Monday, December 17, 2007

State of despondence part 3 – How long before Zambia attains the age of enlightenment?

The lack of rationality in the manner Zambians continue to view both their constitution and national resources might evoke the question – how long before our nation attains the age of enlightenment?
How long before the correlation between the individual and the state is widely appreciated?

There is perhaps no better demonstration of the popular expression “insanity is doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results each time” than Zambia’s constitution review process. We have had the
i) Mvunga constitution review in 1991,
ii) Mwanakatwe constitution review in 1996,
iii) Late Lucy Sichone’s call for a constituent assembly,
iv) Mung’omba constitution review in 2003,
v) Levy Mwanawasa’s Indaba 2003
vi) And now National Constitution Conference.

I expect at this point, that an eminent citizen like John Mwanakatwe or Wila Mung’omba would spearhead an intellectual movement of the Enlightened and advocate reason as the primary basis of authority and straight talk to average Zambians to end this insanity!
We know what Zambians want and expect in their constitution, why should an authoritarian president continue to trample on the greater rights of common Zambians.

On the other hand, against the run of logic and rationality a matter deserving of at least one commission has received none and as a consequence theft, corruption and wanton exploitation of Zambia’s natural resources by foreign interests continues with average Zambians fighting over leftover crumbs.
A more telling example is this recent lament of
Former Zambia Privatization Agency (ZPA) director James Matale says the destruction of the public enterprises during the Chiluba regime that accounted for over 80 per cent of economic activity was an act of unprecedented vandalism."It surpassed even the destructiveness of the definitive Attila the Hun. Zambia lost economic investments and assets accumulated over a period of 100 years," he says."A large proportion of the famous K7 billion debt was attributable to investments in assets and operations of the public enterprises. For instance, with the destruction of Zambia Airways, Zambia lost the entire stock of civil aviation technology that she had acquired over 30 years at a great cost. I think that, in the fullness of time, when all the numbers are finally tallied up and the last statements recorded, the Zambian privatisation programme will rank as the biggest fraud in economic history."So what went wrong with Zambia's privatisation programme?Matale offers a rare insight into this monster of a programme whose benefits some Zambians have been questioning over the years.Matale explains that the programme faced resistance and opposition from several critical stakeholders.He also explains that there was a deliberate effort by powerful business interests in the government to treat enterprises and assets lined up for privatisation as goods fallen from the back of a delivery truck.The donors too had their own invisible hand on the process.” Extract from Maravi

Also troubling is capitulation of men like James Matale and others like John Mwanakatwe, Alex Chikwanda, Wila Mung’omba, and Prof Mvunga and many other distinguished, well read and educated Zambians.

How can there be, such a disconnect to the affairs of nation?

I admire the courage of Prof Clive Chirwa; and understand his indignation with the status quo. However, like many well educated Zambians before him, that have held positions where they could have at least helped influence rationality in the minds of Zambians- I wonder!
Might he not be a lone voice pushing a nation stuck in a cultural drag with roots stemming from it's past?