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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

There is Light at the End of the Tunnel

Columns There is Light at the End of the Tunnel

By Field Ruwe EdD

A Tragic Phenomenon

The light at the end of the tunnel is no longer an approaching train but a single flickering ray of hope in each one of us. All we need to do, in unison, is to light up the tunnel that devours our honor as a people, our substance, and health even. An opportunity is beckoning us to teach ourselves how to enjoy the pure pleasures of rational thinking; of ingenuity out which those who are successful pluck their noble fruits.

Look at how pathetic we are, created as we were in God’s same image. What the “own image” scripture means is that as humans we are the same in our moral, spiritual and intellectual nature. So then why are we the low people at the totem pole?

Most African scholars impute the guilt of our failures to the activities of colonizers. Some evoke the father-son relationship where a father, rather than give the son fish, gives him poison. Is not true that when the colonizer showed us how to fish, he left the fishing rods and all we needed were worms with which to catch the fish? Didn’t he also teach the Indians who attained their independence in the same way? What’s the difference between them and us? Yet they are headed for First World status.

Where are we today? We are still a Third World country with a low human development index. We are an ideal commonwealth whose inhabitants exist under seemingly perfect infrastructure none of which is borne out of our imagination. We are like the cuckoo bird, the brood parasite that shamelessly leaves its eggs in another bird’s nest, letting her young be raised by entirely different species while claiming the nest to be hers.

It’s a shame really; a tragic phenomenon. We sit on inexhaustible mineral wealth worth trillions of dollars, clueless about how to dig deeper into our own earth, remove our god-given ore, and haul it to the processing site using our own factory-made conveyors, trains, shuttle cars, and flash smelting furnaces. This is the greatest enigma surrounding us as a people.

We are a people in Socrates’s the “Allegory of The Cave,” who have been chained to the wall of a cave all our lives. We hopelessly watch shadows that represent the fragment of the reality of looters ransacking our wealth. We cannot break the chains because we do not desire to leave the cave, for we know no other life but penury and alms.

How Zambia can Become Economically Powerful

Once upon a time, the Japanese people found themselves in a similar cave, their hands chained to the feudal wall of the Tokugawa Shogunate that for 264 years isolated them from the rest of the world. In 1868, the wind of change reminiscent of the one that blew across Zambia in the 1990s veered in a tide that sucked in the Shogunate and left on the shores of Japan a new government led by the youthful and transformative leader Meiji who believed Japan would not be able to develop if it did not modernize.

At the helm of his effort, Meiji who believed to modernize meant copying Western technology, turned to some of the best thinkers to help create reforms that would strengthen and unify Japan. In 1871, a high-powered delegation of think tanks left Japan for the United States of America and Europe seeking to learn first-hand the scientific and technological accomplishments of the West. They were keenly interested in observing schools, industries, military, and political systems.

The result was a new paradigm of a modern, industrialized Japan and the emergence of a great power, fashioned by Western scientific, technological, philosophical, political, legal, and aesthetic ideas. Today, Japan is the third leading country in the world for technology. It ranks right behind Finland and the United States. Japan spends over 3.5 percent of its GDP on education, innovation, and invention. In the same way, China and other successful Asian nations emulated Japan and sent their think tanks to the United States.

Election of Hakainde Hichilema

It is beginning to look like Zambia is on the same path. The election of Hakainde Hichilema has brought to the forefront a forward-thinking reformist who is touting democracy. President Hichilema’s rhetoric and action seem to define a democracy in which creative activities shape developmental norms and practices. American Philosopher John Dewey called it “creative democracy” and defined it as a way of life and an experience built on faith that puts a heavier emphasis on creativeness. “The task of [creative] democracy,” Dewey added, “is forever that of creation of a freer and more humane experience in which all share and to which all contribute.”

In the case of Japan, state-builders, academics, and politicians put their differences aside and rallied behind Meiji. They all believed that to see above the horizon they had to stand on the shoulders of giants. They understood that teamwork was the fuel that allowed common people to attain uncommon results. To become a world power, they appreciated rather than depreciated each other’s sweat and labor.

Conversely, we are the exact opposite. We depreciate rather than appreciate each other. This is our greatest tragedy that takes its worst toll on us. It is a counterproductive paranoid trait that has denied us the camaraderie to creatively employ new technologies that increase productivity. It is the reason we end up with low-end products unsuitable for the global market.

Our envy and spite are already at work. Last August we elected Hakainde Hichilema a man who campaigned on change. The unprecedented historic move took the world by storm. Accolades shot through the roof, earning us considerable admiration and respect. It is fair to say that President Hichilema is actively and creatively good for economic growth. It has since become clear that he is committed to advancing a far-reaching technology and innovation plan in his effort to provide a powerful engine for advancing market economic growth.

It is also fair to state that Hichilema understands harnessing the full power and potential of new technologies can improve the Zambian economy. He is already influencing growth through fiscal policy. It is good to see him invest in public goods, technology, pro-growth trade policies, and establishing new agencies, a move aimed at stabilizing the economy, creating jobs, and boosting manufacturing. But the truth of the matter is that however transformative Hichilema is he can’t whistle a symphony alone. He needs an entire orchestra comprising dedicated Zambians to play it.

Creation of Zambia Development Institute

Last year I stepped forward and pledged to support President Hichilema to prove that I was not a mere armchair critic sneering self-righteously from the comfort of my home. I desperately want to be among Zambians who strive to do the deeds; who spend themselves on a worthy cause; who in the end know that Hichilema’s triumph is ours as well. With this in mind, I have just completed a white paper explicating the creation of a US-based “Think-and-do” tank that will provide Zambians with a strong impetus to make a comprehensive understanding of American modern industrial, technological, economical, and educational systems and structures, all in the manner of Iwakura Mission.

To be called Zambia Development Institute (ZDI), the initiative seeks to help elevate Zambia’s level of development to modern world-class standards by assessing American ingenuity and making proposals to the president and government that will have vast effects on the subsequent advancement of our country.

To capture American ingenuity Zambian intellectuals need a front ringside seat in the American superpower arena to study firsthand Americans’ feats with a strong impetus to indulge in similar modernizing initiatives in Zambia. The raison d’être for ZDI is to mobilize academics in Zambia and the Diaspora so they can have direct access to know-how, expertise, research opportunities, lab space, and other incentives that enhance development.

Here, I am making an earnest appeal to Zambian intellectuals—researchers, analysts, legal practitioners, educators, innovators, and inventors, in the Diaspora and at home. Building a nation cannot be done by one person—the president. Henry Ford once said “coming together is beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

Teamwork is at the heart of my initiative. Friend and foe let’s walk through the dark tunnel hand in hand to get to that ray of hope. Let us make strategic steps towards industrial upgrading and longer-term economic transformation. We urgently need to plug Zambia into the global trading system and compete with stronger economies. By doing so we shall achieve significant poverty production and improved standards of living. The timing of this initiative and its potential influence on the development of Zambia cannot be ignored.

Dear Mr. President

I pray that once the proposal lands on your desk, you will give it the attention it deserves. Your presidency is a make-or-break for Zambians. At stake are the very promises that you made on your campaign trail. The defining issue is to keep those promises alive, and ZDI is here to ensure your governance delivers your mission. I do not doubt that in you we have the right mover and shaker of this lovely country we call Zambia. Remember no one is coming to save us. We are on our own.


  1. Shut up! Your Hichilema has just given KCM back to Vedanta when a majority of Zambians want mines in their hands. What are you talking about? Come back home for there’s no place like home. How does it feel to be in place were you’re not wanted? On a UN Bill that called for action to end racism and discrimination, out 193 votes 106 were for the Bill, 44 abstained, 29 were non-voting members and 14 objected. Of the 14 are the likes of USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Israel, France, Germany, Netherlands. As a seasoned journalist what have you to say about this? Or did you miss it?

  2. Good effort Field Ruwe. Don’t understand why and why bitter insults. PF where advised right from the beginning to negotiate a Vendata exit instead the went for messy liquidation using a dodgy lawyer. Same for late LPM. Never listened to advice even after the Binani fiasco

  3. Oh look it is this f00Iish upnd cadre again who is kept by his wlfe due to his failure. A f00l abroad who has not lived in zambia for decades and didn’t even vote is now telling us that his demigod is the best thing to happen to us in zambia. The f00l has no understanding of what is pertaining on the ground. When I called this boy field ignorant people thought I was been rude. Well there you have it. Field is after a job and will say anything and do anything to get one. Your wlfe needs to restrict your Internet usage since she is one paying all bills there abroad.

  4. Field Ruwe and myself lived under the era of late President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda. When the Zambian economy was on its knees, UNIP started telling us that there was light at the end of the tunnel. It is like Field Ruwe trying to cure our melancholy of living under the New Dark regime of the ever increasing cost of living with the over-used expression or cliche under the UNIP government: “there is light at the end of the tunnel”. In using that cliche, Ruwe seems to be also recognizing that Zambia is in the tunnel under the New Dark regime . Our country is no longer the “Zambia in the sun” we knew during its golden years.

  5. flag Wow! How Anthony Bwalya came from the backdoor, overlapped and knockout SLUGGISH and SLEEPY established media CRONIES of UPND to become HH’s Right Hand Man & Press Aid.

    Ba  # Field Ruwe… Team up with with# INDEPENDENT OBSERVER. He is moving mountains in UK and USA, yet very down to earth.  He is in a league of his own, very good at  bringing smart people together and raising investment capital. A short while ago, he gave a speech to 45 investors in London who mainly were British White Investors on the need to tap into Southern Africa and particularly Zambia.

  6. flag Wow! How Anthony Bwalya came from the backdoor, overlapped and knockout SLUGGISH and SLEEPY established media CRONIES of UPND to become HH’s Right Hand Man & Press Aid.

    …… When I saw the standing ovation INDEPENDENT OBSERVER received I got so emotional to see a Zambian do that. Him and another guy from South Korea were stars at the executive venue. Frankly, he has opened up my mind and today I know that making money is game and a mindset. I had this poor mindset towards money, making investments and tapping into my human potential. I am a different person in my soul as a human being and found out the secrets and mystics of making money.

  7. [email protected] Wow ! ….. ……..

    I know the investment forum you are referring to which also makes me now know who INDEPENDENT OBSERVER is.
    An economist friend of mine from Botswana attended this venue which was organised and funded by HSBC Bank, KPMG, BLACKROCK, and others.
    This friend of mine from Botswana told me that one of the well-spoken good speakers at the forum was Zambian who
    was a former Investment Banker but now an Entrepreneur, Investment Strategist & Philanthropist

  8. Greatly written with clarity. This is the kind of progressive journalism Zambia locally doesn’t have— l find the writings in the Zambian media pathetic.

    I already see a lot of Zambian *****s responding in the negative. What a pool of fools we have in that country…. development will always be elusive

  9. #s 8 and 10

    IDEPENDENT OBSERVER seems to be a PF cader………..

    Even with UPND in opposition I remember him defending PF or attacking HH……..

  10. Only 12 comments, no one reads this drivel hahahaha. Fiield are you going to throw your toys out of your pram and write an article attacking me now? Fuseke

  11. Good suggestion Field Ruwe of the Zambia Development Institute. The concept here would bud our values and moral justification for work, to work and develop our selves as Zambians. There should be a sense of being a Zambian what can benefit my country. This begins with ideas and develop those ideas into programs and execute them into reality. This in part, would take the values of political parties beliefs and service to fellow countrymen. This is how for example Conservatism is branded or Labour ethos are expounded in UK. In Zambia UPND needs to craft values of its party and discuss such values in debating clubs in schools, colleges and universities for continuity delivering service to Zambians.

  12. Spaka

    You have sunk so low. Clean up your negative energy and work on expanding your mind. If you do that, your mind will perform wonders. What does a person get out of being a cadre, apart from being a praise singer and used by politicians like toilet tissue? You seem to know more about being a cadre. I strongly criticised Chiluba, Mwanawasa, Banda, Sata, Lungu. And yes HH while in opposition. Search Lusakatimes and The Watchdog Archives you will my critics against all past presidents, though I stopped reading the watchdog 10 yrs. ago after it became so extreme.

  13. Cont….

    You will find comments where I praised HH that he was the best person to lobby for investors and grow the economy compared to Lungu who was not astute in that subject area. I have called Lungu naive and an accidental president. The reason why you have not acknowledged my good regards for HH is because you live in an assumption world.

  14. Cont…

    You will find comments where I praised HH that he was the best person to lobby for investors and grow the economy compared to Lungu who was not astute in that subject area. I have called Lungu naive and an accidental president. The reason why you have not acknowledged my good regards for HH is because you live in an assumption world.

    Not sure what is eating you about me to call me a cadre. Best you evict me from your head. I believe you are an Engineer. Use your skills to become the next big innovator, visionary and pioneer in Zambia. HH needs everyone to develop Zambia.

  15. I hate these clichéd sayings Light at the end of the tunnel? How long this tunnel is is never discussed. We’ve been seeing this Light since 1964. Ba Ruwe leave these analyses to comedy. They might work the crowd better there than trying to lift the rapidly plunging mood of HH’s followers

  16. Dr Field Ruwe

    Go for it and stay on course. Don’t listen to nay sayers. Everyone who has ever done something great in life was told that it’s not possible or who are you. You don’t need to hear from HH or wait for his approval. Just keep going with belief, focus and your efforts, it come to pass. The universe will bring it to you. HH cannot do it alone. It’s a collective journey from everyone of us put in our efforts.

    Good Luck

  17. I like this and I want to be part of ZDI, Dr Field Ruwe. I like your ideas and as a Zambian expert in the diaspora I am ready to contribute

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