Charles Mwewa

preface to struggles of my people

  

The story of Zambia’s struggles is one that affects every Zambian, past, present and future. It is the story of Zambia’s journey towards true independence. When they gained our sweet independence, it was not envisaged that with it would come enormous challenges, challenges of not their making, challenges, sometimes artificial and machined. Every former colony of the imperial powers has had to go through similar challenges as Zambia has done.


Nevertheless, Zambia’s story is different. Unlike most newly independent African countries which had been left with sufficient numbers of educated personnel to man industries, burn power, and run governments, Zambia was poorly inherited, with only a very few educated men and women. For a few years after independence, a honeymoon period of relative prosperity, our fathers drove the economic and political machine with fewer troubles.


However, like a volcano that brews underground, the resource-depletion of the Central African Federation, the inadequacy of educated and skilled manpower, and the novice management skills of our leaders began to erupt slowly but steadily. Molten magma of political and economic fusion would not stop even for a minute after then. It continued to spread like a malignant cancer, wiping out health cells and obliterating newly grown ones. 


This cancer continues to give Zambia no breathing space. It continues to defy all odds. But there is hope, because Zambia is not a destination. Zambia is a journey. It was conceived between 1911 and 1952 in the ecclesiastical haciendas by the first African devoted men in Northern Rhodesia who passed the touch to the freedom fighters during the Federation from 1953 to 1963. The Republic of Zambia was born on October 24th, 1964 as a unitary state, as opposed to a federal state, with a president, a unicameral National Assembly, and a constitutionally independent Judiciary. This Sub-Saharan Republic was born landlocked, surrounded by eight strong neighbors: Angola to the west; the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo DR) to the north-west; Tanzania to the north-east; Malawi to the east; Mozambique to the south-east; Zimbabwe to the south; and Botswana and Namibia to the south-west.


Post-colonial Zambia, comprising a population demographic of 99.5 percent Africans and 0.5 percent others, is a habitat of three Republics. The First Republic spanned from 1964 to 1972. This was followed by the Second Republic from 1973 to 1990. The MMD government under Frederick Chiluba (also known as FTJ) ushered in the Third Republic in 1991.


The land lies on a great African plateau chunking an area of about 752,614 square kilometers. At its widest point, Zambia is about 1,167 kilometers from East to West, and about 1,046 kilometers from North to South. Known as the air-conditioner state in Africa, Zambia boasts of the cool and dry, hot and dry, and hot and wet seasons. From as low as eight degrees Celsius to as high as 35 degrees Celsius, the land attracts as little as 700 milliliters of rains in its drier parts to as much as 1,400 milliliters in the northern rainfall areas.


A unique nation, Zambia owes its peculiar shape to the colonial process which carved Africa into many pieces. Peter Burnell of the University of Warwick calls this peculiar shape, “The butterfly-shaped country of Zambia.” The mighty Zambezi River lends the name to the nation, is flanked by three others, and is the longest in the country.


The beginning of Zambia is, thus, known, but the end is illusive. What is clear, however, is the resilience of my people to face every challenge with grace. Our leaders, past and present, though sometimes with grand errors which all human beings are prone to, have worked so hard and under difficult circumstances to create for my people a good future.


The struggles of my people, however, are older than Zambia itself. From as early as 1889 when Litunga Lewanika realized he had been tricked into signing a bogus treaty; to the early 1900s when Donald Siwale and his colleagues decided to discuss why it was that Africans were being called boys by Europeans although they were grown up men; to the shooting to death of six Black Africans by the White Northern Rhodesian police in 1935; to the passing of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland Order-in-Council of 1953 which discriminated against the interests of the territorial governments with those of the federal government; to two years before Zambian independence when in 1962 the colonial government designed a constitution which granted electoral advantage in the Legislative Council to the Whites at the expense of the Africans; to the signing of the Barotseland Agreement in 1964; to independence; our people have braced struggles far-reaching and vexatious.

The dream of our fathers was, and has always been, the creation of a nation with democratic means of governance which exerts the general will, guards against the emergence of any form of dictatorship, entrenches and protects human rights, embraces the Rule of Law and provides avenues for good governance. This dream is awake in every Zambian at home and abroad. It may diminish due to marauding circumstances and deprived occurrences that have relegated the nation to oblivion, but deep down the national psyche, this dream lives on.


Themes "Zambia: Struggles of My People"


There are five major themes in this book. Each chapter is the elucidation of any one of these themes or a combination of them. Whatever the case may be, these themes are designed to bring to light the political, economic and personal struggles of the Zambian people from pre-colonial to post-Third Republic Zambia. The themes illustrate:


First, that democracy and development in Zambia cannot be adequately defined without taking into consideration Zambia’s uniqueness and historic factors that impact upon its culture, society and future well-being;


Second, that a definite change of mind-set is essential if Zambia is to manipulate its people, natural and financial resources into productivity;


Third, that generational disparity exists in Zambian leadership formation that affects the choice of developmental models and for the most part, limits its investment, innovativeness and technological proficiency; 


Fourth, that a combination of, or hybrid, ideological and pragmatic approach is necessary to unlocking Zambia’s economic potential; and


Fifth, that a belligerent approach espoused by the International Financial Institutions, Cooperating Partners and the donor governments pre-empts Zambia’s most coveted inventiveness, sophistication and free experimentation.


Beyond the Themes in "Struggles of My People"


For Zambia to emerge as a key player and an equal partner in terms of the economy, politics and technology, it has to vigorously analyze past events, and hopefully learn from them, and insist that it has what it takes to transform its people and means of production into a viable resource and to proactively exert its place in the community of nations.


I have never had an illustrious political career or an “extra-ordinary life” to write home about, but like Chikwanda charges in Mwaanga’s Looking Back: An Extraordinary Life, I am a citizen who “[has my] own interesting experience to tell.” My experience is Zambia, and my story is the story of the struggles that every common Zambian goes through, and has gone through even before independence.

There are only two things in my life the omission of which ruin my day: the first is failure to pray, and the second is failure to think, about the struggles of the Zambian people. The dream of a better Zambia is a burden I carry in my heart. On February 10th, 2003 when I bought Dr. Myles Monroe’s The Burden of Freedom, I wrote the following inside the front-cover: “I was born…to liberate my people from political, social, economic and spiritual malaise – this burden I bear till it be rung into efficacious freedom.” This book is partly the result of that promise. My faith in Zambia, therefore, transcends any existing condition of the nation at any point in time. I believe in Zambia and its people even when things have looked bleaker. This land of work and joy is treasured with pearls of nature and human ingenuity.


I can brag about its land and peoples: specifically, of its great reservoir of information that can positively impact on its Collective Political Conscience (CPC); its rich nature, teeming with beautiful natural wildlife; its long winding rivers inundated with healthy, sumptuous fishes; its dams, man-made and natural; its valleys and mountains falling and rising like the waves of the magnificent Mosi-oa-Tunya Falls (Victoria Falls); its vegetation, green and lashing with nutrients; its culture, rich, diverse and emblematic of its sense of order, respect and deference; its languages, seventy and over, and yet, Zambia remains united and flourishing in inter-tribal amity; its mineral wealth, precious and the envy of the world; its people, black, industrious and deeply friendly; its politics, democratic, elections fair and free, and peaceful conduct of elections for over forty years. To that list we can add the potency of its intellectuality, the brilliance of its professors, the beauty of its environs, the virility of its traditions, the forte of its resolve, the stability of its CPC, the endurance of its progeny, and the hope of a free, democratic and prosperous society.


The Uniqueness of "Zambia: Struggles of My People"


This book is a comprehensive documentation in significant details, yet in an easy-to-understand format, of the struggles of the Zambian people. It is significant in five substantial ways: first, many books written about Zambia tackle a specific topic, for example on politics, economics or gender. This book deals with most of the aspects which are a subject of the struggles of the Zambian people, including political, economic and social issues.


 Second, most books written about Zambia draw upon outside sources researched by non-Zambian authors and scholars. This book, while relying on outside sources to some extent, for the most part, draws upon the works done by Zambians and augments them with stories and experiences of the real Zambians. It is a documentation of the experiences and struggles of the Zambians.


Third, this is one of the few books which give greater weight on the issue of corruption in Zambia. The chapters on the Universality of Corruption and the Chiluba Matrix add an aura of balance to the fight against corruption in Zambia. Many books on Zambia give only anecdotal reference to corruption. This book argues in context, and proffers a local and international framework under which corruption thrives and must be addressed.

Moreover, this is one of the first books to give a comprehensive review of economic policies which have come to define Zambia, and offers suggestions for economic recovery. In this vein, and considered together, this is the first book which offers a comprehensive economic recovery theory on Zambia. This is a huge move away from simply documenting economic factors or simply re-stating economic and political challenges affecting Zambia. The chapters on sexual-orientation, on Dual Citizenship and the discussion on the Diaspora, give a holistic view of human rights in Zambia, and the economic and practical benefit of the Dual Citizenship and the Diaspora to Zambia, respectively. 


Fourth, this book is a one-stop-shop and shifts towards a global approach to discussing issues pertinent to Zambia. The book is adequate in itself and does not need supplementary material for the complete understanding of the struggles of the Zambian people. Although topic-specific books may give additional resources for the clear articulation of many issues affecting Zambians, this book alone is enough for the most part. The bulkiness of the work is deliberate and is meant to provide a unified discussion on Zambia’s struggles without having to source additional references from outside this book. 


Fifth and last, the style employed in this book meets the needs of both lay and expert readership. The personal approach employed to the social aspects of the struggle such as poverty, for example, grants a human element to the struggles of the people of Zambia while the objective approach in discussing economic, political and democratic aspects lend an intellectual nudge to the struggle. 


Comprehensive Digest


This book has been written from a comprehensive research perspective on issues pertinent to the struggles for self-assertiveness of the people of Zambia, their quest for true freedom, and the prospects of the future for a free, democratic and prosperous Zambia. Special notice of the contributions of many Zambians and other authors on Zambia to the struggles affecting Zambians has been taken. Consequently, as much space as possible has been devoted to Zambian authors, researchers and scholars in order to return a flavor that is truly Zambian.


Each chapter in the book has been comprehensively researched and written. However, for a complete understanding of political, economic, media or social issues, the following resources are recommended:

On colonialism and the struggles for Zambia’s independence, Henry S. Mebeelo, Reaction to Colonialism; Bizeck Jube Phiri, A Political History of Zambia: From the Colonial Period to the Third Republic; William D. Grant, Zambia: Then and Now; Alexander Grey Zulu, Memoirs of Alexander Grey Zulu; Kapasa Makasa, Zambia's March to Political Freedom; Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, We Can Forgive But We Cannot Forget; Wittington Sikalumbi, Before UNIP; G. Mwangilwa, Harry M. Nkumbula: A Biography of the Old Lion of Zambia


 On poverty and poverty reduction strategies, Africa Social Research by the University of Zambia’s Institute of Economic and Social Research; Assessment of Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRSP) in Sub-Saharan Africa: Case of Zambia by OSSREA; Poverty Reduction in a Political Trap: The PRS Process and Neo-Patrimonialism in Zambia by Walter Eberlei, Peter Meyns, and Fred Mutesa; and Cassava is the Root by Rhoda Namwalizi Lester. 


On civil war, the military and peace and order in Zambia, Patrick Wele, Zambia’s Most Famous Dissidents; William Simukwasa, Coup! or Civil Military Relations (CMR) in Zambia: A Review of Zambia’s Contemporary CMR History and Challenges of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration edited by Gilbert Chileshe, Margaret Chimanse, Naison Ngoma and Paul Lwando. 

On Zambian politics, Beatwell S. Chisala, The Downfall of President Kaunda; John Mwanakatwe, End of Kaunda Era and Teacher, Politician, Lawyer; Kirbey Lockhart, Zambia Shall Be Saved; Frederick T.J. Chiluba, Democracy: The Challenge of Change; Amos Malupenga, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa: An Incentive for Posterity; Billy Sichilongo Sichone, Mwanawasa; Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika, Hour for Reunion; Mwelwa N. Chibesakunda, Parliament of Zambia; Kenneth Kaunda, A Humanist in Africa and Zambia Shall Be Free; Sikota Wina, A Night Without a President; Malama Sokoni and Temple, M., Kaunda of Zambia; and Vernon J. Mwaanga, An Extraordinary Life.


On foreign aid, the donors and development, Aid and Poverty in Zambia: Mission Unaccomplished by Oliver Saasa and Jerker Carlson; Foreign Aid, Debt and Growth in Zambia by Per-Ake Anderson, Arne Bigsten, and Hakan Parson; and Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo. 


On education in Zambia, Henry F. Mukulu, Education, Development and National Building: A Study of New Trends and Philosophy of Education; Dan O’Brien, The Struggle for Control of Education in Zambia: From the Colonial Period to the Present; and John Mwanakatwe, Growth of Education in Zambia since Independence. 


On Zambian economy, Difficult Decisions: Changing a Nation by Richard Sakala; Political and Economic Liberalization in Zambia by Lise Rakner; Zambia’s Stock Exchange and Privatization Program by Kenneth K. Mwenda; Promoting and Sustaining Economic Reform in Zambia, edited by Catharine Hill and Malcolm McPherson; Israeli Settlement Assistance to Zambia, Nigeria and Nepal by Moshe Schwartz; and Social Welfare in Zambia by Ndangwa Noyoo.

On Zambian mines, mineworkers, class struggles and urban development, The Management of Urban Development in Zambia by Emmanuel Mutale; Mineworkers in Zambia: Labor and Political Change in Post-Colonial Africa by Miles Larmer; and Class Struggles in Zambia 1889-1989 & The Fall of Kenneth Kaunda 1990-1991 by Munyonzwe Hamalengwa. 


On gender issues in Zambia Africa’s Troubled Political Disorder: A Case on Zambia; Aging in Zambian Cities, by Ann Schlyter; and Beyond Inequalities 2005: Women in Zambia by Nakatiwa Mulikita. 


On Zambian criminal justice, state of prisons and repression, Munyonzwe Hamalengwa’s Thoughts are Free; Richard Sakala’s A Mockery of Justice; Vernon J. Mwaanga’s A Detainee’s Diary and The Other Society; Simon Zukas’ Into Exile and Back; and Miles Larmer’s The Musakanya Papers. A gem on criminal justice and law in general in Zambia is Muna Ndulo, whose books include The Law of Evidence in Zambia (with John Hatchard); A Case Book on Criminal Law (with John Hatchard); and Civil Liberties Cases in Zambia (with T. Turner), among others.


On media and press in Zambia, The Worst of Kalaki and the Best of Yuss by Roy Clarke; Newspapers and Magazines in Zambia: A Question of Sustainability by Fackson Banda; and Community Radio: Its Management and Organization in Zambia by Francis Kasoma P.


Organization of "Zambia: Struggles of My People"


The book is organized according to the following format. There are ten parts and forty chapters. Each part contains chapters of related themes and topics. However, the five themes in the book may be found in any part of the book provided they contribute to a unified and complete understanding of the political, economic and personal struggles of the Zambian people. The parts are enumerated as follows: 


Part I: Witness 


Under Part One are four chapters. Chapter One relives the author’s memories of Zambia’s 19th independence celebrations as a child at Mibenge Primary School in Mibenge’s village in Samfya-Mansa district of Luapula Province. It introduces the major theme of independence, the founding fathers of the independent Republic of Zambia, and the promise of a prosperous, democratic and free nation. In Chapter Two, the author recounts his childhood experiences in Zambia. This chapter details the struggles of the Zambians at a personal level and the experiences of the author as a youth in the Second Republic. In Chapter Three, the author explores his contributions to the Zambian political process as a community organizer. Special regard is given to the University of Zambia (UNZA) and its place in Zambia’s socio-political development. Chapter Four brings the theme of poverty to the fore. It discusses the events and actions that have relegated Zambia to a poorest and highly indebted nation. 


Part II: Freedom 


Under Part Two are three chapters. In Chapter Five the story of pre-independent Zambia is told, with implications on the political and economic future of the nation. The creation of Northern Rhodesia is discussed and the first four of the five significant events that laid the foundation of the difficulties and challenges Zambia would face after independence. Chapter Six discusses the last of the five significant events that laid the foundation for Zambia’s struggles. It also discusses the struggles for independence in greater details, including the genesis of political organization in Zambia. In Chapter Seven, the author offers a theoretical basis for Zambia’s independence and ascertains that independence was inevitable for the Black people of Zambia.


Part III: Repression 


Under Part Three are two chapters. Chapter Eight discusses the Second Republic and the reign and downfall of President Kaunda. Chapter Nine explores coup attempts in Zambia and the factors that have led to their failure. In view of the future of Zambia, this chapter investigates the political implications of coups to the nation’s young democracy. 


Part IV: Law and Rights

 

Under Part Four are six chapters. Chapter Ten focuses on the presidency of Zambia. As an institution called the presidency, and as a person who occupies that office, the presidency in Zambia has been pivotal to the very ethos of national politics. The presidency is discussed in relation to the military. The historic interaction between the presidency and the military in Zambia explains why even under extreme national distress, a coup has never materialized. Qualities that will define the president of Zambia in the 21st Century are discussed. 

Chapter Eleven introduces the Rule of Law in Zambia and answers the question of whether law rules in Zambia. In Chapter Twelve, human rights are discussed. The chapter reminisces on what has historically been considered human wrongs and why they have ascended to human rights in the 21st Century. Chapter Thirteen lays bare the issue of repression in Zambia. Real victims are allowed to retell their ordeals and from their account lessons are learned that future Zambian leaders should take to heart in their quest to create a strong, free and democratic nation. 

Chapter Fourteen discusses criminal justice in Zambia and the state of Zambian prisons. Chapter Fifteen introduces the debate on sexual-orientation. Is Zambia ripe to embrace the minority of its social strata? This chapter offers the view of the up and coming Zambians on this issue garbed in a theoretical framework. 


Part V: The Church


Under Part Five are four chapters. In Chapter Sixteen the author explores the Church in reference to his experiences under the Zambian Church administration. Key Church figures that have shaped not only the author’s philosophy but Zambia’s as well are explored. In Chapter Seventeen, Church and clergy politics are discussed vis-à-vis their reaction to government. Chapter Eighteen focuses on the history of the Church in Zambia. The impact of the Church in post-colonial Zambia is hugely significant to Zambia’s political dynamics. 

The Three Mother Body of the Church in Zambia is discussed with a view to linking its role in shaping governments to the incumbency. The idea of a State Within a State is canvassed in this chapter. Chapter Nineteen focuses on the Declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation. In Zambian political development after December 1991, this clause has attracted debate from within political ranks as well as among the different Church establishments. The author draws upon a cross section of views and proffers a balanced approach to discussing the Declaration.


Part VI: Democracy


Under Part Six are two chapters. Chapter Twenty discusses the Third Republic and the fall of the Chiluba administration. Chapter Twenty-One is a critical look at Debt Politics and its implication in the democratic and economic proclivity of Zambia.


Part VII: Economy


Under Part Seven are seven chapters. Chapter Twenty-Two lays the foundation of the Zambian economy by linking it to pre-colonial impromptu economic arrangements. The Kaunda socio-humanistic economic system is explored with a view to discovering the historic link to the contemporary economic struggles. Chapter Twenty-Three discusses State-Controlled Capitalism. Chapter Twenty-Four looks at Middle-Income Vision and Zambia’s dream beyond that classification. The author proposes a middle-approach to tackling the challenges facing the Zambian economic dream. 

Chapter Twenty-Five delves into Technology Nation and adduces a conceptual approach to solving Zambia’s technological challenges. Chapter Twenty-Six discusses Zambia’s specific economic struggles and Chapter Twenty-Seven highlights the relationship between Zambia’s local economy and the global economy. Chapter Twenty-Eight discusses the Welfare State and offers its salience as the solution to Zambia’s economic disparities.


Part VIII: Corruption


Under Part Eight are four chapters. Chapter Twenty-Nine looks at the universal nature of corruption. Arguments are made for and against magnifying the corruption occurring in developing countries at the expense of some Western banks which benefit immensely from the corrupt transactions with some corrupt African leaders. 

Chapter Thirty looks at corruption in Zambia. It places corruption, first, in its normative context and then offers practical means of addressing corruption in Zambia. Chapter Thirty-One relates corruption to good governance and considers the scourge as a threat to national development. Chapter Thirty-Two is a detailed look at what is called the Chiluba Matrix. The author provides a dual approach to discussing the Matrix. The prosecution’s side is explored and the defence’s side is discussed later. The author draws upon the reasoning of the two camps to give an objective analysis of the Matrix.


Part IX: Culture and Media


Under Part Nine are four chapters. Chapter Thirty-Three discusses the politics of culture. The author contends that Zambia needs an authentic culture to diffuse an imported value system that has come to define Zambia’s cultural expression. The highlight of this chapter centers on the contributions of culture to democracy. Chapter Thirty-Four brings the language debate to the fore. Chapter Thirty-Five discusses the impact of literacy on media in general. Democracy, press freedom, and media independence are discussed in the context of competing historic rivalry with the state. Chapter Thirty-Six looks at the contribution of Zambian authors to development. It also bemoans the deficiency of authentic Zambian authors. 


Part X: Forward


Under Part Ten are four chapters. Chapter Thirty-Seven links information to the privacy of the citizens. The concept of Collective Political Conscience (CPC) is explored in Chapter Thirty-Eight, which also brings the Internet into the limelight of modern developmental trends. Chapter Thirty-Nine looks at the novice concept of the Emerging Zambian Leaders (EZLs). The chapter discusses the role of the EZLs in modern politics, their relationship to the Big Man Syndrome, and the prospect of sane and civil politicking which seems to have been absent in Zambian politics.

Chapter Forty takes a critical look at the Diaspora. How Africa sees the West is very important to the Diaspora discourse and this is related to the challenges, opportunities and issues that impact on Zambia’s development. The chapter suggests adopting the Nigerian model of Diaspora development which has borne dividends for that country. The issue of Dual Citizenship is placed in context and the idea of voting from abroad is canvassed. 


LETTER TO MY NATION is my view of the future of the nation I love and the people I believe in. I challenge Zambian politicians to the Politics of Results. I discuss Change with Change as an ideological platform for future Zambian politics. I believe that Zambia is a gold mine to be discovered, and that the best of Zambia in terms of the economy, politics and personal well-being, despite the struggles, is yet to be written – because when a nation has reached rock-bottom, there is only one direction left to be taken, and that is upward – and thenceforward, Zambia shall be changed!

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