• government

Wage freeze in public sector?

Government has announced that there will be no salary increments for civil servants until the economy has fully recovered. “If READ MORE...
  • government

Dredger goes to waste

One of government’s dredgers, purchased to rid Kafubu River in Ndola of aquatic weeds, has allegedly been parked for years. READ MORE...
  • government
  • business
  • mining

Israelies to take stake in ZCCM-IH?

Government intends to sell a 17.25% stake in its investment arm, ZCCM-IH, to Sapir Capital of Israel for more than READ MORE...
  • government
  • business

Zambia joins African Bond Index

Zambia has been included in the African Bond Index. The index was launched in February 2015 by the African Development READ MORE...
  • politics
  • government
  • justice
  • money
  • business
  • mining
  • agriculture
  • environment
  • development
  • infrastructure
  • focus

Lungu addresses the nation

President Lungu delivered his second ‘state of the nation’ address to parliament on 17 March. The speech was devoid of READ MORE...
  • government

CDF committees dissolved

Minister of Local Government Vincent Mwale has dissolved Constituency Development Fund (CDF) committees in Zambia until the CDF Bill is READ MORE...
  • government
  • infrastructure

Mini State House in Ndola?

Copperbelt Minister Bowman Lusambo has suggested building a mini State House in Ndola for President Lungu to use when visiting READ MORE...

This Week’s Exchange

Nic Cheeseman, professor of democracy and international development, Birmingham University, UK, stated:

“Until now, Zambia’s progress under multi-party politics has been quietly impressive. Over the last year, though, things have changed. (…) According to the Conference of Catholic Bishops – one of the most influential bodies in the country – Zambia doesn’t deserve to be called a democracy (…) it has become a dictatorship – or getting there. Many Catholic leaders were seen to be sympathetic to the PF, when it won power under Michael Sata in 2011, so what has changed? This is not the first time that a Zambian president has sought to consolidate his authority by manipulating state institutions. Nor is it the first time that opposition leaders have been arrested, or civil society groups intimidated. In the recent past, these moments of high political tension have often been resolved peacefully, (…) but it’s unlikely that Lungu will cede his quest to remain in office. First, key civil society groups such as the trade unions have been weakened by privatisation, informalisation and unemployment. Second, the Constitutional Court, that’s responsible for interpreting the constitution, was handpicked by Lungu. Third, Lungu’s case is more complicated than Chiluba’s. In 2001, the second president had served two full terms in office and wanted one more. Today, Lungu is arguing that he should be allowed to have a third term because his first period in office did not count, as he was just serving out the final year of Sata’s term. All of this means that Lungu is likely to get his way. (…) Opposition protests are inevitable, as is some civil society criticism. If past form is anything to go by, Lungu’s government will respond with threats and intimidation.”

Ruling PF party deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri reacted:

Cheeseman is nothing but an attention-seeking professor, who thinks he can lecture us about democracy. The people of Zambia spoke through the vote, and their wishes must be respected by all, including Cheeseman. Cheeseman creates the impression that there was a letter authored by all Catholic bishops, which labelled Zambia as a dictatorship. For the record, that was an opinion expressed by the archbishop. (…) It is irresponsible for Cheeseman to compare ours with late President Frederick Chiluba’s third-term bid. The view that the current constitution allows President Lungu to seek re-election (…) is before the courts of law. (…) the PF will respect the outcome of the court system. President Lungu’s good governance record remains solid. It was President Lungu’s administration that took the referendum on the proposed Bill of Rights to the people. (…) it was UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema who campaigned against it. It is President Lungu’s administration, which allowed for the 50%+1 clause in the constitution, the running mate clause, and reduction of presidential powers. President Lungu believes in an independent judiciary. (…) Today, Zambia has a Constitutional Court, something that was unheard of in the history of our nation. While the opposition petitioned the Constitutional Court, President Lungu remained calm until the matter expired. We wish to correct the view that human rights of politicians in trouble with the law are being violated. Citizens, who are also politicians, and on trial, have appeared in court within a week of being charged, and (…) for continued trial. The due process of the law is clearly being followed to the letter. Professor Cheeseman‘s daydream, that Zambia is falling from grace because of HH’s arrest, is a lie. Zambia remains a shining example of democracy not only on the African continent but world over.”