somehow – NCC Secretariat has deliberately ignored to define the process of deliberations itself and how those submissions would be considered by them. Since NCC is silent on this one, no one knows for sure where their submissions would end up. Should many of those submissions fail to reach NCC corridors – since Mr. Chifumo Banda is perceived to be pro-MMD, then the whole process would in fact be deemed to be MMD orchestrated and therefore partisan.  And because MMD has a majority in Parliament, passage of any Clause which is not in the interest of MMD, would fail. This would be shameful, because it would render the whole process a failure – necessitating going back to the drawing table again. Although the 40-days period is gone, I suspect that the input from the public has not been as overwhelming as NCC imagined. I hope I am wrong here. But since NCC is still reconvening and discussing whatever little feedback they got from people – that is why I wrote this piece. I must admit that – my contribution has been motivated, as a Diasporan, by Article 29: [1] & [2] dealing with Dual Citizenship. This is a progressive insertion because it would make life a lot easier for those Zambians residing in the Diaspora.

These people (living abroad) would be able to partake in the development of their beloved country. But please do not count me as one of those who thinks that – the tinkering of the constitution involves a scheme to bar any Zambian in the Diaspora to compete for Plot No. 1, as Prof Clive Chirwa put it in his submission (June 30, 2010). Process Flaws According to the survey of views discussed and published on Zambian Economist (see www.zambianeconomist.com)  – while many people agree that the NCC Draft Constitution is not void of good Clauses, it however, also contains a lot of contradictions and could be a nightmare for future constitutional lawyers. They contend that, in some cases, its interpretation would be difficult if not impossible. This problem is compounded because we feel that NCC did not follow a constitutional-making set of principles.

One of those principles stipulates that: – a constitution outlines only major constitutional principles then explains different cases and situations in which those principles apply. Thus, once templates are set or designed, then subsequent future judgments based on it becomes an easy matter of simply trying to fit cases into those templates. That NCC did not follow this line of thinking, is explained first, by a constitutional legal expert – Prof Muna Ndulo. Ndulo is quoted as having said that: – “NCC gives an impression that it has little understanding of the functions of a constitution. Its slash and burn policy on the Mung’omba appears to be uninformed by an understanding of what must be in the constitution and what maybe relegated to legislation”. He went on to say that – apparently, “NCC had very little understanding of the dynamics and relationships between institutions and procedures”. [See Zambian Economist, July 16th, 2010]. Ndulo’s philosophy was echoed by the Catholics Bishops, who in their message of rejecting  the NCC Draft Constitution  among other things, said: – “…the issues that have been provided for in the Draft Constitution are in most instances matters which can easily be provided for in subsidiary legislation while retaining only the fundamental principles in the constitution”. [See The Post, July 21, 2010]. An example of this is – Article 212 [2] e) and f), which respectfully state that – ‘the objectives of local government are to: establish for each District Council a sound financial base with reliable and predictable sources of revenue; and ensure accountability of the District Councils’. Must a constitution involve itself with these micro details? Including all those purely legislative details, is the reason some argue that the Draft is too bulky. Article 33, also states that: – ‘A citizen shall; a) be patriotic and loyal to Zambia and promote its well-being’. This sounds like Stalin’s prescriptions for Russia. 

Contradictions/Major Concerns Apart from the NCC Draft Constitution having failed the – “principles test”, let me now provide examples of contradictions contained therein and touch on other cases of major concern. Article 40 talks about Right to Life. No. 40 [1] says – Every person has, subject to Clauses [2] and [3],the right to life – which begins at inception. Clause [3] states that – a person shall not deprive an unborn child of life by termination of pregnancy/except in accordance with the conditions laid down by an Act of Parliament for that purpose. This in essence is criminalizing birth control (the pill) and abortion. But then if at the same time an Act of Parliament has the power to nullify (exceeding constitutional law), as expressed in Article 40, Clause [1], this also poses a contradiction. In addition, Article 48 [1] talks about: Protection from Discrimination on grounds of race, tribe, sex, etc…Clauses [1], [2], and [3] put together, apart from its failure to satisfactorily define discrimination – they contain some contradictions. Contradictions element become clearer when you relate them to Article 52 Clause [5] – which prohibits same-sex marriage. You either constitutionally forbid discrimination or you don’t. There should be nothing in between. 

Although personally, I am not in favor of homosexuality and gay marriages (primarily because this is a road to human species extermination) however, in a constitution the spirit of one article should not be wrecked by another. When considering the protection of individual rights – we must also note that sometimes it is important to protect minority rights against the majority bashing. Article 55 [1], [2], and [3] tackles – slavery, servitude, or forced labour. Energy was spent on defining what is not forced labor, but silent on what it is. Yet ‘casualisation’ a common phenomenon in Zambia, remains as a huge loophole which foreign firms can use to exploit our cheap labor. Otherwise if this is not tightened, potentially our people can end up as indirect slaves in sweat shops, on farms and mines. A final illustration of contradictions is found in Articles 212, and 214. While Clause [1] of 212 says: – ‘There is hereby established a system of local government that should be based on decentralization’; Clause [1] of 214 on the other hand, states that – ‘The Republic of Zambia shall be divided into districts as may be specified by or under an Act of Parliament’. That is, the two in fact cancel out each other. Namely, decentralization the goal of Cause [1] of 212 is usurped by the determination of it by an Act of Parliament, since Parliaments usually remain under tight control of Central governments. Decentralization is killed if power remains at the centre. In addition to the above contradictions, there could be others – but these are the ones I thought were not trivial. 

Regarding other matters which I think are of major concern – top on the list should be the fifty-one percent plus one (50% + 1) as articulated by Guy Scott in his Post article of July 7, 2010.

Scott observes that – NCC recommendation on the 50 + 1 is toxic, because although the 50 + 1 Clause still appears in the NCC Draft Constitution precisely as laid out in the Mung’omba Draft [Articles 79 and 110] – he believes it is there only because NCC failed to garner the two thirds (2/3rd) votes, as stipulated by NCC Act to change it. That is, although the NCC voted in majority to try and soften the 50% + 1 as the wish is for MMD – the lack of 2/3rd implies a call for a national referendum, if we are to obey the law. That would be not only a monumental task, but is the only way to establish a democratic state. Guy Scot speculates that – the only way 50 + 1 appears intact, is because to a not so careful observer, this would give an impression as if in fact the 50 + 1 has been amended. One has to read between the lines.

The punch line here is that – I do agree with Scott that: i) the ambiguity on the 50 + 1 clause must be removed from the NCC Draft Constitution to enhance its credibility; and above all ii) we should not tamper with Mung’omba Clauses. If it is included, it must carry the full force expressed in Mung’omba CRC.  After all, the election of a President on a majoritarian principle has been our goal all along. Commenting on the same issue – Fr. Peter Henriot of JCTR (see The Post, July 13, 2010), went as far as reminding Pres Rupiah Banda (RB) of the advice he gave to Zambians during the visit of Brazilian President. At the time RB was encouraging Zambians to emulate Brazil by adopting a 50 + 1 principle as Pres Luiz Ignatio Lula da Silva did in 2006. Indeed, the fifty percent plus one would strengthen our democratic process. Whether Banda meant what he said is another matter. By accepting the 50 + 1 just as it happened in Brazil, means that potentially there could be a runoff, if nobody wins in the first round. This possibility was elaborated upon by the Mung’omba CRC. If one may ask – why should we be afraid of a strong democratic principle in our presidential elections? When it comes to Article 108 – a lot of discussions have taken place.

This article deals with the qualifications of Presidential candidates. Setting a bachelors degree as a minimum academic qualification for candidacy – apart from the clause appearing to target certain individuals, it violates the spirit of anti-discrimination objectives set up in some other clauses of the Draft Constitution. To be sure, it is elitist. We must try to be as democratic as possible. Because Michael Sata of PF, the strongest opposition party, does not have a degree – people would be sympathetic to him if he cries being discriminated against. The perception that the clause may be targeting him makes the Draft Constitution appear unnecessarily partisan and parochial. Indeed, other Zambians, who feel that they’ve leadership skills and competent enough to lead the country, would also feel discriminated against. Moreover, political history is littered with many non-degree holders who were successful in providing leadership for their countries. Sir Winston Churchill is one such example. We’ve to accept that sometimes, leaders ‘are born’ and not made. As one Chipata Chief burst out when commenting on the issue – “…there are a lot of degree holders who are at the same time idiots”. President Kenneth Kaunda (KK), founding father of Zambia Nation was not a degree holder before he stepped on the seat. He did well. 

Also the 10-year residence requirement {Article 108 [1] c)} – that, to qualify as presidential candidate one must have resided in the country for a continuous period of ten years, is discriminatory. Zambian diplomats, job holders in international organizations or corporations, and other Zambians who’ve legitimate reasons for being out of the country for considerable periods – should not be denied the chance to run. In the very least, the residence length must be reduced. Prof Clive Chirwa in UK feels that this clause was designed to block him from running for the Office of The President.

Related to this is the requirement that – nobody can be a presidential candidate unless they are sponsored by a political party. What about anyone who aspires to run as an independent candidate? This requirement is again another form of discrimination. We need an open society. 

Last but not least, concerns the poison pill – the introduction by Pres Fredrick Chiluba (FJT) Zambia as a Christian Nation. This is partly addressed in Article 16 – Christian Values and Principles. This is a source of confusion, tension, and also discriminatory. Where does the “promotion of Christian values or beliefs, ethics, and morals” leave an atheist, traditionist, or non-Christian Zambians? Conversely, are the non-Christian values, morals, etc., such as Jewish and Moslem ones unconstitutional?

Further more; what are those ‘religious practices’ the Draft Constitution seeks to prohibit? All these issues are unclear in the Draft Constitution. What might be helpful – would be to define a dividing line between Church and the State. As alluded to earlier, to avoid confusion – a template needs to be crafted for use whenever one wants to interpret religious, customary values and principles. In a global village, and due to modern communication and transportation modes – we’ve become closer to each other. In such a World, intermingling with those we currently consider strange will be unavoidable. Not to forget the possibility that we might make contact with the extra-terrestrial beings. Hence, we need a Draft Constitution that is accommodating and futuristic. 

Above, are the points I found contentious in the NCC Draft Constitution. I have nothing else specific to say on other parts of the document. I will go along with what others have said. Appeal In conclusion, assuming that the points I have expressed in this commentary reaches NCC or the powers that be – my aim is nether to persuade, because constitution making is a duty falling on all of our shoulders; nor to inform NCC members because they are more informed on these matters than I am. But rather, I just want to make an appeal to them. An appeal based on the premise that – IF we do not take this opportunity to seriously come up with a solid constitution, which can stand the test of time – then we would have failed our future generations. So I urge everyone in the NCC to put national interest ahead of everything else.

Let them be guided by patriotic passion they so much talk about in leading us through this constitution-making road map. And may God grant them wisdom and energy so that they can have courage and urgency to do what is best for our mother land.

Thank you! 

Toronto, August 7, 2010 

Kaela B Mulenga(Consultant/Writer) 

cc. Hon/Mr. Chifumo Banda, SC.     Chairman of the NCC      Lusaka

“Despite the fact that Zambia acceded to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in January 2006, we seem to be far from completing the first review (Base Review). Even when early this year we were assured by the National Governing Council (NGC) that Zambia will be peer-reviewed in June 2010, June and July (since the African Summit was moved from June to July 2010) have passed without being reviewed. What is worse is that we have not heard any official information from the NGC or from the APRM Focal Person for Zambia explaining what is the status of the APRM in Zambia and some of the reasons that have led to Zambia not being peer-reviewed. Zambians remain in the dark on this very important governance process,” explains Dominic Liche, Governance Officer at the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR).

If Zambia is failing in many national processes like completing the Constitution making process within the planned time, it would have been good for it to show that governance is working in Zambia by completing the APRM process in track record time. Early this year, representatives of many groups and provinces gathered to review and validate the four thematic reports and draft Programmes of Action following the highlighted gaps in governance. Since then, no official information has been given on how those reports have been completed after the submissions and suggestions that were made to perfect the reports.

The National Governing Council (NGC) that is spearheading the APRM in Zambia has continued to give sporadic information on the APRM to the general public and has by far failed to popularise the APRM in Zambia like in other Countries like Ghana and Uganda. The use of the media to disseminate APRM information has been minimal, actual workshops on the APRM mostly happened in urban areas (in Provincial towns), no billboards were done on the APRM, no major publication on the APRM was done. “How else would Zambians know about the process? And if citizens do not have sufficient information on the APRM and how to make their submissions, how can they participate in the process?” further asserts Mr. Liche.

Most of the research to come up with the draft APRM thematic reports was done in urban areas with limited sampled persons and groups. The reports were prepared without widespread research and consultation in all the districts of Zambia. This is sad especially because the APRM when done well is supposed to be a very widely consultative process using very credible and knowledgeable Technical Research Institutions (TRIs).

The failure by Zambia to complete this process in the recommended time of 18 months or even in 4 years (2006 until now) only highlights one key weakness of the APRM that it is voluntary to Member States and no sanctions can be administered on countries that fail to finish the process in the recommended time. Further, no sanctions are administered on countries that fail to implement the Programme of Action or the recommendations from other Peers (Heads of States of participating countries). Although we had faith that it is a strength to have the APRM as voluntary because it is hoped that there can be more commitment by African Countries that volunteer to go through it, experience in Zambia and elsewhere is showing that this is not the case.

The JCTR therefore calls for more information on the APRM to be made available to the Zambian citizens either by monthly press briefings or quarterly “State of APRM Bulletins” so that Zambians are aware of what is happening in the APRM process. Secondly, we call for more education of citizens by Government on the APRM process through greater use of the media. All media avenues should be used including newspaper ads, billboards, regular radio and TV programmes, and brochures explaining what the APRM is all about. Without information on this process it would be difficult for citizens to have a stake in the governance of this Country.

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