RB singing with ZANAMA women as Copperbelt Minister Mwansa Mbulakulima looks on

By Henry Kyambalesa

Since independence, government lea­ders have tended to be pre­occu­pied with serving the interests of their political parties at the expense of pressing national issues. In part, such a situation has been fostered by a political system that allows individuals to hold govern­ment and party positions concurrently. This has inevitably distorted the boundary between national duties and party activities, and has culminated into what is commonly referred to as “the Party and Its Govern­ment” or “the PIG” phenome­non.

Since the Vice President George Kunda recently flagged off the MMD campaign for the 2011 general elections, we are likely to see some of the government ministers and their deputies on the campaign trail from now until the day of the elections.

Clearly, we would do well to emulate the United States of America, where members of the President’s cabinet or their deputies would never be seen to be directly involved in campaigning for the President or for anyone vying for a seat in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives. There is, therefore, a need to delink the operations of the current and future ruling poli­tical parties from the operations of the national Govern­ment.

In this endeavor, we should strive for a constitu­tional proviso that bars national leaders from actively perform­ing political party functions. Alternatively, the Registrar of Societies should require all political parties in the country to include a clause in their constitutions which provides for duties of party members who get elected or appointed to serve in either the judiciary or the executive branch of the national government to be assumed by incumbents of other offices within the party’s administrative and management structures.

We need to do so in order to put an end to the situation where the Republican president, the Republican vice president and government ministers seem to be spending their on-the-job time performing MMD functions than they do on serving the larger Zambian society. It is high time for each and every government leader in our beloved country to put the national interest before all other consider­ations!

Needless to say, “the PIG” phenomenon is partly to blame for MMD cadres’ violence or threats of violence against citizens who dare to criticize government leaders in the belief that the leaders are accountable to the citizenry and are, therefore, subject to criticism for perceived malfeasance and/or mediocrity in discharging their duties.

In short hand, the cadres conceive of government leaders firstly as being MMD leaders and secondly as being national leaders. They are probably right, considering the partisan demeanor of President Rupiah Banda, Vice President Kunda, Minister of Works and Supply Mike Mulongoti, Minister of Home Affairs Lameck Mangani, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Ronnie Shikapwasha, Deputy Minister of Lands Michael Mabenga, and a few other government leaders.

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36 COMMENTS

  1. Zambian presidency is partisan in the first place….many are times people are told if you vote for the opposition No development in your area,what kind of Bull sh.it it that..
    Now that general election are around the corner u will start seeing their worm infected pot bellies tryin to get your VOTE.

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  2. This thing of always trying to compare Zambian politics to that of the USA must stop! We dont even come close to their type of politics. To begin with, most people who aspire for high office in the US are people with money! Ours are straight from a one by two acre plot of ‘farm’ land! In the USA, once elected, they strive to serve the people. Here, they strive to serve their bellies, pockets, girlfriends and bellies again, in that order! I have always said that there is a certain generation of politicians which will have to die out before our politics can become sane!

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  3. The only organ that can make this possible is the MEDIA. The media ia a powerful thing. It is the voice of the voiceless people. The Zambian governments needs pressure and not constantly woshiped and followed for trivial stories by media as its always the case. You look for trivial, you get and give trivial to all Zambian people. So media you are partly to blame for this nonsense too

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  4. Nice article. I agree with the obervations. A president, his Vice and all ministers are paid from the tax payers money and MUST devoute their time working for the Tax payers and not championing party affairs.Yes, party affairs must be left with the party secretariate. I commend Katele of late for bringing to order the Mulongots for doing his job. In disagreewith with you#2, Zambia is a young democracy and must continue to learn from tested Democracies such as USA. We must learn everything good be from amoung ourself or from other countries. Guys, NCC is still stitting. I challange with with access to make this recommendation to NCC.

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  5. Hello bloggers.
    Ba Moze #2, am I picking some contradiction in your post. You say “We should stop comparing with the USA?” Are you saying it is okey that our politicians should continue to “serve their bellies, pockets, girlfriends and bellies again?” What are you saying exactly?

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  6. Good Morning

    #2 Hello Ba Moze, it is not about comparing ourselves with the US but about learning from their system and applying their tools of good governance.

    The observations in the article are quite true. It is not only in Zambia, but actually the whole of Africa where you find a foggy mixture of government and the party functions. A clear distinction between the two is needed. You can’t have a traditional clique of power hungry autocrats masquerading as democrats, all in the name of ” the government”. National interests should come before partisan politics! I salute Henry Kyambalesa for getting this message across.

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  7. Umusungu
    Maybe the phrasing of my statement was wrong, but what am trying to say is that the level of politics in the US cannot be compared to ours. Our leaders are selfish and that, is extremely wrong! Totally Unacceptable Umusungu.

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  8. Nine Chale
    Greetings my brother. First of all, let me congratulate you on your LT award. You deserved it! Now, i dont agree with the article in its entirety. What is annoying is that what the author is saying and proposing are things our very leaders know they should be applying! Hence am calling them selfish. This is why in my earlier posting i alluded to the fact that a politicians economic background is essential for one to hold high office. Maybe that would change the political scenario in Zambia.

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  9. Ba Henry. Mwalasa nga mukela. Actually the problem is much worse than what you ve just outlined. If that were the only disease there could have been a bit of hope because prosperity of an entire party may be a much large section of society could benefit. The festering and stinking ulcer, Mr. Kyambalesa, is that those baffons in political offices (the P.I.Gs) are incurably selfish and greed. They are so so so greedy that they will stop at nothing just to achieve their selfish ends. The party they are using is just a means to an end. That is why they are so ready to growl at and clobber each other even within the party just like a pack of hungry d.o.g.s.

    It is really sad that we the ordinary citizens are caught in the crossfire and suffer the most.

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  10. #8 Ba Moze thanks. I get your point and I also understand your frustration. Thats the goodness of having such a forum…. and also authors like Henry K., who can open our eyes and awaken our conscience to the selfishness of our leaders!
    The ability to discuss political issues usually empowers and enlightens those who participate. (Even if they don’t care!) people need to be informed about the things that affect them… and that’s exactly what this article has done. Good day.

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  11. Gentlemen….gentlemen….gentlemen. If all Henry has done is write an article and post it on LT, then he has done nothing. All that writting to this forum does is inform those who choose to do nothing about it other than post their “intelligent” comments in english to this blog which results to “NOTHING”. IF PIPO WANT TO SEE CHANGE THEY MUST CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION. MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE NCC. COMPLAINING ON LT WILL GET YOU NO WHERE…….ABSOLUTLEY NO WHERE!!! You even vote for each other at the end of the year for achieving nothing!!!! What a joke!!!

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  12. Cont. from my post # 9.

    The greatest problem in most of us Zambians is chronic lack of self-esteem. The P.I.G syndrome mentioned here is just one of the many symptons stemming from that. We Zambia are pathetically insecure that when one finds a job or akalilio, we would cling on for dear life. These politicians have that inner fear that once they let slip this chance they will suffer coz they will have no other means of survival. This fear manifests itself in the leadres and followers in many ways. – leaders will make sure that they hold on tenaciously and thwart any threat; on the other hand the followers will do anything – even bootlicking.

    The nichekele ko syndrom – its sad when national interest is caught up coz tapali ichandi. Ninshi nizadya chani?

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  13. Zedan33
    Surely there must be a start somewhere, dont you think? And remember that it is this same govt that has been abrogating the constitution left right and center! So unless you have a better solution….

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  14. #12 Zedian33, I appreciate your point but you are missing something.

    I ve just written in above post #13 that we Zedians have this chronic fear. The first step in curing such a disease is accepting the truth, next you must enough conviction in yourself that you can succeed then only can you take action. Repeated discussions like these on LT (and various other fora) strengthens that belief in ourselves.

    Zedian33 Do not under-estimate the power of such tools like the LT in fueling revolutions. IT IS NO JOKE.

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  15. The solution is there.

    1.We must identify the members of the NCC who are currently in the process of amending our constitution and convince them to remove laws that we feel are old and only benefit the few and add laws that we consider are for the development of the nation as a whole.
    2. We must also start holding our area MPs accountable for the time they spend in Parliament. They are there to work for you and me. We must interact with them on a one to one basis and forward our ideas and complaints to them coz they operate in a forum where they can make a change by amending the laws that only benefit a few individuals.

    Ba Moze u ask that there must be a start somewhere start from NCC or you MP. Starting here will achieve nothing.

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  16. #16, Zedian33,Well spoken, but who will tie the bell to cat as it is now. My fear is that those NCC and MPs are the same selfish myopic and greedy culprits. Maybe you can mention a few possible members who can be salvaged?

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  17. Zedian33 i agree with you, but do you also realise that fora like this are just as pwerful a tool like a news paper? If we did not believe in newspapers, we would never buy them in the first place. Fora like these strengthen our resolve and will power to take further action! I disagree with you when you say we will achieve nothing here. And mind you, the same politicians are reading these comments, and so they know whats at stake. They cant take us for granted for ever, ka? One day, something’s got to give!

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  18. Zedian33 it is said that the journey of a thousand miles begins but with one step, so I dont agree with you that our discussions on LT are just a joke. While you may be right that about your suggestion regarding the NCC, I think that the first step is to have a well informed ppopulous. Gaining information and knowledge first is necessary, if one is to convince anybody in the NCC about the relevance of changing any laws.
    You will only miss your water when your well runs dry. People will only appreciate this opprtunity to question and debate the news they receive when its no longer available. Mark my words.

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  19. The other thing is maybe the quality of leaders we choose to put in GRZ. Its either he/she was something in UNIP/MMD etc and now they are something in the rulling party hence the out dated ways of governing. Am only 33years and i feel like I have been eating this political vomit over and over again.

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  20. Nine Chale

    What we need to realise is that we are dealing with politicians who have no remorse, dont give a hoot and are embarrased by little. We are also dealing with cunning politicians who know that as long as the constitution remains unchanged they have nothing to fear. Mulongoti 4 xample knows very well that fora like these in the Zed context achieve nothing. He knows xactly where to channel his energy to maintain his way of life and believe me its no where near blogs like LT. They read but for as long as it doesnt touch the masses (by masses I mean those who vote) they luff it off. There must be a means to an end. You cant keep blogging intelligently here forever hoping to make a change at some unknown point in the future. There must be a concrete plan

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  21. The Revolution of 1991 began to gain momentum because papers like the post opened peoples eyes. The people then began to deliberate and it was from there that a concrete plan was hatched!
    Zedian33, your comment?

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  22. Once again Henry has brought out the ‘spirit’ of politics but the ‘reality’ is different in our setting. The most important thing to be realised is the education of the civil servants. These people should serve the government of the day. However, partisan politics has infiltrated their ranks so that some work to undermine the implementation of government policy if they belong to a party in opposition. This has led to paranoia in the leadership. Thus appointments are made on partisan lines. The PIG is KK’s legacy to Zambia. It will take a long time for that psyche to be changed. Leaders tend to work for votes and their foot soldiers are the party members (so they believe). In the 2nd term, national (and international in the US) interests take priority.

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  23. #21 Zedian33 you are right in your analysis, no doubt and I also get your point, but don’t overlook the fact that the winds of change usually begin as gentle as a breeze – otherwise they would be termed “storms” of change.
    What Mulongoti & co. dismiss as an ineffective forum might just turn out to be the last straw that breaks the camel’s back! You are perfectly right that there is need for a concrete plan but between you and me, any blogger with serious, concrete plan would not do such an unintelligent thing as revealing it here, would they? This should only serve as a platform for great minds to converge before they (hopefully) meet to implement their ideas.
    I have to leave the blogg for now. Hope to join you later. Good day!

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  24. Havent you noticed that the Post has exposed more damaging and devastating facts about the current Govt then they ever did in 1991 and the whole country sits back an does nothing. Yes pipo come onto LT and complain, those who cant type go on live radio shows and complain and others just go to church and pray. All these places that they go to complain to the result is zero. We have to change our way getting across to the guys in power. The REVOLUTION of 1991 wont happen again any time soon. Have u noticed how the Govt is prolonging the NCC exercise? Coz they know where it matters the most.

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  25. Zedian33
    You are mistaken. RB reads this stuff. There are several points that have been debated here which you may not notice he has imlemented in his policy. There is not much that can change now because the MMD manifesto in this parliament was drawn up during LPM’s watch. Until now, the vast majority of the memebrs of the cabinet are LPM’s appointees. So we expect too much, too soon from RB. Believe me, the wheels of government, any government grind ever so slowly. A project born today, announced tomorrow, will take years to implement. FTJ started the privatisation of parastatals and it is still going on. FTJ sold houses to sitting tenants, and some have not yet had their title deeds! Did you know RB is on Face book!

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  26. #27, my point exactly! Zedian33, can you give me two suggestions on how to get to these politicians?

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  27. Gentlemen and Ladies if there are any, the point I’m putting across is that we are and have been for far too long a nation of arm chair critics. That has got to change. Coming onto LT and showing off your English aint helping the country at all. If you have the ideas and can clearly see the mistakes tht Govt is making, then dont waste your time putting it here coz you are just killing time. Write a paper take it it to your MP to the guys on NCC and let them bring it out and include your brilliant ideas into the constitution or amend colonial laws. You have written enuff come and join the party and practically make that change. There are reasons why RB will go off to watch the opening of the Africa cup when the nation is in poverty. He knows we will do nothing apart from cry like babies

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  28. Ba Moze here are my two suggestions

    1. By not writting your genuine constructive ideas, suggestions or criticisims on LT
    2. By seeking audiance with your local councillor, MP and NCC representative. If you go to Parliament you can get their contact details from there

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  29. #2 Ba Moze you are right , but on the other hand we need to get a some pinters from the US Politics. When it comes to politics USA doesn’t play, they don’t any stone unturned. Everyting has to be inorder from your family life to finances and I think due to that kind of strictness USA has one of the best political systems in the world.

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  30. This article is not really saying anything important or insightful in my view. Maybe H K should take a break sometimes.
    # 2 Ba Moze , i agree …. No need to apologise to anyone for that..!
    # 29 Zedan33…,..You are missing the whole point of blogging . It’s a forum where views are exchanged and topics discussed. Yes , there are other ways for more direct action , but they also have their own place. You are trying to deny something for it’s very existence .

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  31. My friend zedan33, intelectually constipation is very dangerous. Let bloggers express themselves. Change can emerge even from platforms such as these.

    NB: by the way, writing in capital letters is a sign of such constipation

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  32. Now, now Lishiki, no need for such nasty words. Just coz you are more intelligent than me doesnt mean u should insult me. Hold my hand and guide me instead. Lets just debate and come to a conclusion without such. Anyway from what you have said this is a forum for just ranting with the full knowledge that it will result to nothing. It’s like a place to release your frustrations because you have run out of solutions and ideas to make a meaningful change. There is no difference between a kaponya complaining in Bemba and an intelligent blogger like Lishiki “blog complaining” on LT in English. It all results to nothing.

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