Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda addressing the gathering.
Former Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda

Patriotism (Love And Duty To The Country) Is An Inescapable And Compelling Moral Imperative For All Citizens

By A. B. Chikwanda

A country may be characterized or defined by a diversity of physical features such as mountains, rivers and peculiarities. All told, what constitutes a country is a community of people, homogenous or heterogeneous, who inhabit the territorial space or land. Thus inevitably, Zambia is a summation of each and every individual and our rather composite social relationships. Herein lies a spectrum and proliferation of issues of gravity such as our individual rights which per force must be matched by duties, obligations and responsibilities. A mismatch between our rights and duties induces a disproportionality which is not cost neutral for our beloved country.

In recent times, Zambia has very regrettably witnessed acts which are a disservice to the country when some citizens have painted blatantly adverse images of our country. In the past, it was unheard of for Zambians in the Diaspora to campaign against their country, whatever political differences that existed in our midst in the country. There is an absolute and urgent need for all of us to close our ranks and get our country to meaningfully move forward. Despite the undeniable reasonably robust development endeavours of the Patriotic Front (PF) administration, Zambia, like the rest of Africa, is at scandalously low ebb of development.

The entire sub-Saharan Africa, with over one billion people, has a gross national income that is less than France or the United Kingdom (just about $3 trillion). The continent’s two biggest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, have a combined GDP that is scarcely bigger than that of the Netherlands – a country of 41,000 square kilometers in size and a population of 17 million people.

Some critical issues are at the core and underlie Africa’s retardation. Key among the issues is appalling governance and sentiment and emotion driven decisions which naturally have zero or very little rationality content. The continent has, since liberation from colonialism, put a caveat on intellect and frowned upon depth in thinking and meritocracy – in the process generalising and institutionalising mediocrity. In sociological terms, this is partly because we are transitioning from ascriptive societies (hierarchy-based) to modern achievement based societies.

Post colonial Africa embraced the one-party systems which had their own immutable internal logic, namely indivisibility of power reposed in individuals or fragile personalised institutions. The logical sequel of this system is the “privatisation” of the state. In most of the countries, if not in all, no steps have been taken to foster improvements in governance and unleash the energies of the citizens for more concerted efforts to banish the poverty that engulfs more than 50% of the populations.

My admonition to all Zambians is that we have had enough of the blame game and daily screams of obscenities at each other. It is time to pull our very meagre intellectual resources to make Zambia a model country. The global economy is once again palpably slowing down and the headwinds of deceleration look quite gloomy and ominous. Like most of the continent, we are still unhealthily commodity dependent. The dip in commodities can take a downward spiralling at the whims and caprices of a few individual actors on the global stage such as the trump induced trade wars.

The opposition parties and the free (cum opposition) media which in a way try to check the excesses of government misdirect their efforts by concentrating on the Republican and Patriotic Front leader, Mr. Edgar Lungu, with a misperception that they can bring him down. Mr. Lungu’s approval ratings in the PF is high and PF feel that the inroads the party is making in provinces where the party’s showing was weak in the past is essentially on account of those provinces’ perception of Mr. Lungu’s affability, humility and a spirit of fellowship. The ingrained diehard segments in opposition should also realise that it is not easy to wish away the numerous development projects going on throughout the country which has not been the case in the past.

A more credible opposition would have undressed the many flaws in the constitution because governance does impinge positively or negatively in the direction or impact of development. The present electoral system entails that parliamentary and Presidential candidates have to marshal large amounts of financial resources to dish out to the voters or leaders of opinion and influence. Isn’t this the genesis and recipe for corruption? It is also a requirement of the law which government cannot circumvent that when a vacancy occurs at the level of parliamentary or local government seat, a by-election is held within 90 days. The cost of by-elections is becoming increasingly unsustainable. It is a good thing for the country to scrupulously fulfil the requirements of the constitution but when health institutions go without drugs, a gloss over morality is difficult to justify.

Other veritable electoral options such as proportional representation merit consideration. With the system of lists, by-elections and their exceedingly excessive costs are avoided. The voters are asked to endorse the ideas and programs of parties. Those leaders who are consigned to lose in Presidential elections will sit in parliament as long as their parties meet the minimum thresholds. Proportional representation also has fairer and more equitable representation and no personal-to-holder turfs.

When there was a change-over to multi-party politics after a number of us confidants of President Kaunda persuaded him not to proceed with a costly referendum but amend an appropriate section of the constitution to reinstitute multi-partyism, all that happened was to craft multi-party politics onto the flawed one-party constitution. The implicit risks of the “privatisation” of the state were not addressed.

The Patriotic Front and President Lungu should not miss this rare opportunity of making history by leaving a unique legacy for Zambia and again being a trend-setter for a continent that totally lacks innovation in the important human sphere of governance. Restructuring governance arrangements to have a non-executive President would be a historical landmark. It would take a lot of heat out of our future politics. The cost savings would be astronomical because support institutions would be drastically reduced. This practical and meaningful “dis-privatisation” of the state would be a laudable decision and would set Zambia apart as a continental role model.

There is hero worship and deification of leaders that is creeping into our own politics – it has been there before but a reinstating of decadent practices when we are supposed move forward has some worrying overtones. There is always flattery in all human societies, and most people do not realise that flattery is an equally insidious form of corruption. It can reach unimaginable proportions such as in North Korea’s Kim II Sung era when the leader was unambiguously eulogised as a great and beloved leader, destined and ordained to live longer than the mountains and the oceans!

When we fix the constitution which incidentally must not proceed with indecent haste, we should do so together as a remarkable people who have done well in diversity, addressing the challenges some of which I hereby list:

1. The first challenge relates to demographics. Our population which was just below 3 million at independence is now 18 million, meaning it has grown by a factor of 6. Meanwhile our economic growth rates have been exceedingly depressed in single digits. Over the past three years, economic growth rates have averaged 4% which when discounted against our robust annual population growth rates of 2.8% leave a net growth rate of 1.2% which cannot sustain reduction in poverty levels deemed to be in excess of 50%. We need consistent double digit rates of economic growth for at least two decades to lower poverty levels significantly.

Poverty is itself the biggest hindrance to any country’s upward thrust. Poor people have no purchasing power and cannot make a contribution to social security as they have to be supported all the way. Poverty severely constrains accelerated investment, whether foreign or domestic.
Zambia is essentially a county of young people. The 0 – 30 years age group accounts for 70% of the population and 90% of our people are 45 years old and below. Ordinarily, this would constitute a rare privilege of a gainful demographic dividend, but we have had no such advantage because the dire paucity of resources has entailed absence and inadequacy of requisite skills. Our country has poor work culture and ethic. Various governments have oriented our people to harbour unsustainable expectations instead of being active agents of development.

2. The second major challenge in our country is that agriculture has not delivered beyond modest levels of food security. This is a sector that suffers most from dysfunctional policies that are invariably emotion and sentiment driven. Two major problems are common – the very low yields by small scale farmers are either due to inappropriate agronomy or growing crops in unsuitable ecological zones or areas. These two issues have to be resolved as a matter of life or death, for only when the small-scale farmer earns money which is a fair and reasonable recompense for his or her toil can poverty end. It would be unrealistic for government to end the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) overnight but resources must be found for increased extension services, including unconstrained mobility for extension services officers – then costly and wasteful schemes like FISP will disappear.

3. A major problem the country has is to sustain expenditure on constitutional and statutory requirements, namely emoluments and public debt which account for more than 80% of the national budget. There are no easy solutions. We cannot reduce the size of the civil service without risks for service delivery and accentuating unemployment. However, government should take the plunge and decelerate the annual wages salary adjustments. As debt servicing becomes increasingly unsustainable, it is inevitable that except for concessionary facilities from multi-lateral institutions such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, etc, the other types of borrowing be frozen which leaves scope to finance viable infrastructure through Public – Private Partnership (PPP). I have in the past noted that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is now less theological. The institution cannot depart from the ingrained habit of coming with a pre-ordained script from Washington DC. With pain, I admit that the IMF’s concerns about borrowings are plausible. The decline in our reserves is rather worrying so let us all responsible citizens urge our government to take the tough medicine – delay could affect the economy’s resilience. A program with the IMF gets a diversity of investors onboard. This is the ugly reality of our lop-sided world.

 

Conclusion

At any one time, now and in the long distant future, our country will experience reversals as indeed do all countries. We need resolve and principally togetherness to overcome difficulties without those cleavages that cause avoidable anguish and agony. United for the love of our country – patriotism is a useful tool. It is our duty, obligation and responsibility to posterity.

The Author is a Member of Central Committee for the Ruling Patriotic Front in Zambia,  a Former Minister of Finance under   UNIP and PF reign

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37 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Chikwanda, tell your government to come back to its sense and offer;
    1) FREEDOM OF SPEECH
    2.) PUBLIC MEDIA ACCESS
    3.) ALLOW PUBLIC RALLIES AND PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION

    Before you talk about this nonsense of patriotism think of the above

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    • That stuff are so difficult to understand even for the most educated like me.
      That’s colonial high class writing. Gone are the days.

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    • It seems Mr Chikwanda is talking beacause his mouth is still full of looted proceeds, he turns a blind eye when it comes to corruption and yet he wants to blame the diaspora for discrediting corruption, calling them unpatriotic. Atase

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    • Chikwanda just keep quite like you were when you were eating as Minister of Finance. You could have been saying such things to Sata but instead you were quitely eating eurobonds that you took in the name of Zambia railways. You were FInance Minister when Sata moved Road & building tenders to share from state house. And you were quite. Today you point @ people in the diaspora. Do they contribute to the corrupt & self serving decisions you make in government? Muleikalafye. You have messed up you & your colleagues in PF.

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    • Sir ABC, if you think it is Edgar who is being disrespectful and unpatriotic to this our country, just say so loud and clear without losing us! Also just make clear who you think can replace him at the forthcoming PF elective conference as you are a proven sponsor of winners.

      Sir, remember also that Edgar with his now swelling army of sycophants is more than ready for a fight with whoever dares him. It continues to ring true to this day that there will never be honour among thieves …

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    • This Pf00Lish Dinosaur just woke up from his slumber after endebting us, not once but twice.
      – During UNIP era this ugly Dinoaur served as FM. He left us with a $6-Billion debt.
      – During PF’s disastrous miss-rule, this man together with PF00L Miles Sampa brought Euro-Bond loans & Chinese Loans upon us.

      Today our youths are doomed & have no hope of redemption. If we were in West Africa, our youths would be on the migrant ships trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Italy & Spain.

      Die Chikwanda, just die.

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    • That’s a 100 … real reflection from a mastery legend cut from a UNIPist cloth like mine. This vintage of political gravitas is almost all but spent amongst the smart people of the Zambian Enterprise.

      Long Live ABC, Long Live The Smart People Of The Zambian Enterprise and God Bless The Only Best Country God Gave Man On The Continent Of Africa!!!

      Keep write more of these ABC, your insights are invaluable … Let’s roll

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    • ABC dianasaur, stop lecturing. Your shelf life is over.
      You stole billions from eurobonds, cuts from release of payments to the Chinese , Indians and Italians

      You put your illicit son David Kombe on IDC and every second parastatal company.

      He is no different from you. Stealing is in his blood.
      Stop lecturing and wait for the poor and the young to rise against you the monkey eaters.

      Your days are numbered. Your illicit son’s days are numbered

      Do not die till change if government comes. You have to face the young police officer to question you, record warn and caution statement and lock you up on a long weekend amongst the poor petty thieves.

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    • Trying to DO what? gain some favours from Lungu? It’s so shameful that Chikwanda would write this yet he knows what has made Zambians to be so unpatriotic. Write about ethics? What the Dos and Don’ts During true leadership than this theft. Advise the people in Power to be tolerant and be leaders of all people. It’s not abbot PF cadres but all Zambians. Yes, Lungu is popular within his party because he is not a leader. Most like him because they can steal freely. Let the Ballot box talk with a free and fair election in 2021.

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  2. This man was in government than, and just recently, not a single day did he try to put his words into actions, and now his senses have come back and his talking sense but his days are over, shame for the wasted years!!!!

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    • There is no patriotism in TRIBALISM. Tribalism’s cousin is racism. The two are present in UPND. Just read any of the comments of a TRIBALIST on this forum and you will see that it reflects the mental beliefs of the party.

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    • Has tribalism, nepotism, stealing and corruption have now become the new form of patriotism? Look at KK, simple life, united us, contributed immensely to peace and stability in country and region.

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  3. Do Losers like Bigman and mweol above even read what that author is trying to say? Same on Chipimo story. We seem to have these brainless losers with their mind so wide open that their brains are falling to the floor and they don’t even realise it.

    Please, for once, pick up your brains and read and objectively engage than just attack the name.

    As somebody said on Chipimo’s story, the same here. This is the old man’s opinion and he has every right to express it and just express yours ..and please make it objective for us to engage.

    Who is manufacturing this type of bloggers, if I might ask?

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    • 5 years ago
      President Michael Sata has told Finance Minister Alexandra Chikwanda that he can not resign because he would be prosecuted for corruption during the rebasing of the Kwacha as he is suspected to have received huge gratifications from companies that printed and minted the new Zambian currency.

      Sources at State House revealed that Sata told Chikwanda on Wednesday night that it was easier for him to protect his uncle from possible prosecution while serving as Cabinet Minister unlike when he was an ordinary citizen.

      The source said President Sata has intelligence reports from the parallel structure on how Chikwanda, Bank of Zambia governor Dr. Michael Gondwe and his Deputy Dr. Bwalya N’gandu met some representatives of foreign companies at 8 Reedbuck a Lodge in Lusaka’s…

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    • @MMD Bootlicker … you said and I quote “… who is manufacuring this type of bloggers, if I might ask?” End of quote.

      I have asked myself the same question over and over again and the only thing I can come with is that these are low life, low IQ, low class, low libido wannabes with no self worth at all.

      They hate the day they were born and think that their country somehow betrayed them that’s why they now live low lives in the diaspora pretending to be intellectuals albeit intellectually bankrupt their lives are.

      They nothing but a bunch of losers who think that somehow their whinnying will one day turn into victory.

      Sorry sons of a gun, they are!!! Shaa

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    • @Breaking News, Michael Gondwe’s partner in crime was none other than Pseudo doctor Rajan Lekhraj Mahtani
      Mahtani brought corrupt money printers and Sata, Michael, Chikwanda and Maharani all minted gold.

      Days of jackal.

      Next will be Hyena Hyena.

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  4. Any person who is or was PF has no right to preach about patriotism. Go preach to State House, the average Zambian is patriotic sir,it is people like you and the rest of PF who you should preach to,how dare you preach to the converted….

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  5. Sounding like an Echo. He wrote nothing new. These are things that are already in public domain and everyday discussions.

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  6. ABC has written something interesting there, It’s like he is pointing to a systematic country diagnostic as to why the Zambian economy has managed to raise yoy its average domestic product since 2000 to date and managed to improve its macroeconomic indicators, improved its 7NDP and other performance indicators in healthy ,sanitation,transport and education linked to SDGs by UNDP

    A carefully review of the diagnostic will show you that yes there has been GDP growth but Poverty levels have remained relatively high chiefly because of to the QUALITY,ROBUST and DIVERSITY of the drivers IN SECTORS of THOSE growth RECORDED , THE concentration in SECTORS and TRADITIONAL…

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  7. REGIONS This what the 7NDP has been trying to address in its strategic concept

    Look at the strategy in roads ,industrialization value addition in minning and agricultural like others Its to address the same failures to diversify away from EXTRACTIVE BASED based growth driven by a few players in the mining sector with its income inequalities and regions of the economy i the rural and urban

    It’s like the earlier article that would show why performance and yet poverty still relatively high When you look at it carefully you begin to see sense in the vision 2030

    Continue Addressing the economic drivers of growth in sectors ,urban and rural development and inequalities and…

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  8. So is it patriotism that made him sell this country through unplayable eurobonds for which we are suffering to pay today?

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  9. You were also not patriotic when you were pushing us into a debt trap sir instead outline some of the thing that you achieved as finance minister. Who were the beneficiaries of the euro bond Sir???

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  10. In the past, it was unheard of for Zambians in the Diaspora to campaign against their country, whatever political differences that existed in our midst in the country. There is an absolute and urgent need for all of us to close our ranks and get our country to meaningfully move
    By A. B. Chikwanda
    Sir, when a people feel persecuted where do they run to?
    when the very nation that they should love is full of corruption
    and when a parent looks at his or her child and see’s a bleak future,
    where do they run?.. when you know for sum certain that your future
    and that of your family is deem at best stagnant , where do they run?
    If you read closely your own op-ed you will soon answer this quandary..

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  11. Hero worshipping has been Alexander Chikwanda’s cloths, breathing praise “emukwai” as a unifying chorus.
    Chikwanda from UNIP days was worshipping KK, recently Michael Sata and today he worships Edgar Chagwa Lungu. Through his discipleship he has accumulated benefits to outrun his life in form of kick backs, corruption and favours extending to his family members. For example, the quantitative costs of KKIA currently under construction were revised upwards from the original costings by Rupia Banda’s MMD government. PF with the Finance Minister Chikwanda hoodwinked the nation that were cutting costs when in fact pocketed the huge difference. Old man, stealing from his children and grand children. What a shame even your stock where you hail from. Your son, has bought a house in South…

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  12. continues – he used to commute by air working in Zambia as Indeni boss while living in South Africa. That would not be acceptable even here in the United Kingdom let alone in Europe. Yet Mr Chikwanda permitted it and his conscious was free to allow his son rape Zambian resources in that way. Today Chikwanda wants to lecture to Zambians about morality when he has none. Zambians in the diaspora are hard working and only point out the wrongs Chikwanda espouses to date when he prides in good leadership of PF and EC Lungu oblivious of huge debts Zambia acquired under his watch. Ta muli a mano – Uwelewele fye wa umukalamba.

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  13. Chikwanda, try to control the out of control thieving debarred lawyer who stole from a widow, give him some pointers on him to run a country, the chap is out of control with corruption, over borrowing and dictatorship, at least tell the moron that Patriotism is not in his pocket

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  14. We all love Zambia but don’t like the immoral and corrupt leadership of lungu……being Patriotic does not mean one has to accept the leadership of lungu.

    Police brutality of the opposition and anyone seen to have a dissenting voice including banning opposition Mps meeting their voters, total media bans for the opposition on ZNBC , percived corruption scandels with total silence from lungu….not accepting this is not being unpatriotic …

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  15. Some people should just sit down and remain seated until they expire. The current economic hardships (aka misery) people are going through is in part a result of poor fiscal management by the author. He will be remembered as the worst and most wasteful Finance Minister this country has ever produced. Wondering what he is still doing on the stage

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  16. If only we would take time to unterstand the essence in what the old man is saying. Patriotism, the love for one’s country and the call of duty towards the land of birth is the reason why we have the great nations on earth.

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  17. We needed a much more clearer direction on the way issues should be handled hence forth;what should we change in the constitution,in the running of the economy etc for us to face up to coming challenges??NOT this seemingly ambiguous advice!!

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  18. What stupid analysis? What difference did this man make, is written out of a guilty conscience or what? Who ate patriotism? Must People be patriotic even when the evidence points to greed by those in power including you sir? You are a colossal embarrassment, please move on, good riddance

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  19. Just accept the truth, ordinary Zambians are not enjoying the fruits of the economy. Only the few are enjoying and there is nothing being done to improve the situation..ba Chikwanda just continue enjoying your package and stop dreaming!!!

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  20. How can you preach patriotism when PF has divided the country? Teacher selection has been halted because PF Ministers want to change the list to put their own people. Business with Government is now the preserve of PF cadres, Zambia isn’t their motherland alone. You’re Edgar’s major sponsor and mentor, so tell him that we are not happy. What do you make of the obscene choruses that were sung about Kambwili at your Secretariat?

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