The Privatisation of State-Owned Assets Explained

Henry Kyambalesa
Henry Kyambalesa

By  Henry Kyambalesa

1. Introduction

News stories concerning the privatisation of Zambia’s State-owned enterprises which took place 30 years ago have continued to linger in the country’s news outlets. In this article, I wish to provide a non-partisan bird’s-eye view of a process that was mainly fostered and funded by our country’s development partners, whose experts directly participated in the privatisation process.

The development partners, whose support was cardinal to the consummation of the privatisation process, included the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Official Development Assistance (ODA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the World Bank.

As a backdrop to the discussion, I will provide a brief survey of Zambia’s changing economic scenarios since independence on October 24, 1964. Thereafter, I will briefly discuss matters relating to Zambia’s Privatisation Act No. 21, as well as tender several reasons why Zambia should consider privatising its current State enterprises.

1.1 The UNIP Era:

As Fundanga and Mwaba (1997:5) have observed, our beloved country adopted a fairly prosperous economy at independence—an economy that had a well-established private sector dominated mainly by large expatriate business entities. And, as Bigsten, Mulenga and Olsson (2010) have noted, our country was one of the richest of the newly independent developing countries in Africa at independence in 1964.

Currently, however, three out of four citizens in the country live in extreme poverty and, according to USAID (2020), the country faces a multitude of challenges, including high unemployment, low agricultural productivity, inadequate transportation and energy infrastructure, and limited government capacity to plan and manage national development.

The country’s economic problems started soon after the country’s political independence from Great Britain. In April 1968, August 1969 and November 1970, former presi­dent, the late Dr. Kenneth D. Kaunda, made policy pronounce­ments in his addresses to the Nation­al Council of the Uni­ted National Inde­pen­dence Party (UNIP)—pronouncements which were aimed at nationalising privately owned enterprises.

By the end of 1969, State ownership of business entities encompassed all industrial and services sectors of the country’s economy, including agriculture, airline and bus services, baking, hotels and tourism, milling, mining, real estate (partly the construction of houses), the timber industry, and utilities—including the supply of water and electricity.

Essentially, UNIP’s socialist policies barred both local and foreign private inves­tors from medium and large-scale commer­cial and indus­trial sec­tors of the countr­y’s econo­my from the mid-1960s to 1991. Naturally, the monopolistic position enjoyed by State companies in the country’s economy culminat­ed in com­placence and gross inefficien­cy because, in the absence of competi­tion, they appar­ently found it unneces­sary to seek or use technologi­cal inven­tions and innovations that would have improved the quality and quantity of their outputs.

The culmination of such a state of affairs was a national economy that was characterised by rampant and unprecedented shortages of commodities, and, among other socioeconomic ills, an escalation of black markets for the commodities.

1.2 The MMD Era:

The unprecedented socioeconomic problems facing the country during the UNIP era partly prom­p­t­­ed the next govern­ment of the late President Frederick T. J. Chiluba to embark on an ambitious priva­tisa­tion programme upon his inaugu­ration in October 1991 in an attempt to boost competi­tion in com­merce and indus­try.

In making the transition, he summed up his thinking about the role his administration was going to play in the creation of an economic system in which commercial and industrial activities were the pre­ponderance of the pri­vate sector in the following words: “Never shall the Government allow the selling of soap and foodstuffs to be its business” (Nyakutemba, 1992:32), and “We will pri­vatise everything … from a toothbrush to a car assem­bly plant” (Ham, 1992:41).

As Chilipamushi (1994:16) has noted, privatisation was expected to stimulate private investment, give econom­ic power to a greater number of people through stock ownership, promote competition and encourage efficiency in commerce and industry, beef up government coffers through the sale of govern­ment holdings in state enterprises, as well as ease the financial burden of state compa­nies on the public treasury.

And, as Pitelis and Clark (1993:7) have maintained, the reduction of govern­ment involvement in commerce and industry that would follow the privatisation of State enterprises was expected to result in reduced public-sector borrowing and government spending.

Also, State-owned assets and enterprises, to paraphrase Muuka and Abubaker (2002:16), could easily become vehicles for embezzlement and bribery for personal aggrandisement, often at the expense of the implementation of aid-financed projects, and could also foster the development of cronyism through patronage at the highest levels of government.

Moreover, they could bolster the siphoning-off of public resources for party, political or factional purposes, as well as trigger the packing of public enterprises with supporters of the ruling political party without regard for genuine personnel requirements.

The following excerpts should provide some of the other worthwhile bene­fits associated with privatisation: “Privatisation of state enter­prises is an extension of democracy because it removes politi­cal inter­fer­ence from the running of business­es” (Chitalu, 1996). And “There are heavy costs associ­at­ed with the conversion of a State-controlled economy into a free market system, such as increased unemployment; in the long run, however, the free market system holds great promise for everyone” (Mwewa, 1996:36).

1.3 The PF Era:

During the late President Michael C. Sata’s administration between 2011 and 2015, the Zambian government changed course and reverted to economic policies pursued by UNIP between 1968 and 1991 by creating the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) in 2014—a Corporation that is different from the Industrial Development Corporation (INDECO) that was established by the UNIP government in abbreviation only.

According to the Patriotic Front (PF) government, IDC is a state-owned enterprise (SOE) charged with the mandate to spearhead the country’s commercial investments agenda aimed at strengthening the country’s industrial base and job creation. It is wholly owned by the government through the Ministry of Finance.

And, like its predecessor, IDC’s operations encompass all industrial and services sectors of the country’s economy, including agriculture and forestry, energy, financial services, healthcare, information and communications technology, infrastructure, manufacturing, mining, real estate, tourism, and transportation and logistics.

It took almost 20 years of State ownership of major economic units through INDECO from the late 1960s to the late 1980s for the country to experience the following dour effects of extensive State ownership of economic units:

  1. Unprecedented shortages of essential commodities;

  2. Evolvement of black markets for essential commodities;

  3. Chronic loss-making operations by SOEs;

  4. A shortage of foreign exchange reserves due to failure by SOEs to generate foreign reserves through exports;

  5. Deepening government deficits partly emanating from government’s efforts to bail out loss-making SOEs; and

  6. Escalation of smuggling of essential commodities into and out of the country.

IDC has been in existence over the last 6 years. If the government cannot change course by re-privatising the SOEs under the IDC group of companies, we should eventually not be surprised to witness history repeating itself sooner or later.

2. Privatisation Act No. 21

In July 1992, the Zambian Parliament enacted the Privatisation Act No. 21, which promptly established the Zambia Privatisation Agency (ZPA) as the sole institution charged with the responsibility of privatising State-owned enterprises.

The Agency was to be governed by a Board of Directors to be constituted from civil society and government institutions, and was granted the autonomy to determine how the State enterprises and assets were to be sold and the prices that were to be paid for them, while Cabinet’s role was confined to the approval of the sequence of the privatisation process.

Specifically, the purposes of the ZPA Board of Directors, according to Anglo-American (2002), were to plan, manage, implement, and control the privatisation of State-owned enterprises by selling them to individuals and institutions with the wherewithal and expertise to run them on a commercial basis.

With respect to the overall divestiture or privatisation programme, the following is a summary of the companies privatised by October 31, 1996 cited by Fundanga and Mwaba (1997:11) and sourced from a press release by ZPA (1996):

  1. 18 companies were sold to Zambian individuals through competitive bidding;

  2. 41 companies were sold to Zambian companies through competitive bidding;

  3. 13 companies were handed back to previous Zambian owners;

  4. 16 companies were sold to Management buy-out teams;

  5. 5 companies were sold to foreigners with Zambian minority participation;

  6. 14 companies were sold to foreigners on the basis of Pre-emptive rights (outside the control of ZPA);

  7. 16 companies were sold to foreigners on competitive bid basis;

  8. 12 companies were disposed of through winds-up and liquidation; and

  9. 16 companies were disposed of by public flotation through ZPA efforts.

Clearly, the privatisation process conducted mainly through competitive bidding does not seem to have provided any room for anyone wishing to steal or corruptly obtain any assets or enterprises on offer, let alone pocket the proceeds from the privatised assets or enterprises, since such proceeds were directly collected by the Zambia Revenue Authority—which assumed the functions of the Department of Taxes and the Department of Customs and Excise from the date of its establishment on April 30, 1993 by the Zambia Revenue Authority Act No. 23 of 1993.

Also, one wonders how any individual could have been crafty enough to succeed in corruptly gaining access to any of the assets and/or enterprises under the surveillance of all the members of the ZPA’s Board of Directors and all the expert personnel from the six or so agencies sponsored by development partners!

It is also important to note that we have had the Frederick Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa, Rupiah Banda, Michael Sata, and Edgar Lungu administrations since the privatisation of State assets.

Incidentally, the World Bank, cited by Fundanga and Mwaba (1997:8), rated our beloved country’s privatisation programme in 1996 as having been “the most successful” in sub-Saharan Africa, and that it offered “many examples of best practice.”

Why, then, should we start casting doubts about the probity and veracity of the people who presided over, as well as those who performed the various tasks of, a process that was highly rated by the World Bank—a highly reputable and genuine global institution—30 years later?

3. Reasons to Re-Privatise

In practically all affluent nations of the world today, privately owned and operated business under­takings are the major institu­tions that are in the forefront searching for efficient and effec­tive ways and means for application in the creation and delivery of a cornucopia of high-quality goods and services at competitive prices.

In these nations, business entities, as Davis and Frederick (1984:454-455) have noted, are greatly depended upon to keep the stream of discover­ies flowing in the form of consumer goods and services. This certainly calls for compet­i­tive business systems, which are generally and conspicu­ously lacking in countries whose economies are based on socialist ideals and monop­olis­tic govern­ment policies.

History, and what has happened to countries worldwide whose economies are, or have been, based on socialist ideals, should offer us guidance. In the following sub-sections, I have cited examples of socioeconomic ills associated with government ownership of the means of production and distribution should give us the impetus to re-privatise SOEs under IDC group of companies.

3.1 Cuba:

The country’s economy is dominated by state-run enterprises. The government owns and operates most industries in the country. Currently, the country is currently experiencing the worst economic crisis in its history. Akin to Zambia’s unpalatable experiences during the late 1980s, stores in Cuba no longer routinely stock products including eggs, flour, chickens, cooking oil, rice, powdered milk, and ground turkey.

These basic commodities disappear from shops for days or weeks. Hours-long lines appear within minutes of trucks showing up with new supplies, and shelves are often empty the same day.

3.2 East Germany:

East Germany had a command economy—an economy captained by State enterprises. It experienced economic problems similar to those experienced by other socialist countries worldwide. Prior to the end of World War II in 1945, a War that started in 1939, East Germany and West Germany were one country. After the War, Soviet forces occupied eastern Germany, while French, British and U.S. forces occupied the western half of the country.

The Berlin Wall was constructed by East Germany with the help of the now-defunct Soviet Union in 1961 to prevent the socialist country’s citizens from escaping to the more affluent and democratic West Germany.

At least 171 East Germans were killed trying to defect to West Germany, while more than 600 border guards and 4,400 other refugees “managed to cross the border [illegally] by jumping out of windows adjacent to the wall, climbing over … barbed wire, flying in hot air balloons, crawling through … sewers, and driving through unfortified parts of the Wall at high speeds”— Editors, 2019.

The introduction of perestroika and glasnost in the former USSR by the Mikhail Gorbachev administration in 1987 and the eventual break-up of the USSR on December 26, 1991 occasioned the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, which separated communist East Germany and capitalist West Germany, in November 1989 and eventual reunification of the two countries into a united capitalist Germany upon the signing of a reunification treaty on August 31, 1990.

3.3 Venezuela:

Shortages of regulated food staples and basic necessities are widespread mainly following the country’s enactment of price controls and other socialist policies. The severity of the shortages has led to the largest refugee crisis ever recorded in the Americas. There are shortages of milk, meat, coffee, rice, oil, precooked flour, butter, toilet paper, medicines, and personal hygiene products.

Hours-long lines have become common, and those who wait in them disappointingly go back to their homes empty-handed. Some citizens have resorted to eating wild fruit and garbage.

The country has been governed for the past 20 years by the socialist PSUV party. From 1999 to his death in 2013, Hugo Chávez was president. He was succeeded by his right-hand man, Nicolás Maduro. During its two decades in power, the PSUV has gained control of numerous key economic institutions.

On September 24, 2019 in a speech delivered at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, uttered the following words relating to the socioeconomic ills facing Venezuela: “It is fair to say [that] socialism is working in Venezuela—they are all poor.”

3.4 Zimbabwe:

The economic history of Zimbabwe began with the transition to majority rule in 1980 and Britain’s ceremonial granting of independence. The new government under Prime Minister Robert Mugabe promoted socialism and Marxist-type rule. Within 20 years, the country has had unprecedented socioeconomic woes, rampant corruption and political instability, which have continued to haunt the country to date.

Note: In October 2001, Zimbabwean president, the late Mr. Robert Mugabe, stunned the world by abandoning his country’s economic liberalization efforts. News headlines in this regard were self-explanatory: “Mugabe Returns Zimbabwe to Socialism” (Independent Online, 2001) and “Zimbabwe a Step Closer to Marxist-Style Economy” (Independent Online, 2001).

3.5 The Soviet Union:

The Soviet economy was based on State ownership of the means of production and distribution. In May 1985, newly “elected” Mikhail Gorbachev delivered a speech in which he publicly criticised the Soviet Union’s inefficient socialist / communist system. This was followed by a February 1986 speech to the Communist Party Congress, in which he talked about the need for political and economic restructuring—that is, Perestroika—and called for a new era of transparency and openness—that is, Glasnost.

It was reasoned that the lack of open markets which could have provided price signals and incentives to direct economic activity led to waste and economic inefficiencies. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) ceased to exist on December 31, 1991.



Andersson, Per-Ake, Bigsten, Arne and Persson, Håkan, “Foreign Aid, debt and Growth in Zambia,” Research Report No. 112, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Sweden, 2000.

Anglo-American PLC, “Adherence to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in Respect of Its Operations in Zambia: Submission to the UK National Contact Point Introduction,” January 2002.

Bigsten, A., Mulenga, S. and Olsson, O., “The Political Economy of Mining in Zambia,” Mimeo (World Bank: Washington DC., 2010).

Chilipamushi, D. M., “Invest­ment Promotion and the Pri­vatisa­tion Process in Zambia,” in Deassis, N.A. and Yikona, S.M., editors, The Quest for an Enabling Envi­ronment for Develop­ment in Zambia: Se­lected Readings (Ndola, Zam­bia, 1994).

Chitalu, V., quoted in Kyambalesa, Henry, Quota­tions of Zambian Origin Second Edition (Lusaka, Zambia, 1996).

Davis, Keith and Frederick, William C., Business and Society: Management, Public Policy, Ethics (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1984).

Fundanga, Caleb M. and Mwaba, Andrew, “Privatisation of Public Enterprises in Zambia: An Evaluation of the Policies, Procedures and Experiences,” African Development Bank: Economic Research Papers No. 35, 1997.

Ham, M., “Luring Investment,” Africa Report, Septem­ber/October 1992.

Independent Online, “Mugabe Returns Zimbabwe to Socialism,”, October 15, 2001.

Independent Online, Zimbabwe a Step Closer to Marxist-Style Economy,”, October 17, 2001.

Moussa, A., quoted in Chomba, G. and Chonya, M., “New Economic Era Dawns,” Zambia Daily Mail,, November 1, 2000.

Mwewa, L., quoted in Kyambalesa, Henry, Quota­tions of Zambian Origin Second Edition (Lusaka, Zambia, 1996).

Nyakutemba, E., “Chiluba Plunges into the Market,” New African, May 1992.

Ouattara, A.D., “Africa: An Agenda for the 21st Century,” in Finance and Development, Volume 36/Num­ber 1, March 1999.

Pitelis, C. and Clarke, T., “Introduction: The Political Economy of Priva­tisation,” in Clarke, T. and Pitelis, C., editors, The Political Economy of Privatisation (London, England, 1993).

Thole, G., “No More Parastatal Privatisation, Declares Chiluba,” Information Dispatch Online, http:///www.­, January 19, 2001.

Wikipedia, “Shortages in Venezuela,”

USAID, “Zambia,”, September 24, 2020.

ZPA (Zambia Privatisation Agency) Press Release, Times of Zambia, October 3, 1996.

Rodriguez, Andrea and Weissenstein, Michael, “Shortages Hit Cuba, Raising Fears of a New Economic Crisis,” Associated Press:, April 20, 2019.

McCauley, Martin and Lieven, Dominic, “The Gorbachev Era: Perestroika and Glasnost,” Britannica:

BBC News, “Venezuela Crisis in 300 Words,”, January 6, 2020.

*The author, Henry Kyambalesa, is a retired academic. He has pursued studies in Business Administration and Management at the University of Zambia and Oklahoma City University, Mineral Economics at Colorado School of Mines, and International Studies (including the fields of International Business, International Economics, International Relations, and International Technology Analysis and Management) at the University of Denver.

He has served as adjunct Assistant Dean and tenured lecturer in Business Administration in the School of Business at the Copperbelt University, and on the MBA Affiliate Faculty at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, USA. He has also served as Instructor in Economics, Marketing and Sta­tistics at the former Zam­bia Institute of Technol­ogy, and as a Guest Lecturer in Supervi­sion, Produc­tion Manage­ment and Manage­ment Devel­op­ment at Mindolo Ecumeni­cal Founda­tion in Zambia.


  1. Any system run by men is open to manipulation. This report does not disapprove reported insider deals that have been exposed by the very ones who were there. It is common knowledge that late president Mwanawasa wanted then minister Katele Kalumba to look into this. So while this article is informative it does not lay to bed the ghosts of the privatization exercise. It dose not explain how overnight some individual’s became over rich. It does not point out where the proceeds from the sales went. The involvement of the foreign bodies does not guarantee the outcome we have seen these bodies time and again play with Nations futures as long as their interests are served. Whoever wins these coming elections must with integrity , honesty and transparency revisit this to put it to rest…

  2. Shame for writing this, and why even writing about your academics? Whoever supports privatization is a traitor and a devil in making. Sad that we have fuuls like this writer.
    Why comparing South America countries in line with America capitalism policies which they have refused for centuries since their slavery liberations from the same USA?

  3. Due to lack of message and because all the positive economic indicators PF inherited from MMD has been turned into negative, the PF has absolutely no message now and talking about privatization which has no impact on putting food on our tables, and that is why you saw the PF Presidential candidate on the Copperbelt talking about HH instead of how the economy they spoiled can be brought back on its knees

  4. I stopped reading when I read the words by the World Bank ” a highly reputable and genuine global institution” ??

  5. Great article and timely indeed. I hope it will put to rest the harassment of HH by ECL and the PF. Can anyone figure out exactly what Mr.P’s comment is about? The comment is an embarrassment and perhaps a reflection of the low-quality of our educational system. If he or she is a supporter of ECL, the comment speaks volumes about the shallowness of PF cadres. If he or she is a PF official, the comment partly explains why our country is in dire straits.

  6. Mwata Kyambalesa as usual you r just waffling…. Is this the type of brain power in UPND. I see a lose again

  7. Well written nationalisation has never worked, even the communist China has a lot of privately owned companies that they only give support through financial insetives like interest free loans. The role of the state is to provide an enabling environment to conduct business for us right minded hard working people.

  8. My @Nigga Nature, half of the article is the Bibliography, credits to the source of information. kikiki

  9. Wondering why human rights has allowed countries like ours stock stupid academicians like this writer and allow them roam outside the gates of chainama.
    Hey Mr Academia start with privatizing your house I will be a very happy investor.
    You are predicting egg shortages whilst sited in Lusaka doing nothing. Go and farm.

  10. We see why they really want to sell our country when they come in power. SA is run by whites hiding behind black faces. Olympics representatives 80% white, land 67% owned by less than 10million whites as blacks are left to fight for a less than 15% land.
    This is where these selfish humans want to take us. Shame on you.

  11. There were criminals that took part in the sale of national assets. There was pillage of all kinds, from houses to companies. We know of Labour leaders that went to represent themselves instead of miners, some ended up with houses in every division of ZCCM against the directive by FTJ to sale only 1 house to each sitting tenant. Those assigned to sale companies, lodges and hotels ended up owning the same properties they were tasked to sell. So Kyambalesa must shut up. I’m happy that finally the Red Man will have his day in court. You can’t be clever all the times. ECL has my 100% support on this

  12. Very selective quoting. Another World Bank report dubbed Zambia Privatisation “the fastest de-industrialisation in the history of the world”. Net result 1 million high quality formal jobs lost that we have not managed to replace. And you think Grade 7s are bad…

  13. Iwe people who worked for ZPA are still alive so don’t manipulate information what happened to the trust fund? Keep eating for under 5 by writing such in hope of a job… but he is losing again…

  14. Informative piece from a “non-partisan” and “bird’s eye view” as alleged in the beginning of the article though the author’s tendency to deny any possible mismanagement in the privatisation process becomes evident as one reads on.
    Fact is: there’s no management process that is 100% fail safe (leaves no room for manipulation and personal gain.) As an academic, I can also easily research and write another article to expose the loop-holes that existed during the privatisation in order to discredit this article but that is not my desire. My desire is to hear the truth from the perspective of the victims – what do former Zambia Airways, Zambia Railways, Indeco etc., employees say?

  15. I hope this detailed article will shut any dissenting mouths up. We are sick and tired of baseless accusations against HH.

  16. Which academic worth the name quotes Wikipedia? In Western academic institutions, you are advised not to quote Wikipedia because it is unreliable. But here we have Kymbalesa who has been working in some college in Denver, USA, quoting Wikipedia.

  17. The author is clearly against state owned enterprises and pushes for the re-privatisation of the IDC but I don’t think IDC is the problem. I think Zambia needs a combination of both SOE’s and enough well-performing companies from the private sector.
    Privatisation leads to deregulation (removes the state from economic activities) and this can have adverse effects on the economy (unemployment, weak currency, no investments in infrastructure, education etc.) Also, in contrast to the author’s perception that the World Bank rated Zambia’s privatisation as “most successfull”, there have been a lot of other reports which admit that the structural adjustment policies (which included privatisation) imposed on Africa in the 80s and 90s were a serious mistake.


  18. 1… I agree with the statements from Henry Kyambalesa. I will just add a few points on the common misfortunes of government-owned enterprises.

    When companies are owned by a state or government-run, usually they are managed by individuals who are political appointees. People who normally have no understanding of how a business runs. This was a culture in Eastern European nations, Russia, Cuba and Zambia as well.


  19. 2… All the General Managers or Chief Executives that Late Kenneth Kaunda appointed to run Parastatal Companies were people that got appointed from the State House Desk.

    Individuals who just needed to be either UNIP Members or just loyal to KK. These people did not have passion, drive and desire. Add to that KK would shuffle them from one company to another on short notice. A lot of these companies were not even making profits due to mismanagement of funds and investments. They were kept floating by the government coffers because they provided jobs to Zambians. And when copper prices went down, cash flow dried in the government and it became a domino effect.


  20. 3… Therefore, with government-owned enterprises, you end up with a bunch of guys running a company and making decisions with less at stake. And corruption starts in recruitment where top management jobs are also given to relatives and cronies which fuels corruption, nepotism, lack of making strategic decisions, innovations and smart investments.

    One example was, at one time, there was too much tribalism & nepotism in ZANACO as National Bank in the 1980s. It was a bloated bank. Job roles that could be done by one person, were done by three people due to laziness culture, which led to the bank bleeding financially.


  21. 4… Whereas if a company is run as a private enterprise, shareholders keep a close eye. The hiring of top executive jobs requires getting a Chief Executive who is an inspirational leader, experienced and even so having a creative mindset. Shareholders want to know where the money is going such as Innovations, smart investments and staying competitive. Above all expecting their yields and investment returns.

  22. Glad you have retired. Deliberately you avoided to mention China, Ghana, Ruanda, Tanzania in your analysis. We are no longer looking in the past, it is gone. It is better today and tomorrow. PF had the responsibility to generator enough power to encourage the development of industries in a country; they did it. Added 1350MW. Kyambalesa, we have not stopped private companies to produce power , we have them in the country. The PF GOVT is increasing its participation in the mining industry, a health position for Zambia. Private mines are also allowed in the country. Kyambalesa, Cassava-Kawambwa initiative implementation does not need a private company, it needs Govt. When you come back to Zambia will put a sticker on your forehead reading “villagers get him back, he is not useful”. VOTE…


  23. 5… This is also a problem faced by western advanced nations who still have packets of government-run enterprises

    One company that had corruption and nepotism in the UK was British Airways. It was run very badly and the UK government had no choice but to sell it into private ownership.

    In the similar situation the BBC – British Broadcasting Corporations, which is government owned is currently badly run due to constant mismanagement of tax payers money, because no one is answerable to waste of tax payers cash.

  24. (( Independent Observer 22 ))

    You are spot on. I worked for ZANACO Bank in 1989 while waiting for my grade 12 exams before I came to the UK for college to study Accountancy. It’s very true that there was the battle of tribalism between Bemba’s and Lozi’s. It was silently coded but very intense. My father is bemba and my mother is Lozi and now that I have grown and look back, there was really tribalism inside the bank.

  25. Garlic your comment is misplaced. No wonder your name is Garlic because your are an ingredient. If PF is doing so well why did Zambia default on its loan interest repayment? Why is PF only commissioning project after being in power for how many years?

  26. This is a man who was advisor to Mwanawasa. I doubt if his appointment was not political. But the point of is..?? He has well articulated what others have said about privatisation but what is he saying? What is the position of the author. Referencing is supposed to support some’s perspective or position.

  27. When do they find time to write all this…is it copy and paste????….and do they make money writing these boring articles

  28. If this article was written just because Edger Lungu said he will arrest HH next week after winning, Henry Kyambalesa, you are wasting your time. You honestly think he meant what he said. He was just playing to the gallery. The few former miners revel in such nosense. If there was reason to arrest him,by now he would have already finished serving his term in prison. Mwanawasa was ruthless with such issues and Sata was in Government at the time so he knew what really happened during privatisation. Katele Kalumba had explained how he traversed between Europe and America for consultations before the Government embarked on Privatisation..

  29. Many people are not interested in reading. President Lungu has realised this and now he has gone out on a campaign LYING to Zambians that HH was responsible for selling the mines. Unfortunately, many Zambians are less than 30 years old and if they cannot read an article like this in order to be informed with FACTS, they will fall for lies. I am very disappointed that President Lungu, a Christian, is bearing false witness against his political rival.

  30. Joe Silwamva, it is a reality PF has added 1350MW and intends to add more, it has protected collapse of the mines [ KCM, Mopane], improved agriculture, built schools, built hospitals, built and modernised air ports, improved fish farming, built flyover bridges, shopping mall look better than they used to be, roads are much better, a heavy thunderstorm of opportunities has occurred in Zambia for anyone who want to invest in Zambia. PF is taking development to any corner of the country to unite the Zambians and melt tribalism. Joe Silwamva, I am proud of Zambia today. I pray the Police and the army provide the desired peace during the election. Vote ECL for better today and tomorrow.

  31. PF is a real let down, MMD left us a decent economy. We were told by the PF that they were coming to improve things, is this improvement. Why are they even on the ballot again?

  32. Spare the Zambian people your labor in digging up this privatization nightmare. Every long story can be summarized.
    What’s continuously and has perpetually haunted your guy in this privatization ordeal is his unparalleled unpatriotic tendencies to have no fear for national assets and decide to have cuts to himself without disclosing his interest. The manner an individual conducts him or herself in the face of national assets. The pomposity to privately benefit himself without advising Government of loopholes in the deals. The gluttonous act of even thiverously concealing the greed and eventually turn around and look smart.
    Nice try but this is file 13 material.

  33. Blanks. Utter blanks. Who does this?
    A upnd surrogate who is afraid that the privatization issue has been hot for Hachilema Hikainde election year in, election year out. The story is sugar coated and traverses only but in the outline. This is not the issue Zambians are concerned about. Zambians question the caliber of the persons who were charged with responsibility of overseeing this wouldn’t have happened mess on the table. Whatever the MMD and Hikainde did to our mines posterity wouldn’t have conceived let alone accepted. This posterity just got questioning 30 years after the ordeal and many more years to come. Better shut up man.

  34. Its not wise to allow the private sector run the entire economy especially were majority are foreign owned. Its recipe for social unrest as was seen in South Africa recently. One of reasons covid was devastating a nation like US is because of the breakdown of health care insurance system that was not comprehensively universal so the poor blacks suffered most because capitalist are not interested in investing in social sectors as they tend to be excessively greedy. After privatisation in Zambia we started hearing things to do with tax evasion, registering of companies in tax havens and companies like Lafage would sell cement to Burundu at half the price it was selling in Zambia. Recently it was reported that Glencore was suppressing production figures and inflated operating costs to…

  35. to create a picture that the mine wasn’t viable.
    The best is to have a mixed run economy and a well diversified industrial base that acts as a buffer in case any sector suffers a slump in prices. In that case you can lay off employees but the economy will not crumble because it’s wildly diversfied. The other is to have joint ownership of public and private and the private given the mandate to manage but with a strong regulatory framework for overall supervision. What is needed is to develop a culture of strong corporate governance system whether the company is public or private.

  36. Agriculture is one sector that must be diversified since it employs emass and l think Govt ought to divise a system were cadres are chanelled to and leave the technically oriented enterprises to be run by the professionals. All it takes is political goodwill and a watchdog approach by the citizens through governance structures like Parliament.

  37. Most of the comments on this article — both for and against the author’s observations — are right on. They reflect the seriousness and thoughtfulness of many of our educated citizens regarding our country’s future. As a patriot, I am really pleased and elated about this. Keep it up folks!

  38. The Zinc … may be your house is a public space and facility like KMB in Kitwe. A house is already “privatised” in that it is the only space you and your family have and can have refuge without any interferences from other citizens and the government.

  39. Academic intelligence is truly not wisdom. The majority of Zambians don’t have time to read such a lengthy and one sided article in defense of privatisation and the people in charge when hundreds of thousands of Zambians lost their lives. Moreover, as an academician, you would do well to stick to this advice. A REPORT MUST BE SHORT AND BRIEF LIKE A WOMAN’S SKIRT. SHORT ENOUGH TO RETAIN THE INTEREST, BUT LONG ENOUGH TO COVER THE ESSENTIAL PARTS.” You are not preaching to your students Kyambalesa, but Zambians of all walks of life. Most of us were victims of privatisation that ended up killing most of my friends and fellow workmates. Whoever stole and enriched themselves just because they were given a chance to privatize national assets and companies, must pay for committing millions of…

  40. … Zambians to abject poverty and sending most former employees to their early graves even without benefits. This wrecklessness and selfishness by the few appointed to adjudicate the privatisation of national assets and companies, whilst enriching themselves, should be dealt with decisively and ensure that every culprit involved, is punished to the full extent of the law.

  41. This essay is written by a supporter of privatisation. Hence is ignoring the reality of privatiseation. I can write a better essay to object or oppose . His opinions. However Nationalisation was aimed at reducing Neo-colonialism and promote self sustainability. It was just abused. A mixed economy state is the best sofa because it accommodate both elements. It is clear that the privatised companies were under valued by selfish individuals for reasons best known to themselves. Its may be that they got brown envelopes out of it. Why did those involved come out rich? Well ,those who bought these companies shifted some machineries to other countries so as to make Zambia a primary production country as opposed to being a tertiary production country. Why did the Motor vehicle Assebmly industry…

  42. The problem people look at the little PF have done and think it has done so well. Compare Zambia to other countries and the score the government performance in last 8 years. Has the government reduce poverty or we are now worse off? How about corruption?

  43. This is what education is, it provides clear answers to the problems societies face. Unfortunately, very few Zambian folks will read this article and decipher it without any problems. Education is the only solution to make politicians accountable; if the masses in Zambia were educated and mean educated not schooled we would not end up with mickey mouse members of parliament. I hope the next government will focus on equity with respect to education so that folks can make rational choices when electing leaders.

  44. #47 @Joe
    What PF has done may seem small to you but for those that understand development as a process PF has put the country back on track for real growth and sustainable development. The majority of Zambians have never taken interest in reading PF manifesto, 7NDP and vision 2030 so they talk without understanding on where we’re coming from where we are and where we are going. PF has laid a strong foundation for serious economic take off and the roadmap is elaborate. Those who don’t see this are the ones who claim the appreciation of the kwacha is manipulated because they follow social media economic analysis and make a conclusion.

  45. Its difficult to state whether people are better off today than they were when PF took over Govt but l see even now houses being built in any area you go to and its said construction is a real indicator of the state of the economy. What l think is that there has been a shift those whose business are import oriented have suffered loses and those that have diversified and gone into agriculture have become better and generally the civil servants and employees in well established organisations and those in real estate must be fairly better as well as those involved in trade and businesses linked to construction and agriculture. Anyway this is my opinion but generally things are rough..We need to analyse the economy in the context of the challenges the nation has faced.

  46. The article is elaborate and well informed although I do not agree on the failures that happened in Cuba and Zimbabwe. Their economies failed because of economic sanction imposed by the Western Countries on their countries even today. Had it not being for sanctions, their economies would be ticking. I also wonder why he did not include China in his analysis. Though the intent of privatisation was to spur growth, in the case of Zambia it did not. PF has rekindled our hope; they have set the fundamentals for growth. All what is needed is for citizens to stop politicking and take advantage of the infrastructure that PF has brought and bring back our lost glory.

  47. well articulated indeed, though the article may not have pin-pointed the real culprits who went away with huge sums of monies. but it has clearly high lighted a number of good points worthy noting. the unfortunate thing is the fact that the PF have since 2015 been using this privatization song as campaign to tarnish and demean the name of one opposition leader who was engaged to give expatriate services for a commission. one person can not be that smart than all the stake holders involved to go away with huge sums of money unnoticed its not possible unless it was planned collective process. there is no way all the developmental partners, board of directors, ZRA and including members of parliament can watch with arms akimbo someone walk away with money and yet do nothing,

  48. Sir. I commend you on this article. If we could for once not see everything through political allegiance eyes and review our history and performance through management eyes. This could be the basis for a full book to capture our history and help posterity navigate a world that is always on the move.

  49. One of the unanswered questions even by this great author is how companies such as intercontinental in Livingstone was sold off with one of the mediators representing the zambian government being later appointed as Board Chairman of the sa same hotel he helped to sell. That’s why you cant blame people when they start to suspect croocaadlyness in many other mediations

  50. Zambians still remember what MMD privatisation did to them. Most large and successful firms in China are state owned. Some private companies, Huawei, Lenovo for example have conspicuous connections with government.
    Sata wanted to have capitalism with a human face. While privatisation is cardinal, some industries can still be left for GRZ to ran, and this is the PF’s strength today.

  51. GEORGE at NUMBER 54: Sanctions are a mere scapegoat. South Africa, for example, had sanctions leveled against it during the Apartheid regime, but it did not fall to the level of Cuban and Zimbabwean socialist experiments. Iran provides another example. And China? Some Zambian socialists are likely to point to China as an excellent example of a socialist country whose economic outputs have continued to flood the entire world unlike any other country in modern history. But, as News China explained in one of its 2019 editorials, the country’s economic success can be summed up in the following words: “China’s economic success in the past decades has been established on the premise of a liberalized and vital private sector.” And “Chinese President Xi Jinping affirmed in a meeting on November 1…

  52. … [2018] that the [Chinese] government will support the private sector to become bigger and stronger.” Private investors in the Chinese economy include indigenous capitalists and investors from a wide range of countries, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

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