By Dr. Henry Kanyanta Sosala
The document in question is alleged to have been drawn by the members of the Southern African Development Community (SADAC), which comprises of the following countries: Angola, Botwana, Comoros, D.R. Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, NamIbia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Since the contents in my article involve serious interrogations on certain issues in the document, I have therefore decided to introduce myself in order to avoid diplomatic embarrassment on the Zambian government. We are two hundred and eighty-eight traditional rulers in Zambia. And out of that number, only four are paramount or superior traditional rulers: the Litunga, the king of Barotseland; The Gawa Undi, the king of the Chewa people in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia; the Nkosi yama Nkosi Mpezeni, the king of the Ngoni people of Eastern Zambia and myself, Mwinelubemba Chitimukulu Kanyanta-Manga II, the leader of the Bemba-speaking people in Muchinga and Northern Provinces of Zambia.
I also wish to state that I am a free-thinker. And two of the greatest tenets of being a principled free-thinker is, first, the strong conviction that there is a tremendous survival inner power within myself, i.e., determination and confidence. And, second, the ability to tell people what they need to know, rather than what they want to hear. This therefore means that I must maintain an active spirit of confrontation. And by confrontation I do not, of course, mean the negative way of an ugly scene of exchanging bitter words. Confrontation is speaking the truth in a personal face-to-face encounter regarding issues that need correction. Confrontation is having the courage to question and reject certain issues and more particularly those affecting the livelihood of people at the grass-root level.
In fact, traditional leadership is inherently political. This is born out of history, custom and practice, because before the present mode of governments in Africa, traditional kingship was the sole government. And indeed traditional rulers should step in when politics touches upon morals. Students of society regard politics and sociology as cognate disciplines. Clearly, a science of society cannot ignore the political context and the political theorist cannot ignore social problems and possibilities. Ideas and truths must be linked to purposes otherwise they are useless and sterile. It is therefore not difficult to see how this has furthered the links between political science and sociology, especially in the ameliorative roles.
A Mission of Deceit
In the month of February 2023, a team of professionals paid a courtesy call on me as the usual diplomatic procedure wherever senior government officials are visiting Northern Province. The team which comprised of officials from various government ministries included those from Zesco. I was told that they had come to meet and get inputs from traditional rulers and other stakeholders in respect of the proposed hydro-electric power project on the Luapula river between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.
And during our discussion I got a bit curious as to why they should get inputs from Muchinga and Northern Provinces stakeholders since the project was solely connected to Luapula Province. And to my great amazement the Northern Province Deputy Permanent Secretary said that Chambeshi river was the source of the Luapula river. But I did point out to them that the Chambeshi river’s mouth into Lake Bangweulu was about seventy-two kilometers away from the departure point of Luapula river out of the Lake, and how could Chambeshi river be it’s source!
I then sensed that the delegation had some fishy hidden agenda and I sent somebody to monitor and report to me what they were actually after. And it was not long when my agent reported that the document that was presented was: THE AGREEMENT ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE LUAPULA RIVER AUTHORITY. My agent further informed me that when one alert civil servant asked the presenter why they were invited for inputs when the agreement had already been made. He reported that the presenter was taken aback and looked shocked at such an unexpected question and he simply replied shyly: ‘’It was an oversight.’’ But surprisingly nobody especially the chiefs in attendance picked up the issue of that anomaly.
It is usually at points like that where I come in, because the silence of the villagers always stays with me. Their vulnerability is the measure of their disadvantaged position. They seem to have no public identity and in what some political extremists refer to as ‘’militant political philosophy,’’ it is said that in algebra, one does not work out X, but operates with it as if he knows it. In politics of exploitation, X stands for the anonymous poor masses and this accordingly means operating with or using X without worrying about its actual nature.
Here are a people lacking a union obviously, but dependent entirely upon the tricksters who are adequately trained in their deceiving and cunning thoughts and who cleverly put to use their serpent tongues and whip the groaning masses towards a theoretical future happiness, which never comes. And for such persons lacking alternatives, they are victims of every exploitation that appears on the horizon. And as a result of deliberate policy of poor education in rural areas, the people are unable to defend their interests; to somewhat unionize; to petition; to speak out; to challenge and demand. Their silence stays with me and it is a constant prick on my conscience. The persistent nagging gnaws away at my brain and flirting around my head like a mosquito. There is something uncanny about it. Its compliance. Vulnerability.
And upon scrutiny of the document I discovered that they had included stakeholders from Muchinga and Northern Provinces and why the mis-informed DPS and said that the Chambeshi river was a source of the Luapula river was based on Article 14 (b): ‘’The Authority shall establish a Platform for data and information exchange and Decision Support in relation to the shared water resources of the Luapula River and Lake Mweru and the associated catchment areas, And so in this subtle dimension all water basins of Muchinga and Northern Provinces were cleverly included in the associated catchment areas.
Here are other shockers: Annex 1 Environmental Impact Assessment and article 8 states: ‘’The construction and operation of large dams, reservoirs or hydro-electric power schemes on any part of Lake Tanganyika or on any river that forms part of the Lake Basin or that flows out of the lake. And article 9 further states : Large scale water abstraction from Lake Tanganyika or any river that forms part of the Lake Basin…….
The serious implications in the above articles can only be clearly understood with reference to what had happened during the colonial rule as regards water rights held by the British Southern Company (BSA), and, as was recorded by Richard Hall in his book The High Price of Principles: Kaunda and the White South: ‘’…….it was not permitted for Africans to dig sand from a river bank without special permits from the Chartered Company. And some remote villagers who earned little money from locally produced salt (called chibwa in Mpika District) were subjected to the company’s severe regulations.’’ (ibid p.72).
And deducing from this document, it means that no one, for example, can even dig a furrow in a village in Chinsali District without the permission of the Luapula River Authority whose offices might even be based in the Democratic republic of Congo. It is certainly thinking of ‘’boiled ice’’ for anyone to automatically conclude that we the Bemba people can blindly surrender our water basins to an unstable foreign government.
On the other hand, indeed, Lake Mweru and Lake Tanganyika have common borders with DRC but they are several kilometers far away from the Luapula river and normally one wonders why these have been included in the Luapula River Authority. But on the other hand, the Kafue water basin was not included in the Kariba Dam hydro-power electric agreement!
And you can see how a group of totally corrupt technocrats or professionals in the civil service can conspire and come to deceive and rob poor people out of their God-given natural resources in a day-light robbery. How true are the words of former South African President, P.W. Botha who said: ‘’ …. the white man will continue to use the African’s love of money to destroy himself. Here is a creature who lacks foresight.’
These are traitors who are ready to sale our country and how true were words of Mr. Simon Kapwepwe on 22nd August 1971: ‘’This is a very historic moment. ….the revolutionary spirit adopted before independence has gone. Independence is good, but it is meaningless and useless if it does not bring fruits to the masses. Most of the leaders have turned opportunists. We have lost the love for the people and political direction. We have fallen victims to flattery from imperialists….we no longer mind what happens to the people of Zambia or to their children’s future. We have lost our national objectives. We have lost the revolution, it may be there in name, but it has no spirit and has got no strength. Revolution demands sincerity, dedication, selflessness, devotion and pure sacrifice.’’ (The Kapwepwe Diaries by Godwin Mwangilwa p. 135) (emphasis mine).
I believe the foregoings fall entirely within the passage from Atkins Court forms, 2nd ed., Vol. 25, which states: ‘’… the scope of the defence of justification does not depend upon the way in which the plaintiff pleads his case, but on the meaning or meanings which words are capable of bearing’’ And therefore the very deceitful element or conspiracy to cheat the people renders the THE AGREEMENT ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE LUAPULA RIVER AUTHORITY NULL AND VOID. However, our brothers in Luapula province can continue with the project if they so wish and the document must be adjusted accordingly by removing such wordings as associated catchment areas. And must be strictly confined to their province.
I must, however, make it abundantly clear that the discussions about the Luapula hydro project originated during the MMD administration and therefore, this conspiracy is the total manifestation of the corrupt civil servants and does not in anyway involve the New Dawn Administration..
The History of Civil Service
The state is a hierarchical, centralized organization that holds a monopoly on legitimate force over a defined territory. The civil service reforms were promoted by academics and activists like Woodrow Wilson and Max Weber who distinguished between politics and administration. Politics was a domain of final ends, subject to democratic contestation, whereas administration was a realm of implementation that could be studied empirically and subjected to scientific analysis. Many of the Progressive Era reformers sought to import scientific management into government, arguing that public administration could be turned into a science and protected from the irrationalities of politics.
In Zambia in order to prevent political appointees, a career service track required the adherents to be subjected to examinations to secure tenure for some job categories and this was meant to protect excellence. In Zambia, these civil service examinations were called ‘’efficiency bars.’’ This was meant to be a strict separation between politics and administration. It was to professionalize the civil service by making it nonpartisan.
After we attained our independence in 1964, Zambia was considered to have had the best civil service on the continent of Africa. And indeed, the civil service professionalism was clearly and vividly displayed by how Dr. Sacika (then Secretary to the Cabinet), effectively, efficiently and professionally handled the government affairs when the MMD came into the corridors of power in 1991. But, alas, only six months on the line and the entire administration was taken up by the shrewd, the daring and the most crooked.
An international organization, the National Citizens’ Coalition reported in Social Watch Report 2002: “When former President Chiluba took office from President Kaunda in 1991, the poverty rate was 56 per cent. When he left the government after ten years, poverty had risen to upward of 80 per cent. Large-scale corruption had diverted resources meant for the people of Zambia, while they watched in sorrow and desperation as their country headed towards becoming the poorest in the world. A characteristic feature of Zambia’s poverty is that the government and the international institutions bred it. Zambia’s poverty did not just happen; it was caused…..Former Chiluba’s government was the most corrupt in the history of this country. Resources that should have been used to improve the people’s quality of life were misappropriated in grand corruption episodes..” (ibid. p. 176)(emphasis mine).
Isaac Chipampe wrote: ‘’Indeed after 1991, I saw few of the original wealthy people maintaining their riches. To the contrary, a new crop of wealthy people emerged. They never borrowed from financial institutions; they never discovered anything comparable to Bill Gates’ Microsoft; they never owned any business that had a workforce or machinery or even buildings to show for, and never invested in anything apart from being co-opted in government…….. Government became their major source of wealth. If one was not in government, one became poor…….’’ (Zambia Daily Mail 10th September 2002)
And let me also invite President Mwanawasa to speak to you: ‘’ On 7th February 2007, President Mwanawasa disclosed that three trillion kwacha had been stolen by public service workers. The national budget for 2006 was 10.5 trillion and the stolen money amounted to 30% of the national budget. And no arrests have ever been made. This proves that there is a cartel in government.
Today civil servants are the richest and hold every aspect of government information and since information is power they can hold political appointees like ministers, permanent secretaries and deputies on hooks. And as a result they have become so arrogant that they have even refused to declare their assets. The Diggers newspaper reported: ‘’Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Board Chairperson, Musa Mwenya has questioned why it’s difficult for public officers to declare their assets, further wondering why declarations are not lodged with the Commission.’’ (ibid 23rd February 2023)