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Kwame Krumah: A Legendary Pan-Africanist

INTRODUCTION

AHEAD OF SUNRISE, ON SUNDAY 20TH SEPTEMBER 2009, I HAD TO START OFF ON A FIVE HOURS ROAD DRIVE – ON A MISSION TO NKROFUL IN NZIMA. 

I HAD LANDED AT KOTOKA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AFTER MIDDAY, TOO LATE TO CATCH THE FLIGHT ARRANGED TO CATCH A RIDE WITH GHANA’S VICE PRESIDENT, WOULD-HAVE-BEEN CURTSEY OF MY FRINED BABA.  IN ANYCASE, I WOULD HAVE CONSIDERED GOING BY HORSECART.

NKROFUL IS WHERE KWAME NKRUMAH WAS BORN IN SEPTEMBER 1909.  THE EXACT DATE IS UNKNOWN – EVEN TO HIMSELF AND HIS MOTHER!  SOMEHOW, FOR OFFICIAL RECORDS, HE SETTLED ON A 21ST OF SEPTEMBER 1909 OFFICIAL BIRTH DATE. 

BUT, THE NAME KWAME INDICATES THAT SATURDAY WAS WHEN HE WAS ACTUALLY BORN, WITH THE NEAREST SATURDAY HAVING BEEN ON 18TH OF SEPTEMBER 2009.  BUT, BOTH OFFICIAL AND NON-OFFICIAL RECORDS CONCUR THAT HE WAS BORN AT NKROFUL, WHICH WAS THE PLACE OF HIS FIRST GHANIAN BURIAL, HAVING BEEN EARLIER BURIED IN CONAKER, GUINEA.

1974 WAS THE FIRST TIME I HAD PAID A PILGRIM’S VISIT TO NKROFUL.  THE PURPOSE, IN BOTH 1974 AND 2009, IS TO REFRESH COMMITMENT AND REINVIGORATE REVOLUTIONARY SPIRIT, THROUGH FELLOWSHIPING WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE. 

IT IS APPROPRIATE TO DO THIS IN REFLECTION OF THE LIFE AND STRUGGLE OF KWAME NKRUMAH, WHO, IN THE EVOLUTION OF PAN-AFRICANISM STAND OUT LIKE A FIRE ON A COLD DARK NIGHT.

MY 1974 FIRST PILGRIMAGE TO NKROFUL BROUGHT THE BLESSING OF MEETING KWAME NKRUMAH’S MOTHER, ELIZABETH NYANIBA. 

I NOTED IN THE VISITOR’S BOOK THAT THE IMMEDIATELY PRECEEDING VISITOR WAS THE THEN ZAMBIA-BASED COMRADE GEORGE SILUNDIKA OF THE ZIMABABWE AFRICAN PEOPLE’S UNION, ZAPU. 

I WITNESSED THE NKROFUL TOMB, WHILE IT STILL CONTAINED THE BODY OF NKRUMAH. 

NOW, THIRTY- FIVE YEARS LATER, THE MOTHER AND THE BODY OF NKRUMAH ARE NOT AT NKROFUL.  THE MOTHER PASSED AWAY SEVEN YEARS AFTER HER SON. 

THE MORTAL REMAINS OF KWAME NKRUMAH WERE AGAIN TRANSFERRED TO ACCRA.  IT NOW LIES AT THE KWAME NKRUMAH MEMORIAL PARK TOMB AT THE OLD POLO GROUND, OPPOSITE THE OLD PARLIAMENT BUILDING.

THIS IS WHERE GHANA’S INDEPENDENCE WAS PROCLAIMED, ON 6TH MARCH 1957.  THIS WAS IN THE STATEMENT IN WHICH NKRUMAH FAMPUSLY DECLARED THAT GHANA’S INDEPENDENCE WAS MEANINGLESS UNLESS IT WAS LINKED TO THE TOTAL LIBERATION OF AFRICA.  THIS IS WHERE I WITNESSED THE GRAND DURBAR TOOL PLACE DURING THE CENTENARY CELEBRATION OF KWAME NKRUMAH, ON 21ST SEPTEMBER 2009.

IT WAS THE DAY BEFORE, WHEN IMMEDIATELY UPON MY ARRIVIAL AT NKROFUL, ON SATURDAY THE 20TH SEPTEMBER 2009, I BUMPED INTO A “FRIEND, SISTER AND COMRADE” OF OLD.  I HAD NOT SEEN HER SINCE MY BOSTON UNIVERSITY YEARS, SOME TWENTY-SIX YEARS AGO.  THIS WAS DR. JULIETTE TUAKLI (BILINGSLEY.)

JULIETTE IS A WELKNOWN GRADUATE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA MEDICAL SCHOOL AND A ZAMBIAN RESIDENT OF OLD.  SHE HAD COME TO ZAMBIA WITH DR. BILINGSLEY, WHO WAS ONE OF THE MANY AFRICAN-AMERICANS INSPIRED TO RETURN TO AFRICA TO WORK WITH GHANIANS DURING THE LEADERSHIP OF KWAME NKRUMAH.

AT THIS UNEXPECTED MEETING, JULIETTE WAS WITH DR. JULIUS GARVEY – A SON OF MARCUS GARVEY!  THE TWO ARE CO-OPERATING IN BEUTIFICATION AND CONSCIOUS RAISING WORKS. 

THE RESULTS ARE ALREADY SHOWING POSITIVELY AT THE BIRTH PLACE AND EARLIER BURIAL GROUND OF NKRUMAH.  IN ADDITION, TOGETHER WITH OTHERS, THEY ASSISTED YOUTHS FROM ACCRA TO JOIN NKROFUL LOCAL STUDENTS ON THE EVE OF WHAT IS NOW FOUNDER’S DAY IN GHANA.

THE PURPOSE WAS TO REFLECT UPON THE LIFE AND STRUGGLES OF KWAME NKRUMAH.  AMONG PARTICIPANTS WERE PERSONS FROM ACROSS THE ATLANTIC AND ACROSS THE MOTHER CONTINENT. 

THERE WERE ALSO MEMBERS OF RULING NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS, THE CONVENTION PEOPLE’S PARTY, ALL AFRICAN PEOPLE’S REVOLUTIONARY PARTY AND THE RASTAFARIANS MOVEMENT. 

I WELCOMED AND ENJOYED A CHANCE TO ADDRESS THE GATHERING.  THIS WAS FOLLOWED WITH OPPORTUNITIES FOR DIALOGUE WITH GHANIANS OF VARIOUS POLITICAL PERSUATIONS AND PAN-AFRICANISTS.  IT IS AN EXPERIENCE THAT HAS BEEN REFRESHING.

THE LIGHT OF NKRUMAH

A SHINING BLACK MABLE TOMB STONE, UNDER A ROOF OF A SHADE, WITH AN EVER FLAMING HUGE BLACK TOUCH NOW MARKS THE PLACE OF NKRUMAH’S SECOND BURIAL.  ABOVE THE NKROFUL TOMBSTONE IS PLACED A COMMEMORATIVE INSCRIPTION FOLLOWS:

 “AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED, I AM IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT DEATH CAN NEVER EXTINGUISH THE TOUCH I HAVE LIT IN GHANA AND AFRICA.  LONG AFTER I AM DEAD AND GONE, THE LIGHT WILL CONTINUE TO BURN AND BE BORNE ALOFT, GIVING LIGHT AND GUIDANCE TO ALL PEOPLE.”

THIS REFERS TO IDEAS, POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES THAT NKRUMAH PUT FORWORD.  THESE ARE IDEAS ABOUT AFRICAN IDENTITY, PERSONALITY AND STRATEGIES OF FULFILLING PAN-AFRICANISM.

THE PAN-AFRICAN MISSION CAN BROADLY BE CATEGORISED INTO THREE. THE FIRST IS A NEED TO LIBERATE AFRICA FROM POLITICAL FOREIGN DOMINATION AND OPPRESSION. 

THE SECOND IS A CALL FOR DOMESTIC ECONOMIC MODERNIASTION AND INDUSTRIALISATION WITH HUMAN DEVELOPMENT.  THE THIRD IS A DEMAND FOR EQUITY AND JUSTICE IN AFRICAN SOCIO-ECONOMIC RELATION AND INTERACTION, ON ONE HAND, AND BETWEEN AFRICAN AND NON-AFRICAN REGIONS AND POPULATIONS OF THE WORLD.

AFRICAN IDENTITY AND PERSONALITY

PAN-AFRICANISM IS AGAINST DISCRIMINATION AND DIVISIVENESS ON THE BASIS OF ETHNICITY, RACE AND PLACES OF ORIGIN.  NKRUMAH SPECIFICALLY STATES THAT:

“ALL PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT, WHETHER THEY LIVE IN NORTH OR SOUTH AMERICA, THE CARRIBBEAN, OR IN ANY OTHER PART OF THE WORLD ARE AFRICANS AND BELONG TO THE AFRICAN NATION.”

AS STATED IN THE 1956 FREEDON CHARTER OF SOUTH AFRICA, AFRICA BELONGS TO ALL WHO LIVE IN IT AND WHO HAVE MADE IT THEIR HOME.  THIS IS REGARDLESS OF ETHNICITY AND PLACE OF ORIGIN. 

AND, AFRICA IS AS ONE AS THE CONTINENT ITSELF.  AFRICA IS NOT DIVISIBLE BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH OF THE SAHARA OR THE CONTINENT LAND MASS AND ITS ISLANDS IN THE INDIAN AND ATLANTIC OCEANS AS WELL AS THE MEDITERRENIAN AND RED SEAS. 

AND, OF COURSE, AFRICA BELONGS TO ALL WHO FIND THEMSELVES ON THE AFRICAN CONTINET OR DIASPORA. 

THESE ARE AFRICA’S NATIVES AND PERSONS WITH AFRICAN BLOOD IN THEIR VEINS.  IN ADDITION, WE ARE AFRICANS, AS LONG AS WE HAVE CONSCIOUSNESS OR ARE TREATED OR REGARDED BY OTHERS AS AFRICANS.

THIS BROAD AND INCLUSIVE DEFINITION OF AFRICAN IDENTITY HAS IMPLICATION FOR THE MISSION OF NATION BUILDING AND NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS CONSTRUCTION. 

THE IMPLICATION IS A COMPLETE REJECTION OF ANY MANIFESTATION OF NEGATIVE ETHNICITY AND GROUP DOMINATION AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST OTHER AFRICAN AND EVEN NON-AFRICA PEOPLE.

THIS IMPLICATION CHALLENGES AFRICANS TO PROMOTE POLITICAL FREEDOM, SOCIAL; JUSTICE AND EQUALITY IN EVERY FOR ALL.  PAN-AFRICANISM CALL FOR THIS TO BE SO AMONG AFRICAN COMMUNITIES.  THIS SHOULD BE WITHIN AND BETWEEN OUR CURRENT BALKANISED AND OTHERISE DEVIDED COUNTRIES WHERE AFRICAN LIVE AND WORK.

NEW CITIZENS, NEW LEADERS

KWAME NKRUMAH HAS SAID THAT:

“AFRICA NEEDS A NEW TYPE OF CITIZEN, A DEDICATED, MODEST, HONEST, INFORMED MAN AND WOMAN.  A MAN AND WOMAN WHO SUBMERGES SELF IN SERVICE TO THE NATION AND HUMANITY.  ONE WHO ABHORS GREED AND DETESTS VANITY.  A TYPE OF CITIZEN WHOSE HUMILITY IS HER STRENGTH, AND WHOSE INTEGRITY IS HOS GREATNESS.”

IT IS NECESSARY TO ACCEPT THAT WHAT IS GOOD FOR CITIZENS MUST BE GOOD FOR LEADERS, AND VIS-A-VERSA.  IT HAS LONG BEEN CLAIMED THAT A PEOPLE HAVE THE LEADERS THEY ASK FOR AND DESERVE.  BUT, IT SHOULD EQUALLY BE APPRECIATED THAT LEADERS HAVE THE TYPE OF CITIZENS THEY INSPIRE AND DESERVE.

CITIZENS MAY REBEL, WHEN THEY HAVE LEADERS THEY DO NOT WANT.  SIMILARLY, LEADERS ARE LIKELY TO TURN TO DICTARSHIP OR OPPRESSION, WHEN CITIZENS BEHAVE CONTRARY TO WHAT LEADERS WANT.

A POPULATION COMMITTED TO THE NATIONAL GOOD AND CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS AND AGAINST CORRUPTION SHALL SEEK, AND ULTIMATELY GET, LEADERS WHO ARE CALLED FOR TO LEAD TO PAN-AFRICAN FULFILMENT. 

THESE ARE THE QUALITY LEADERS I HAVE REPEATEDLY REFERRED TO AS, BEING “CLEAN, CLEAR, COMPETENT, COMMITTED, CREDIBLE, COURAGEOUS AND COMPASSIONATE.”  ON THE OTHER HAND, CORRUPT, CONFUSED, INCOMPETENT, INCONSISTENT, POPULIST AND SELFISH LEADERS WITHOUT CREDIBLE REDORD OF BEING CLEAN CANNOT INSIPRE THE NEW TYPE OF CITIZEN THAT NKRUMAH HAS REFERRED TO.

PAN-AFRICANISM DEMANDS MUTUAL REINFORCEMENT BETWEEN GENERAL CITIZENS AND THEIR LEADERS.  THIS MEANS THE ADDED, BUT CENTRAL RESONSIBITY, FOR LEADERS TO EVOLVE A CULTURE OF CONSULTATION, COMMUNICATION AND CONSCIENTISING CITIZENS.  IT CALLS FOR CONSCIOUS AND BROAD LEADERSHIP TRAINING.

THIS IS WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR GENUINE AND EFFECTIVE TEAM LEADERSHIP TOWARDS THE GOALS OF PAN-AFRICANISM.  IN THIS REGARD, PAN-AFRICANIST MUST LEARN FROM PAST MISTAKES, EVEN BY NKRUMAH. SOME OF THESE MISTAKES HAVE ARISEN FROM TOO MUCH OF TOP-DOWN MANAGEMENT STYLE. 

PAN-AFRICANIST ALSO NEED TO GUARD AGAINST TOO MUCH SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS WITH INSUFFICIENT ADAPTABILITY TO CONCRETE REALITY.  PANAFRICANISM DEMANDS CREDIBLE AND COMMITTED TRANSFORMATIONAL COLLECTIVE AND PARTICIPATORY LEADERSHIP.

Ends

About the Author:

This is a statement by Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika, former Vice-president of the Pan-African Students Association of the Americas (1971/2) to the Press Freedom Committee of The Post & Pan-Africanist Committee on occasion of the Kwame Krumah Centenary Celebration at the prestigious Mulungushi International Conference, Lusaka, Zambia, Monday 21st September, 2009.

Aka as he is affectionately called, is the co-founder of the ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy. A scholar and author, Aka has held several high profile positions and a is currently serving as Political Advisor to the President of the Republic of Zambia, His Excellency Rupiah Banda.

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September 28, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Africa-S. America Summit backs lifting of sanctions on Cuba, Zimbabwe

PORLAMAR, Venezuela, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) — The presidents attending the second Africa-South America Summit (ASA), which ends on Sunday on Venezuelan resort island Margarita, publicly demanded the end of economic blockades on Cuba and Zimbabwe.
In his speech to the summit plenary, Rupiah Banda, President of Zambia, tabled a motion demanding an end to sanctions which affect those nations.
Banda’s speech followed an impassioned one backing the same policy earlier in the plenary by host President Hugo Chavez, who said that his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe had become the target of an international campaign.
“I wish to give our moral, spiritual and political support to Mugabe and the people of Zimbabwe,” Chavez said. “They seek to make Mugabe pay for being anti-colonialist,” he added.
In his speech, Mugabe said that Africa’s industrial development had “been difficult because of a reliance on the very powers that colonized us,” he said. “They do not want really to see us industrialized.”
Mugabe has been in power since 1980, but suffered international criticism and sanctions following opposition party claims that his party rigged the 2000 election.

The nation suffered hyperinflation during most of this decade, which Mugabe blames for sanctions. Some of these sanctions were lifted after he entered a unity government with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February.

Ends

September 28, 2009 Posted by | News, Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sata goes to court as RB sits on throne

By Nalumino Nalumino

The 2008 President Elections in Zambia are over; the winner Rupiah Bwezani Banda has been sworn into office becoming the fourth Republican President taking over from the late Dr Levy Mwanawasa who died in August in a French military hospital in Paris.

However, doubts largely linger in the minds of some citizens especially that President Banda won the election with a slim margin resulting in the opposition Patriotic Front led by Michael Sata petitioning the Supreme Court demanding a recount and scrutiny of votes in 77 constituencies.

Mr Sata argues that in 2006 the total registered voters were 3,941,229. This time around the figure has allegedly increased in the absence of new voters registration to 3,944,135. He says the increment of voters by 2,906 may appear insignificant but it is a great deal in an election.

This argument, however may not hold water because Banda won the election by over 30,000 votes. People are eager to see how the arguments will be put before the Supreme Court in an effort to convince their Lords that indeed malpractices did take place.

The PF’s argument will be particularly painful before the Supreme Court because one losing candidate in this very election, General Godfrey Miyanda of the Heritage Party commended the electoral body, Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for what he termed as “well conducted elections in a transparent manner given the circumstances in which the country went to the polls”.

General Miyanda (Rtd) said this when he conceded defeat a day after Zambians voted during a live televised interview on state television channel, Zambia National Broadcasting Cooperation (ZNBC) and carried live also on other television as well as radio stations.

As if this was not enough the United Party for National Development (UPND) will not petition the election results despite citing a number of electoral malpractices by some parties that participated in the election adding that the petition is a waste of time.

Party president and also losing candidate in the just ended elections; Hakainde Hichilema said the party will now concentrate on providing alternative leadership by formulating policies that can help address challenges the country is faced with.

Mr. Hichilema said his party will also continue to prepare for the 2011 presidential and parliamentary elections.

He described the just-ended presidential polls as the most competitive and exciting elections the country has ever had.

Mr. Hichilema also thanked Zambians for voting peacefully in the tightly contested polls. He has however expressed concern about the low voter turnout which was attributed to voter apathy among registered voters.

Speaking during a media briefing the opposition party leader also commended the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for facilitating the October 30 polls professionally despite the pressure on the commission.

What this means for Mr Sata, from an independent view; is that while he has a legitimate complaint not only as an opposition leader but most importantly as a Zambian; his legal team comprising former Attorney General Bonaventure Mutale, Robert Simeza, Wynter Kabimba & Company, Edgar Lungu and Mumba Kapumpa will certainly have an uphill legal battle and most Zambians are interested to see their tact this time around.

In the meantime, Banda who now seats on the thrown in State House having been sworn in November 2nd, 2008 two days after the elections in a ceremony held at Parliament grounds attended by several heads of states and government.

Out of the many pledges made in his inaugural speech, the striking one is Banda’s desire to fight poverty; a line ever present in most speeches president by the late Mwanawasa, a man who put a common man as top priority on his agenda.

This statement is resonating well and has been welcomed by many Zambians including Non-governmental Organisations. There is no doubt that Banda’s assessment for re-election in 2011 if ever he dares to test his popularity by contesting for Republican Presidency will be on the basis of whether or not he will manage to conquer poverty.

 

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Levy Mwanawasa and our generation’s mission

By Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika

Responding to the death of Samora Machel, Thomas Sankara declared that:

“we have no intention of taking part in the competition among cynics who degree so and so many days of mourning, each one trying to assure us of their grief and attempting to demonstrate it by shedding tears, tears we revolutionaries must be able to see for what they are.”

But, even at the risk of being misidentified, let me record a response to the death of Levy, as one of those to whom Levy Mwanawasa was a comrade with who we shared a mission of a generation, and not a ladder for personal ambitions, individual careers and private gains.  This

Like Levy Mwanawasa, I was born on the Copperbelt, in 1948, when the first African political party, the Northern Rhodesia African Congress was founded, under the President-Generalship of my father, Mbikusita Lewanika.  Having already had my 60th birthday this year, I had been looking forward to teasing him for being younger than me, when he would have had his own 60th birthday on 3rd September, had he lived a couple of weeks mores.  I have been presumptuous that, through him, and with him, our generation would have ten years to recover and advance our 1990 dream for democracy and development. And, now, with his death before the scheduled end of his second term, we, the initiators and custodians of this dream are challenged to keep a hold of, and guard, his legacy, so that it is not recaptured by corrupt and money mongering forces.

 

Unconditionally Available

At his presidential inauguration in January 2002, I was the first opposition leader to be unconditionally available to assist Levy in “re-democratising” Zambia, fighting against corruption, reversing a quarter of a century of economic regression and emancipating our country from a debt-burdened puppet status.

Since 1990, I have been one of Levy Mwanawasa’s comrades in the struggle, first to end the One Party State, and of later to fight against a culture of corruption as well as to pave a pragmatic way forwards to economic recovery and transformation.  I have been the founder National Secretary, in the National Interim Committee of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), in which a served together with Levy, between July 1990 and March 1991.  This Movement spearheaded the campaign to end the One Party State, when it took personal sacrifice and risks to be a member or leader of MMD.  Again, together with Levy Mwanawasa, I served in the first post One Party State Cabinet, under President Frederick Chiluba, during those initial days of patriotism and promise. Later, we both resigned in protest against the growth of corruption, among other reasons.  And, we shared the experience of having been humiliated at a Convention for standing up for the MMD founding values and principles, though at different times.

In all this, we acted in order to fulfill, and not to break, the promises of freedom and democracy as well as social progress and economic development of the African Independence and liberation movement.  We did not, and do not, act for lack of appreciation for all the contributors and contribution towards these noble aspirations. We did not act to reinforce the prejudices and interests of those who have all along been against African self-determination, self-rule and emancipation.  We did not, and do not, act on behalf of those who thrive on the exploitation and land grabbing in African.  We did not, do not, applaud those who have all along dehumanized Africans.  In all this, we have stood with Levy Mwanawasa, therefore, his principled and brave stand on the current Zimbabwe issue should not be misrepresented to have been against African liberators or liberation.   

His Legacy

I would like nothing more than that his legacy be regarded as positively as possible, but not incorrectly. Thus, I have had to overcome the temptation to refrain from critiquing the seemingly flattering categorization of Levy as the “President of Zambia who fought against corruption and was a fierce and vocal critic of Robert Mugabe.”


Yes, it is correct that Levy Mwanawasa has been part of a new generation of African leaders whose formative years were not spent fighting for liberation, and, as indicated above, his presidency had taken on the fight against corruption.  But, it is s misrepresentation to say, as one publication states, that either this background, or indeed anything else, led him to become “a fierce critic of the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, and that “where Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola saw a fellow liberation leader under attack from the West, Mwanawasa saw an ailing demagogue whose freefalling economy was having a devastating effect on the region.”

Levy, like many of us in Zambia, Africa and elsewhere, had much compassion for Zimbabwe refugees, whatever caused it, and victims of violence, whoever occasioned it, and was disturbed and frustrated by flawed Zimbbwe 2008 presidential elections in 2008. And, no doubt was set to have expressed these serious concerns and pushed for a way out of this tragic and shameful situation that has arisen in Zimbabwe.  It is a mistake to presume that this was an anti-Mugabe stance. Rather, it was a pro-Zimbabwe approach.  It was not against the agreed SADC diplomatic and negation options.

 

Demonizing Mugabe

Levy did not think, speak or act that demonizing President Mugabe or abandoning the efforts by President Thabo Mbeki at getting the contending parties to negotiation tables.  In fact, at his last press conference on the Zimbabwe situation, he was demanding to be more fully consulted and briefed on the conduct and proceedings of the Mbeki efforts to get the contending parties more towards agreement, as well as pleading to both parties to put Zimbabwe first. Levy was far from being content with just condemning the poll or condemning Mugabe, he really wanted Zimbabweans to dialogue with each other towards a win-win solution, which would advance the day the country would have elections whose conduct and result would undisputable enough to allow for a return to normalcy.

Had he lived on, Levy would have wished success in continuing what has been referred to as the “attempt by Mbeki to broker a power-sharing settlement between Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai.”  He would not be anticipating to be celebrating the collapsing of these talks.  And, much as I understand, and, even welcome the reason and act of boycotting the SADC meeting by the Botswana Government, but Levy would not have done the same.  He would have recognised that equally democratic champions can adopt different signals and approaches in to moving Zimbabwe to its proper state in Africa.  And, as the would-have-been outgoing SADC Chairperson, he would not have shared the option of boycotting that some other member states may have had.

Imprinted contributor

In his life, he seized upon his educational, professional and political opportunities to have merited to be remembered, as an imprinted contributor to nation building and remodeling, in the spirit of the genuine liberators of Africa.  In a sense, he gave his life for the redemption of our land and people, and, therefore, his life and death should inform and fortify us as a committed people on a nationalist agenda.

 

Ends.

Note: Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika is co-founder of Zambias’ governing Movement for Multiparty Democracy, the revolutionary party that ousted United National Independence Party government at the time led by Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda in 1991. Before his demise, Dr Mwanawasa had appointed Aka as he is popularly as Chairperson, National Governing Council (NGC) to locally oversee the implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CHIBUMBA (WALL): LEVY LEGACY

By Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika

It was our earnest desire that President Mwanawasa may have recovered as much of his health and as fast as is possible, but this was not to be.

 

His national service has already cost him and his family too much sacrifices, and, now his death is yet another blow.  Heart-felt condolences and prayers for them to retain the fortitude that earned Levy the nickname “Cibumba.” We share in their loss, and grieve with them in mourning, as we have had to do all too often, over the years.  Long live Levy’s legacy

 

It is significance that the presidency is the first mentioned branch of government in the Constitution of Zambia. This makes it essential to have presidential continuity in the current Zambian system of governance, even the distressing lost of President Levy Mwanawasa, whose nickname likened him to a solid wall, “chibumba”.   

 

This is underscored by need for a constitutionally correct and dignified transition.  And, beyond this, it calls for even enhanced determination to continue with anti-corruption, pro-development and social inclusivity Levy legacy.  On this ground, it has been reassuring that, during President Mwanawasa’s illness, there has been calm continuity in the presidency, under the unruffled and mature hand of Vice President Rupiah Banda.  This is a good example for political party actors and citizens to follow, especially after his heartbreaking death.

 

The captain of the national team has been taken off the field, on account of fatal illness. Appropriate team spirit and national patriotism requires that remaining players should instantaneously and calmly continue with the game, under a steady and sound substitute captaincy.  In fact, under these circumstance, they are called upon demonstrate a renewed vitality to overcome the potential handicap of playing without a leading team mate.

 

Similarly, in the face of the demise of our President, political leaders and citizens should act in this fashion.  This would be a good testimony to the leadership of President Mwanawasa, because a team that is lost, in the absence of a leader, was no team in the first place.  In this regard, they should rely on the guidance of the letter of the Constitution and the spirit of national responsible, and display unity and ability to continue without disruption.

Naturally, what has happened prods us to think about need for government continuity, even while brings out compassionate concern for our fallen comrade.  We must accept that life and health could neither be predicted nor commanded our wishes as human beings.  But, we must find assurance in the fact that the State Constitution adequately provides for all circumstances, through ensuring continuity in state functions and responsibilities, including delivery of social, economic and political services. The Constitution provides for continuity of government, under all circumstances, when a substitute or replacement presidency is called for.

 

I am regrettably mindful of the toll that the leadership burden of state could have had on his health.  He has come to public leadership, not by self-promotion or intrigues, but on unsolicited requests.  The first request was for him to join the National Interim Committee, when some of us founded the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD.  The second request was ten years later, the National Executive Committee of the MMD voted his as the party’s presidential candidate.  In accepting these invitations, he has displayed exemplary servant leadership, with personal sacrifice and commonsensical good citizenship.  There has been need for more people to have been more available or availed opportunities to share and lighten this burden on his shoulders.  It is unfortunate that it has not been possible for more people to have been of more assistance, then his health could have been better shielded, and his leadership made lighter and less of a health risk.  This would have been possible through more committed and broader team sharing of political and development dreams, decisions and duties of leadership.

 

Of course, it is not comfortable to consider the possibility of serious political or health adversities where the presidency is concerned, but it is required to face even such unpleasant factors factually, responsibly and sensitively.  Issues of continuity need to be appreciated in all the three branches of government and national sectors, with the most critical issues being with regard to the Executive Branch.  The legal set up and performance of presidential functions is the most visible, and potentially the most easily re-assuring point of effecting continuity of government.  Effective and clear continuity in performance of the functions of the Office of the President is critical in establishing giving assurance that there is a credible and legitimate national leadership.

 

There are seven circumstances under which a new President is elected or substitute person is called upon to perform the function of the office of president.  These are upon completion of the normal term of office as well as in case of presidential absence from the country, dissolution of Parliament, resignation, impeachment, illness, incapacitation or demise.  The country has existing protection in the Constitution in case of need for temporal or permanent transfer of presidential and other state power and responsibilities to legitimate authorities.  Even in the case where some political actors and groupings exhibit leadership weaknesses or absence of good judgment, these state constitutional provisions can serve to render strong security of government continuity.

 

There are issues of continuity that need to be well known, appreciated and managed absolutely in all the three branches of government and national sectors, with the most critical issues being with regard to the Executive Branch.  The legal set up and performance of presidential functions is the most visible, and potentially the most easily re-assuring point of effecting continuity of government.  Effective and clear continuity in performance of the functions of the Office of the President is critical in establishing assurance that there is a credible and legitimate national leadership.

A remedy is provided for in Article 38, for when the office of the President becomes vacant by reason of his death or resignation or by reason of his ceasing to hold office by virtue of Article 36, 37 or 88.  In these circumstances the Constitution provides for an election to the office of the President to be held within ninety days from the date of the office becoming vacant.  Whenever the office of the President becomes vacant in this way, the Vice-President shall perform the functions of the office of the President until a person elected as President assumes office.  In performing these functions before the election, the Vice-President shall not dissolve the National Assembly nor, except on the advice of the Cabinet, revoke any appointment made by the President.

 

This is different from a situation upon completion of the normal term of office, dissolution of Parliament, resignation, impeachment, illness, incapacitation or demise. Article 34, section 2, requires that a new presidential election shall take place whenever Parliament is dissolved.  Article 35 states that the normal presidential term of office shall be five years, and that a President may resign.  Article 37 provides for the impeachment of a president.  But, article 38, among other things, provides for what follows in case of the undesirable event of the demise of a President while in office, as a contingency plan.

 

There is need to ensure that continuity of Government is seen, and believed, to be adequately functioning on an earnest ongoing basis.  Now is the time when it is necessary to show strong leadership and legitimate institutions demonstrating capacity for government continuity and prove of statesmanship, on the part of political leaders, as well as professional resolve by civil servants.  Under all circumstances, the challenge is to ensure that there is continuation of a legitimate and expeditiously functioning government authority.  Zambia’s history re-assures that we, as a people, can meet this challenge.

 

Zambia’s future can benefit from having this challenge meet, but it is only possible under a leadership of men and women who are clean, clear, competent, committed, credible, courageous and compassionate.  Indeed, it would be an appropriate cap on the Levy legacy, if insist on meeting this challenge of ensuring continuity of governance and economic recovery, as we uphold the anti-corruption crusade.

Hamba kahle, mufwewetu!  Aluta Continua!

Note: Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika is co-founder of Zambias’ governing Movement for Multiparty Democracy, the revolutionary party that ousted United National Independence Party government at the time led by Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda in 1991. Before his death, President Mwanawasa had appointed Aka as he is populary known as Chairperson of the National Governing Council (NGC) to locally oversee the implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).

 

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zambia Elections

On October 30th, Zambians will be heading to the polls to elect Late President Mwanawasa’s successor. Having watched the third and final debate of the US Presidential candidates and considering the level at which they have subjected to public scrutiny, I have no doubt to state that whoever emerges victorious in this election will be a true reflection of what the American people want.

 

The developments in the US presidential race are totally the opposite of what is obtaining in Zambia.

It is sad to see isolated interviews of our presidential candidates when there can be debates of the four candidates running for the highest office in the land.

 

In a few days to come, I will be making a proposal to the Zambian people through this site on what should be done with future presidential races.

 

I believe no one should go to State House in Zambia through the back door without a thorough scrutiny of the voters.

October 16, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | 2 Comments

Media gurus discuss citizen journalism

By Nalumino Nalumino

The main stream media has been challenged not to perceive citizen journalism which is having an impact in the sector as a threat but instead embrace the concept.

Speaking during in an interview soon after presenting a paper, Citizen Journalism during the Digital Citizen Indaba Sunday at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, a South African blogger, Nicholas Haralambous said the main stream media should be wise in the way it deals with citizen journalism because it is all about the community collecting information and distributing it back to the community.

“For example, CNN has launched Ireport.com which they get citizen journalists to video blog then they use those video blogs in opinions and in their actual news productions which’s a value way to use citizens to make their views very valid in a very big media sphere,” said Haralambous who manages a content sharing and social media playground blog, http://www.zoopy.com

Inherently, Haralambous said though the concept of citizen journalism appears to be relatively new people in Africa have been distributing information for a long time.

 

Proffesor Fackson Banda

Penetration
He said the easiest way for Africans to be citizen journalists is get a mobile phone, down load and up load the content online because that is not only the easiest but quickest way of doing it.

Asked whether, the excessive costs of buying and maintain a cell phone as well as internet would hinder the speedy growth of citizen journalism in Africa, Nicholas said while it is true it might be the case a lot of Africa is filled with cell phone.
In South Africa the market penetration is close to 90 % and through Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya the numbers are huge people have mobile phones they are not just using them effectively and what should not be forgotten people are spending money on their phones.

“Yes it’s not cheap but people are still spending money on their phones; people need to communicate inherently so it’s just a matter of a way of getting them to communicate in a way that benefits them, their society, friends and their family. Right now they are communicating saying are you going out; are you going to drink or where are you going to drink; forget that we need to talk about proper issues on their cell phones with the communicate and get the community to rally around those topics,” he said.

Haralambous challenged main stream journalists to embrace the technology available to them to become citizen like in their reporting, transparent and use twitter as well as talk about where they are, how they are, who they are, where they are going and this is one good thing about citizen journalists.

Big Flaw of Democracy
However, he said journalists should not be citizen journalists because there is a place for journalism. Journalism, he said is the watch man and gatekeeper of society without professional and proper journalism that would be a big flaw for democracy.

He said citizens will never take the role of journalists though maybe in the “distant, distant future but right now there’s a role for journalists and they should just have features of citizen journalists, they shouldn’t become citizen journalists, main stream journalism isn’t dead.”

“Citizen Journalism I think for me is less opinionated and more emotional, it’s a reaction to a flood; it’s a reaction to a tornado; it’s a reaction to a murder. Where journalists don’t have that feeling and emotion citizens do. They feel the immediate reaction,” said Haralambous.

About 30 journalists, bloggers and scholars from different background drawn from across Africa and overseas attended the Digital Citizen Indaba.
Ends

September 9, 2008 Posted by | News, Politics, Publish | , , , , , | Leave a comment