The Task Ahead

President Michael Sata and First Lady Christine Kaseba during the celebration mass in Lusaka yesterday.

By Gray Soko

One of the international observers to the just ended elections said that the successful outcome of the elections should be a victory not only for the winning party but for Zambia. Indeed it is all about Zambia and not the party in power. The tragedy in Africa has been that the party in power becomes an end in itself, seeking its own self preservation to the detriment of the nation. The people have given PF a categorical mandate as HE MC Sata said in his inaugural speech. It is a mandate to serve Zambia and not to be served.

The PF vice president Guy Scott has recently been quoted as saying that the PF government is committed to road rehabilitation, among other issues. Our roads are generally in very poor shape and need to be brought to civilized standards. However, as I said in my earlier article of 14 August 2011 ( What if Zambia..), we should be aiming higher than maintenance projects. They are necessary but do not constitute development or take the country to a higher level.

To recap, the new government should focus on higher issues of rail/road network redesign, technological/scientific research and development not just building more schools on antiquated syllabi, take agriculture and tourism to a higher level instead of endlessly talking about its potential and avoid total dependence on extractive mining, create a niche to benefit from Zambia’s central geographical position on the continent and have a slimmer and smarter government structure.

Unless there is a quantum shift in the way we do things, the country will still lag behind with high unemployment and poverty levels despite the country’s abundant natural and human resources. It will be like having a new crew on the boat still headed for the waterfall except that it is not for fun rafting.

One way I feel the government could address these issues is the formation of non-partisan think tanks to focus on key developmental and technological policy directions. Initially these think tanks may have to be government funded but given sufficient freedom to freely research and advise appropriate policy approaches. Many countries in the world have think tanks ( over 4500) and India has the third largest number of think tanks. Needless to say this has contributed in no small way to its development.

The think tanks for specific areas of need will bring together expertise in various fields to research and give appropriate advice to government and industry. We cannot simply rely on party manifestos although they are important in spelling out the vision but no party or government anywhere has the necessary expertise on all economic, environmental, health, social security or defence and security matters.

Previous governments have appealed to Zambian professionals abroad to come back and help develop the country but there must be real challenges and a progressive environment for them to operate. It is certainly not correct to assume that there are no Zambians locally or abroad who can spearhead the quantum leap into the 21st century. We just have to work smarter, demand commitment, transparency and prudent use of our resources .


  1. vote

    Great article, we definately need think tanks, the likes of clive chirwa,kanitundila banda the great entrepreuer just to mention a few.

  2. vote


    -Every Cadre will have a job in 90 days

    Every cadre will have more money stuffed in his pocket

    Every District and Chiefdom in a distance of 100 miles will have a University and Hospital

    Western province will be given autonomy to seceed from Zambia

    All Foreign companies will be 51% Zambian owned

    Wind fall tax will be introduced but economy boom

    Zambians will pay lower taxes

    All compounds will be demolished and new houses will be built for the affected

    There will be no more shanty compound

    • vote

      Shut UP!!! What will you do after 90 days. You strongly thought Sata would never be President and that is what you always said. Shame is on you now. The 90 days speech is your only loop hole now but it will do nothing. I also know that not much can change in 90 days but I cant go about singing “tukamona!” Why cant you just accept the defeat?

    • vote

      You will surely see faults since you are negative to start with, let him settle and choose cabinet then the 90 days begin, otherwise he has won and he will rule you and he will fulfil his promises

  3. vote

    A good article. We look forward to higher aspiration for our country.Sat a needs to push boundaries and think of a Zambia 20years from now. 
    We are available to help. There is no need to start re inventing the wheel.MMD had some smart ideas which could be developed further by Sata’s administration.

  4. vote

    The election is an opportunity to change our Country. We need proper Governance apart from Auditor’s General office. Our MPs / Government offices should proper Balanced scorecards with defined deliverables. In the Likes of ZDA, we also need a New Board to monitor projects, MP’s performances and initiate Innovative ideas / projects to move Zambia forward.

    MPs should not be given the money directly, hence abuse of state funds. . ZRA, if you think tax is the only source of Revenue, think again as we need money in to our peoples Pockets. We also need a Tax Free Zone to encourage trade to be the supplier of commodities to all our neighboring Countries.

    LET’S THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX and be different to other Sub Saharan Countries.

  5. vote

    Our expectations of the new Govt are too high. H.E Sata is only human n can only do so much. The major issues that will demand immediate attention are 1. a new constitution 2. restructuring the Law Enforcement agencies 3. review the mines Tax payments 4. enacting the FOI and IBA to make the media independent.
    5. review the sale of Zamtel 6. Reverse the sale of Finance Bank.
    These are just some of the few areas that President Sata promised to look at. Let us all pray 4 him n rally behind the PF govt

    • vote

      The man made the promises to the poor so that he can have their vote. Let him honor that promise or else he is just a con artist.

  6. vote

    4500 thinktanks? For what? If they get K3m sitting allowance per sitting, a total of K13.5 Billion will be wasted per day. This is the time to roll our sleeves & work hard instead of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs & blaming the chinese.

  7. vote

    Hats off to Michel Sata and most of all, to all his steadfast supporters. Zambia enters a new chapter and needs all Zambians to support the Government of the day to ensure it succeeds. We will not wait to point at mistakes of the leadership, but we will pray for the leadership to avoid mistakes before they happen. God give streangth to our leaders to take this nation to higher heights.

  8. vote

    The election frenzy is over and a new government is now in power.  PF need to sit up and be seen to be working. What do I mean? Key positions such as the Minister of Finance need to be filled and the new government needs to state it’s position on issues like the windfall tax. Investors and businesses use such information in their long term plans. In the absence of this the so called experts will start to speculate about what the government is going to do. I bet the governor of the Bank of Zambia does not know whether his still job is safe or not. 

  9. vote

    I agree with Guy. Zed needs abena zedi 2 work smarter, give and demand commitment, transparency and prudent use of our resources. We jus ave to rise up to the challenge, not easy but can be done. We shud also not sit back and wait 2c what the Boma is going to do 4us but we also have 2 roll up our sleeves and get stuck in.
    We are known for being hard workers, lets make it count back home. Charity begins @home..

  10. vote

    Think Tanks, they are a nice feeble, they talk a lot and deliver very little substance. Zambia can get quick wins very easily without us having to be come too technical, the government needs to make it easy for businesses to develop in Zambia especially business started by Zambians, i am not talking about small businesses like take aways i am talking about Zambians starting real businesses i.e manufacturing plants, construction, financial services and tourism. The government also needs to look at decentralising governance and giving power and resources to provinces but ensuring that the provinces are accountable for the power and resources that have been allocated. Zambians in the Diaspora like myself are willing to come back and contribute but government must be willing try new ideas

  11. vote

    Where is MMD chief bootlicker? ***** you are going back to Zambia you were thinking MMD will be in power forever and you will stay in South Africa zwaa ****. Pabwatooooooooooo

  12. vote

    # 7
    You missed the point! Read that sentence again.
    Its true that one political party can not have all the expertise in all the fields that require attention in our country. Therefore, we need more professionals on board, not cadres!

  13. vote

    Sata knew he was human when he promised development in 90 days. We are waiting, let no embicile start making excuses for him. He did not give RB breathing space.

  14. vote

    With Kaseba at his side and God for his guide, Mr President will not fail to deliver.

    Lazy workers and shoddy dealers will soon realise what they are in for. You may have the expertise but, sit up before you are fired for incompentence. Watch the coming five years!

  15. vote

    90 Days to all criminals and corrupt former leaders to start serving sentences. Yes it will happen. 90 Days for change to start. Already like we said cadres have been ordered from bus stations. Yes they will be run by councils. Jobs are starting to titter for former thugs as paper pickers and cleaners. The same money that went into leaders pockets will go into workers pockets.
    Working hours are also being cut in the mines to humane ones with pay rates increased. This will cause an uped demand in the labour force. getting more thugs of RB TUJILI and increase cause for work. please poeple MMD had 20 years. in 90 days change will come, but the system as per nature demands will take time for a full metamorphisis to take effect. It took 20 years to make you theives. We will change that.Thanks

  16. vote

    A ver ysmart article,thats what we call articles.The issue is we as a nation should be able to identify how fast we can develop if we put in place necessary catalysts lik think tanks.

  17. vote

    “The task ahead” Dr Scort had a point Zambia is endowed with highly qualified professionals in the “Diapsora” Think tanks are feasible to allow Zambias to bring on board workable ideas. Think of the box. You may agree or not, a person like Dr Dambisa Moyo’ top 100 in the world, are busy being utilised by the Western World because we can not tap their experties. There could be other in the land in other related proffessions who could add value Zambias development. We also need to develop our our Scientific and Industrial Research capabilities in the country. R & D is key toto reduce depence on foreign technologies, we need to strangthern our scientific research base.
    Congrats Zambians ” Its time to work”. with anticipation of Money in our pocket

  18. vote


  19. vote

    In a democracy like Zed, it is not only our right but  a prime duty as citizens(including those like me in diaspora) to make checks & balances on our leadership. I am giving up that right willingly & assuming a higher role. Praying for our new admin. I hate settling for the easy option. And believe me. Seeing evil in someone & criticising is lots easier. Try seeing the good in others. Now THAT is hard. Sata was not my preferred choice but, I will own a claim to his success & failure by playing the best supportive role I can. For now, that prayer. Join me

  20. vote


  21. vote

    The quantum lip concept has indeed challenges to be grasped put in motion whose benefit is not only to reap rewards, but is the current smart way of governance employing complex methods of delopment in an ever changing environment. Guy Scott is spot on and let pf buy that thinking. Think tank approach is one way to mute quantum thinking from an array of accademitians, professionals and technocrats drawn from qualified local and Zambians abroad.
    Cardre appeasing as has been in the past gvts in this day and age does not lead to any progress, infact at party, national levels you retrogress spelling doom for everyone. Here is the opportunity to align along with the rest of the world in developing our country.

  22. vote


  23. vote

    Yes, we trust PF and the new President will deliver on their promises. Note, however, that not all the needed development can come in 90 days. The process has to start. My plea to the new Government is to also try to make concerted efforts to change the mindsets and attitudes of the Zambian people for them to realise that we all have a role to play in the development of our country. Every one has to work hard and avoid encouraging our leaders to engage in corrupt practices – don’t say I will get a job now because my uncle is a Minister…..stop it. Let us help the big man and the team he will put in place. Yes. there is also need for think tanks, but this should be carefully done so that it does not become a kind of “source of money laundering”

  24. vote

    The article is great. In case we are forgetting, the current parliament is a balanced one with no single party having two thirds marjority needed to pass bills. PF has 60, MMD 55, UPND 28, FDD and Mr Milupi party 1 each and 3 independents. It means, if they dont work together, nothing can pass that requires bi-partisan voting, that includes new consititution!! Barotse agreement is another critical issue for example. It may fail to pass and the new govt will blame lack of implementation on parliament not approving. People from Western looking for a separate country should not have big hopes. Interesting times ahead in our politics but the New President has an opportunity to unite Zambias and good programs iam sure will always be supported. Good luck Zambia

  25. vote

    I also must add that great debate on this important media, which has kept all of us get somewhat balanced news from Zambia is diluted by those that only open it to insult. Why not disagree or agree and just put your points forward? If we claim to be educated, then please show it by being mature!

    • vote

      The saying” you can take a man out of the bush but you cant take the bush out of a man” come to mind regarding your last sentence.

  26. vote

    A very good article.

    #13 Mwamona and others waiting for the 90 days miracle: You cannot just sit down and wait for things to drop on your laps. It sounds to me as if you’re expecting Mr. Sata to put food on your table. This attitude of relying on politicians to do everything for the country is not right. Why don’t you make your own step towards progress? God has gives the nuts but he does not give us the tools to crack them. If you’re not crippled, you can use your healthy hands to crack it.
    We have to be realistic and give the new leadership enough time to organise themselves before they start performing. Every achievement comes at a price and quality is not made in a rush.

  27. vote

    No.14 MULE – Please grow up. We are now in a new phase & the article now calls for intellectual input so we can now move forward. Insults will get us nowhere

  28. vote

    Every Party that has ruled or wanted to rule Zambia has had a program for development. To be honest, the MMD hasn’t been seen in good light recently but it is because the 1 million new voters did not know in what dire straits the economy was in 1991. to come from minus $7 billion to plus $2.5 billion over 20 years is not a joke. This means that PF govt has cash to spend and throw around. If there is no fiscal discipline, we will be back to square one in 2016! This time round, the west will not be of any help as they struggle with their own debts. 

  29. vote

    Nine Chale #31,
    We are not waiting for him to put food on the table. We’re waiting for roads to be constructed, hospitals to have medicine, the constitution process to be concluded etc. We are merely holding Sata by his promises…to initiate developmental projects. When MMD said it couldn’t be done in 90 days, he said he’d prove them wrong. Now people like you are already making excuses for him.

    • vote

      I’m not making any excuses for him. All I’m saying is that you do your part and let him do his. In that order of importance.

      Whether or not he shall live up to his promises, that’s another issue that can be discussed after the 90 days have elapsed. For all we know, you may just be surprised to see that he has actually delivered… and leave his critics tongue tied once again.

  30. vote

    I’m not making any excuses for him. All I’m saying is that you do your part and let him do his. In that order of importance.

    Whether or not he shall live up to his promises, that’s another issue that can be discussed after the 90 days have elapsed. You may just be surprised to see that he has actually delivered – and leave his critics tongue tied once more.

  31. vote

    # 31 I agree with you even though I am not an active politician not everything can be done in 90 days let’s be realistic here gentleman. We wanted change, its done and many more to follow, Sata has learned from the best, besides he is the Cobra with a dangerous spit.

  32. vote


  33. vote

    The proposed think tanks shall be just expensive talk shows like the indabas. As a country we know what needs to be done, we lacked leadership. Now that we have let us work!

  34. vote

    chines companies have started increasing salaries for the workers !! more money in the pockets. within 90 days. labour laws are bieng read now and you want vuvuzela to sound. just wtch it happening.

  35. vote

    Judging by the comments I think PF is off to a stirling start and living up to its reputation. First item on the agenda witch hunt. Second incoherent statements from all and sundry, third more witch hunting and navel gazing. Fourth kaya!!!! …..89th oh we need to rush in a few the promises we made just incase someone brings it up. Ha ha!!!.

  36. vote

    Why are you PF thugs trying to protect your Sata he lied to the people of Zambia for over 10 years of the things he trully knows that he will never do ,no one whats instant nshima from him but people are eagerly waiting for more money in their pockets,they are waiting to own mines,to be appointed as board members of certain goevernment owned companies like ZDM not just Derrick Chitala.Villagers are waiting for good roads,bridges,hospitals,schools etc your Sata has less than 90 days already and he has said nothing when he insulted LMP and RB day and night through his vuvuzala Post Shinda pepa!Man of action act we are waiting or we get you out before 90 days.

  37. vote

    this is the way to go guys this is how our generation should think of the future. Remember we still have our bros and sisis on the streets and villages who can not appreciate the longterm impact of such thinking but share such to everyone of them and our chilren will be more proud zambians than we’re

  38. vote

    Fine article I like it, development must not only be rehabs but also searching for solutions to some vexing problems. Instead of just building more hospitals, though it is necessary, efforts should be made to understand and find solutions to why so may people are dying such that attending to funerals has also become an occupation robbing the needed input to other sectors. 

  39. vote

    The comments on this paper are too partisan. Can’t we just agree and disagree on a ‘one zambia one nation’ basis?

  40. vote

    Interesting article, well thought out. I just have to add 21st century is all about using brains, more and more intellectual directions than any other. All these countries like india, russia, brazil etc had huge education central planning and have enough brain power to run and invent new industries. Its esy to bring to diaspora back and raise general standard of living in quite a short time given our excess natural resources but mass educating society is a long term goal.
    Without proper education zambia will go nowhere.

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