Tuesday, 29 June 2010


LUSAKA, June 29, 2010 - His Excellency, Mr. Rupiah Banda, President of the Republic of Zambia, is on Wednesday expected to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where he will join other African Heads of State and Government at the 50th anniversary of the DRC.
The President of the DRC, His Excellency, Mr. Joseph Kabila, has invited several African Heads of State and Government, including all the neighbouring countries, to join him at a ceremony to commemorate the 50th Independence anniversary of his country.
President Banda, who is also chairman of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), will be accompanied to the DRC capital, Kinshasa by First Lady Madam Thandiwe Banda and Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Kabinga Pande, MP. The ICGLR has played a major role in brokering peace in the Eastern DRC.
The President and his delegation are scheduled to return to Lusaka late Wednesday after attending the ceremony.


By Kunda Chali.
Mmegi, a Botswana publication, on Friday, 21st May 2010 published Ndaba Nkomo’s interest-stimulating article about language, writing and identity titled ‘Decolonising the Mind’ which subsequently generated an eloquent reply from Enole Ditsheko titled ‘Why I write in English: Rejoinder to Decolonising the Mind’. While agreeing with most of the arguments advanced by Mr Ditsheko, I entirely disagree with his take on the relationship between language and culture and the importance of a native language in a writers’ workshop. In this article, I advance that a language embodies culture and as such is the most central element in culture and that a writer of fiction-an original one-must draw his craft, inspiration and thrust from his language, his mother tongue. Firstly, allow me to treat the subject of language as an embodiment of culture. A language carries with it the traditions of people, its history, its folklore and poetry. It reflects the collective attitudes of a people to social, economic and political issues, it captures the aspirations of people. It is a custodian, a curator of people’s collective wisdom through folklore, proverbs and oral poetry. Thus, my first point of departure with Mr Ditsheko’s viewpoint is his statement that “language itself, is not the culture, neither can it be the sole epitome nor the single embodiment of a society, but it only remains a component like the rest, which when put together, a society - a unique people can be identified”. Language is truly the most important cultural aspect of a people as it is the very vehicle through which most of the other aspects of a language can be expressed. In the simplest way one may define culture as “the way of life of a particular people, their traditions, their belief systems, their values and their social-political-economic orientation”. The importance of language in the concept of culture is that it is the single most significant element that has the ability to record, store and transmits all the other cultural aspects people. Some have defined it aptly as the “repository of culture”. From this perspective, one needs to acknowledge that language indeed is the very epitome of culture. Secondly, i want to proceed to address the more substantive issues of literary craftsmanship and language which both articles delved into in detail. A writer’s workshop essentially consists of a single tool-words, a writer works with words, he shapes them, manipulates them to effect, until they carry a particular tone, a ‘flavour’ he wishes to communicate. Thus, his choice of the language in which to write becomes extremely important. In making the decision, he must look at the ideological, aesthetical and perhaps (in today’s capitalist driven world) the commercial considerations. When celebrated African novelist Ngugi wa Thiongo announced 1985 in his seminal work ‘Decolonising the Mind; The Politics of Language in African Literature’ that he was bidding farewell to writing in English, he made it clear that he was going to write in Kikuyu because his audience was the Kenyan people, specifically the Kikuyu speaking people and he no longer wanted to alienate his audience by writing in a foreign language, a language of the colonisers. A perusal of Ngugi’s book reveals that his decision to write in Kikuyu is an ideological one premised on the idea that African writers should not use the language of the former colonial powers as it represents what he terms as “cultural imperialism”. Ngugi has since then held steadfastly to writing his fiction in kikuyu, his most recent offering, ‘Wizards of a Crow’, an English translation was published in 2009. Ngugi may have been initially driven by ideological reasons, most of his works have a Marxist overtone but he also understood that to be truly a great African writer, one must draw upoun local idioms, the nuances of the vernacular languages, he must tap the rhythms of the African songs, proverbs, local gossip, folklore and the dialogues of people- this is the material for great writing. This the reason why I disagree with Mr Ditsheko when he remarks that “As for me, fast approaching age 40, I don't need Setswana to identify myself as a Motswana or African - I am one with or without it”. As a writer of fiction in English, he ought first of all to be an African and specifically a Motswana, he must tap the creative repertoire of Setswana, he must harness its creative powers, tap on its rich oral narratives, eagerly listen to the folksongs and listen to the dialogues of people at parties, in the malls, on Combis and at Kgotla meetings and other such places - he must embrace the creative elements of Setswana, his mother tongue to fashion a great novel. The most widely acclaimed and successful African writers dating from the immediate- post independence period to date are those that either chose to write in vernaculars or those that wrote in English but deliberately decided to tap the creative repertoires of the vernaculars. A few examples will buttress the point. Wole Soyinka won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1986 not so much for his splendidly difficult syntax and word manipulation but because he brought to the world the Yoruba cosmology through such works as ‘Indhare and other poems’, ‘A dance of the Forest’, ‘The Road’, ‘Season of Anomy’ and ‘Kongi’s harvest’ which are a celebration of Yoruba culture, its mythology. Aware that his Nobel Prize was in most part because of his exploration of Yoruba myths, during his acceptance speech in Stockholm he quipped to the amusement of the audience that Ogun, the Yoruba god of creativity and lightening should be credited with the origin of dynamite and not the Swede, Afred Nobel, “It was inevitable that the Nordic world and the African, especially that part of it which constitutes the Yoruba world - should meet at the crossroads of Sweden. That I am the agent of such a symbolic encounter is due very simply to that my creative Muse is Ogun, the god of creativity and destruction, of the lyric and metallurgy. This deity anticipated your scientist Alfred Nobel at the very beginning of time by clearing a path through primordial chaos, dynamiting his way through the core of earth to open a route for his fellow deities who sought to be reunited with us, mortals.... if you happened to take a casual walk through the streets, or peer into the hotel lobbies of Stockholm, you might get the impression that my nation, Nigeria, has tried to solve some of its many problems by shifting half its population surreptitiously to Sweden. I assure you, however, that they have merely come to satisfy a natural curiosity about the true nationality of this inventor. For they cannot understand why their Ogun should have transferred such a potent secret to a Swede rather than to his Yoruba descendants” Wole’s countryman Chinua Achebe remains an indelible figure in African Literature mostly because of one novel, a world-wide sensation, ‘Things fall Apart’ which is a beautifully told story replete with Yoruba folklore and proverbs. He had to delve into the traditions, myths, songs, and dialogues of his mother tongue to create that enduring, stunning novel. He mastered the English language and used it, merely, as a medium to express the creative capacity of his culture because English could afford him a wider audience. In style and themes, he fashioned a beautiful story that pulsates with the cadences of an African vernacular. Convinced of the richness of the African languages in storytelling, Okot p’ Bitek, seized upon Acholi folklore (Luo), his mother tongue to create one of Africa’s greatest poetical masterpieces, ‘Song of Lawino’ and its sequel “Song of Ocol’. Originally written in Luo, a vernacular of Uganda, Bitek created a story that continues to reverberate today in schools and universities not only in Africa but world over. Literary critic and academic, Gerald More in 1977, noticing the wide acclaim that the poems generated stated that “"It may seem ironical that the first important poem in English to emerge in Eastern Africa should be a translation from the vernacular original". Closer to home, here, Botswana’s Bessie Head was an instant hit when she decided to exploit local themes in her debut and most influential novel, ‘Maru’. Literary critics went to work immediately (and are still on it) trying to decipher the novel, some liked it for its ‘feminist tone’ others picked out ‘marginalisation’ as its main theme. Suffice to say that an African writer must pay consideration to aesthetical considerations whether he chooses to write in the vernacular or in English, he must tap the creative elements of African vernaculars, exploit local themes and yet tell a ‘universal’ story so that he has a wider audience. Any literary craftsmanship by an African that sidelines the richness of the vernacular moves closer to pub fiction and not towards true, artist writing. To achieve great writing, one has to aim for originality and to achieve originality, one must return to ‘their roots’, their culture expressed through their mother tongue and write novels and poems (whether in English or vernacular) that tell stories of African people in the 21st century. Anything short of that will entrench the sloppy literary craftsmanship, pub fiction -styled works that is now emanating from African writers. In ending, I would like to quote Isaac Bashevis Singer, the Jewish writer who won the 1978 Nobel Prize for Literature and in his acceptance speech chose to explain why he wrote in Yiddish, a Jewish vernacular widely considered a dying language, and by extension underscored the importance of using vernaculars in fiction. He made his case for vernaculars in this way “People ask me often, 'Why do you write in a dying language?' And I want to explain it in a few words. Firstly, I like to write ghost stories and nothing fits a ghost better than a dying language. The deader the language the more alive is the ghost. Ghosts love Yiddish and as far as I know, they all speak it. Secondly, not only do I believe in ghosts, but also in resurrection. I am sure that millions of Yiddish speaking corpses will rise from their graves one day and their first question will be: "Is there any new Yiddish book to read?" For them Yiddish will not be dead. Thirdly, for 2000 years Hebrew was considered a dead language. Suddenly it became strangely alive. What happened to Hebrew may also happen to Yiddish one day, (although I haven't the slightest idea how this miracle can take place.)There is still a fourth minor reason for not forsaking Yiddish and this is: Yiddish may be a dying language but it is the only language I know well. Yiddish is my mother language and a mother is never really dead”.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010


The launching of the Draft Constitution by the Government yesterday signifies an important stage of the Constitution making process. More importantly, the presentation of the Draft Constitution to the public hopefully indicates the possibility of hosting the next elections under a new constitution.
However, three major issues are worthy of noting with regard to this launch;
Firstly, it is important to note that the failure by the NCC to translate the documents into the seven local languages will severely hinder genuine public scrutiny of the contents of the document and could make many ordinary people unable to make their comments on the documents. In other words, mass public participation will be undermined thereby defeating the whole spirit and purpose of ensuring effective citizen participations in the constitution making process. This shortcoming under the NCC clearly demonstrates that the process has been and continues to be driven by elites. Consequently, this will render the process not people driven.
Secondly, it is important to note that the period allocated to public scrutiny is clearly very limited. Surely, a period of forty (40) days for such an exercise will not lead to desired outcomes especially given the fact that this document has not been translated into local languages. It is of national interest that sufficient time and resources are allocated to this window left for public scrutiny. This is the only opportunity that Zambians have to give an input in the New Constitution especially taking into consideration the controversy that has surrounded the constitution making process so far. Surely, the Zambian people deserve ample time to read through, reflect and make their own independent observations, reservations and recommendations on the Draft Constitution before it is enacted.
Third, it is important to note that the modality of distributing the Draft Constitution leaves much to be desired. To begin with, it is our sincere hope that the distribution of these documents by the Offices of District Commissioner around the country would be done in non-selective and transparent manner. In addition, confining the role of distributing the draft Constitution to the DCs might have implications on public accessibility to the document. In our view, it is imperative to ensure that more distribution centres such as chiefs’ palaces, schools among other places, are put in place.
Finally, FODEP would like to encourage each and every Zambian to make an effort of accessing and analyzing the Draft Constitution. More importantly, we urge Government to find innovate ways of ensuring that the document is swiftly translated in local languages. Remember, citizen ownership is the cornerstone to the legitimacy of any Constitution in democratic Society.

Friday, 18 June 2010


His Excellency, Mr. Rupiah Banda, President of the Republic of Zambia, Friday held a luncheon with former defence chiefs whom he retired recently and appointed to various diplomatic positions.
The farewell luncheon was also attended by Defence Minister Hon. Kalombo Mwansa, MP, Foreign Minister Hon. Kabinga Pande, MP and Defence Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr. Nicholas Kwendakwema.
The current defence service chiefs also attended the lunch. These are; Zambia Army Commander Lieutenant-General Wisdom Lopa, Zambia Air Force Commander Lieutenant-General Andrew Sakala and Zambia National Service Commandant Major-General Anthony Yeta.
The former commanders who attended the luncheon are General Isaac Chisuzi (Zambia Army), Lieutenant-General Samuel Mapala (Zambia Air Force) and Major-General Raphael Chisheta (Zambia National Service).    
President Banda used the occasion to discuss with the current and former defence service chiefs various issues concerning the nation.

Thursday, 17 June 2010


His Excellency, Mr. Rupiah Banda, President of the Republic of Zambia, has on Thursday relieved the Deputy Minister of Health Hon. Dr. Solomon Musonda, MP, of his duties with immediate effect.
The President said he has decided to relieve Hon. Musonda of his duties after receiving a report indicating that the Director of Public Prosecution has recommended for the prosecution of the Deputy Minister following a shooting incident in his Constituency.
President Banda said he wanted Hon. Musonda to concentrate on his case. The President said he also wanted the judicial process to take its course in the matter.
Meanwhile, President Banda has appointed Hon. Gabriel Namulambe, Member of Parliament of Mpongwe Constituency, as new Deputy Minister for Mines and Minerals Development.
The appointment of Hon. Namulambe is with immediate effect. Hon. Namulambe once served as Minister of Science and Technology in President Banda’s Government before his appointment was revoked.

Monday, 14 June 2010


Dear Editor,
I am a Zambian Architect who lives in the UK but has great interest in the Political and economic developments that take place in Zambia. I write to your uncompromising paper to express my personal and several other concerned Zambians’ disapproval of being insulted by COMMERCE minister Felix Mutati who has said that Zambians would not understand government’s decision to privatise ZAMTEL even if the RP Capital valuation report was released.
As a Zambian citizen, I demand Felix Mutati to retract and apologise for having such a diabolical opinion of Zambians that they are so inept, dull and incapable of understanding “figures” of the RP report. It is this attitude that makes some of us Zambians to detest politicians and their actions in the way the Nation is run. If Mutati has been able to understand the figures and has approved them, what right does he have to assume that Zambians would not understand them?
By way of this letter, I demand that he apologises to the Nation and immediately release the RP report for the Nation to make a judgement independently. We are able to understand even more complex figures than accounting figures that are contained in the RP report. What we may not understand would be why politicians are reportedly pocketing great revenues in their private accounts as a result of this clandestine sale of ZAMTEL!

The Eye

Saturday, 12 June 2010


By The Globe Staff Reporters
INSPECTOR General of Police Francis Kabonde is still under investigation in connection with his alleged involvement in the Zambia Police Service’s irregular purchase of VIP escort vehicles and bulletproof BMW X5 presidential vehicles from South Africa.
According to sources at Home affairs ministry, a report by a combined team of Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), Zambia Police and Intelligence officers that recorded a warn and caution statement from Inspector General of Police Francis Kabonde in connection with unaccounted for K1 billion overpaid to a South African traffic equipment and car dealer, was ready.
According to sources at Home Affairs Ministry headquarters, investigations carried out by the combined team linked Kabonde to irregularities in the purchase of police escort vehicles, motorbikes, bullet proof presidential cars and traffic equipment.
The sources revealed that a docket against Kabonde has been opened, but kept as a “secret” awaiting further instructions.
“You may wish to know that a docket for Kabonde has been opened and is lying somewhere awaiting instructions. It is not strange that the IG behaved the way he did in Mufumbwe because he might have been tipped of his impending dismissal,” said a source who declined to be named. “The report is ready and awaiting further instructions. According to the records, Mr Kabonde as commissioner of police in 2006 signed for the payment of money to Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement (Pty) Limited of South Africa.”
According to the intelligence sources, Kabonde was on the list of defense chiefs who were recently retired by President Rupiah Banda but saved on account of him assisting in preserving security during the then impending elections.
Former inspector general of police Ephraim Mateyo was also interrogated by the same combined team of investigators probing the irregular purchase of escort vehicles and traffic equipment, which have not been delivered, from South Africa's Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement to date.
The officers interrogated Kabonde concerning his role in the payment for the vehicles, motorbikes, presidential armoured BMW X5 vehicles.
Transparency International Zambia has since asked Inspector General of Police Francis Kabonde to step aside to pave way for ongoing investigations in his alleged involvement in the overpayment of K1 billion to a South African traffic equipment and car dealer.

Friday, 4 June 2010

By The Globe Reporter
AFTER pouring a joint staggering grant of about US$ 11 million (estimated at K54 billion) into the coffers of Zambia’s Office of the Auditor General for renewed Technical and Financial Support, donors involved have warned that any misapplication of the funds will make them compel the Zambian Government to pay back.
Speaking exclusively to The Globe newspaper in Lusaka, Norwegian ambassador to Zambia, Tore Gjos said his Government as a Lead Donor and that of the Netherlands as a Co-Donor has put in place strict measures in monitoring the utilization of the money given to the Office of the Auditor General.
“If the money (US$ 11million grant) is mismanaged at the Office of the Auditor General, the Zambian Government has to pay back our money. We are sensitive in following up the usage of our money. We have independent audit reports though. Though we do not feel the money will be stolen, we have some confidence in the Office of the Auditor General,” Mr. Gjos said.
The grant that was given by the Royal Norwegian and the Netherlands Governments signed by Zambia’s Minister of Finance and National Planning, Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane is meant to run from 2010 to the year 2014.
Mr. Gjos said reducing irregularities in public expenditure and increasing the value for money of the same, is the underlying goal of the new agreement. “Success in this area will in turn make Zambia less dependent on foreign aid and increase independence and domestic accountability towards the citizens of the country,” he said, adding that this support is expected to be the final large grant arrangement, bringing the total period of donor support to up to 17 years.
It is said that under the new agreement, the disbursements to the programme will be made semi-annually depending on the progress and performance to date and the liquidity needs of the programme in the coming period of six months.
Each disbursement requested by the Zambian Government would be shared by the two donors in the ratio of approximately 60 per cent to be disbursed by the Lead Donor (the Norwegian Government) and the remaining potion to be footed by the Co-Donor (the Netherlands Government).
Earlier in a joint statement, the Norwegian and Netherlands embassies in Zambia said the new support is aimed at assisting the Office of the Auditor General implement its strategic plan and that the expected outcome of the support is increased coverage and quality of audits of public expenditure and revenues.
In addition to improved audit quality and efficiency, it is hoped that the support will enable the Office of the Auditor General to undertake specialized audits and revenue audits and that this will be made possible through increased capacity and skills in the Office of the Auditor General.
Emphasizing on the importance of prudent management of public funds, the Netherlands charge d’ affaires Mr Robert van den Dool said the scrutiny of public expenditure and revenue is an important element of Government’s fight against corruption.
“It also helps ensuring that domestic and foreign funding managed by the public sector, delivers the intended services and the expected development and poverty reduction,” Mr. van den Dool said.
Recently, sources alleged that there was mismanagement of resources at the Office of Auditor General where high ranking officials apportion themselves huge allowances even when off duty. The other cited activity used to siphon funds in some public institutions is arranging of unnecessary workshops.
Meanwhile, marking the Norwegian Constitutional Day that falls on May 17th, Norwegian ambassador to Zambia Mr Gjos observed that though Zambia was endowed with abundant natural resources, the benefits of utilization of resources did not accrue or trickle down to ordinary people.
He said in trying to assist Zambia get out of this quagmire, Norway has in the last few years been engaged in support to reforming the fiscal regime and the government capacity through mining tax modeling and pilot audits of the largest mining companies in Zambia.
“It is expected that further capacity development support will be provided through a long term agreement,” ambassador Gjos said.
Representing the Zambian Government at the commemoration of the Norwegian Constitutional Day, chief government spokesperson Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha hailed the Norwegian government for its developmental support rendered to Zambia over the years.
Shikapwasha, who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, said the longevity of the Norwegian Constitutions that has spanned many decades was an inspiration to young democracies like Zambia.
“In this respect, the Zambian Government endeavors to ensure that our Constitution enshrines all the principles of democratic governance to lay down the necessary legal foundation on which the country can be better governed. That is the reason why we have embarked upon a constitution-making process, which may have turned out to be long and costly. But we strongly believe that no price is too high for charting a better tomorrow,” said Shikapwasha. Zambia’s new constitutional making process through the National Constitutional Conference NCC with over 500 delegates is expected to conclude by the end of August 2010.