Wednesday, April 24, 2024

As Tories implode, Rishi Sunak is rising – any lessons for Zambia?

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By Chimwemwe Mwanza

What is happening to the party of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher? It’s a fact, the Tories are in freefall, two different leaders in just under 10 months. That each of these leaders left their positions under a cloud, exemplifies the party’s predicament.

The party is in a gradual but inexorable state of deterioration. Boris Johnson (BoJo) quit his position in a huff following a string of scandals including revelations that he had been hosting shindigs at his official residency while he shut the rest of the country due to Covid -19.

In an act reminiscent of Brutus’s stab on Caesar, BoJo’s most trusted ally Rishi Sunak, who served as his Chancellor of the Exchequer led a mass of resignations from cabinet prompting BoJo to step down. Enter Liz Truss, her bluster and Thatcherite posture during a bitter tussle for keys to no 10 Downing street is what earned her the right to lead the Tories. Let’s face it, Truss was undeserving of leadership and therefore had no business leading the UK – a country boasting one of the world’s most sophisticated economies.

She was too inexperienced and naïve. Her reign proved a disaster – a big damp squib that promised big but delivered nothing in return. Her maiden economic pronouncement which was the budget presented by her Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng spooked the markets. The pound tanked as investors scampered for safe havens. Never mind the reasoning, how does one slash taxes to fund the rich, granted the UK’s economy is battling to boost its revenue streams?

Any lessons to Zambia’s current leadership, perhaps? Hint hint, is Honourable Musokotwane reading this? Indeed, there is something deep to pick from this episode. You can’t give tax breaks to wealthy mining companies that don’t need this money. As former US President Barack Obama would often say, the Math just doesn’t add up. Truss’s disastrous reign reminds of that other guy who promised the Zambian electorate ‘more money in their pockets’ only to plunge the country further into debt (MHSRIP).
You see, the Tories are a duplicitous lot and heaven knows, they are reaping what they sowed many centuries ago – a factor that led to nationalism becoming their staple. In their universe, competency is of little consequence as long as their leader is a thoroughbred. It’s little wonder that Truss’s reign lasted a mere 44 days but not before she had sacrificed Kwarteng to the altar of political expediency.

The audacity of it all, they even attempted to lure BoJo back to his former job just to prevent Sunak, a son of East African immigrants from taking up residency at no 10 Downing street. Never mind that Kwarteng became the first person of colour to manage the UK’s purse strings – albeit for 38 days, his dismissal effectively consigned his political career to history. And watching the Tories implode in this manner must be painful to Churchill and Thatcher.

They are probably turning in their grave in protest of Sunak’s ascent. But there is a poignant lesson here. Try as we might to resist change, we just have to accept that some history defining moments are durable enough to defy political gravity. Sunak’s ascent is one such. In case we missed it, Prince Harry’s decision to marry a woman of colour was ominous a sign of things to come. For Britons of colour, this surely is their Obama moment.

Sunak and HH measured on same scale

Both are fabulously wealthy that they don’t need the hard slog of politics to earn their living. While Sunak traces his fortune to his career as a hedge fund manager, HH’s stint as an auditor for niche accounting firms such as Grant Thornton and PWC among others is what parachuted him into the business stratosphere. As demonstrated in the UPND’s maiden budget, both HH and Sunak are cut from the same cloth.

They are strong believers in trickle down economics whose doctrine is rooted in preserving the wealth of a privileged few for the benefit of the majority. This is hardly surprising. Plutocrats turned politicians tend to become rent seekers once they assume office. Fact is that the duo owe their allegiance to the private sector. A consolation to Britons is that they can count on Sunak’s acumen and experience. He will succeed in stabilising the UK economy and return it on a firm growth trajectory.

Can the same be said of HH? It’s true that there is a suddenly a burst of interest in Zambia’s economy. HH has certainly laid the fundamentals for economic growth. While inflation has dropped to single digit figures – a key matrix for measuring the stability of the economy, there is a strong liquidity crunch in the economy. This is a red flag to SMEs and other businesses looking for capital. On a positive note, thousands of teachers and health professionals were recently recruited and more civil servants are expected to join the swelling ranks government employees.

Only challenge is that there is a dangerous façade to these successes. The new recruits joining the civil service are hardly the result of surplus revenue or a growing economy. Government is relying on borrowed money to sustain a ballooning wage bill. One can only pray that this balloon doesn’t pop. But who cares even if it pops? It’s unthinkable that either HH or Musokotwane or at least both would escort Struss and Kwarteng to their political sunset.

Actually, what has the Hichilema Presidency translated into thus far for the ordinary Zambian weary of unemployment and poverty? Simple question, no need to run for the hills.

About the Author: Mwanza enjoys reading Political History and Philosophy. For feedback, email [email protected]

28 COMMENTS

  1. The difference between HH and Sunak is one has public mandate the other has not no matter how the Tories sugarcoat it…the British public ar not happy with especially the right given that Boris mandate was underpinned by BREXIT and reducing immigration only for his govt to allow a son of an immigrant born to to African-born Hindu parents of Indian Punjabi descent. Lastly HH had a humble upbringing in the village whilst Rishi Sunak attended Stroud School, a preparatory school in Romsey, and Winchester College, a boys’ independent boarding school, where he was head boy…only posh wealthy people send their children to such schools. Sunak is a posh kid with zero understanding of the sufferings of average joe in the council estates in Newcastle or Middlesbrough….if General elections were…

    • British democracy is not a Presidential one. Parliament is supreme. The British people do not elect a President, they elect a political party and the leader of the party with more members in parliament, EVEN BY JUST ONE, gets to form government. If the leader has lost the confidence of his members, he or she has one of two choices- resign or call a general election. Calling a general election only helps if the leader is sure of getting rid of the difficult members and replacing them with supporters. When the economy is in tatters, the party can only stay in power by forcing a resignation.

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  2. Concentrate on politics in zambia. We have our own problems like poor leadership from inexperienced hh. Why waste your energy on people who don’t even think or care about Zambia.

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    • Impostor such articles are too complex or see what the author is trying to do…wait for an article on Kabushi by elections so you can comment.

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    • You don’t tell us when or what to comment on. Get a real job and take a break from blogging mr orange.

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  3. Concentrate on politics in zambia. We have our own problems like poor Ieadership from inexperienced hh. Why waste your energy on people who don’t even think or care about Zambia.

  4. Brexit was exclusively centered on national British identity. Inadvertently, they settled for an Indian. Thus, they must go back to rejoin the EU since objectives have flopped.

    Back home. The greatest achievement the New Dawn will always be remembered for, is inflation drop and currency stability.

    Inflation rate from 25% to 10%
    From buying the Dollar at K23 to only K14 (improved by about 40% is no mean feat).

    However, there is still work in progress, to address: no money in the pockets, no employment, no CDF disbursement, no farmers’ inputs and a very high cost of living.

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  5. “In a democracy, politicians are expected to represent each person equally, regardless of their financial status. The principle of “one-person, one-vote” means that no matter who we are, our rights to health care, education, housing, and other basic needs are equally important.

    Money in politics complicates this system. When politicians receive large financial contributions from organizations, corporations, campaigns, or individuals, they are inclined to be more responsive to their needs. This puts the voices of everyday Americans at a disadvantage.”

  6. Citizenship comes with rights and obligations in any self-respecting modern democracy. These rights include the franchise and the right to be voted for. The UK remains an imperfect democracy; some even question if it’s a democracy at all but it’s a good example of how to make a multicultural society work.

  7. The biggest blunder that country made was to refuse to collect taxes, but choose to contract a loans to fund consumption to avert the freezing winter for example. It is the same taxpayers who eventually pay for sovereign debts. Who does that? Truss.

    Britain first, the motto of Brexit has lost it. How do you fund the war that has so much economic pressure on your people?

    While the avoidable war in Ukraine has unsettled the entire globe, some individual decisions we make are more injurious to our respective countries than blaming the warfare itself.

    We funded the war, it didnt work. Let’s see fresh leadership of Rishi and friends fund (cost effective) diplomacy now.
    Am tired of wars. Time to dialogue with fresh blood. Declare stalemate, stop the war.

    The future is now.

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    • There is nothing new with Sunak he is part of the Boris cabinet…he was very influential only jumped when he saw his boss was in hot soup and was caught.

  8. Interesting to read how Zambians envy or like to compare themselves to systems they don’t understand. Rule number 1, don’t follow something you don’t understand. How many of you would have allowed Dipak to be your president? or let me put it in another way, do you see yourself being the president of India or China? if you can answer these questions then you will understand the mood of the English people. Note, I used English not British. The lesson for Zambia is stick to what you know and what works for you.

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    • This UK PM was attacked verbally because of his ethicity, even on how he would sell UK to India. Democracy is always unique to a given country.

      Zambia has made strides in politics too and is very peculiar as well. Eg:

      1. Hon. Guy Scott is former republic VP. The Scottish, also served as president of Zambia, for 3 months.

      2. Lt. Gen. Colin Barry, 2021, ZAF commander is of Scottish decent.

      3. James Skinner, Irish born, became first Justice Minister in Zambia, 1964.

      While we find it handsome for “foreigners” from our colonial masters to occupy key positions, we feel loathsome to have others like Chinese go into the police service even as reservists.

    • Use your logic, the statement is based on assumptions and hypotheticals to make you understand. Britain is one of the countries that invented the current economic system and everything that’s wrong with it, do you honestly think you can compare yourselves with them? These are the same people who have hidden your own history from you so that you can play catch-up for the rest of your lives. Think man.

    • Future Zed what you are saying has nothing to do with logic. Even it’s attempt at reasoning is flawed. Gig gang’s question when answered will show you your comparison of Kunash, a Briton to Zambian citizens standing for Asian elections doesn’t hold. It should have been polished before being posted

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    • Devan, I was responding to Gig Gang. First of all it’s Sunak not Kunash, a son of an immigrant. Any Zambian citizen is entitled to immigrate to any country they like and logically if that country happens to be India, do you think their offsprings could one day be president of that country? Use your head not your emotions.

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  9. The biggest blunder that country made was to refuse to collect taxes, but choose to contract loans to fund consumption to avert the freezing winter, for example. It is the same taxpayers who eventually pay for sovereign debts. Who does that? Truss.

    Britain first, the motto of Brexit, has lost it. How do you follow foreign policy that has so much economic pressure on your citizenry?
    The arms approach hasn’t worked. Let’s see fresh leadership of Rishi and friends fund (cost effective) diplomatic solutions now.
    We are tired of the use of force. Time to dialogue with fresh breed. Declare stalemate, stop the war.

    The future is now.

  10. Whatever his name is.. this guy is just a stooge he just replaced a 44days prime minister liz trash .. sad how undemocratic the collective west is.

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  11. Concentrate on Zambia, Britain will take care of its own affairs.
    No wander the British gave Zambia a Constitution in 1964 more similar to USA than Zambia adopting the British system of Governance.
    It was going to be impossible for us to run our Government with British customs.
    Here we are, we were interpreting our constitution terribly wrong with no respect at all during PF reign and totally no Zambian ethos.
    Is stealing a Zambian ethos? NO.
    It is very important for those who realize their mistakes to apologies.
    We all make mistakes in our life. But an apology can not cost a ngwee.

  12. When slaves focus on the master’s house they don’t get worried about their own home. All their ambitions even if unattainable lie in the master’s house.

  13. When journalists have nothing to write about. Lessons from this? None
    The only similarities we have with Britain is we speak the same national language.

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