Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Aspiring Presidents Be Warned


They say, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me".  I do not what we might be called when we are fooled for the umpteenth time and we keeping falling for it. There must definitely be an explanation for it. I can excuse a primary school friend for forgetting my name. I can excuse a person who has been through an accident for forgetting their date of birth. I can forgive a person who has amnesia for forgetting what they did the previous day. However, what I fail to excuse is where people pretend to forget the pains, suffering, and joys that they went through because of denial. As we press towards the presidential elections people have deliberately decided to switch on their selective amnesia buttons.

 

20 January 2015 is the day of reckoning, on the ballot paper we shall have the contenders, pretenders and unfortunately the time wasters. Did I just say time wasters, no I wasn't talking about Alex Muliokela. Of the contenders we have the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD), Patriotic Front (PF) and United Party for National Development (UPND). It is only the UPND party that has not tasted the presidency. However, with that being said, it is amazing at how some current debates among ourselves and social media refuse to recognise the last 23 years of multi party democracy that we have gone through. Most of us have a good idea of what we went through and the records are there  but instead opt to gloss over the issues.

 

We were made some pretty good promises not only in 2011 but in 2008, 2006, 2001, 1996 and 1991 too. Every other election we hear the sugar coatings that make our ears tingle and our hearts to beat in anticipation. We are told a slew of words that resonate with our needs and we believe that the presidential candidates are our saviours and our path ways to our destinies. The promises roll off their tongues and we raise our hands in hopeful applause. As soon as the person becomes the president, they do as they please. They give us crumbs of what they said, and break every other promise they made with one line as compensation.

"We need time."

 

A few weeks ago, I had a discussion with a friend about the presidential candidates. There was one statement that he made that has stuck with me. It was, "They are politicians." It then dawned on me that yes they are politicians, so what? Should I come to believe that because they are presidential candidates then I deserve to be lied to, endure unfilled promises, watch while my country is driven to ruins while someone chews a drumstick, applaud while I watch them whisked away for treatment while my brothers and sisters die in our hands. God forbid.

 

They say politics is a dirty game, well I already have mud so let's play. As long as some politicians continue to believe this nonsense that they can tell us whatever their imagination cooks up, they must think again. It is not a matter of forgetting and comforting ourselves by accepting that is politics. It is a time such as this one that we should judge politicians against what they said and what they have done. If they have broken too many promises, chuck them out. If it means putting a new political party every five years may it be so until it sinks in. That is when they will understand that you do not bwata bwata anyhow . The time of glossing over previous mistakes and unfulfilled campaign declarations should not be tolerated. It is difficult to make a case for someone who fulfilled 1 promise and yet broke 99 others. We need to remind each other of what they said and what they have done thus far. It is to hold them accountable with the responsibility we have given them. They are not doing us a favour by being president.

 

Both the MMD and the PF have had the privilege of having their party presidents being president of the country, therefore, we can judge how the parties have done. UPND should also be warned against making promises that they have no intention of keeping should they have their president voted into power. This is not about a presidential candidate who has a nice smile, attends church, or he was once a boy scout. It is about someone who is prepared to do what they say they will do. If politicians are in the habit of not fulfilling their campaign promises, I on the other hand can make them a promise. Should you not fulfil your campaign promises, come next general elections I am voting for your opponent. Kaleza.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Sata Forgot to Pass the Baton

A president dies and the political leadership of an entire country is thrown in disarray. The death of the late Zambian President Michael Chilufya Sata on 28 October 2014, led to the tail spin of this political chaos that we are in and we are unsure where it will land. The intra-party fighting in the Patriotic Front and the resurrection from the tomb of old guards such as former president Rupiah Banda in the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, is a sign. The leadership baton was not passed.

The late Dr. Myles Munroe may his soul rest in peace, gave a striking interview in which he spoke about the current leadership dilemma in the world. In the interview he mentioned that he had a dream in which a track athlete was in the coffin clutching on the baton. According to Dr. Munroe it meant, "It was about people dying with the baton. Instead of passing it on, I was thinking the young person whose supposed to lead next would have to go that casket. Pry the baton out of the dead man's hands just to take it to the next leg.... This is what we are struggling with here, people would rather die with the position than pass it on."

After watching that video I can definitely relate to it on a personal level. Whether we like it or not, Michael Sata, died with the baton in his hand. He did not pass it to the next person to lead this country. We may never know the reason why, but in that aspect he failed Zambia. Now we have all these leaders having to have to wrestle the baton from his hand. The sad part about it is some of the people trying to get hold of the baton were never in the relay race in the first place. Perhaps inspired by the wind, a truth or dare joke, or sheer disillusionment some people believe they can lead Zambia.
 
Passing on of the baton
It is a shame that we were never able to spot future leaders while Sata had the baton. The leader who would take this country forward. Focus it on the issues that we need to deal with, such HIV/AIDS, poverty, education, and health care. Instead we find ourselves discussing whether someone is an alcoholic or not, was kind enough to buy Sata a car or to honour a family name. We have leaders who retired and now in remembrance of the life they had see an opportunity to be taken advantage of. And then there are those leaders who instead of inspiring me with words, choose to offer me eggs and milk. Ala.  We should never have got to this in the first place.


By time January 2015 is winding down, we shall have a new president. I pray the person will be a good leader. Someone who is willing to serve and not make up for lost time in filling up their personal bank account. I hope it will be a leader who will inspire future leaders, someone who refuses to use the word "I" but instead uses "We" for they know that it is the "We" that will take Zambia to the skies. Finally, I pray that we shall have a leader who will know when their leg of the race is done, and gladly pass on the baton.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

I'm The Next 50 yrs

Written by Alinani Mugala

The last few days I've received lots of queries as to what this 'I'm The Next 50 yrs' is about. It's not a campaign, it's not a movement, it's not even a Straight Up agenda (assuming you know what Straight Up is. Lol) So a few weeks ago, Pastor Walker Schurz announced to the congregation that on the 26th of October, the Sunday service gig will be dedicated to celebrating Zambia's 50 years of Independence. He went on to encourage the church to come dressed all 'Zed out' as possible. I knew that a Chipolopolo jersey replica would be the easiest rig to wear (Thanks to Afcon 2012. Lol). Sadly I don't own a Chipolopolo replica (BUT I do own a Power Dynamos one though, hahaha). I sat through the service thinking to myself what would be the most meaningful thing to wear on that day. I just didn't want to wear Zambian colours or anything written Zambia on it for the sake of it. I wanted to communicate something to my country. Not just a cool statement. I wanted to make a pledge to this place.



My mind then took me four weeks back. The Straight Up team has been putting up a lil' sumn' sumn' for this year's Independence Day. We've had to do research into activities that have taken place since 1964. We went through the National Achieves, museum, ZANIS library, Times of Zambia library, University of Zambia library, history books etc. This made me realise how young Zambia is. Fifty years seems like yesterday (am sure Kaunda would say that). Though it feels like yesterday, so much has happened in this country. I got to read newspapers from as far back as the '70s and I can report that it felt like reading a recent paper of 2014, sadly so. I kid you not 1st December, 1997 the Times of Zambia for example had a headline 'Wage Freeze Stays'.... If you have been reading the news of late, you know what's hot right now.lol.

Anyway, my going through the last 50 years has shown me that we are what we are as a country today because of the decisions people made. People made good and bad decisions which have shaped us as a people. My mind then took me to the next 50 years and I imagined a ka young Alinani reading about Zambia's 100 years history. What will he read? What will he say about the people of 2014-20164? What future would he have inherited? Things he'll write about me would be that I talked too much and did little. I criticised government didn't offer solutions. I told social media how government should be run and yet I never offered myself up for leadership. I told people how to play the game yet I never got onto the field. I laughed and made fun of people that tried and failed. I never gave back to my community. I got my UNZA degree just for me. I didn't know who my neighbours were. I cheated in my business. I gave in to corruption because I wanted to be like the next guy. I lost objectivity in my debates because I knew it all. I was so gullible that everything I'd read was gospel truth. I didn't take correction. I forgot about the place I came from. I participated in a 21st century type of 'Berlin Conference' and sold my country's economy to the highest bidder. Dag the list is long!!! Is this what I want Alinani of 2064 to read about me? To be honest? NO.

How will I make sure that young Alinani of 2064 is inspired by my life, I'll make a personal challenge to be a better person and contribute to the well being of my neighbour and the country as a whole. I'm not going to be perfect. I'll make mistakes, I'll fail and fall but that should be because I tried and aimed to make the life of my fellow citizen and country better. I'll do my part through something am passionate about, and that's my hustle. Olo entrepreneurship as it's popularly called. It's probably one of the toughest roads to roll on but probably the most rewarding to a nation.

So am not going to imagine what Zambia would have been had Nkumbula or Kapwepwe instead of Kaunda or Arthur Wina instead of Chiluba or Mazoka instead of Mwanawasa or Sata instead of RB (in 2008) been President. Instead, I'll imagine what Zambia will be in 2064 if I become a responsible citizen and intentionally do MY part (in private or in public, famous or unknown, paid or pro bono). So that's the story behind the 'I'm The Next 50yrs' chitechi and the T-shirts. It's a personal challenge. But if you feeling it, feel free to run with it palobe


I am Alinani Mugala and I'm The Next 50 yrs.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Pistorius Trial Over, Well It's About Time

The story of Oscar Pistorius aka The Blade Runner is one that resembles a Greek tragedy, a Fall from Grace, the burning out of the candle, you get the picture. It all began on Valentine's Day 14 February 2013 and came to its conclusion on 21 October 2013, even though I reckon there are a few more chapters to be written in this story. A sports hero who fatally killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp while she was in the toilet. This trial was supposed to be the OJ Simpson case of the 21st Century, but I think someone forgot to hand judge Masipa the script for how The Oscar Pistorius trial was supposed to play out.
 
The Blade Runner
I was young and we did not have satellite TV at the time that the OJ Simpson trial was airing in the United States of America in 1994. I only got to know the drama surrounding the whole case only a few years ago. And yes who can forget the glove in the OJ case. I guess I am a little guilty of thinking that the Pistorius case would be as dramatic, nail biting and highly entertaining. It had these in shades of grey, thank you for that judge Masipa. This trial began on 3 March 2014 with a bang, it was high rating must see TV. Everyone in the office was talking about it, waiting for that case defining witness, confession of Oscar after the prosecutor bludgeons him with questions, or the lawyers going at one another's throat. This is the case that I wanted to see, someone forgot to tell me that things do not work like that in the world, damn you John Grisham.

The majority of my legal knowledge has come from reading tons of John Grisham legal thrillers- The Firm, The Client, Runaway Jury, The Testament, King of Tort, The Innocent Man, The Confession, The Associate, what haven't I read. I had been brain washed to thinking that Oscar Pistorius trial would have some semblance to what I was reading. This trial was like watching the credits at the end of a movie roll, hardly any action. The trial had dragged and in the end, I had enough and was no longer interested in it anymore. I relied on twitter for the occasional updates but I ceased being a devotee. Even the moments when the trial attempted to gather some steam the judge would take it for a long recess like when Oscar had to go for a psychological evaluation. I think the judge wanted to prolong her screen time  as long as lawfully possible.


I do not wish to comment on whether justice was served or not, like I mentioned I did not watch the whole trial faithfully. Besides my knowledge of the South African law is too limited for me to draw a conclusion, so I will not be rushing to condemn the 5 year conviction he has been given. Before I decide what would have constituted justice, I will wait for Hollywood to make the movie, then I will give my verdict. In the mean time, I am just glad this trial is over because it had overstayed its welcome in the media. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Entrepreneurs Quick Guide to the 2015 Budget

The Budget was presented to the National Assembly by the Minister of Finance Hon. Alexander Chikwanda on 10 October 2014. Every year people anticipate the budget to get a feel of what to except in the coming year and how much of the slice of the national cake has been given to them. For the business minded we review the budget to see where the opportunities lie. Well not every business minded person will have the time to read the 24 paged documented. So this is the summary for those entrepreneurs too busy (or lazy) to read the entire budget presentation.
Budget Briefcase


The theme for the 2015 Budget is, "Celebrating Our Golden Jubilee as One Zambia One Nation by Making Economic Independence a Reality for All." From the theme one can get that the government will continue to strive for economic independence.  The minister announced that in the coming year it is estimated that 120,000 new formal jobs will be created in the private sector. I reckon these 120,000 will probably come from the financial and information technology sectors. He further mentioned that inflation is expected to remain in the single digit, which is a good thing.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things in the 2015 Budget is that Government will reduce its shareholding in ZCCM Investment Holding from the current 87% to 60%. Therefore offloading 27% of the shares to the Zambian citizens. ZCCM-IH has shares in a majority of the Zambian Mines and for the Zambians who want a stake these look like attractive shares to consider purchasing.

The key industries singled out as the key sectors in the budget are agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and construction sectors. I wonder why the arts are not a key sector. One can only expect that there will be incentives in these key sectors to make them flourish and be the engines of the above 7% GDP growth rate that the Governments expects to achieve.

Agriculture
For entrepreneurs into agriculture the budget mentions that Government is keen on diversification away from maize as it accounts for over two thirds of the entire agriculture budget. This would imply that Government will promote other crops such as rice and millet. They are also looking at supporting conservation farming involving a total of 84,000 farmers in 31 districts.  The Minister of Finance did mention that the national fish consumption stood at 130,000 metric tonnes. The current production stood at 95,000 metric tonnes. This implies that the additional 35,0000 metric tonnes had to be imported. He also noted that only 20,000 metric tonnes of the 95,000 metric tonnes  production was via aquaculture. Therefore, there would be reforms that would assist enterprising citizens in the private sector to get into acquaculture. So if you were considering fish farming, next year might me a good time to start. The critical thing I found missing from the agriculture sector was the marketing side of the produce. There are definitely flaws in the system and the farmers in the rural areas are especially susceptible to exploitation and one would have figured that there would have been something in the budget to help give them fair price for their produce.

Manufacturing
Next year is going to be a good year in manufacturing. The minister directed all Government Departments to give preference to locally produced goods in line with the Industrialisation and Job Creation Strategy. Also effective 1 January 2015 Government will remove the voucher system applicable on such imports. Government is committing more funds to recapitalise DBZ (the amount was not mentioned).  Additional funds will be allocated to the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission to support value chain development. The address mentioned that out of the 1,526 approved projects this year 1,072 projects valued at K48 million have since been funded. 92% of which are in rural areas.  I could explain why urban applicants complain that they find it difficult to receive funding from CEEC, try going to the rural areas.  I would like to know the success rate of these businesses. The Government also intends to create Industrial Clusters to promote metal fabrication, timber, and agro-processing, aquaculture and automotive industry.

Tourism
There is nothing special.
Mining
There is nothing special
Water and Sanitation
The minister urged local authorities to embark on waste to energy projects through the Public Private Partnership arrangement. If anyone has a business idea around this, it might be the right time to share it with the local authorities.

Monetary and Financial Policies
Government still recognises that there are still many citizens in the rural areas who remain un-banked. Therefore, it will be keen on promoting initiatives that will ensure that banking services are taken to the rural areas especially through agency banking. There will also be the implementation of the National Strategy on Financial Education.

Private Sector Development Reform
In attempts reduce the cost of doing business the provision of the Business Regulatory Act of 2014 will be enacted. This will mainly be around the issuing of licences and the streamlining of the procedures.

Allocations
Empowerment Funds- K123,700,000

Taxes
If you are considering entering the transportation business you may have to think twice and re-work those business plans. This is because your costs are going to get higher. The Minister has doubled the presumptive tax for individual operators of public service vehicles based on vehicle sitting capacity. On the other hand if you are entering into manufacturing you have a lot to smile about. There Minister has proposed to increase customs duty on explosives to 25% and on roofing sheets to 30%. Happy are the local explosives and roofing sheet makers. There has also been a removal of 5% customs duty on aviation fuel. Hopefully, this will reduce air tickets and also increase the number of flights into the country.


Overall the 2015 Budget, has nothing really spectacular about it. I did not find anything to jump up about as an entrepreneur. There were not as many incentives to drive any particular sector whether agriculture, tourism, manufacturing forward in grand scale. For a country that is ever crying for the diversification of the economy there was nothing much in this budget to indicate that we are on our way towards that. The budget was also the same as last years with a few tweaks here and there. The only worth noting element was the offloading of some of the ZCCM Investment Holding shares to the Zambian public. I guess entrepreneurs will just have to hassle more.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

What! £8 for a Haircut?

Haircut prices
I have had the privilege of travelling to a few countries in my short life time. During the time of my travels, I have visited great places and not so great places. I have met some wonderful people and not so wonderful people. I always visit new countries with an open mind and allow myself to experience each place for what it is. I like to breathe in the fresh air, walk in the streets, see the buildings and obviously buy stuff. Well it is not so obviously because each time I go into a shop and see the price tag, in my mind I am already thinking, "How much is that back home?"

Having travelled to a few countries I should know better than to convert every price tag I see into Zambia Kwacha. I will not pretend that I am the exclusive person who does this, I am sure many people who have travelled to other countries will relate. You go to KFC and ask for a meal before you buy you are already recalling the price at Hungry Lion, you get a T-Shirt and your eyes pop when you see the price before lamenting, "This shirt for this price, its better I go buy it in Zambia." There seems to be this inherent desire to convert literally everything, it is quite a tasking exercise.

So this time around when I made my trip to England, I told myself that I will not convert. I am in a new country which has a different standard of living. I convinced myself that I would not convert and allow myself to spend the money freely. I was managing quite well  until I decided to get a haircut. That was the moment I hit a brick wall. If it was an addiction, I would have called it the point I relapsed. When I discovered that I had to part away with £8.50 for a haircut approximately K87, chineke. My mind went straight to my barber man at Olympia Market who charges me K13 for a haircut and shave mind you. If someone in Zambia charged me £8.50 for a haircut, I would wish to know what drugs they were sniffing. I have stopped converting a lot of things but the haircut is not one them. It is my last form of resistance.
 
This little realisation brings to light, that there are some who have an assumption that things are always cheaper outside.  I used to think that way too. This is based on the assumption that the stuff is made in these countries therefore must be cheaper. You then hear people shouting, "Bring me a laptop, bring me a phone, bring me a car if you can manage." Well the truth is some things are cheaper and others are not (like a haircut).
 
Can't this be the new trend

I know that in the next few days my last form of resistance will crumble and I will eventually have to have this beard and hair cut. The barber man may just have to use a chainsaw to remove the £8.50 from my gripping fingers. And I cannot guarantee that a tear won't drop when I release that money. Until then anyone who asks about my beard, I tell them I am auditioning for a movie and I need to look the part.  

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Juliet's Blackophobia and The Post

Dear Juliet,

I want to give you a hug at this moment, I pity you. At 21 years old you still bear the naivety of a 5 year-old. After I have given you a hug, I want to shake you so hard that you wake up from the slumber that you seem to be in. Most girl's childhood dreams are to be princesses, doctors, lawyers, nurses, and models but there is you. Your childhood dream has been to marry a white man because you think that us black men are violent and do not treat our spouses properly. I want to give you another hug.
 
The Post Newspaper Friday 12 September 2014 Front Page
You claim that you are a virgin and have never had a boyfriend, I am a bit confused at how then you came to the conclusion that black men are violent and do not treat their spouses right. I assume that you draw your conclusion from what you have read in the newspapers or have seen happen to your neighbour. In the same vein, for you think that a white man will treat you better may stem from something you have seen. It is immature to stereotype an entire race just because of one unfortunate incidence that you might have know.

The Blackophobia that you have needs to be treated. Touch. You live in a country where the majority of the men are black, therefore you would expect that most of the abuse stories you read or hear will involve black men. Do not be fooled issues of violence or spousal mistreatment are not a race issue. Abuse related cases are found in all races. Instead of you seeing us as abusers, it is time you looked at what led to your blackophobia. There is a deep rooted problem that you need to overcome and using us your brothers as you call us as an excuse will not solve your troubles.

On the other had I think that you are confused too. How can the same person who claims that a white man  has strong and unconditional love for their spouses and respect for their wives be then afraid to leave the country with them. If you will be safe in their hands shouldn't you then be safe wherever you will be? The same trouble you took in advertising in The Post newspaper that you were looking for a white man is the same way you should advertise that you are seeking help. This is not an issue about the colour of the man's skin, these are psychological problems.

 I am also further intrigued at how The Post newspaper could dedicate an entire front page of their daily newspaper to you. No offence to you, but you are not news worthy that you should warrant a front page headline. I think an insert just before the classifieds would have done you justice. There are far more important news worthy stories that The Post newspaper could have placed as a headline rather than you. On the other hand, I am thinking of going to fart by the fly over bridge, do you think I can get on the front page too?

Yours sincerely,
Frustrated Brotha




Thursday, 11 September 2014

Blame IT On the Jersey

Chipolopolo have been sliding down the ladder of the FIFA rankings as 14 August 2014 Zambia was ranked 84th in the world. Soon we might find ourselves outside the top 100. Yes my beloved Chipolopolo is turning into a minnow of African football. It was just two years ago when we were African champions and today we are a shadow of our glory days. Our quest to reclaim the African title began last weekend against Mozambique and with the latest 2-1 defeat to Cape Verde, we might as well be writing our eulogy. Wait how do we lose to Cape Verde? It's Cape Verde no offence, if I have any Cape Verdian readers. There must be an explanation to our terrible performance and I may have an answer. It is the jersey.

Great Jersey- We became Champions

There are other bloggers and writers who will offer you an explanation for the unfathomable downslide but none of the theories will be able to be as concise as mine. Some will tell you that it is the coach's poor tactics, the players that did not show up on the day, incompetent administration, hostile opponents and even juju if you wish. Still all these explanations are unable to give us any tangible linkage to the teams dismal performances, that are becoming ever increasingly shameful.
 
Ok Jersey- Qualified for AFCON 2013
The correlation of Chipolopolo's embarrassing defeats and lackluster shows can be linked to the jersey. Ever since the jersey went from 'Great' to 'What the Hell is That?' the performances have also changed from 'Champions' to 'Bottom of the Qualifying Group' as at today. Moment of silence please. It must be something do with the Chipolopolo jersey trust me.

The Chipolopolo jersey has been changed twice from the winning jersey and with each change it has become uglier. It is like Nike are giving an intern some wax crayons to design the Chipolopolo jersey. I am not fashion savy but I know ugly when I see it a mile away. The Africa Cup winning jersey could be worn with pride and the current one, oh my goodness. The current jersey even if the Football Association of Zambia gave it to me for free, I would turn it into my pajama. There is no way I would be walking the streets with that terrible jersey. I think the Chipolopolo boys feel the same. They might just not have the courage to speak out that the jersey is affecting their play
 
What the Hell? Jersey- Might not qualify for AFCON 2015
The solution is simple, give the boys a better looking jersey and the wins will begin to flow. For now we should just beg Nike not to give the wax crayon to a pre-schooler lest the results we shall see will take some of us to an early grave.


PS: In case you are feeling nostalgic about our glory days make sure you look out for the movie 'e18hteam'. https://www.facebook.com/e18hteam/timeline

Monday, 11 August 2014

Let Kaunda Rest, Thank You


Dr. Kenneth Kaunda Zambia’s first republican president, the father of the nation, the agogo, has been turned into a tourist attraction in recent years. The man turned 90 years old this year but if you look at his recent media schedule one would be mistaken to think he was 50. The man has lived almost his entire life in the spotlight and I think it is about time that he was allowed to live his life in peace. It is annoying that almost everyone who comes to Zambia, wants to pay a courtesy call on him, take pictures and make some overused rhetoric as justification. Well I think it is about time to let the first president be.

 
Dr. Kenneth  Kaunda- Zambia's first president

Since retirement from politics Kaunda has been constantly paraded around in a number of commercial adverts, opening ceremonies for events and buildings, he is the chancellor of Cavendish University Zambia, patron of Habitat for Humanity Zambia, and shakes hands with courtesy callers. Awe this is too much for the old man. If other people do not seem bothered by this, well I am. This week the Confederation of African Football (CAF) inspectors paid a courtesy call on the first president. Shouldn’t they be inspecting stadiums somewhere or learning how we make a chipombwa?

 

 

Organisations and individuals should not take advantage of him by making him endorse their products and projects. At the age of 90 years old even if the man can still swing a golf club, he no longer possesses the energy he did in his yester years. He has done his part for this country and continent, he has done his job. The individuals, who still feel the urge to meet him so they pay their respects, should find other means of doing so. They should visit the Freedom Statue or donate to his foundation.

 

 

What has been happening to Dr. Kenneth Kaunda is almost reminiscent to what used to happen to the late Nelson Mandela in his last few years. He was been used as an advertising and public relations tool. Someone wins Big Brother let’s go meet Madiba, someone raps a song let’s go meet Madiba, someone becomes president let’s go meet Madiba, someone wins an Oscar let’s go meet Madiba. Ala. Mandela even in his final months was flashed on our TV screens with the current South African president Jacob Zuma smiling. There was only a five-year difference between Kaunda and Mandela, so definitely Kaunda’s media runs must be taking their toll on him. I am not sure how much of say Kaunda actually does have on who visits him for a courtesy call or who uses his image for endorsements. I hope the people around him help him reduce his workload.

 

 

I think to put an end to these unnecessary courtesy calls and making Dr. Kenneth Kaunda a tourist attraction I would advise him to get five buttock-biting Dobermans. Anyone who wants to see him would have to go through them. If they succeed to get past the Dobermans then they are worthy to shake his hands.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

We Call This Rubbish Art

                 It is in order to begin this piece with a moment of silence............................................... Thank you. As you drive along Haile Selassie Avenue which is lined with trees on either side creating a serene shaded environment, it is easy to notice some significant buildings. The towering Intercontinental Hotel or the heavily shielded Japan Embassy on the sides. Then somewhere along this same road is the Examination Council of Zambia (ECZ), hidden but it is there. People build beautiful structures, magnificent buildings to get noticed, ECZ went ahead and did the extraordinary. They went ahead and put two of the ugliest, horrendous, pitiful excuse of art sculptures to grace this land. This is the moment we all wail in unison.
Mubita Nawa's Twit
 
            The attention was initially drawn to these things when motivational speaker Mubita Nawa twitted that at 50 years Zambia cannot be having such shameful pieces of structures. Before I saw the picture, I thought that he was just exaggerating and it could definitely not be that bad. I was right to some extent, it wasn't bad it was preposterous. These disproportionate structures had trunk legs, blotted fingers, bend heads, and crooked broad noses. The  male and female are seen to be wearing graduation gowns and holding certificates. These statues resemble miniature versions of what I would make out of clay as a five year old. Are we a country of citizens who accept mediocrity, because now this is getting out of hand. Putting something that is clearly repulsive and expecting people to understand and get on with their lives is unacceptable.
The Statues of Shame
 
            The most perplexing thing is how ECZ allowed those two statues to be erected outside their walls in the first place. ECZ paid money from their budget for them, they should have envisioned what the completed work would look like. If that was it, then I am afraid. Whoever inspected those statues and nodded their heads that what they saw was worthy and acceptable should be questioned. The artist who also created these statues should be embarrassed and needs to introspect on the torture they have done to our eyes. They are amateurish and it would not be a crime if these were a grade 7 school project. Between the artist and the people who inspected the artist work, just how did they convince themselves that such appalling pieces should grace our roads? How? Another wail in unison shall we.
            The general public agrees that the statues should be removed and replaced with something better or nothing at all. Apparently ECZ have come up with a defense which in my opinion is illogical.
            The ECZ spokesperson Ronald Tembo said, "We wish to inform the public that the purpose for putting the statues at the entrance of the ECZ was to enable the general public to easily locate the ECZ as they came through to access various Council services. The statues therefore arose from various complaints we received from those who could not easily locate us in the past. We did not necessarily intend to have beautiful and expensive pieces of art work as we could and still cannot afford the cost of such art works."
            Speechless.
 

He added, “We therefore wish to inform the public that the purpose for putting the statues at the entrance of the ECZ was to enable the general public to easily locate the ECZ as they came through to access various Council services.”
“The statues therefore arose from various complaints we received from those who could not easily locate us in the past. We did not necessarily intend to have beautiful and expensive pieces of art work as we could and still cannot afford the cost of such art works.”ECZ Spokesperson Ronald Tembo said the institution has taken time to study the postings on social media by Mr Nawa and has concluded that the debate on the art pieces was over blown.
“We wish to state that the ECZ is a public institution which has an open door policy. From the outset, we therefore acknowledge receipt of the opinions from Mr Nawa and the general public on the issue,” Mr Tembo said in a statement.
He added, “We therefore wish to inform the public that the purpose for putting the statues at the entrance of the ECZ was to enable the general public to easily locate the ECZ as they came through to access various Council services.”
“The statues therefore arose from various complaints we received from those who could not easily locate us in the past. We did not necessarily intend to have beautiful and expensive pieces of art work as we could and still cannot afford the cost of such art work
 

 
 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Introducing the Ministry of Moral Behaviour

Zambia was not like this in 1964, during that time the youth were well behaved and morally upright. The youth of this generation have lost their culture, if they are not having orgies in classrooms, sex tapes are being made, and the latest revelation is that young girls are the ones seducing men. What on earth are we going to do with this generation? I as Frustrated Brotha have come up with a solution to this country's dilemma of a degenerating youth. It is about time we had a Ministry of Moral Behaviour with a full cabinet minister at the helm.

 

 
There is a lot that needs to be done to curb the immorality that is flaunting itself on the streets of our country. It is inconceivable that such abominations are happening in our very own backyards. Clearly recent media reports reveal more diabolical acts than the previous one. The Ministry of Moral Behaviour will be well positioned to address these issues. It will be responsible for creating policies that ensure the utmost behaviour of this country's citizens is upheld. Citizens who are in the habit of tainting the moral fibre of this country beware.


Top on the table of the ministry's agenda should be tabling the issue of a how Europe and America is contaminating Zambia. This issue needs to be discussed in cabinet, because there are clear indications globalisation is to blame for the erosion of our culture. While that is being discussed the ministry will also be busy preparing another policy to ensure that every single television programme is censored before it is shown, text messages are edited before being sent to the receiver and just block a whole lot unnecessary websites. This is because our youth are being intoxicated by what they are seeing in the movies and series then re-enacting them in real life. If censoring will not wield the youth in the right direction then maybe the ministry will need to consider dishing out stiffer punishments for individuals who do not want to stick in line. The punishments should act as a definite deterrent to anyone who is flirting with the idea immorality.


We must not forget that all this immorality that currently exists is UnZambian and it is not our culture. The Ministry of Moral Behaviour will ensure that this nation's morals are upheld and that requires monitoring every little thing every citizen does. The mission will be to completely eradicate immoral behaviour because the ministry will not cast the first stone but the first brick in order to save our culture.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Football Still in Stone Age

I think I need a word with Sepp Blatter. Why on earth would he go staging the World Cup at the very same time as my beloved Wimbledon? Isn't he aware that these are life changing decisions that I have to make between watching a world cup match and tennis a match. It is difficult for the brotha to choose. When it comes down to biting the bullet, however, I find myself pressing the button on the remote for the tennis. This is probably something that none tennis fans may ever fully understand. One of the reasons why I decide to watch tennis is that football somehow deliberately decides to stay in the Stone Age.


Being a fan of any sport is a tough job, there is so much emotional investment that goes in. It is very hard to make the relationship work. These are the original marriage vows, through thick and thin, through victory or loss, our relationship is unbreakable. People do not shed tears and have heart attacks for nothing. To this day I admit that one of the happiest days of my life was when Zambia lifted the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012. There are just not enough adjectives and superlatives to explain the joy that I felt. Then as a tennis fan after witnessing Rafael Nadal win Roger Federer  Wimbledon after  losing twice to the same man two years in role, in what many including I believe was the best tennis match ever played was just sublime. I am a football and tennis fan, but I am definitely a much bigger tennis fan. I mean being a football fan is hard and painful, at its current state I don't think I can invest any more than I am in this relationship. This is merely because football still refuses to incorporate technology.

Football Referee

Almost every other sport has progressed on well with technology football have only flirted with it this year by using goal line technology. Therefore, you have very painful losses as a result of whistle happy referees, unfair penalties awarded (anyone recall the Ivory Coast versus Greece game), cruel red cards, offside goals and the list is countless. The difference between a nation having the pride of reaching a World Cup quarter final hangs in the hands of fallible human being. In tennis when a player loses you know that they lost fair and square not because some umpire made one lousy call. This happens because tennis has the revolutionary technology called Hawk Eye. Therefore, a player has a choice to challenge calls to determine whether the ball was in or out. They are given a maximum of three challenges per set. Every victory or loss was on the player's racket and as a fan it is much easier to accept and less painful. Rugby, cricket, golf, hockey and tennis have review systems so what is so special about football.

Hawk Eye System

People say it will slow the game down. Oh really, how about when a player gets injured, substitutions, when the keeper is on a time wasting mission isn't that slowing down the game already. You do not permit reviews at every incidence, all that should be allowed is each coach is entitled to three reviews per game. So they will know that they need to use those reviews wisely. This is 2014, having a review system is the most fair way to go. There is a lot of money, pride, careers and our very fragile hearts at stake here. Therefore, it is time that football joins the programme and introduces the review system into the game.


While the football world is mulling over the shock departures of Spain and Italy, we in tennis are speechless over the exits of Serena and Nadal. When the football world speaks of the penalties, us in tennis are biting our nails over the tie-breaks. And of course, we hold our breathes for the women's and men's finals this weekend, as the gladiators battle it out on the grass of Wimbledon. The Hawk Eye system has not made the game any less interesting in fact it adds a new dimension to the thrill. It is time we drag the football world out of the Stone Age. Until football joins the party I will be having some strawberry and cream (tennis fans know what I mean) as I behold the gladiators who take centre stage on the grass of Wimbledon.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Husband Snatchers Beware


It seems that people are getting to grips with their mobile phones and making videos to send via Whatsapp. Recently a video has popped up of a woman stripping another woman who she accused of having an affair with her husband. Apparently, this video shows the woman being stripped in the presence of men who decided to take advantage of the situation too. This inhumane mob justice has been noticed by the police and they are after the culprit. However, even after dangling a K5, 000 reward for any information no one has come up with the details. It is either the people of Luanshya are wealthy or they take the mafia code of Omerta (Code of Silence) too seriously, because had it been me that money would have been in my account already.

 

I must confess from the onset that I have not seen this video and I am not anxious to even see it. Therefore, the knowledge I have is what I have read, heard from people who have seen it and also from what I heard on radio when it was played. From the audio that I heard of the incidence, the wife who was stripping the woman was ironically threatening to take the lady to the police. The poor woman could be heard crying in the background while various men hollered at her. The men are also seen pulling out their phones and attempting to get pictures of the whole fiasco. Yes, this woman may have been sleeping with her husband but did she deserve to be treated in such a manner?


This woman in attempting to deal with the "Husband Snatcher" indirectly made an excuse for her husband. She just indicated that he was not the problem but the woman she was stripping. Therefore, instead of dragging him by his feet into the street and shaming him for his philandering ways, she decided to deal with the symptom and not the root cause of the problem. According to what I have heard the husband is nowhere to be seen in the video and goes unmentioned as the humiliated lady is begging for mercy. Does the wife really think that she will be stripping every woman her husband might go out with as a way of deterring them, then she might be stripping a whole lot more women.

 

It is humiliating enough to be stripped naked but then how does one describe the feeling when the video of the incident is floating around social media. In as much as we may be sympathising with the lady, isn't society perpetrating this abuse by casually distributing the video from one phone to another. On the other hand, it can be argued that it is only through the sharing of the video that brought attention to victimisation of the woman. It is through the same Whatsapp that she may have some form of justice even if it may thrust her into the spotlight. We definitely tread a delicate line with social media with all the good it can do, it is also capable of unleashing its venomous evil.

 

In this case, there may be some people who will applaud the woman for her actions believing that the stripped woman got what she deserved if not less. Then there are others like myself who feel that such inhumane degradation should never be applauded in any form or fashion. The person she should be sorting out her marital issues with is the husband. The wife needs to be answerable for her actions. Luanshya is a small town, it is no New York. Surely someone knows her, they just have to be brave enough to break the Omerta.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

#BringBackOurGirls Now!

Over 250 girls were kidnapped from their school on 14 April 2014 by Islamist extremist group Boko Haram in Nigeria. The world decided to forget about them for about two weeks because, until we felt that it had become worthy enough for our attention. I mean even their very own president Goodluck Jonathan only made an official statement two weeks after the girls went missing. This is nothing short of an utter shame, what was the world expecting? The girls would be delivered back with ribbons in their hair. These girls may have been kidnapped kilometres away in Nigeria, far from Zambia and yet we have a reason why we should care.



I have a young sister of similar age to the girls who have been kidnapped and like them she too is at a boarding school, I cannot even begin to imagine what I would do if I was told the next morning that some militia had kidnapped her. It is this very thought that to a small degree I am able to empathise with the hundreds of fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters who find themselves in this predicament. The Nigerian school girls were kidnapped by a group that has become notorious for bombing attacks in Nigeria on several occasions. It must have equally been painful for the parents of the girls to cry for the return of their daughters and yet no one paying attention to their plight. It was as if the world had grown tired of their problems.

There is a sense that the world is getting, if it is not already fatigued by all of the problems in Africa. Every day brings with it the same old problems over and over, even the news networks are running out of novel ways to present the challenges. What is further frustrating is that even after decades of independence African countries are still unable to render any assistance to their neighbours and other countries on the continent. African countries decided to add their voices to the plight of the girls when countries like the United States of America and the United Kingdom decided to get actively involved. Our government has sent a message of solidarity to the Nigerian government in the recent week.

I may never be in a position to understand what it is like living in a country that has Islamist extremist like Boko Haram, or to be afraid to go to the market for fear of what will blow up in my face. I may live in a country that does not witness kidnappings and hostage situations. I may also be getting tired of hearing of the world’s problems. However, now is not the time to forget these girls, we cannot believe that 200 girls somewhere in the forest is an unfortunate case. The girls did not ask to be kidnapped; they should not be punished for seeking an education.


On the other hand we should be angry at the Nigerian authorities for doing nothing earlier on when the girls were taken. We should be angry at our own African authorities for not saying a word or offering solutions to our brothers and sisters in this position. We should be angry at ourselves for changing the channel each time the story of the girls appeared on the news. I should be angry at me that it has taken one month before the girls story has featured on my blog. Until the girls are back home, may we not grow tired of requesting our authorities to do something and let the noise only get louder. You may begin by joining the Facebook Page Zambia Cares .

So it's Okay for a Woman to Hit a Man?

If I was ever a professor of Psychology the Solange (Beyonce’s young sister) attack on Jay-Z would be a case study. There are so many dimensions to the attack and the mere fact that we are not currently privy to what it was about, we are left to speculate. The setting of an elevator with nowhere to run or hide was a setting that Solange must have thought about before her onslaught. Perhaps the upsetting issue about all this fiasco is that why the rest of the world is not upset about Solange’s attack on Jigga man. I can only imagine the backlash and wrath that Jay-Z would have had to deal with if it was the other way around, just ask Chris Brown.

Solange assaults Jay-Z and you have some quarters of women praising her instead, “Way to go sister!” This is absolutely ridiculous; this was a woman with heels, kicking someone with all the strength she could muster despite being held back by a bodyguard. Okay, she has one hell of a kick. Solange abused Jay-Z in that elevator with her punches, insults (I presume) and above all she bruised Jay-Z’s ego. Unlike the Chris Brown and Rihanna bust up where we did not have video footage, in this case we have hardcore evidence. Solange cannot deny that she did not attack Jay-Z and he can proudly claim that he did not hit back. Awe kwena, he deserves a trophy. Human instinct would be to retaliate when threatened but Jigga man kept his cool. I can only imagine how many brothers would have been as calm as he was, because trust me if it was others in that situation Solange would have begged to be let out of the elevator.


When Chris Brown beat Rihanna, Obama said something, Oprah said something, women’s groups said something, other musicians said something, and Chris Brown’s sponsors dropped him. Solange viciously attacks Jay-Z and Obama is quiet, Oprah is quiet, the women’s groups are not marching and above all no one is calling this gender based violence. This silence is annoying and very upsetting, Solange is not feeling any wrath for her actions and in fact it is Jay-Z who is becoming the laughing stock of world. This attitude of silence gives the impression that it is okay for a woman to beat up a man and it is a sin for a man to hit a woman.

Jay-Z had the capacity to put Solange in her place and prove to the world that he is “Macho”, but I guess he did the most “Macho” thing by stepping away and let raged Solange unleash whatever was burning in her heart. Like we are always told that there is never a reason why you should hit a woman, in the same vein it should be said that there should never be a reason why a woman should hit a man. In this instance talking about it over a family dinner was not an option.

Now back to the case study and Beyonce in particular who was in the elevator while her sister attacked her husband appears to back away and watch the action. She did not attempt to stop her sister neither did she try to shield her husband. I reckon the thought that was rushing through her head was the paparazzi are going to have a field day when that elevator door opens. There should have been audio in that elevator, yaba.
 
Jay-Z, Beyonce and Solange leaving the elevator

At the time of writing this piece, we still do not know why Solange went all crazy on Jay-Z. However, whereas we are happy to demonise a man who lays his hands on a woman, we must equally do the same when the tables are turned. The excuse that men are able to protect themselves therefore cannot be victims is rubbish. Yes, men can protect themselves and instinct tells us that we do that by hitting back. However, if we begin to assume that it is acceptable for a woman to hit a man because she is angry then we are losing the plot. Solange should not be glorified in any way rather she must be condemned with as much venom as would have been spat Jay-Z’s way if he was the one throwing the punches.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Police, Photocopying and No Transport

Last week I was a victim of a theft. The bloody burger got away with my car battery, while I was asleep. I don’t know whether I should say thankfully the battery was all he got away with because he could have gotten away with much more. Thieves can be such an unnecessary inconvenience and for a moment I could empathise with all those individuals who perform mob justice and want burn them alive. I mean here is a fellow who is able bodied to be capable to climb a wall fence, remove and carry a car battery and have the audacity to return for the car radio can find something to do. Then what added further to my frustration was the service I received from the police, I even wondered why I bothered going there.

I must be brainwashed by watching all these CSI series where I think that the police will come dust the car for finger prints, check the scene for any eye lashes, or footmarks, interrogate the neighbours and then voila catch the thief. Snap out of it frustrated brotha.  When I went to report the matter at the Manda Hill police post, I knew I was far away from any CSI scenario when the police officer began to write my statement in a big record book. In the age of computers, our police posts are still writing details in a record book. So if the book gets stolen or it rains, then all the records are gone for good. I was then asked to return later if I wanted to open a docket because there was no stationery. For one reason or another our police posts seem to be in the habit of running out of stationery and often we are asked to go photocopy police report sheets. I mean seriously, someone just stole my car battery and the last thing I need to hear is that a docket cannot be opened because of lack of paper. Cry my beloved Zambia. I was then told that when I return then if I am lucky they may visit the scene if it is not disturbed. Slowly I realised that my CSI wish would not be coming true. I returned home with no police officer coming to check the crime scene and without a docket in hand.

I returned later for my docket, but while I waited for it a gentleman came into the station claiming that his phones had been stolen. He narrated his story and the officer got down his statement once again in the big black book. Then the officer mentioned that once the formalities had been done that she need to take the form to Northmead but there was no transport. So here was a police post that had no stationery and had no transport, just my luck. The gentleman quickly offered to provide transport as long as he could get his phones traced and handed back to him. I too was capable to provide transport, so what would the poor person do in such a situation.

The police service is supposed to serve every Zambian citizen regardless of race, tribe, or economic status. However, in this nation we have various people at various economic levels. Where is a poor person who is barely making ends meet supposed to find the money to start photocopying a police report sheet when that money could be used to buy bread. Or where is he supposed to find transport to ferry the police officers to the scene of the theft, by the way our officers do not use buses they need a taxi. The officers use the taxi to take them to the scene and back to the police post. Taxis are not cheap and depending on the distance can be quite expensive. The taxi fare alone could be the cost of a bag of mealie meal. This simply means that if you are poor you might not be able to report the matter to the police for it to be adequately handled.


There are certain aspects of police investigation that I can accept that we do not have the resources for things such as forensic labs but lack of no stationery and transport is not one that I can accept. The police need to have the basic minimum to handle the cases that are presented to them. It should not be dependent whether someone can provide transport or not. It is important for the relevant authorities to ensure that the police posts have relevant resources to carry out their duties otherwise police posts might as well put a poster that we will only attend to you if you come with your own stationery and transport. In the meantime, I need to watch more of Muvi TVs The Constables rather CSI to get more proper representation of my reality.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Shall We All Get Naked and Wait for Hyenas

“Even if I have lost some important parts of my body, I still want to get rich,” these are the words that were uttered by Chamangeni Zulu. This is a man who just had his manhood and three toes eaten by a hyena after a witchdoctor advised him to do so. The witchdoctor apparently told him to go into a bush, strip naked and wait for a hyena to come and eat part of his body. Ku nkala chipuba siti lesa koma chipubidwe. This is a story that borders on the ridiculous if not the insane. In the quest for riches, I guess some people sail the seas looking for lost treasure; others strip and wait for a hyena to chew what they wish.
Hyena

                Now that I am done venting, there is a small portion of me that is trying to empathise with Chamangeni. He is originally from Malawi and for the past four months had been working in Chipata before he decided he had it will all this poverty nonsense. The man had probably tried all avenues available to him but he saw no hope of escaping the chains of poverty that are gripping many. I know it is easy for people who bought the newspapers to read his story while sipping coffee in an air conditioned office to find Chamangeni mad. Some would say that why didn’t he work hard if he wanted to be rich or just be content with his portion.  It could be easy for someone like myself to say that, after all my parents were able to educate me, I have opportunities at every corner, I type this blog on a laptop and I have access to the internet anytime I please. Dreaming of being rich is not a farfetched.
                Here is a man who perhaps only has primary education at best, maybe not because he did not want to go school but his parents could not afford to keep him in school. Then he is taken to work the fields so that his family can get food on his table. Hypothetically he marries early and has two children one year in between because he does not know what family planning is. He finds a job working on a farm just to prevent his family from starving, yet he still dreams of becoming rich. He does not know how that will happen because life did not give him an easy hand. He knows he cannot till the land fast or strong enough that his labour will be rewarded to make him live the lavish life he envies. He will even be lucky if he even gets the crumbs of the rich.
                There was no one available to offer him a solution on how to become rich. I have Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad to read, there is a Mubita Nawa motivational conference I can attend, I see GBM get his wife a Range Rover on Facebook to emulate and I have the qualifications to help open doors. Chamangeni does not have this privilege. Therefore, should we blame him for taking a solution offered to him by a witchdoctor? When no one was showing him the path to the riches that he desired the witchdoctor showed him a way. Chamangeni may have tried the conventional route and it failed, so it was about time he used the unconventional route- Strip and wait for a hyena.
                Chamangeni’s story is that of many people in poverty in Zambia, even though some may not push the boundaries like he did, they too still dream to be rich. For us who read the story in the papers and posted it on Facebook may consider ourselves lucky. We too could also have been in Chamangeni’s position, wishing to be rich but not knowing how. We would have shouted in Marie Antoinette fashion, “Why doesn’t he just work hard if he wants to be rich.” Yet we forget that we neither provide the tools nor the show him the route to get to wealth. Still on his hospital bed no one was able to show him the first steps towards riches, hence he boldly declared his determination, “Even if I have lost some important parts of my body, I still want to get rich.”