Friday, September 21, 2007

Very costly seats!

From the conspiracies and jealousy sparked by Miriam and her brother Aaron in the earliest Jewish establishment when Zippora wife of Moses took a seat of prominence (in the leadership of the establishment causing the influence of Miriam, and her brother Aaron to wane) to the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus – people of color have paid a very high price for a seat at the table of prominence.

So much time has passed since those infamous events, so why would thousands of black people in the US, hold protests all week after a recent event under a tree?

The tree on the Jena High School grounds is known as the "white" tree where only white students congregated. When a black student asked the school principal if he could sit under the tree; he was told that he could sit anywhere he liked. The day after a group of black students sat under the tree with their white friends, three white students hanged three nooses in the tree as a warning to black students. The three white students were suspended, however the superintendent, who is white, diminished the incident, calling it "a youthful stunt" and overturned the suspension.
Two months later, a white student in support of those who hung the nooses got into an argument with six black students, which led to a fight in which the white student suffered a bruised face. Although the white student was not hospitalized and even attended a school function later that night. The black students were charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy. One of the students Mychal Bell, 17, was convicted of aggravated second-degree battery, which could have led to 15 years in prison. But his conviction was thrown out by a state appeals court that said he could not be tried on the charge as an adult because he was 16 at the time of the beating.

Today, a judge denied a request to release the teenager while an appeal is been reviewed by a juvenile court, effectively denying him any chance at immediate bail. He has been in jail because his bail was set very high at $ 90,000.

Who would imagine that a seat under this Jena high school tree, would cost six blacks students more than 20 yrs in jail?

Such events underscore the importance of celebrating those of our people like Prof Clive Chirwa who have secured through their courage, endurance and exceptional wisdom a very costly seat at the table of prominence in the western world.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A region held to ransom?

That Mugabe a senile 83yr old man, now threatens to hold the welfare of the entire Southern African region to ransom, for his continued stay in power, can only happen with their compliance. I have been excruciatingly puzzled by the elasticity of the Zimbabwean people’s tolerance of this cruel tyrant.
How much economic, social and political ruin can one man wreck, before these people realize it is their duty and obligation to remove a leader or government that threatens people’s welfare in the manner Mugabe has?
More shocking is this buttress statement, from a man who just recently stated Zimbabwe was like the sinking titanic.

President Levy Mwanawasa says he will boycott the European Union-Africa summit in Portugal if Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe is not allowed to attend.
Mr. Mwanawasa who is also SADC Chairman said the purpose of the summit will be defeated if Mr. Mugabe is barred from attending the meeting scheduled for December in Lisbon.
He has suggested that leaders who have anything against Mr. Mugabe should utilize the summit to dialogue and iron out their differences

Mugabe even thinks he can stand in Zimbabwe’s 2008 Presidential elections – What will his campaign platform be 6 (six) digit inflation???
There is a point where dialogue yields to action, I think we passed that point a couple of summits ago!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

State of despondence Part 1 – Unemployment

At the fall of the socialist model driven by Bashikulu Kaunda in 1990, the unemployment rate in Zambia was 22%. After more than a decade of a liberal economic model that effected the privatization of over 80% of the national economy, the rate of unemployment is now 85%.
The national economy had been, in a state of decline for many years when the Chiluba era adopted free market economics famously referred to as Penzanomics ( after the late Finance minister a major proponent of the model).
The free market model immediately eased commodity shortages that had been chronic before the model was introduced in Zambia. The Free market model continues to ensure equal supply for market demand. However, many blame frantic liberalization and hasty privatization for increasing unemployment in Zambia.

I believe, the hysteria and lack of critique that accompanied the implementation of the free market model and the privatization of key industries caused conditions; for missed opportunities to develop local enterprise and corruption that have served to exacerbate unemployment in the long term.

When ZCCM was unbundled and privatized, the former IT department seized on the opportunity; to morph into an internet service provider CopperNET that continues to provide employment. If such opportunities were explored in other sectors for example aviation (Zambia Airways) perhaps Zambia may have had a much lower unemployment rate by now.

Unemployment the condition of willing workers lacking jobs or "gainful employment" has many causes, including globalization. In Zambia, government outsourcing of capital projects and unregulated imports of cheap products specifically undermine local enterprise efforts to ease unemployment in urban cities.
Before industrialization unemployment was not recognized as an issue in rural areas, despite the "disguised unemployment" of rural laborers having little to do, especially in conditions of poverty. In rural Zambia, seasonal farming is the only pre dominant occupation activity available.

In order to address high unemployment, the Zambian government needs to undertake systemic changes in
1. Economic policy

Structural unemployment is a result of the dynamic changes of a capitalist economy (such as technological changes and capital flight ) — and the fact that labor markets can never be as fluid as financial markets. Workers are "left behind" due to costs of training and moving, plus other inefficiencies in the labor markets. Government therefore, needs to streamline current economic policy to mitigate these effects and seal opportunities of vulnerability especially in negotiating conditions for the implementation of donor funded capital projects.

2. Trade regulation

Government needs to review bilateral trade arrangements and its tariffs. Policies that are simply meant to meet commodity demand will not work to reduce unemployment.

3. Vocational Training

Government needs to enhance national capacity to provide for new specialized training, to support willingness to switch into the available jobs and for those lacking the legal requirements of other professions.

4. Art and Craft

Government must support and promote arts and crafts for the rural population. There is a market for Zambian paintings and traditional crafts in the west. Government, through its missions abroad must identify these markets and link producers to the market.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

UNZA cash troubles!

The University of Zambia (UNZA) Great East Road Campus has never had its financial accounts audited since 1997. Zana

I wonder how GRZ will finally realize; UNZA is running on a deficit budget, if UNZA has not looked at its income vs. expenditure reports since 1997?
May explain why GRZ still thinks, they are sufficiently funded.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Build our rebuilt national team a worthy home!

It has been months since ....

The game's governing body Fifa has declared the Independence Stadium unfit to host the World Cup qualifying games.
Football Association of Zambia (Faz) president Teddy Mulonga has accepted the situation and is hoping that government will address the problem.
"We are facing prospects of playing home matches away from home if the Independence Stadium in not ready by February," Mulonga said on national television

And if , there was any doubt remaining, Chris Katongo has finally sealed the last hole in bucket of hope, that our national team could ever retain its lost glory and strength. Now, we need to build a national stadium that is a worthy home for our national team. If Zambia is to ever host the 2011 Africa games, the government needs to quickly source the necessary financial resource to build the new stadium.
Do you think the current government can build the national team a worthy home?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Is Zamtel headed down this path?

The Gambian government has sold off its shares in Gamtel the national Telecom service provider in Gambia. Its services have deteriorated and remained stagnant despite a boom in population and business..

"The Government of The Gambia has decided to find a strategic partner for Gamtel/Gamcel so as to inject the necessary capital to increase coverage and improve quality of service. Gamtel over the years has deteriorated greatly in terms of service provision, service quality and accessibility. It experienced stagnation in network expansion at a time when population increase, boom in business and transforming the economy into a technology driven one requires robustness, dynamism and strong competitiveness for any operator in the business of telecommunication". FOROYAA Newspaper (Serrekunda)

Uuh! It’s not just the names of the country and company involved that sound similar to Zambia and Zamtel – that performance report sounds uncomfortably familiar - Mwankole please check up on our beloved Zamtel!