Tag Archives: Zambia

The Intersection of Ethics and Law in Zambia’s Corporate Sector

By Elias Munshya, LL.M., MBA, M.Div.

A business corporation on the Copperbelt is alleged to have polluted the Kafue River system in Chingola causing death and untold suffering among the local residents. While these remain allegations at the moment, ethical questions are being asked about what should be appropriate relationship between companies, profits and their ethical obligations to the various stakeholders. In Zambia, just like anywhere else, business corporations have a legal relationship with different stakeholders such as government regulators, customers, and shareholders. Additionally, every business corporation has an ethical relationship, which is not necessarily legal, with many more stakeholders in the contexts in which these businesses operate. As such, every business must balance business law and business ethics if it is to survive in the modern world. The idea that businesses only needed to adhere to legal requirements is now passed. A new era now places a demand upon corporations to incorporate ethical practices into their business.

The goal of business cannot be limited to making money only. There is an expectation and a demand being placed on corporations to endeavor to do business and make money in a way that is sustainable to the environment as well as ethical to other stakeholders in the setting that the businesses find themselves. As such, ethics are becoming that fundamental relationship “between business and the society at large” (Weiss, 2003). There are so many stakeholders that are holding companies both great and small to stringent ethical standards.

Elias Munshya, LLM, M.A., MBA, M.Div.

Elias Munshya, LLM, M.A., MBA, M.Div.

In its widest sense, business ethics “refers to the application of our understanding of what is good and right to that assortment of institutions, technologies, transactions, activities, and pursuits that we call business” (Velasquez, 2002). Nelson’s 2006 definition of business ethics is even more appropriate: Business ethics are expectations – other than business laws – regarding acceptable business conduct. With regard to the relationship between ethics and the law, Halbert & Ingulli (2003) put it very well: “law is what we must do; ethics is what we should do”. It is now not enough that corporations should adhere to laws and regulations, but rather they should adhere to non-legal ethics as well. In fact, the idea that the greatest goal of business is to make money is receiving serious challenge in the modern world.

The conflict or apparent contradiction between ethics and law is an obvious one. Most companies are not sure about how they can satisfy both the law and the ethics in their business operations. Some companies have gone on to satisfy only legal requirements while neglecting ethics. This ethical negligence has had adverse impacts on many companies.

Some alleged events about companies, such as NIKE or KCM, not observing safety or fair practices, while running businesses, has brought the matter of ethics and morality to the forefront. There has arisen an expectation upon companies to be more ethical in the way they do business. For example, NIKE faced criticism in the 1990s when its CEO was getting about 1500 times more in salary and allowances than its workers in factories in the developing world. This disparity in pay between the NIKE CEO and its factory workers in China came to light when a “number of nongovernmental organizations demonstrated during the opening of NIKE’s shop in San Francisco” (Holmes, 2002). The action of these demonstrators shows the ever-expanding number of stakeholders in any given business environment.

NIKE faced more criticism when it relocated production to factories in the developing world. NIKE and many other companies are criticized further because they move production to cheap labour and often to countries whose labour records and ethical behaviour is laxer. As stated by Sadgrove (2005) “companies that relocate production to third world countries are often viewed suspiciously by pressure groups, trade unions and the public”. In 1997, an audit of NIKE suppliers found that Vietnamese workers were working in unsafe conditions. In 1998, the CEO of NIKE assured the stakeholders that he would do all he can to make the company more ethical. By this year 2015, NIKE has done a lot to redeem its image. It has implemented a “series of new policies designed to improve working conditions through the elimination of hazardous chemicals in the production process, researching into international manufacturing processes, and starting a program that independently checked the working conditions of the manufacturing plants” (Holmes, 2002). But the challenge for enhanced ethics still remain.

The question really of how companies, such as NIKE, KCM or Mopani, should be more ethical has hinged on several factors. The first has been the call for companies to self-regulate themselves. This is what has led to many companies making corporate social responsibility as a part of their main activities. The second way has been to push for legislation that compels companies to adhere to certain ethical requirements. The third way has been to find a middle ground between self-regulation and legislation. This third way brings a mix of both ethics and law. The future of corporations in Zambia pivots on the balance between self-regulation and regulatory frameworks in encouraging ethics within the business environment.


Suggested citation: Munshya, E. (2015). The Intersection of Ethics and Law in Zambia’s Corporate Sector. Elias Munshya Blog (www.eliasmunshya.org) (2 October 2015)

****** This article is adapted from an assignment  I submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Wales – E. Munshya.

A Theory of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Zambia

By Elias Munshya, MBA, LL.M, M.Div.

Recently, Zambia’s newly installed Chief Justice Irene Mambilima reminded the legal community of the need to use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). According to Slapper & Kelly (2009: 391) ADR is a means of resolving disputes without resorting to court action. It is available in civil cases but not criminal cases. ADR includes Arbitration, Mediation, Conciliation, Ombudsman, and Tribunals. Arbitration is the procedure where parties in dispute refer the issue to a third party for resolution. Mediation, on the other hand, involves a mediator who helps both sides come to an agreement. In Conciliation the conciliator takes a more interventionist role between parties. Ombudsmen are independent office-holders who investigate and rule on complaints from members of the public about maladministration in government, public and private sectors. Tribunals are quasi-legal bodies empowered by parliament or by secondary legislation.

Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima

Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima

In the words of Lord Brooke, ADR is able “to achieve results satisfactory to both parties in many cases which are quite beyond the power of lawyers and courts to achieve”. For Chief Justice Irene Mambilima ADR helps to reduce the backlog in the court system by diverting cases to a more efficient scheme. ADR advocates assert that all disputes are suitable for ADR due to several factors. Law by its nature is frequently complex and ambiguous. Additionally, the court procedures are so tedious. ADR advocates also assert that it has the advantage in that it does not follow all this tedious procedure. For example, there is no requirement on ADR to follow particular processes and procedures without which, a legal claim may be dismissed. The cost of court of action should make ADR more attractive. It costs a lot more to hire lawyers who mostly charge by the hour. In Zambia, the population of 15 million people chases less than a thousand lawyers. This is an abomination that leads to high litigation cost. ADR could become a cost effective way to resolve civil disputes.

The adversarial character of the Zambian court system coupled with the intimidating atmosphere of a court hearing makes the friendlier ADR a better alternative to the courts. In ADR it is the parties who may choose a place that is more conducive for them where they can discuss freely. The court processes and court resolutions take a long time. No one can make the court system move faster. It abides by its own rules and regulations. These rules and regulations may lead to unnecessary adjournments taking more time and costing too much more for the parties. However, with ADR the parties to the dispute can have more control over the time that their dispute may take.

In spite of the obvious advantages ADR has, it should be stressed that ADR should not and cannot replace the courts of law. Courts have an indispensable role in Zambia. This role is both constitutional and historical. To begin discounting the role of the courts by an irrational commitment to ADR would undermine the very objectives of our legal system.

Unlike the case with ADR, legal custodians such as judges, lawyers, prosecutors, and many others manage Zambian courts. This brings the question of why we should in the first place prefer legal custodians to other professions. In modern society, the lines between legal professions and other professions are being diminished by the day. However, it is still necessary for our society to respect the rule of law. People who have studied and specialized in law should superintend the administration of the law in pubic interest. But with the growth of ADR, there is no guarantee that the mediator or the conciliator would be a person who understands or even appreciates the law.

While ADR should be seen as helping reduce the court load, it should also be accountable to the court system. Indeed, one of the advantages that ADR has over the Court systems is its ability to help the court systems reduce its workload. But that should be taken as secondary advantage and not the primary one. The primary one is that ADR is simply there to resolve the caseload of the ordinary courts, and as such it should not subvert the functions of those courts.

Unbridled preference for ADR could lead to unhealthy competition with the courts, and instead of delivering justice these two institutions could be antagonistic with each other. To avoid that, it would be better to make one subservient to the other, and in this regard then, the courts should have the upper hand and the supervisory role. It would be unreasonable to have ADR replace or even be regarded as equal to the courts.

Courts have the power to enforce its rulings more than ADR has. If anything ADR needs the approval of the courts to have any enforcing power, and as such the court still have the vital and indispensable role to play in the resolution of disputes.

Courts still should have and does have the role to play in resolving matters that would set judicial precedents. These are matters that will serve as a guide to resolving any future cases of a similar nature. ADR, unfortunately, does not have such sway. It is this power that makes courts of law to play a more significant role in resolving a wide category of disputes.

Elias Munshya, LLM, M.A., MBA, M.Div.

Elias Munshya, LLM, M.A., MBA, M.Div.

Courts do have an accountability structure to Parliament and to the general public at large whereas ADR does not have such accountability. And in the absence of accountability, ADR has the potential to not only ignore the law but also ignore public policy. Even if the constitutional principle of Zambia is anchored on the Separation of Powers among the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary, this principle still makes each of the organs of government partially accountable to each other. If law is to be accountable to the people of Zambia, then the court system should remain the mainstay of the resolution of most legal disputes. As such, while ADR has an indispensable role to play in helping society and the court system resolve Zambians’ conflicts, it is unsuitable to replace the courts of law.


Suggested Citation:

Munshya, E. (2015). A Theory of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Zambia, Elias Munshya Blog (www.eliasmunshya.org) (11 September 2015)

“Fairness” In English and Zambian Administrative Law

By Elias Munshya, LLB, LLM, MBA, M.Div.

Elias Munshya, LLM, M.A., MBA, M.Div.

Elias Munshya, LLM, M.A., MBA, M.Div. (Student-at-Law, West End Legal Centre)

Administrative law is that branch of law that governs the scope and activities of government agencies. Government agencies are daily making important decisions that affect Zambian citizens. However, in the discharge of their functions administrative bodies must act with “fairness”. Together with the right to an unbiased judge, the right “to a fair trial” forms part of the elements that constitute the common law rules of natural justice. These rules are a pinnacle of both Zambian and English law. In the Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service [1983] UKHL 6 case, it is Lord Scarman who stated that there was an implied duty of fairness attached to all administrative acts. There is an expectation by anyone who is subject of an administrative tribunal to have a fair hearing. Additionally, when it comes to judicial review, a person affected may challenge a decision on the ground of procedural impropriety if his or her right to a fair trial are abrogated.

In the context of England and Wales, fairness has been reinforced by both sections 2 and 3 of Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), which places a demand upon the courts and all administrative bodies to so construe legislation, as much as is possible, in compliance with the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) and the rulings of its institutions. Specifically, Article 6 (1) of the ECHR states that a person is entitled to “a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal”. These same guarantees are provided in the Zambian constitution.

Fairness, however, is not a clear-cut concept in administrative law because applying what is fair in one case might be unfair when applied in another. What is precise in all this, however, is the fact that fairness does depend upon the circumstances of the case and the nature of the tribunal. As such, while there is a settled principle of fairness in administrative law in England, Zambia and elsewhere, the application of this principle must be contextualized to specific cases if fairness is to be achieved.

In the case of R v Home Secretary, ex p Doody [1994], Lord Mustill stated several principles relevant to the concept of fairness in administrative law. First, the standards of fairness in administrative law are not immutable. They can change with time and change of circumstances. Le Suer, Herberg & English (1999) state “fairness is a flexible concept”. Second, according to Lord Mustill “principles of fairness cannot be applied by rote identically in every situation.” Context is important. Third, Lord Mustill opined that a person who is going to be adversely affected by an administrative decision must be given the opportunity to be heard either before the case is heard or after or both. This third principle complies with the 1915 ruling in Local Government Board v Arlidge, in which the House of Lords held that, there is “a minimum requirement that a party to a dispute should be given an adequate opportunity to present his side of the argument.” Fourthly, according to Lord Mustill, for a person to make a worthwhile presentation of his case, he must be given sufficient substance of the case against him. These principles, taken together with ECHR jurisprudence, would help in the discussion of the relevant cases in which fairness has been the subject matter. Some of these cases are explained below.

English courts have held that a violation of natural justice principles including the principle of fairness would not be acceptable. In R v Board of Visitors of Hull Prison, ex p St Germain, the court ruled that the prisoner’s right to fairness had been breached by an administrative agency’s reliance on hearsay evidence without giving the prisoner the opportunity to respond to that evidence. As in this case then the court saw that in those instances where the person’s liberty is at stake, the principles of fairness should be strictly followed. In the case of R v Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, ex parte Hook (1976), it was held that the rules of fairness had been breached since the decision was excessive and the trial violated the fairness principle. In R v Army Board of the Defense Council ex p Anderson, the administrative agency had breached the rules of fairness since it had not provided Anderson with copies of the written evidence to enable him to comment and reasonably react to the accusations.

However, notwithstanding the court cases mentioned in the paragraph above, the courts have been able to vary the demand for fairness. The courts to vary the demand for principles of “fairness” have used national security considerations. In the cases of R v Home Secretary, ex p Hosenball [1977] and in the case of R v Home Secretary, ex p Cheblak [1991], national security considerations were used to dispense with the stricter need for natural justice. Additionally, in the case of Secretary of State for the Home Department v. AF (2009), the Court of Appeal was willing to allow for the national security consideration in varying the application of the principle of fairness in administrative law, but nevertheless called upon the trial judge to allow the special advocates to have access to the information against the appellants. Here the court was attempting to balance the need for natural justice on one hand and national security considerations on the other.

Courts have varied what constitutes a fair hearing if the subject matter being adjudicated involves the welfare of children. As such, in the case of Re K (infants) [1965], a case involving infants, the courts varied the elements of fairness by not availing all the facts to all the parties of the case. Additionally, in the cases of R (West) v Parole Board [2005] and R (Roberts) v Parole Board [2005], the House of Lords held that in some circumstances the general principles of fairness could be overlooked. These cases involved some prisoners who demanded that the information used in arriving at decisions that adversely affected them should be disclosed to them. In R v Commissioner for Racial Equality, ex p Cottrell & Rothon, it was held that even if cross-examination was not permitted and witnesses did not attend, there was no breach of the rules of fairness. Again the principle of fairness was not followed in this case.

In view of the case law, the present state of administrative law is that fairness still remains an integral part of the justice system. Administrative bodies may deviate from the fairness principle, if it would be in the interest of justice to do so. Even then, parties affected by the administrative body’s decision should be given sufficient information and opportunity to offer their side of the story. This is important for the development of Zambia’s constitutional and administrative law development.


Suggested Citation:

Munshya, E (2015). Fairness In English and Zambian Administrative Law. Elias Munshya Blog (www.eliasmunshya.org) (Sep 3, 2015)

ZAMTEL Kaloba: Politics of running parastatal companies in Zambia

Elias Munshya, LLM, M.Div., MBA

To redeem our national pride and domestic prowess, we must face the truth. To quote our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall “know the truth and the truth shall set us free”. What we need in Zambia is a huge dose of truth. Truth is important for several reasons. First, truth helps us to make a fair assessment of our weaknesses, our abilities and ourselves. Second, truth helps to rob us of all the trappings of self-deception that are so endemic with our shared humanity. Third, truth directs us to what really matters to aid us navigate through the alterations we desperately want. Fourth, truth should inspire us to seek and pursue change. Our country does not need irrational positive confessions more than it needs realistic assessment of how we have interacted within our young history as a nation.

Elias Munshya, LLM, M.Div., M.A., MBA

Elias Munshya, LLM, M.Div., M.A., MBA

The Patriotic Front government has now decided to borrow $300 million to revamp Zambia Telecommunications Limited (ZAMTEL). Previously, it borrowed several millions to revamp Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL). It appears like they might borrow more money to revamp companies such as Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) and many more. It seems there is always someone willing to lend money to us, even if we do not have any tangible plans to pay it back. While the PF’s intentions seem quite legitimate, I am quite concerned that putting more money in these entities will actually not lead to any revival. Had the major problem with these entities been money, I would not have hesitated to support recapitalization. The greatest problem with these entities is not money. ZAMTEL does not have a money problem it has a political problem. The PF cannot resolve a political problem by pumping more borrowed money into a loss making enterprise. Cash recapitalization cannot answer an endemic political problem. Contracting more kaloba from New York shylocks cannot cure a weakness in the political process and culture behind the malaise in these companies.

How is it that ZAMTEL makes losses when its competitors are churning out huge profits? How come Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) makes profits but the company, which sells it power, ZESCO, is bleeding? It is not more money that will resolve the problem Zambian parastatals have. We must do more than that. We must face the truth and then make some changes.

Very educated managers run nearly all parastatals in Zambia. They are the very best in their industries. They are the engineers, lawyers, and Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduates. These directors are the crème de la crème of Zambian society. And yet these educated Zambians cannot manage these companies effectively, because of a political interference, patronage and “wako ni wako” problems. It is these political problems that require change first before we can even think of changing management or even throwing more money at these companies.

Since independence, the Zambian state has lamentably failed to stay away from boardrooms of parastatal companies. The Government of Republic of Zambia (GRZ) has so disappointingly interfered with business decisions of parastatals as to render the educated and skilled men and women at the helm of these companies ineffective and at most redundant. We need to rethink the present parastatal model. GRZ control of boardrooms of parastatals should be abandoned. GRZ is not good at doing business that actually makes profit. It must stop pretending to run business. It should stay away from these companies.

The kaloba couple

The kaloba couple

If GRZ cannot stay away from boardrooms, the next proposal should be that it sells its majority shares in these companies so that private capital takes over these companies. GRZ does not need to sell all shares; all it needs is to sell its majority shares to others who can run businesses better in a quasi-parastatal model. So far, the best quasi-parastatal models that seem to work are Indo-Zambia Bank and Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO). In both of these companies, GRZ has some shares but not controlling shares stemming the politicization of the boardroom. As such, once IZB or ZANACO declare profits, GRZ does get a share of the dividends. It is not usually huge amounts, but it shows that with government staying away from controlling boardrooms, Zambian companies can run at some profit.

Professor E. Clive Chirwa

Professor E. Clive Chirwa

There is a market for a good railway company in Zambia. But in order to have a good railway company, GRZ should stop political interference in ZRL. The MMD government did well to sell ZRL to private investors. The only thing GRZ needed was to have significant number of shares in the company to have a say in it and help nudge the company in the right direction. Disaster happened when the PF government repossessed ZRL, forced politics into it and before long, ZRL became a tool in the hands of a Good Parasite who demanded a K2 Billion annual salary and a $1,000 per night home. Professor Chirwa could make all these grandiose demands, because he knew that ZRL was a political cow that could be milked at the will of politicians. No reasonable private board would have allowed the eminent professor to have such a go at a company. But to date, Professor Chirwa justifies his demands because politicians said so!

The Zambian state should now privatize and sell the following companies: The University of Zambia, the Copperbelt University, one of the two government owned newspapers, ZESCO, ZRL, ZAMTEL and the many other companies. Perhaps the only institutions that should be saved are statutory bodies such as NAPSA and strategic organisations such as State House and the red brick. Once organisations such as UNZA are sold, government can then concentrate on what government can actually do better: making policy and enforcing standards. Why on earth have we insisted on running UNZA when GRZ’s running of UNZA has transformed it into a cacophony of shame? Sell all these companies and save us from the drama.

As for ZAMTEL, I urge GRZ to not contract any more debt. Unless if GRZ has really got other plans for this kaloba. The last time I checked a bottle of Jameson or a designer suit does not cost $300 Million.

The Siamunene Factor: Implications for Edgar Lungu and the future of the Patriotic Front

Elias Munshya, LLM, MDiv., MA, MBA

 To say that Zambia’s new defence minister is a political neophyte is an understatement. President Lungu’s choice is surprising, shocking and ultimately contentious. From the little I have gathered, the Patriotic Front diehards are quite angry at the turn of events. They are equally shocked. I share with them feelings of deep doubt and uncertainty that this choice for a defence minister brings.

Richwell Siamunene is actually a member of the United Party for National Development (UPND). Regardless of how we spin it, Siamunene remains a member of parliament sponsored to parliament by the opposition UPND. From the last time I checked, President Lungu is not in an alliance of any sort with the UPND. How does he then choose a defence minister from its ranks? The idea that the president of our republic has the power to desecrate the multiparty character of our democratic edifice is an assault on the very foundations of our republic. Appointing an opposition MP to a sensitive position such as minister of defence does not sound right; it certainly does not feel right. It can not be justified.

Lungu now says that Siamunene is loyal. In Aushi, we say “imputi isula taibula kubwekeshapo.” Siamunene threw the electorates of Sinazongwe and his party UPND under the bus, what makes Lungu believe that he will be loyal to the PF, when in fact he is not even a member of the PF.

Lungu's new found love

Lungu’s new found love

Following his elevation, Siamunene is now insulting Hakainde Hichilema. In a democracy like ours, it is to be expected that an MP can change her mind and choose to associate with a different party. Our constitution provides a process for that: resign and go back to the electorate. By-elections are expensive and many Zambians do not like them. But I am shocked that the same party that has led Zambia into unprecedented by-elections is refusing to have just one more by-election to test the popularity of the defence minister who Lungu has elevated behind the back of the people of Sinazongwe. The PF is not least concerned about the cost of by-elections. Had they been concerned, they would not have done a wholesale petition of nearly all of the seats won by the MMD. If Lungu wants Siamunene so much, he can take Siamunene back to Sinazongwe to re-contest on Lungu’s ticket. Then only can we be sure that this gentleman has the blessing of the people who sent him to parliament in the first place.

The appointment of Siamunene displaces several PF stalwarts within the government structure and hierarchy. By government practice, a minister of defence is a defacto number three. While the Zambian constitution does not categorically put the minister of defence as the third in command, Zambian practice and precedence has always recognised the seniority of the defence minister above other ministers. It is therefore quite questionable that President Lungu would award an opposition MP with such a colossal ministry, thereby displacing the cabinet seniority of such ministers as Simbyakula, Harry Kalaba, Yamfwa Mukanga, and Chishimba Kambwili. These ministers are not likely to revolt openly, but there are murmurs in the background loud enough to knock down a bottle of Jameson off a huge black table at Chez Ntemba.

Is Lungu sidelining Bembas?

Is Lungu sidelining Bembas?

Some good people in our country seem to suggest that President Lungu needed to appease the good people of the South after the Chundu Chaitwa by appointing a Tonga to cabinet. I find this justification to be quite insulting to say the least. What Patriotic Front Secretary General, Davies Chama, said about Tongas was very offensive. The good people from the South have justifiably expressed outrage about those remarks. The Right Honourable Inonge Wina even went to the extent of apologizing in parliament on behalf of her Patriotic Front party. Contrary to the demands by the Tonga citizens of our republic that Chama apologizes for his remarks, he has not. In addition to that, President Lungu has still not publicly addressed himself to these remarks. The only way to resolve those offensive words is for President Lungu to prevail upon his Secretary General to apologise. It is an apology that would show respect for the Tonga people of Zambia, and not this nominal elevation of a novice to the powerful position of defence minister. That which should be mended by making amends through an apology cannot be patched by making a superficial appointment of a polemic person to the position of defence minister. President Lungu’s appointment is a show of his strength and his power, but beyond power, we need compassion, common sense and fortitude. What we need is for President Lungu to show respect for the nation by bringing his disordered party collaborator into line. Chama must apologise and then resign or get fired.

Where then does Siamunene appointment leave the rest of the PF stalwarts? They really have no idea what certainly hit them. They are as shocked as a cucumber. They cannot decode what Lungu is up to. But one thing should not be doubted; Lungu’s action has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many. They have been by-passed only for Lungu to go and appoint a non-member of the PF to a very powerful position. The PF will be demoralized. The troupes of the party will not be happy. A message will be sent to Mansa, Milenge, Kasama, Lubansenshi, Kanchibiya and Chinsali. That message will state very briefly, “there is a huge change in Lusaka and it might be time to break from the Patriotic Front as it stands now”. Lungu’s recent remarks are not providing comfort to Bemba citizens of our republic. The theory I am providing here is a real possibility.

Zambia's new minister of defence Richwell Siamunene

Zambia’s new minister of defence Richwell Siamunene

Once analysed within the ambit of our brief political history though, Lungu’s action of appointing a politically weak person to a powerful political position is not unique. Most of Zambia’s presidents have done it. But very rarely have Zambian presidents extended this to a minister of defence. Mostly, Zambian presidents appoint politically weak candidates to the position of vice-president. Since Lungu has a politically powerful Veep, he might have naturally wanted to go for a weak number three. For surely, had Lungu appointed politically astute candidates such as Frank Bwalya, Emmanuel Mwamba, Harry Kalaba or Mumbi Phiri to this position, they would have grown political brains much faster than Siamunene ever would. By growing brains, I mean having the ability to outshine their boss and mount a formidable political following. Lungu does not want any one to shine in the PF, and he despises anyone who shows some political prowess. May be looked at from this angle, we might find some justification in President Lungu’s elevation of a nonentity to become a defacto number 3. Congratulations to Hon Siamunene, but the real fallout is only beginning.

Beyond Kolopa.com: Hichilema, by-elections and the future of the UPND

By Elias Munshya

This article appeared in the Zambia Daily Nation Newspapers. It is reproduced below.

It is another batch of by-elections and another kolopa.com of the United Party for National Development (UPND) by the Patriotic Front (PF). The PF has its own tactical and strategic blunders. They are, however, the ruling party and as such, they are getting some advantage of incumbency. There is still a lot of time to discuss what I have noticed to be serious glaring gaps in the PF overall strategy to date. I will defer that discussion to another date. Since the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) is not the ruling party, it bears the greater burden of the two parties to show a strong strategy in the political process. If Hakainde Hichilema is to beat Lungu and the PF in 2016, he had better come up with a better plan. What we are seeing so far is a “chimbwi no plan” approach.

After losing to Lungu in January 2015, we thought that the UPND would critically evaluate its role and make some changes to its strategy. It is rather surprising that the party’s way of doing things has remained the same. It is ridiculous for the UPND to believe that it can use the same strategy it used before January 2015, and expect to win in 2016 and in between.

Weeks after this article was published in the daily nation, it appears that GBM might become UPND Vice-President at tomorrow, Wednesday July 22 conference.

Weeks after this article was published in the Zambia Daily Nation, it appears that GBM might become UPND Vice-President at tomorrow, Wednesday July 22, press conference. We will come back with an analysis of what that will mean.

Hakainde Hichilema has left intact the same team that led to his loss. While the PF has made changes to their team, Hichilema has done nothing. The UPND needs some shake up. I do not advocate for the removal of Hakainde Hichilema, but HH must shake his team a little bit. It is now six months since the 2015 loss, and yet, he has not dared to make some strategic changes to his UPND squad. The only change to have taken place in the UPND was the resignation of Richard Kapita. But what the UPND needs is some deliberate retooling of its top leadership. Hichilema must bring in fresh blood such as Maureen Mwanawasa into the top UPND leadership. He could also need to look at the position of Secretary General of the party. I am afraid, the current occupant of this position has been ineffective and for a Chief Executive of a major party, he virtually is unknown. It is time to replace Chibwe with someone more vibrant. Maureen Mwanawasa would be a great choice for this job. She is strong, she is vibrant, and she is the real deal.

Hichilema must also move quickly to find a new vice-president to replace the departed Kapita and the current Canisius Banda. I have been of the opinion that the one to replace Kapita should be a Bemba-speaking candidate. Such a choice will help balance a key weakness perceived by a section of the population about the UPND. While empirically, the UPND is tribally balanced, there are some very loud perceptions out there that seem to suggest that it is a tribal party. Hichilema needs to manage those perceptions by wisely dispelling them. And by integrating a Bemba Vice-President, the UPND will be adding an important layer to dismissing such perceptions. UPND does not have a reality problem it has a perception problem. And in politics like everywhere else in life, perceptions matter.

Elias Munshya

Elias Munshya

During the January 2015 election campaign, we all thought that the golden era of the UPND had finally dawned. And the results showed a great showing of the UPND in nearly all parts of the country. But in order to win in 2016, the UPND will need to do even better in its non-traditional areas. It is rather surprising, that after the elections, all the politicians, particularly Bemba ones, have now abandoned HH. The question we are asking is, “why does HH fail to make these people stay”? So far, they appear like they support HH and the UPND but they have not done anything tangible to show that they are willing to invest their political capital in the UPND. The likes of Mucheleka, GBM, and Mutati all appear to be quite reluctant to commit. Without serious commitment from such politicians, the UPND will continue in its failure to move its narrative forward. We have, of course, seen HH appear with GBM. But in almost all instances he appears with GBM, they are either roasting michopo at the Hakainde mansion, or they are busy boogying to Pilato’s “Alungu ana bwera” at GBM’s extravagant wedding for his daughter. There is nothing wrong with two rich guys drinking expensive drinks and celebrating a daughter’s nuptials, the problem is with the perception that such activities bring. Instead of just being BBQ buddies, GBM should commit to the UPND, resign his seat in Kasama and do something more tangible for his newly found party. The time to do so is now. Waiting until campaign period opens up in 2016 might be too late.

Many Zambians still believe in HH. But HH must do more to show that he believes in himself. So far, he appears to be unsure of himself. He appears insecure and weak. The UPND team needs revamping. HH must do something more daring and take some risks. He is a rich businessman and he has learnt risk taking through his productive life as a businessman. He needs to translate that experience to the UPND. Change something, fire someone and bring in new blood. If GBM, Mutati and Mucheleka will not commit, HH should be decisive and shove them off for people that are actually willing to commit. There is just no time left. Beauty pageants should now be over. Time for roasting BBQs at the mansion is over. A team that is willing to work hard for HH must be recognised now and assembled quickly.

And just as a suggestion. HH can also try to talk to Nevers Mumba. It is obvious that Nevers’ talks with Lungu have failed. That should provide an opportunity for HH. Every one knows that the MMD under Nevers will not go anywhere because politics has changed to disfavor the MMD. But that is not to say that Nevers cannot be useful elsewhere. If Nevers cannot approach HH, HH should approach Nevers and try to make a deal, the one that could help the UPND in the long run.

HH at one time, did say that President Sata was running a “chimbwi no plan” government. However, the same can be said of HH now. He needs to show that he still has something more for Zambia; otherwise, it will be another kolopa.com in the next batch of by-elections and terrifyingly in 2016 as well.

Cuundu Chaitwa: Leveraging the power of regional politics in Zambia

E. Munshya, LLM, M.Div.

Regions are vital ingredients of our democracy. Without regional power and peculiarities, Zambian democracy would have long perished. The best way for Zambia is a heterogeneous political polity and a diverse confluence of various regional patterns and preferences. Instead of castigating regionalism, we must now, more than ever, embrace it and leverage it for national development. The issue should never be about destruction of tribes and regions, but rather equal respect for all and by all. And that includes respecting “cuundu chaitwa”.

Elias Munshya

Elias Munshya

While we were all intoxicated by the charm of Frederick Chiluba and his team of magicians in the 1991 elections, there was one region that stood firm against the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD): the Eastern province. The Easterners did a “wako ni wako” and decided to stick with Kaunda’s UNIP. Those 25 seats held by UNIP in the east saved Zambian democracy. Those seats assured checks and balances in parliament. They provided a cushion. Had Frederick Chiluba won all the seats in parliament, we would have lost our democracy. In 1991, and years after that, Zambian democracy was saved because a region decided not to follow the whole country in the sweeping of change.

Shortly after the 1991 defeat, Kenneth Kaunda retired from active politics. However, he still had interest in the presidency and this interest became a great source of instability in UNIP. Kaunda finally returned to the helm of the ruling party. What ensued was a bitter political fight between Chiluba and Kaunda. The fallout was acrimonious. Kaunda decided to lead UNIP into the boycott of the 1996 elections. And with that boycott Chiluba accomplished what he had failed in 1991 – total control over all the constituencies and all the regions. The MMD’s control of almost all seats in parliament after the 1996 elections led to its natural consequence: Chiluba was going to be “wamuyaya”. He was now commander of the entire republic and as such, his lieutenants in the MMD started promoting a Third Term. He had reason to do that because he had the requisite numbers in parliament and there was no region and no party to hold him accountable. But then another region emerged.

After the 1996 elections, it is the rise of the United Party for National Development (UPND) that would help refurbish our democracy. In the ensuing by-elections between 1996 and 2001, the UPND swept all of them in Southern Province. With those wins in the south, Anderson Mazoka’s party was going to develop into a real national party. By the 2001 elections, it was the UPND which had become the biggest opposition party. It had a loyal region in the south and it has been so for many years. After the disappointing fall of UNIP after 1996, there was virtually no opposition of consequence until the emergence of Mazoka.

Cuundu Chaitwa

Cuundu Chaitwa

Having one party win all the seats in parliament, has not worked very well for Zambia. When Chiluba had almost all the seats after the 1996 elections, he began to contemplate the “wamuyaya” doctrine. When Sata’s Patriotic Front (PF) swept to power in 2011, the Secretary of the PF, Wynter Kabimba would be heard boasting that Sata and the PF should become the sole party. Kabimba saw the PF’s victory in 2011 as indicative of the fact that Zambians now wanted to have the PF as the sole political party. Kabimba’s one-party project flopped because, there was clearly one region that was not going to tolerate his nonsense: the Southern Province. Had the south not been an opposition stronghold it would have been easier for the ruling party to try and push through some undemocratic “wamuyaya” changes. Currently, Davies Chama the new Secretary of the Patriotic Front has also been heard stating that the Patriotic Front might as well be Zambia’s sole party. Indeed, it does appear like the PF is sweeping the East and if they make gains in the Northwest and Western, they are likely to command unhealthily large sections of parliament. The only real antidote to their venom is the faithfulness of the south to the opposition UPND.

In the Third Republic, the south has been a great blessing to our democracy without which we would have long gone back to the Kaunda days. So instead of feasting on our condemnation of the political behavior of the south, we all must be grateful that the south has remained a stronghold of the UPND. The UPND’s message is now seemingly resonating across the country and very soon the party might as well grow to become a ruling party one-day. I just hope that if and when it rules, there will be a region that will stand up and say no to the UPND so that we maintain great checks and balances. For now, the UPND and the south should continue holding the PF accountable. Doing so is a great service to the people of Zambia.

Zambia comprises regions, and tribes and a dose of diversity. We cannot have any one party dictate how all this diversity must behave politically. So instead of using the One Zambia One Nation as a tool of pretense and hypocrisy, we had better say thank you to regions that have not tolled that UNIPist line and have instead decided to exercise their democratic right differently.

Politician and businessman Hakainde Hichilema

Politician and businessman Hakainde Hichilema

Regionalism in Zambian politics will almost certainly bring political players to the table. It will ensure that no one party dominates the entire political process and take us to the abyss. Regionalism will help our country to truly devolve power to the regions and districts. Regionalism will prevent the people of Milenge from voting for a party on a promise that the party will build a bridge in Malambo. Regionalism will help us ask the question: if you need a vote from my region, what will you do for Milenge? It is not enough to get votes in Milenge and then disappear to take development to Mandevu in Lusaka. Lusaka is a region in Zambia but so are Mongu and Kazungula. One Zambia, many regions.