Saturday, September 28, 2013
STATE POWER AND THE COORDINATION OF DISTRICT DEVELOPMENT
There are many who believe that despite increased efforts at the politicisation of citizens in many countries, the crisis of governance or of politics still remain because of at least five root causes: a clash between the culture of democracy and its forms; low citizens’ involvement, particularly low direct contact with politicians [ some Honourable members of Parliament in Zambia avoid too much contact because of the “tulyemo culture”] ; limited choice from among a very limited range of often vague and confusing party programmes; poor delivery by largely ineffective governments that are good at promising but worse at implementing them, governments that are often powerless in the face of rapid changes in the global environment including foreign policy whether this be a new definition of post-September 11, 2001 terrorism or the new Western Governments’ good governance doctrines; and in the face of excruciating poverty, diminishing time for political work.
If this was the case, it should not be surprising then that the output of the political system is often of low quality with high levels of waste, of disappointment and disillusion. And all these problems become most apparent in the case of our African leaders, who sometimes seem condemned to come to power on the waves of excitement and anticipation that then crash into sullen hostility, a half life of enthusiasm that now seems to last only about six months.
It is my view that above many other reasons why people are losing faith in political leaders is not just their incompetence, failure to get the job done as promised; it is an increasing perception that something else is missing in political life: transformational leadership in political life.
The old definitions, sometimes even celebrated that politics is the art of lying, has come into a clash with a popular search for a truthful and strategic role in political leadership. There is a growing popular demand that our leaders be both good managers and “good preachers” who must be inspiring, tell us about good images of ourselves, give us hope, who are selfless, less cynical, honest and truthful. A soul or new thinking is being called for in what has generally come to be perceived as a mechanical nature of public life, defined by crafty moves that are designed to deceive because they lack an inner integrity
The issue then is not that people have chosen to abandon politics, as our Tripartite elections revealed to the contrary in 2001, but rather that they want more out of politics, not just robotically effective government but “responsible and effective” government. The question is then simply this: what kind of leadership can assemble the tools needed to lead under this situation of politico-moral turbulence?
President Mwanawasa has to tackle this deep crisis in our governance not by clever rhetoric but by genuinely addressing the questions that are on people’s minds every day. Questions like why are we so poor? How do we get nshima on our table to feed our families?
I do not think Mwanawasa’s Administration should pretend to have all the answers. Our people know that limit. But at least they expect him to raise the right questions? Because, in the end really, the answers lie in the collective common sense, the shared knowledge of all our people.
Each individual Zambian, who wakes up every morning, turns the handle on the door to walk out into the world. Turning that door handle can be a moment of adventure or joy. Of anticipation. Of purpose. Or a reminder of failure. Of emptiness. Of angry frustration. Of terrible anxiety. The mass of our people may be living a life filled by a temptation of despair, quiet desperation, afraid of tomorrow.
Because we do not have all the answers to the challenges that face each one of us as we turn that door handle every morning, President Mwanawasa must address himself to and clarify one issue underlying his administration’s thinking about the New Deal government administration: effective management of state power. Despite the contention of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), I believe that he must take the challenge of how to restructure the system of political power in Zambia to the people themselves. First, it does appear self-evident that the country needs to disassemble state power from the Giant pyramids of technical responses of central government experts and powerful politicians to the common sense questions of the people.
President Mwanawasa must allow this question of State power and in particular the question of decentralization of power in a manner that is managerially possible, ethically accountable and politically implementable.
Zambians have tried many ideas since independence. I have studied closely what we have tried since 1964. We cannot say we have succeeded. If we had, we cannot be witnessing this reality where a country with such abundance and potential is inexorably mired in streaming squalor, misery, deprivation, and almost teetering on the verge of chaos. We cannot have a Zambia in 2004, in throes of a seemingly incurable crisis where eating has become a luxury for many of our people. I am not saying this is unique to Zambia. I am just rejecting the view that things are okay in the system of government we have given ourselves. Something more, of a form that touches upon the common sense understanding of everyday realities of governing may have escaped us.
A few years ago the MMD government, like its predecessor, UNIP, (You recall the Village registration ACT of 1971, Governors etc) started working on the policy of decentralization while about the same time it appointed a cadre of public officers called District Administrators. Controversy has surrounded this category of public servants. I understand where from this has risen. It is a perception in some of our social entities, that this category was created for specific partisan interests. I do not want to quarrel with that view. Yet, I wish to challenge ourselves with the question that has always eluded us since independence and only dishonesty and partisan ideology would refute the fact. This is: how are we to ensure that local community talents, characteristics and virtues qualitatively and quantitatively interface with central government capacities to answer the questions that confront each one of us as we turn the handle of the door each morning?
There are no clear-cut answers, but I have some ideas about the process that should help answer that question pragmatically. I do not think the answer lies in the elite held view that we just scrap the office of the District Administrator and the problem will disappear. Central-local relations have been problem issues not only here in Zambia but in developed countries. What I propose is that let the government revisit its pledge to Parliament in 2002 and re-subject this issue without hindrance during the CRC to a critical debate as part of the principles of democratic governance. During this exercise, let us define both the substantive and procedural issues about the authority structure of District administration. If we accept the fact, that from the long catalogue of District Commissioners, District Governors, to District Administrators, and back to District Commissioners, is ample evidence of the essentiality with which governments in Zambia, both colonial, and post-colonial have treated this question of who shall coordinate this level of government to give voice to the popular developmental aspirations of our people, I am certain that a clearer, more acceptable definition of official authority at the District level will emerge. Government must emerge at the District level that is able to deliver the goods and services that answer the challenges of every day living.
Central government cannot exist at this level simply as fragments of central bureaucracy that lacks immediate supervisory accountability except from the far removed offices of Provincial administrators. If we respect our people as thinking human beings with a wealth of shared knowledge about their experience of District administration, I am certain they will help us inform our decentralized structures not in the service of partisan interest but in the furtherance of the common good.
VOLUNTARY TESTING AND COUNSELLING IN HIV PREVENTION SHOULD BE BASED ON SOUND PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCES THAN MISGUIDED ACTIVISM- PRESS RELEASE
THE CALL FOR VOLUNTARY TESTING AND COUNSELLING IN THE QUEST FOR HIV PREVENTION AND POSITIVE LIVING SHOULD BE BASED ON SOUND METHODS DRAWN FROM PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCES INCLUDING HEALTH BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES. PREVENTION AND PROMOTION PROGRAMS SUCH AS VCT NEED TO BE TIED INTO THE HUMAN CONDITION IN ALL ITS MANIFESTATIONS. WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT WHAT YOU DO OR KNOW DOES NOT ALWAYS TRANSLATE INTO ACTIONS TO REDUCE YOUR RISK-TAKING BEHAVIOR. PEOPLE DO TAKE SEXUAL RISKS EVEN WHEN THEY KNOW THE POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE FOOLISH BUT BECAUSE UNDER SPECIFIC HUMAN CONDITIONS, THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE MOVED TO DO. PEOPLE FALL IN LOVE, HAVE NEED FOR COMPANIONSHIP AND EVEN MARRY WITH CLEAR KNOWLEDGE THAT THOSE THEY MARRY MAY BE SUFFERING FROM A TRANSMISSIBLE DISEASE. IN OUR HUMAN CONDITION, IT IS OFTEN THINKABLE THAT AN INDIVIDUAL CAN CHOOSE TO GIVE UP HIS OR HER OWN LIFE IN THE QUEST FOR LOVE AND CARE. THESE ‘NEEDS’ OF LOVE AND COMPANIONSHIP MAY RATE MUCH HIGHER ON THE SCALE THAN THE FEAR OF CONTAGION. THERE ARE PEOPLE WILLING TO DIE TOGETHER, TO SUFFER TOGETHER, AND TO SUPPORT EACH OTHER UNDER THE MOST UNBEARABLE CONDITIONS.
CURRENT APPROACHES TO HIV PREVENTION AND POSITIVE LIVING WILL FAIL IF THEY DO NOT RECOGNIZE THE COMPLEXITY OF THE HUMAN CONDITION BY THE IMPLICIT MESSAGE THAT PEOPLE GO AND GET TESTED SO THAT THEY CAN KNOW THEIR STATUS AND PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM THOSE WHO MAY BE INFECTED. THE TERM LIVING POSITIVELY SEEMS TO HAVE NO CLEAR BEHAVIOURAL SCIENTIFIC MEANING. THE MEDIA CALL FOR LEADERS TO GO FOR TESTING AND ANNOUNCE THEIR RESULTS, IS ANOTHER STRATEGY THAT IS NOT BASED ON ANY SOUND SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE. AT ANY RATE, MOST LEADERS WHO HAVE GONE FOR VCT AND GONE PUBLIC HAVE ALWAYS TESTED NEGATIVE! DOES IT MEAN HIV IS ONLY FOR THE POOR? THE FACT IS WE KNOW LEADERS WHO HAVE DIED FROM HIV RELATED DISEASES. UNLESS WE TAKE A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH WHICH APPRECIATES THE HUMAN CONDITION WE MAY CONTRIBUTE TO STIGMATIZING HIV INFECTED PERSONS BY TRANSFORMING VCT INTO AN INSTRUMENT OF MEDICAL POLICING. THAT IS NOT PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCE. IT IS PUBLIC HEALTH ADMINISTRATION. I THEREFORE CALL UPON THE NATIONAL AIDS COUNCIL TO USE EVIDENCE-BASED POLICY STRATEGIES ON HIV-PREVENTION RATHER THAN MSIGUIDED ACTIVITISM.
KATELE KALUMBA, PhD (Public Health Toronto) Friday, August 29, 2008
THE MMD NATIONAL SECRETARY DR KATELE KALUMBA HAS REFUTED STORIES CIRCULATING IN MEDIA CIRCLES THAT THERE ARE DEEP DIVISIONS IN THE PARTY SPURNED BY SOME MMD SENIOR LEADERS WHO ARE SAID TO HAVE BELONGED TO OTHER OPPOSITION PARTIES. KATELE SAID SUCH REPORTS ABOUT “DIVISIONS ARE PART OF THE MYRIAD STRATEGIES MEANT TO WEAKEN THE UNITY OF MMD THAT PRESIDENT MWANAWASA AND THE SECRETARIAT HAVE WORKED SO HARD TO MAINTAIN”. HE CATEGORICALLY SAID, “ I DO NOT BELIEVE THERE ARE LEADERS WHO THINK AND BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE LEADING ANY FDD, UPND OR UNIP FACTIONS IN MMD, BECAUSE THERE ARE NO SUCH FACTIONS. MMD IS SIMPLY MMD FULLSTOP. THERE IS NO HYPHENATED MMD. YOU ARE EITHER MMD OR YOU ARE NOT.” SHOWN A COPY OF A REPORT OF A NEW BULLETIN THAT HAS EMERGED RECENTLY ANALYSING POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ISSUES ON THE INTERNET, KATELE SAID, “SUCH ANALYSES ARE PART OF THE MANY WAYS SPONSORS OF SUCH MEDIA CHANNELS SEEK TO INFLUENCE POPULAR CHOICES BY SPECULATION AND INNUENDOS MEANT TO CAST DOUBT ON THE POSSIBILITIES OF SOME LEADERS TO LEAD WHILE BUILDING THE IMAGES OF OTHERS.” HE SAID THESE ARE “PRE-MATURE ANALYSES FORCING ONTO THE ZAMBIAN PEOPLE HIDDEN AGENDAS OF SOME CORPORATE PLAYERS. ZAMBIANS WILL SEE THROUGH THESE TYPES OF POLITICAL LOBBY JOURNALISM AND MMD IN PARTICULAR WON’T FALL VICTIM TO THEIR MACHINATIONS”. ASKED ABOUT THE SUGGESTION BEING MADE IN THESE REPORTS THAT MMD WON’T HAVE THE CAPACITY NOR THE POLITICAL WILL TO CHOOSE A SUCCESSOR TO PRESIDENT MWANAWASA FOR 2011 ELECTIONS THROUGH A CONVENTION, KATELE SAID “ THAT IS AN EXAMPLE OF A PRE-MATURE QUESTION BY THESE AGENTS MASQUERADING AS INDEPENDENT INTELLIGENCE ANALSYSTS SEEKING TO INFILTRATE AN ISSUE ONTO THE POLITICAL AGENDA OF MMD THAT THE PARTY HAS SAID IS A NON-ISSUE. WHY SHOULD MMD FORGO THE CONVENTION WHEN THE PARTY IS BUSY ORGANIZING PARTY CONFERENCES RIGHT NOW TO ENSURE NEW LEADERS AND POSSIBLE DELEGATES ARE ELECTED WHO WILL GO TO THE NATIONAL PARTY CONVENTION WHEN TIME COMES?”. HE ADDED, “A CONVENTION IS A CONSTITUTIONAL IMPERATIVE IN MMD AND THEREFORE IT IS A NON-ISSUE RIGHT NOW” . HE SAID “IF THERE ARE POLITICAL DOOMSDAY ADVOCATES FOR MMD, THEY ARE MISTAKEN. THE PARTY IS INTACT AND THE SECRETRIAT IS KEEPING ACTIVE SURVEILLANCE ON THE ACTIVITIES OF ALL THE ORGANS”. ASKED TO COMMENT ON THE REPORTS THAT DELEGATES WHO RECENTLY CAME TO LUSAKA TO ATTEND THE MMD/ZCID CONFERENCE ON WOMEN AND YOUTH HAD BEEN RETAINED AND WERE BEING FEASTED BY PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANTS, KATELE SAID,HE HOPED THAT WAS NOT TRUE, ADDING, “ THE WOMEN AND YOUTH WHO ATTENDED THAT CONFERENCE WERE ENLIGHTENED POLITICAL PLAYERS. I HAVE GREAT CONFIDENCE THAT THOSE DELEGATES UNDERSTOOD THE MESSAGE OF THE CONFERENCE THAT EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN AND YOUTH IN MMD COMES NOT FROM A BOTTLE OF BEER OR K10,000 POLITICAL BRIBE BUT FROM PRINCIPLES AND HARD WORK. THEY WILL NOT SELL THEIR SOULS TO ANY MONEY THROWING LEADER BECAUSE THEY TOO, ARE LEADERS WHO CAN SEE THROUGH SUCH SCHEMES. THEY WILL GO BACK HOME AND REFLECT ON THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE PARTY REGARDLESS OF THE INTENTIONS OF THOSE WHO MAY BE SPONSORING POLITICAL GRAFT.” ASKED TO COMMENT ON PRESIDENT MWANAWASA’S HEALTH, HE SAID. “GOVERNMENT IS DOING A GREAT JOB INFORMING ZAMBIANS THROUGH THE STATE HOUSE WEBSITE. I DO NOT HAVE ANY MORE PRIVILEGED INFORMATION THAN ANY OTHER ZAMBIAN. WE KNOW AS INFORMED THAT THE PRESIDENT IS MAKING REMARKABLE PROGRESS OF RECOVERY AND AS ZAMBIANS WE SHOULD JUST CONTINUE PRAYING FOR HIM AND THE FIRST FAMILY.”
The National Party Chairman and Acting Party President
Monday October 6, 2008
RE: DECISION-MAKING IN THE PARTY AND MANAGEMENT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
I have decided to write you on the above referenced subject as a matter of record and for the benefit of the Presidential Candidate, His Excellency Mr. Rupiah Banda. The core issue that drives me to write is the principle of sincerity and truth in the management of MMD.
By whatever forces of coincidence, the following people found themselves at the Campaign Centre on 5th October, 2008 in one office and engaged in a debate about the goings-on in the campaign: These were:
1. Hon. M. Mabenga: National Chairman and Acting Party President
2. Hon. Kabinga Pande, Deputy National Chairman
3. Hon. Ben Tetamashimba, Party Spokesman and Presidential Election Agent
4. Mr. Patrick Musonda, National Youth Chairman
5. Katele Kalumba MP, National Secretary
6. M. Jeff Kaande, Deputy National Secretary
A number of issues touching upon the following were raised:
1. Problems related to the Campaign Structure and its performance in the Provinces
2. Performance of the Campaign Manager, Hon. Mike Mulongoti in providing leadership to the Campaign Teams
3. Campaign Funding, resourcing and materials distribution
4. Presidential Candidate’s Campaign program management
5. Strategies in our campaign regarding imaging the candidate and mobilizing support from various political constituents and interest groups
6. The strength of the opposition in various provinces and the question of targeting our campaign
After considerable debate, some specific decisions were reached and the key ones I was asked to act upon were:
1. That Hon. Kabinga Pande, our Deputy National Chairman, was to take over from Hon. Mike Mulongoti in order to overcome increasing complaints from within the Party and outside. Some reasons advanced were that the Campaign was beginning to falter for lack of leadership by the Campaign Manager. There has been no systematic coordination of the Campaign Committee and the rank and file of our members felt alienated by the people at the Campaign Centre. That the evolution of parallel campaign structures operating from many points is testimony of the failure to harmonize and strategize. The role of the Campaign Manager was to evolve strategies that respond to the opportunities or obstacles in the Campaign. All the members present agreed that Hon. Kabinga Pande’s demeanor and public relations training would bring harmony in the campaign and address media attacks on our Party campaign.
2. That in order to overcome the problem of alienation of the cadres, Mr. Jeff Kaande should deputize the Campaign Manager and assume much of what Mr. Mbita Chitala has been doing. The meeting recognized the complaints against Mr. Chitala from Party members but accepted that his role will need to be re-defined by the Campaign Committee.
3. Because Lusaka and the Copperbelt carry major voting strength, it is important that these be beefed up by senior leaders. Hence Hon. Mulongoti would be deployed to the Copperbelt, whilst Hon. Namugala would be retained in Lusaka.
4. The tension between the Luapula Provincial Minister Hon. Musosha and Mr. Norman Chibamba, in the absence of the Provincial Chairman, was creating a problem for coordination in the campaign in Luapula. The Party needed a person who would be accepted by both. I proposed Mr. Jazzman Chikwakwa and the meeting agreed because of his past association with the Province and the initial positive reaction to his having been proposed to coordinate Luapula when the campaign team was configured.
5. That the Party Treasurer focuses on general Party finance mobilization and policy for accountability and allow Ms. Agness Ngoma to deal with the day to day administration of campaign funds.
6. That The Party Chairman and National Secretary be based in the base provinces but provide backstop support to the respective regions as well as avail themselves periodically to accompany the Candidate.
7. That Hon. Pande would together with the Committee deal with the details of administration.
I was requested to write to all the concerned individuals about the senior Party leadership decisions. However, before I could write and after the meeting, I called Hon. Tetamashimba aside and suggested that he briefs the Presidential Candidate as a matter of procedure and protocol. He however suggested that I, as National Secretary, should instead brief the candidate because these were major policy decisions.
I called Government House and was cleared by the ADC and Mr. William Banda who met me at the gate. I briefed the candidate who, in spite of his pending appointment to go to the Memorial service, spared the moment for my brief. He raised certain points after my brief. The first was whether Hon. Mulongoti had attended the meeting. I said he had not, but that I intended to inform him of the decisions made. He encouraged me to do so and requested that since he had already asked Hon. Mulongoti to accompany him to Southern Province, he be allowed to do so before he goes to the Copperbelt. The second point was whether the Party Treasurer would not be a necessary person to keep in his current role. I explained that we wanted to separate the policy and administration functions and Mr. Desai would provide oversight without micromanaging campaign funding. I added, after we shared agreement over the proposals that I was now left to do the “shoe polishing work” of telling those involved.
I called Hon. Mike Mulongoti immediately after leaving Government House and we agreed that we meet at Parliamentary Motel where he was also meeting Hon. Desai. By coincidence, I met Hon. Musosha at the Motel and explained the impeding changes in the Province. He readily understood and accepted the idea of Mr. Chikwakwa. When Hon. Mulongoti arrived, I briefed him of the decision and my brief to the candidate including his appeal that Hon. Mulongoti still proceed to the Southern Province. Hon Mulongoti was gracious, obliged to the changes and suggested that I ask Jazzman Chikwakwa and Hon. Mpombo to brief him fully on what they had done so far on the Copperbelt before Mr. Chikwakwa would leave for Luapula.
I rushed back to the Campaign Centre to prepare the letters and Press Statement. I also tried to reach Mr. Chikwakwa by phone. While finalizing these letters and the Press release, I was unexpectedly saddled with the angry flare-up of Eastern province MPs over campaign funds and materials. Sherry Thole and Agness Ngoma asked me to intervene and Mr. Mbushi came in to help explain the background. In the process, I did not continue trying to reach Mr. Chikwakwa until after the news broke on ZNBC when he called me pleading that he be kept on the Copperbelt because in his words “I have laid my foundation”. I told him that if that was in reference to 2011, that was the main reason we were moving him to support his brothers in Luapula to avoid the reports we were receiving against him. He promised to call again the following day.
After addressing and resolving the Eastern Province issue, I left the Campaign Centre around 21hrs. Ambassador Mbita Chitala called me expressing disquiet at the announced changes. He said they were impolitic; insensitive to the Lamba vote and believed that the decisions had totally mishandled Hon. Mulongoti and himself. He bemoaned the fact that Hon. Kabinga Pande could not be his supervisor because he ,(quote) “insulted me when I was in Libya over the Pan-African issue”; Chitala felt unwanted. I tried to assure him that the Party’s interests were considered first and nothing personal was implied. MMD needed to stem-off the pressure by these changes and his government problems over pan-Africanism was not relevant to this campaign. He sounded uncompromising even when I said nothing had been said about him specifically. I reminded him that he had quite recently proposed that I take over the campaign from Mulongoti as National Secretary in order to respond to the calls by party members because of the faltering in the campaign. He was unyielding in his protest and I sensed from his statements, that he had been misinformed that he was “not wanted in the campaign team”.
A few minutes after talking to Mbita Chitala, Hon Tetamashimba called expressing anxiety about the statement and asking me whether I had explained to Hon Mike Mulongoti. I was surprised because I had informed him and Mr. Jeff Kaande after my meeting with Mr. Mulongoti. I re-confirmed to Hon. Tetamashimba my interaction with Hon. Mulongoti and his reaction. He said he understood but wanted me to speak to Hon Mulongoti again using Ben Tetamashimba’s cell phone because Hon. Mulongoti did not have airtime. I never received any further calls.
Today, Hon. Pande called me in response to my query as to what was going on and confirmed having talked to Chairman Mabenga who appeared to have forgotten what was discussed and was suggesting that the proposal was for the Deputy National Chairman to take over the functions of Mbita Chitala! He was as shocked as I was when he told me. Before 17hrs, a reporter from the Daily Mail called stating that they had received a statement signed by Hon Tetamashimba citing consultations with the National Chairman and Presidential Candidate reversing decisions made yesterday, and which I had the authority as National Secretary to announce. I tried desperately to reach the entourage in Southern Province and understand what was going on and explain the confusion such a statement would cause given the way the Party and the public in general had received the “re-alignments” in the campaign. I failed. When I got through it was news on ZNBC and cadres were calling asking what had gone wrong with the campaign.
Mr. Chairman, this is the record. I hope and pray that the actions we have all taken were meant in good faith and that we have been sincere not only to ourselves as Party leaders but also to the candidate. I do pray that we have made decisions for no other motive but to help our Candidate win. I have, as I had warned during the meeting, decided not to continue to participate in similar meetings on the campaign but instead will concentrate on campaigning in my area because I do not like to be part of a team that cannot stand up for its actions. I believe in telling the truth and standing up for it. We cannot afford to be deceptive as national leaders and misguide each other. We cannot afford to fail to come together to revise our decisions if we believe a mistake has been made. Above all, we need to assume collective responsibility as MMD leaders for those decisions we have been party to instead of scape-goating. It is not very ethical to escape responsibility. It is not politics at all. It is a negation of leadership.
Katele Kalumba MP
cc MMD Presidential Candidate
cc Deputy National Chairman
cc Chairman Elections