Editor's Note

It’s not our fault!

It is almost funny. When the Kwacha went into free-fall last year, government put it down to external factors on the global scene. In fact, Paul Moonga, member of the ruling PF party’s central committee, this week went as far as claiming that the fall of the Kwacha “was purely an effect of events in the world economy”. The opposition, on the other hand, wasted no time in highlighting internal factors, namely how government had mismanaged the economy by living beyond its means, racking up debt and alienating foreign investors. Now that the Kwacha is appreciating, government is putting it all down to internal factors, namely the wise interventions of President Lungu, resulting in reduced government expenditure and improved investor confidence. The opposition, however, has been quick to claim that this is not the case. They are yet to attribute the depreciation to external factors, but they are accusing government of manipulating the economy. The real reason is probably found somewhere in between. But it’s all in the eyes of the beholder!

Camilla Hebo Buus, Editor Zambia Weekly
  • development
  • living

Witchcraft closes clinic

Government has closed a clinic in Southdowns’ agricultural area in Kitwe because no one is willing to work there. The READ MORE...
  • living
  • zambia-in-the-world

Archbishop of Canterbury arrives

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the leader of the Church of England and about 80 million Anglicans worldwide, has READ MORE...
  • justice

Another ritual murder

Another victim of an alleged ritual murder, Amon Sichamba, 21, has been discovered in Lusaka, resulting in another riot in READ MORE...
  • development

Meningitis outbreak in Kasama

Meningitis has broken out at St Theresa Girls’ Secondary School in Kasama District, Northern Province. A total of 25 cases READ MORE...
  • development

Cholera vaccine being distributed

Authorities have started distributing an oral cholera vaccine in Lusaka to stem the outbreak of the waterborne disease. They are READ MORE...
  • politics
  • justice

PF cadres kill UPND cadre?

The opposition UPND party have accused the ruling PF party of beating to death UPND member Lewis Mwila. UPND Spokesperson READ MORE...
  • justice
  • money

Former NATSAVE boss arrested

Former MD of the government-owned National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE), Leonard Mwanza, has been arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission READ MORE...
  • development

22 universities in Zambia

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has registered 19 private universities in Zambia under the Higher Education Act of 2013, which 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.”