Saturday 17 July 2010

President Banda and his travels….

I write what I like….
By Daimone Siulapwa
17th July, 2010

President Banda and his travels….
AS former Foreign Affairs Minister, it is perhaps understandable that president Rupiah Banda is often times seen as the flying minister. But unlike the time he served as foreign affairs minister under Dr Kenneth Kaunda in the first republic when it was imperative to be on move because of the apartheid South African and Rhodesian situation, things have changed now.
The Zambian people do not necessarily need a President who will be pre-occupied with political battles outside the country’s borders at the expense of domestic economic affairs. The greatest challenge that the country currently faces is the upliftment of the living standards of its people.

And we hope that the current administration of President Banda recognize this.
However, if at all they do, then they are definitely going about it the wrong way. Flying from one country to the other almost month-in month-out looking for so-called foreign investment is an illusion. The recent trip to Turkey, where Zambia is said to have signed a number of co-operation agreements is a case in point.

Yes, we may not be at the same level with Turkey in terms of development levels, but it is difficult to see how marginally big Zambia will be able to benefit from that kind of co-operation. Yes, I do believe that the development agenda of any country should be driven from the top, as in, the leadership of the country should show enough hunger for the development of the country.

But a trip to Turkey is certainly one that the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry or indeed the Foreign affairs, would have been able to handle. The argument from those in support would be that the President was merely responding to an invitation. Probably!
But also you and I also know that it is not every invitation that need be expected. How many invitations does State house receive asking the president to officiate at locally? Plenty if you ask me, but he does not always accept all them. He selects which one’s are really worth the trouble. Those that he think do not necessarily warrant his presence, he delegates to either the Vice President, Minister directly responsible for that area or indeed the Presidential Affairs Minister.

This makes perfect sense because it is understandable that the president will not be able to make it to all the functions that he has been invited to. Well, even us, at a personal level, it is not all the invitations that we get to honour.

However, when it comes to foreign trips, it is like the president accepts each and every one. Accepting them is not necessarily the problem, but the way that they are honoured is where the problem is. To accept an invitation for an official State visit does not necessarily mean you go there right away. Some of these invitations can be honoured at a later stage, even after a year.
We have seen United States President barrack Obama cancelling official State visits to Indonesia and Australia in order to deal with domestic issues, particularly the oil spill caused by BP in the Gulf of Mexico.

But often times than not, the President will be seen getting on the plane even when we have issues here that may need his full attention.

Again, this thing of saying the president has gone to such-and-such a country to woo investors is really laughable to say the least. Foreign investors are not going to be attracted to Zambia simply because the president visited that country. They are not going to come and invest in Zambia because of the user friendly investment environment alone but how much profits can they make. Most investors are prepared to invest in war zones as long as they can reap those huge profits they want, The DRC and Somali are a case in point.

Countries that have been able to attract foreign direct investment or indeed those that have made economic strides have done so not because their heads of States or government made foreign trips, but because of the economic policies in place. Ask how Rwanda, which is on its way up despite the genocide in 1994, has been able to do it.

If anything, the President should be carrying the private sector and even traditional leaders on these trips. These are the people that will attract investment in Zambia. The private sector knows the opportunities that exist but often times than not lack either the capital or the technology. On the other hand, traditional leaders, who have abundant land on their side, know what kind of investment is needed in their particular areas.

Further, it is an illusion to think that this country will be developed by foreign investors. Never, it will take the locals to do so. We would want to see the president and indeed the entire leadership of the country paying as much attention to local businessmen as they do to foreigners.

Why can’t the president take a visit to Lusaka’s Kamwala area and see what kind of challenges traders in those areas are facing. Well, does the president even know how much traders in kamwala contribute to the city’s revenue coffers? Or maybe that is an issue he would rather leave to the Lusaka City Council (LCC) while he takes another trip on the Presidential Challenger to another God-knows destination?

Simply put, we need the president to start taking a more active role in local issues than has been the case hitherto.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

A Zambian man based in the USA, Nathaniel Tumbwe ,  is on trial for having unprotected sex with women without telling them that he was HIV positive.Tu

Friday 2 July 2010

Ghana's World Cup

Ghana's eventual loss today was devastating. All of Africa was tied into this, our freedom moment. Uruguay was never a colonizer but somehow, just by their origin, they represented more than just football opposition. Deep down inside we were tying them to the colonizers and oppressors who have tread on our soils. Their South American connection felt repetitive of past World Cups and this, this was Africa's moment.

As Asamoah Gyan stepped up to take the penalty today in the waning minutes of the overtime game against Uruguay today, hundreds of millions of people were holding their breath. If you're like my wife and I, then you barely sat down for a minute of the whole game, stealing occasional glances at the television, while seemingly trying to do innocuous tasks around the house. For the millions of us rooting for Ghana, the only remaining African country in the 2010 World Cup, it more than intense. Luis Suarez, whose handball created this opportunity for Africa to unite in one shining moment, was making his way back to the locker room weeping desperate tears. After Gyan sent the shot hard against the crossbar and over the goal, the camera showed Suarez in exasperated relief, realizing that his very life had been saved. My own laments come to my ears as I questioned God's loyalty to our cause.

There was just this prevailing feeling that this was the year that an African country would break the jinx. This confirmation that we would finally lose the moniker of 'potential' bridesmaid and actually become part of the bridal party. The Black Stars were showing the world that African football has finally arrived at the highest level on the world stage. It took me about six hours to calm down today, eventually needing to go to a garden store to buy some flowers and do some subsequent planting. Therapy, I needed therapy.

Ghana has nothing to hang its head down about, nothing to be ashamed about. Mightier teams have fallen, and earlier in this tournament. Italy, England, France, and Brazil all have made their exit. Ghana put on valiant effort and unlike Luis Suarez whose handball made him an unlikely hero because of the outcome, reminding us again that Africa continues to knock on the door of greatness. This was just not a game, it was our continued strive to forget colonialism, Apartheid, neo-colonialism, elitism and racism. All these seemingly unconnected things are the subliminal, unsaid things that these games represent to us. Uruguay may not have been a colonizer, but their origins allow us to use them as a symbol of all we have fought against.

I want to shout, "Our civil rights were violated, this is racism!" I can't because, this is football and FIFA is doing all it can to send the message that this game transcends race, color, creed, economics and nations. This is the beautiful game - that one game that is truly a world sport. What transpired today was just what Asamoah Gyan said, "It's hard luck. You know, we had opportunity to win this game," Gyan said, "but unfortunately, that is football for you."- (Associated Press

Today, we witnessed why this game is so great, why even after losing a job almost a month ago, I have been carried through what should have been a difficult period with nothing but memories of the opportunities to watch each and every game. With my first day of new employment coming next week, Ghana's exit could not have come at a better time, somehow Uruguay, Netherlands, and whoever wins tomorrow, don't raise my gander. I'm really not interested anymore and will watch only because football is my religion. I will not worship at the altar because my favorite African preachers have left and the choir isn't singing any of my favorite songs.

As for Asamoah Gyan, my hats off, much respect. Stepping up to that penalty kick, he carried the weight of all of Africa. His shoulders should have been sagging as he stepped up to that ball. We were all riding on his shoulders, offering advice on how he should place that kick, how hard he should kick it. His miss was our miss and as Ghana's fortunes go, so went Africa. We are reminded however, in Asamoah's statement about the resilience of Africans, we never dwell on the pain, but recognize that our success is in the fact that we're still standing here today. Ghana played beautiful soccer and Africa rejoiced, Ghana lost and so did Africa, but that was only today. Tomorrow will come.