Petauke MP Dora Siliya
Petauke MP Dora Siliya

As Zambians, we have become quite accustomed to our Presidents, commissioning and launching various projects, mostly at the behest of foreign investors. However, this week, there was one most notable difference at the Dangote Cement Plant commissioning in Ndola. The Nigerian pride, Dangote, was supported fully by his Government marked by the presence of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. Now that is a first for most of us.

My view is that any Government has a duty to provide for it’s Citizens to be able to exploit their talents and national resources fully. If in doing so, they cross borders to create wealth for themselves and their country, well and good. It’s Government’s responsibility to provide good policies and laws and the basic infrastructure for wealth to be created. Speaking recently at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya, Zimbabwean Mogul, Strive Masiyiwa urged African Governments to do more to allow for entrepreneurship to provide the many demands of young people and to create the needed millions of jobs. Among others, he identified good policies and a new approach by banks, so that they accommodate the needs of young African entrepreneurs, as the areas for urgent change.

Poverty is not natural but Man-made and can be overcome and eradicated by the ACTIONS of Human beings. Mandela’s words become crystal clear with the Aliko Dangotes and Cyril Ramaphosas of our time. It is a CONCIOUS political leadership, in both Nigeria and South Africa that has made it possible for the private sector, indigenous private sector, to flourish. In some quarters, Dangote and Ramaphosa are referred to as the Obasanjo and Mandela projects, respectively. Of course, one cannot take away the entrepreneurship skills, work ethic and patience these Men must posses to succeed at business in Africa. However, I still argue that the two outstanding success factors are Government support and a strong culture of ownership, indigenous ownership, in their respective countries.

Clearly, Nigeria and South Africa suffer from high levels of poverty like many other African countries. But just like in the Indian case, the leadership in Nigeria and SouthAfrica seem to believe in creating indigenous champions in business to partner with Government and spur development. The Indians refer to this as the locomotive engine theory, where Citizens who ‘fall on good ground’ with Government support, work closely with the political leadership in creating jobs. Good policies in Nigeria have resulted in so many indigenous owned banks which facilitate business for it’s citizens. The Chinese go further and setup a Chinese bank in a country of interest like Zambia to facilitate business for their growing export, Chinese entrepreneurs. In their empowerment program, the South Africans were not shy to use the term black nor indigenous in transferring wealth to Citizens. Our CEE Program falls short of that clear mandate to empower indigenous citizens as companies simply need to be Zambian registered to benefit.

Why is it that in Zambia, it’s almost a given that foreigners such as Chinese Indians, Lebanese, South Africans etc can all have money or the intelligence to raise money to start businesses, build apartments, shopping malls etc and not Zambians?

One has to admire how Nigeria, painted as very corrupt by the West, has transformed into a private sector driven economy and over-taking South Africa, as not only the most populous but also largest economy in Africa. Many African businesses and politicians have argued that what is referred to as corruption by many Westerners are purely transaction costs which in many business deals by Westerners, are done on the table with the help of lawyers. These include finders fees, commissions and agent and transaction advisor fees.

In our Zambian case, the Government must put it’s money where it’s mouth is. Citizens with innovative ideas with or without financing, and agreeable to our development needs, must not be stifled by so called tenders, which crowd out Zambian businesses, in favour of Chinese, South africans and others. That is the real tragedy. Citizens must be encouraged to participate in exploiting the wealth of their own country. IT IS TIME TO TAKE A CHANCE ON OUR PEOPLE. After all, what we have tried in the past has not accelerated the fight against poverty or corruption. Do not get me wrong. I believe there is room for both local and foreign investment in Zambia. But we must have a culture of doing everything possible, at all levels, to also make some Zambians, who show innovation and discipline and are in business, RICH.

Why is it that in Zambia, it’s almost a given that foreigners such as Chinese Indians, Lebanese, Southafricans etc can all have money or the intelligence to raise money to start businesses, build apartments, shopping malls etc and not Zambians? Why is it that it is very difficult for Zambians to obtain loans for business in their own country? Why is it that foreigners are mostly preferred in Government tenders than Zambians? Why is it that we believe Zambians deserve only small commissions and not ownership in business? Why do we believe that the only way to be rich as a Zambian is to be corrupt? Are we so devoid of any business innovation? Why do we believe our politicians and civil servants cannot be enterprising and are all thieves? Why are we obsessed with corruption talk and not creativity? Why do we not envy wealth and aim to do better? Would it be such a bad thing to allocate one percent of our budget each year to business loans especially to creative young and women entrepreneurs? Why are we so afraid of getting rich?

Dear friends, these are the questions I have today.

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45 COMMENTS

  1. We are not afraid, we are only afraid of getting rich the corrupt way… like you getting kickbacks for tenders.

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    • With a drunkard jackass Lungu in State House the only way to get rich in Zambia is to steal from Eurobonds.

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    • Well written Dora, You are right on this. our government takes no responsibility to support such?? why because these same ministers / Government workers are so selfish that they want themselves to be Rich. Not any other Zambian.
      let’s face it Zambians from leaders themselves, have a very back spirit of Jealousy. They would prefer an outsider than their own person.
      You thing VP Inonge or President Lungu would go to Malawi to commission a project done by HH?? We have to change and remove the bad evil spirit of Jealousy..

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    • Dora, you could have talked of HH, GBM, Kavindele or young people like Mawano Kambeu & a lot of other Zambians who, despite govts trampling of local initiative are shining beacons of what we should all strive to be.
      The answer is simple: the typical jealousy Zambian in you can’t appreciate their own.

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    • we are not afraid to get rich in Zambia. Other than the issues you have touched on, govts in the history of Zambia focus and spend huge resources on politics than real development for its people.
      until we can shift from this retrogressive position of politic first, we will never see real and meaningful development.

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    • How did Dora’s unemployed teenage son ( Kwenje Paul Siliya a.k.a ‘Young Money’) accrue K2billion (Old Kwacha) in his account? Today she has the courage to say Zambians are afraid to get rich.

      When Smart Center was being liquidated in 2001, Dora Siliya was on their list of bad debtors. She couldn’t even afford to pay for clothes. Today they’re billionnaires who can afford to laugh at the same pipo they steal from. Nxaaah!!!!

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  2. Dear Dora,

    Zambians are not afraid to be rich but things in Zambia are upside down. Its one of the few countries where politicians are richer then the private citizen. Corruption is what has made Zambians poor. You have former Ministers like you, Minister Konga and even Minister Laito who ‘suddenly’ had inexplicable 2billion Kwachas each old currency. You deposited it into your sons account, Konga tried to build a hotel and Liato simply buried it…yet if that money was in circulation with purpose..6billion would have been at the disposal of a more viable project that not only creates jobs but wealth. So like current Minister of Commerce stop being an Ostrich!

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  3. These are truly shameless hypocrites like the Commerce Minister, now that she is back enjoying govt benefits she starts pausing questions; two months ago she couldnt write anything…she has the audacity to make comparisons when its the selfsame political elite that interfere plans of honest hardworking businessmen…remember the Fackson Shemenda Vs Dangote bribery scandal.

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  4. This is the kind of thinking that will change Zambia! We should by all means fuel such debate.

    One very encouraging aspect about Zambia is that people are getting fed up of the potential talk. I see a different class of Zambians, in Government and in the Private Sector that are fed up of just seeing a Zambia that has all the resources, with very little Benefit to owners. I call them the tigers!

    Zambia this is our time! I for one, this year, i will break through, with or without Government support.

    Viva Zambia. This is beyond politics#!!!

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  5. Dora,excellent observation but the major problem we have as country is to make politics as the most successful industry. Its good you are commenting on business and economy.We should have more of this from you and other MPs. The problem is any gvt of the day supports cadres for business deals who are not entreprenuers! Botswana has CEDA like CEEC here and I was involved in facilitating a deal for a young lady from humble background for $6m to build big hotel and conference centre. President Khama honored her for entreprenuership. You are 100% right, gvt should have aggressive policy of promoting Zambians and have policies that encourage foreigners to partner with Zambians like South africans and Batswana.

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  6. Dear Dora I thought people elected you to find solutions to your answers or at least rectify the problems. I expected these questions to come from ordinary Zambians and not s lawmaker

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  7. What a stupid comparison? There are millions of Nigerians living in poverty just like millions of Zambians. Dangote is just one person who has made his own personal fortune. He does not go around Nigeria mocking them that they are afraid of getting rich. Is Dora rich? What has been her source of wealth?

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    • Nigeria has hundreds of million whereas Zambia has less than Cairo or Lagos cities’ populations. Go figure. Stop looking for excuses and exploit opportunities. Idea is to reduce poverty and not compare it!!L

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  8. Zambians are brainwashed into believing that they will not enter “heaven” if they become rich!

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  9. In Zambia, someone who is seemingly doing fine is either labelled corrupt or Satanist. This is where the problem lies, but in saying so, we shouldn’t sit back and fold our arms and not tackle corruption

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  10. It is part of our political system to squeeze those perceived as political enemies using government agencies such as ZRA . how do you expect citizens to generate wealth in an environment where if you do so then you should support the party in power? Is Dora Rich herself?

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  11. The answer to Dora’s paradox is simple; the Zambian govt. has made it easier for FOREIGN infesters to loot made it difficult for Zambians

    MPs, like her, give themselves gratuity after doing nothing for two years, while hard-working Zambians can’t get their money even after working their whole life, bitch!

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  12. ….what is Dora really trying to say…??….to me she is just ‘thinking aloud’…..Zambians are so much afraid of becoming destitute than becoming rich…unfavourable Govt policies, politician’s will to empower ordinary citizens…politician’s selfishness are some of the reasons why most of the people fail to make it….someone gets K2m from CEEC….within no time ZRA are knocking on his door….Kavindele’s Solwezi-Chingola railway-line initiative has been pending for more than a decade now….because most of the politicians had invested in trucking haulage. ..some Zambians wanted to take on the defunct Mulungushi textiles…politician tramped on them but accommodated a foreigner with flimsy business ideas….
    …the question is…why do politicians fear to empower citizens…

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    • ..contd..
      …because politicians are afraid of being replaced and they do believe that it is much easier to rule over the poor than the rich…

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  13. With all due respect, i think Dora knows the answers to these questions, but as a typical Zambian, she is trying to come out very intelligent spitting all the theory she knows,…..!!

    We all know what happens in this country, there isn’t need to even start typing stuff out here….

    Next topic please!

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  14. Religion Contributes to Poverty in Africa,because it teaches them that ” ‘One cannot serve both God and money”

    “Con artists know that it’s only human nature to trust people who are like yourself. That’s why scammers often use their victim’s religious or ethnic identity to gain their trust and then steal their life savings.”

    Cults. This is a whole church scam subject in itself. Basically, under the guise of some sort of faith, an organization recruits members and convinces them to hand over all their possessions.

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    • This is stuupid analysis. There are so many Christians who are rich. If you are not a Christian just better keep quiet than making other people stumble because of your unbelief.

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  15. Well written Dora, You are right on this. our government takes no responsibility to support such?? why because these same ministers / Government workers are so selfish that they want themselves to be Rich. Not any other Zambian.

    let’s face it Zambians from leaders themselves, have a very back spirit of Jealousy. They would prefer an outsider than their own person.

    You thing VP Inonge or President Lungu would go to Malawi to commission a project done by HH?? We have to change and remove the bad evil spirit of Jealousy..

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  16. Thank you Dora for such a mind provoking debate, it is long overdue. I will start by asking a question; is it true that dogs like bones? A hunter and a dog went for hunting. A rabbit was found. The dog seized it. The hunter joined the dog to kill it, and both returned home with the rabbit. The hunter cooked the rabbit, ate the flesh with his wife and children, and then threw the bones to dog. The hunter said “Dogs like bones”. In this story Zambians seem to enjoy the bones in a country that is endowed with incredible wealth. Just go the Zambia Tender Board website, you will see advertisements that favour foreigners with money and literally close opportunities to fellow Zambians. I will ask again; is it true that dogs like bones? Please don’t bring in stupid corruption theories.

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  17. The Politician

    Will say anything to win your vote of confidence; this person is great with words but don’t ask for accountability. Once this opportunist gets what she wants, she’s nowhere to be found.

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  18. Mathew 19:24 and again I say to you, it is easier for a camel through the eye of a needle to go, than for a rich man to enter into the reign of God.
    After all we are a Christian nation

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  19. Good observation. Take that debate to parliament. Its you politicians failing who are us Zambians because of your selfishness. Government contracts go to foreigners because of bribes.

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  20. Good observation. Take that debate to parliament. Its you politicians who are failing us Zambians because of your selfishness. Do you mean what you say, stop politicking and be serious as a lawmaker and make it happen. Ask HE ECL.

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  21. Good question, madam Siliya, but it should have been posed to you politicians. When you hold office, you should ensure you make good policies, and that they are implemented.

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  22. Dora, what can you expect from a people that has been under the yoke of poverty and deprivation for more than half a century?. Due to too much suffering coupled with superstition, ignorance, envy, jealousy and false religions, most Zambians actually perceive prosperity as tantamount to evil. The normal life is that of deprivation. The average Zambian psyche is in reverse mode on this issue. Just go to any community in Zambia and find out the myths and innuendos that people would harbour for any seemingly prosperous fellow Zambian (even with just owning a Corolla); thief, Satanist, witch, corrupt etc.. Yes there is need to fight graft, but this is separate from the reverse psyche affecting the populace and it is good that for once someone high is talking about it.

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  23. It all started with UNIP, and was festered by MMD. PF is trying, but having that dude as minister of finance is killing Zambia’s enterprise.

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  24. Iwe’ Dora Matak0!!
    Why are you scared of becoming rich out of hard work, rather than jumping from Ruling party to the next, while using your Matak0 to excite weak leaders in power?
    We are NOT blind, as we can clearly see ur political Pr02tituting game.
    JUST KEEP QUIET & EAT. IT’S Your turn.

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  25. Zambia a Christian Nation indeed, but you mock the needy…! Shame, shame shame…!
    Dora, can you tell the Zambians how you got rich, so they too can get rich…! Do not mock voters, and poor Zambians in such a way.
    What a stupid question from an MP to ask the public..! Dora, do you really think, that Zambians enjoy living in poverty? Our hospitals are dirty and have no funds, why don’t you sort that out first before asking why Zambians like to be poor.
    Our schools are a sore sight to look at, yet you ask rubbish questions like that..!
    You walk about showing off your newly acquired handbags, shoes, clothes at the tax payers cost, and you dare ask such questions.
    Zambian women cannot even afford maternity pads, or even decent underwear, yet you mock them in such a manner. You wear a…

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  26. We were told we will have cash manee in our pockets in 3 months weee. We are still waiting mwee.

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  27. Is this Dora Siliya of old or she has been born again.Though thought provoking the latent intent of Doras articles is to seek attention so she could be back in the lime light.Some of us though can not forget Dora of old in a hurry. Back in the days Dora represented just about everything that was wrong in Zambian politics.
    That Dora can today be asking us ordinary citizens these questions when she had the time to right the wrong is what renders her write up an insult to my sensibilities.
    Write on. May be some one may recognise you again and you may be plucked rom the back bench and I know for a fact that once that is done then you will go ziii.Why? Because you will have achieved you aim – ” we are in politics to eat”.

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  28. This is a well done article. Its good when Lawmakers start thinking of such despite their previous acts. One can only hope these politicians like Dora could for once stand for the Zambians they only think of at the time of need, Elections. Zambia as a country does not even inspire me as its citizen at times I wish I was a Tswana, a Nigerian or even an Angolan etc. Honestly how do we explain our lagging behind in terms of economic development to a country like Rwanda which we even helped in the peace process in 1995. Rwanda today is able to fly a National airline which is servicing the Zambian routes as well.

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  29. Zambians are not afraid of getting rich. There are some who have succeeded at that. However, for others there are a lot of inhibiting factors, some self made while others are the environment.
    At times I feel we overspend as Zambians on unnecessary stuff just to keep up appearance while living a borrowed life even when we can live within our means and save up to start up something profitable and developmental; daily drinking ‘shipwe shipwe’ attitude when this can be limited and buying expensive stuff you cannot afford or competing with someone who can afford.
    The economic slavery also is a stumbling block where we find ourselves working for foreigners who have the resources to set up companies. I have to mention that I strongly feel CEEC should be for INDIGENOUS Zambians only! It is…

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  30. What a good article this is. This is what the so called “rich” men such as Hakaivotela Heka (HH) and Glutton By Mouth (GBM) should have been spending their time on to inspire the youth instead day dreaming to be at plot 1 which will never happen.
    We have consistently said it here that PF has the big brains in Zambia but some bitter and desperate people have argued their lungs out. Dora, keep inspiring the youth and help them realize that it is NOT Government to make them what they ought to be but themselves by being competitive and innovative.
    I have two major ideas which I have reserved for my children and when I share the secret with them, they will be rich for generations. Just to give you a hint: most Zambians are easily cheated and sweet talked by selfish people like the…

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