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Our World Together

It was unthinkable then but now possible thanks to Hickey

By Nalumino Nalumino

The news about the demise of Mr. Errol Hickey last Sunday came as a shock and unexpected to me.

As a former Radio Phoenix employee, I remember Hickey as a man who had a dominant personality in the Zambian media industry as well as an astute entrepreneur.

Errol Hickey watching the fire that swept clean the 13th Floor we used to call the Club House of ZIMCO House along Cairo Road in Lusaka. Picture by The Picture Monger

Errol Hickey watching the fire that swept clean the 13th Floor we used to call the Club House of ZIMCO House along Cairo Road in Lusaka. Picture by The Picture Monger

I wish to state without any reservation that this country can ill afford at a time such as this one to lose a man whose life was embedded in a strong belief in his personal will to succeed in whatever inspiration he wanted to pursue.

His motivation to establish Radio Phoenix at a time when it was unthinkable to own a private radio station in Zambia displayed courage and ambition that has given birth to a myriad of both community and commercial radio station in Zambia. Continue reading

March 1, 2017 Posted by | Self Xpression | , | Leave a comment

Bring Mundawanga Zoo and Botanical Gardens Back to Life

By Kbwhighway

We would at times sneak out of class at Parklands School in Chilanga to go to Mundawanga Zoo and Botanical Gardens to watch animals, swim and walk through the gardens.
It was off-course unacceptable to skip class and it is something a parent that I am today cannot tolerate from his children but being nutty kids that we were nothing would stop us from an occasional obsession of visiting the Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

It was a place of sweet tranquility and full of succor to people who truly needed to refresh their minds and even re-energise their physicality.

My friend Patrick Chanda, son of Major Alick Chanda who was then Manager of the Mundawanga Zoo and Botanical Gardens with other friends would frequent the Zoo and the garden and take a dive into the sparkling pool.Mundawanga Environmental Park Adventure Swimming
On several occasions we would find the monkeys have invaded Major Chanda’s house and displaced several household items out of their usual place. Major Chanda’s family had been accustomed to living and coexisting with their neighbours in the Zoo whose uninvited visits were most welcome. Continue reading

October 1, 2014 Posted by | Self Xpression | , , , | Leave a comment

Media & 2011 Elections

By Nalumino Nalumino

Yesterday on June 21, 2011 I received a phone call from Shamba Muzungu one of the team members at the MISA Zambia, Secretariat inviting me to be one of the guests on the Face the Media radio programme today (June 22, 2011).

I was humbled by the invitation though unable to attend due to some pressing office work and especially that I was out of the station for a long time. I really would have liked to feature on the programme because the topic “Media and Elections” is a very crucial topic especially during an elections year such as this one when Zambians will go to the polls to elect leaders of their own choice through the ballot.

However, I would like to share a few thoughts on this subject having facilitated on topic of a similar nature during the national-wide works on Election Reporting sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme working in collaboration with the Electoral Commission of Zambia.

During that workshop I stated that it is undoubted that the media play a very critical role in the life of all human societies because it provides the conduit necessary for all kinds of communication that helps societies exist and function. Contemporary thinking is such that to live in harmony, societies need communication that is beneficial to its constituents.

In modern democratic societies, which entail representative governments, the media play the very essential role of ensuring that information vital to the existence, survival and development of constituents of such societies is availed to them in a timely, equitable, fair and balanced manner.

Thus at election time, when constituents must elect their representatives, it becomes doubly imperative that the media afford citizens all information necessary for them to make informed choices about whom to elect and whom not to elect into positions of authority.

During this year’s tripartite elections, the Zambian media especially must play three undisputable roles in the electoral process. Yes, it is true the media can play several roles but I have deliberately itemized three which I believe are extremely crucial at the moment namely watchdog role, voter education role and peace Building role

Watchdog Role

The media plays the watch dog role when they expose errors of commission or omission by those in power in their pursuit to cling to power at all cost. It is human nature that people in positions of authority would always want to protect themselves against any perceived threat to their own turf and would therefore go to great lengths ensuring they remain in power. This can result in massive abuse of public resources leading to further impoverishment of our people.

The media can alert citizens to various practices that are unethical in the manner politicians, civil servants, civil society or the media is conducting itself.

The watchdog role does not spare any one individual or political party not even the Electoral Commission of Zambia if they are found wanting.

Immediately, a media organization or journalist become partial in their reporting they become irrelevant to the equation of ethical conduct. They become part of the problem and not a solution because compromised media entities or journalists give the electorates biased coverage they  robe the citizenry the golden chance of making an informed decision.

The media can expose schemes to disadvantage those outside the corridors of power and this role they do very well except that they fail to scrutinize themselves beyond the criticism of alleged biased coverage in fovour of the government or opposition depending on whether the media outfit is public or private. This is absurd and this is why organizations and individuals like myself are calling for Non Statutory Media Regulation in this country.

The media can expose manipulation of citizens through the distribution of bribes and other illegal niceties during campaign periods. The majority of our people are poor and it has become a common practice that political parties find it fashionable to abuse their own brothers and citizens by buying their conscious.

If I were to feature on that programme this morning, I would have condemned this practice which affects both the ruling and opposition parties.

Voter Education

The media can educate citizens through stories that adequately explain the national situation (political, social and economic) so that the citizenry will not only benefit from improved service delivery but will also take part in the development processes of the nation. The media can explain in simple terms specific legal and administrative issues which can be seen to be fundamental for any election undertaken to be free and fair as well as adequately encourage eligible persons to register as voters and to actually cast their ballot when elections are due.

The media should provide a platform for all candidates and their parties to present their manifestos to the public. I have no quarrel with a media outfit throwing their support behind a particular candidate and give that candidate the deserved coverage. However, I have a professional challenge accepting a situation where other candidates should not be covered whether equally or equitably regardless of any public or undercurrents.

In this 2011 tripartite election, our Zambian media should expose parties and candidates that instigate or have the propensity to cause violence so that the citizenry may be made alert to any such possibilities. It is actually a shame that the past two days Zambians including senior government officials have been calling for restraint of MMD cadres from verbal/ physical harassment and violence of innocent grieving citizens who only wanted to mourn Zambia’s Second Republican President, Fredrick Chiluba. This is the worst drama of its kind, shameful precedent and send off to deceased person regardless of station in life.

The media should expose practices of vote-buying or illegal party financing to the electorate; expose the proliferation of defamation and hate speech in campaigns aimed at influencing nationals negatively; expose voter intimidation by party workers, corruption in decision-making processes, and the systematic exclusion of certain sectors of society in the electoral process.

The media may strive to expose instances where political parties threaten the functioning of democratic systems rather than support them and thus disenfranchise eligible voters while at the same time the media can strive to explain to the electorate, in clear and simple language, national, regional and universal pieces of legislation and other regulations governing the proper conduct of democratic elections.

The media should labour to explain to the citizenry the importance of their participative involvement in all aspects of governance systems such as voting.

In their dairy meetings, journalists should try to focus on the issues, by talking to ordinary people, particularly those lacking a strong voice in society e.g. the elderly and the young, women, the poor, and ethnic and religious minorities on issues affecting them as an integral part of our society. The media must strive to put citizens’ views to candidates and report their responses back to the citizens so that they know and understand their potential governors. It shocking and mind boggling when those seeking public office shun public debates or meetings and when they (candidates) accept such an invitation they send representatives to speak on their behalf.

The media, in its agenda-setting role, can provide diverse view points and unbiased information, offer forum for debate involving citizens and the civil society, mediate in national development projects and contribute to sustainable flow of information.

Peace Building

Man, (including woman) by nature, is selfish. From this selfishness emanates attitudes and actions that may threaten tranquility. The state of maintaining peace therefore calls for conscious and sustained efforts toward creating and recreating conditions conducive to sustaining that peace without which there can be no development of any society.

Election time often comes with a charged atmosphere, when candidates and their supporters jostle for power, which can potentially be a recipe for disharmony.

The media may participate in fuelling such type of contestation. This is because the traditional way of reporting news has always been premised on the maxim that ‘bad news is good news’. The greatest challenge for the media therefore lies in reorienting their predisposition from projecting negativity to fostering positivity; a prerequisite for peace.

The media should highlight the strengths rather than weaknesses of contesting individuals and parties (where such weaknesses are not criminal or immoral); highlight contestants’ views about tackling issues that may impact on people’s welfare rather than perceptions about their opponents; highlighting projects that reflect co-operation, dialoguing, and reconciliation within communities

Aroma of Zambian Peace

The aroma of Zambian peace is an admiration and dream of every African. It appears to me without any apology to anyone that Zambians especially noisy and empty headed career politicians have taken the Zambian peace for granted.

Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya enjoyed a similar manner of peace until one day when hell broke loose resulting in scars that will remain with the African soils forever. The media should remind the politicians that in their quest to nourish their stomachs noting that very few entre politics to serve the people of this great country, they need to realise that this peace has been as a result of persistent vigilance of the founding fathers of Zambia.

The Zambian peace is not an accident and it calls for politicians and all the citizens to expose those with a high propensity for violence. Those that commit violence today and go scot free because of their inclination to the ruling party should be made to account for their action at the right time unless they depart to the other side of town where only God will seek for answers from them for the spilled blood in this life.

In conclusion, I wish to appeal to the Church to pray for all political leaders, cadres and all Zambians to approach this years’ elections with a sober mind knowing that this is not these are not the closing episode of elections in the history of Zambian.

We need peace. We demand peace. We demand a free and fair election. Viva Zambia.

June 22, 2011 Posted by | Self Xpression | , , , , | Leave a comment

In a Pan-African state of mind

By Leonard Quarshie

I have been feeling nostalgic lately. Nostalgic not in a sort of having-been-there-done-that- kind of way. But in a kind of what-would- Nkrumah-think-about-this kind of way. I guess it’s because I haven’t read anything nourishing in a long time. So much is happening in the world with such speed that there is hardly time for perspective, for context, for reflection. I would be lying if I said I hunger for the works of Achebe, Awoonor, Senghor, Armah, Thiong’o and other African writers of old. But I hunger for their perspective; for the unique African sensibility they brought to things, to the events around them, to the happenings of their time. Times are different, of course.

But the Africa—whose fate they chronicled in their work and agonized over—has not changed very much. It is still very poor. It is still very dependent on others. It is still very badly-governed. It contends still with the same issues their generation wrestled with. I wonder for example, what Nkrumah would think about the impact of AIDS? Nkrumah’s warnings about neo-colonialism are well-known. But many decades later, what would he think about the state of regional integration? What would he think about Africa’s 2% share of global trade?

As I look across the continent—I see that a lot of time has passed—but the issues remain the same. We are still heavily dependent on others for sustenance, for validation, for acceptance. Our development models are still imported, unoriginal and inorganic. Yesterday’s ideas. We are still playing by other people’s rules. The themes, Achebe and others wrestled with—after the euphoria of independence—are still the headaches of our generation: the place of the African in the world; his struggles with self-governance; his experiments with development; his fears and insecurities about modernity and all that it entails; his efforts at understanding the squalor that surrounds him; his disappointments.

I think about these things quite a lot. I don’t know why. Living in the West heightens this feeling. This state of mind. Reading and watching the news about Africa can get to you. Then there is a sense of insecurity here which one cannot escape. A sense that one can wake up one day and lose all of one’s work and sweat. It’s a palpable, ever-present feeling which never goes away. No matter how successful you become, you sense very quickly that this is not the place you want to spend the last years of your life. The West is not home. Africa is home. Here you are pre-occupied with survival, with living. You have to pay the bills and make the payments. You have to make certain that you are not kicked out on the streets. You can’t go to anyone for help. You are on your own. It’s a foreign land after all. You come to realize that even your African-American brethren—the descendants of your ancestors brought here four centuries ago—still contend with the strangeness and unfamiliarity of this place. That’s when one begins to care about what happens to Africa. That’s when one begins to feel anger and resentment toward non-Africans who talk cavalierly about Africa, as if it were a child in need of a parent to instruct it. That’s when one gets tired of patronage, the snide remarks, and the nonsense on western television that passes for analysis on Africa. That’s when one gets tired of well-fed, avuncular, Western journalists—some of whom have built flourishing careers—reporting negative stereotypical stories about Africa —coming up with insane and nonsensical documentaries such as “Why is Africa poor.”

Yet when I feel this way about Africa, when I despair of its fortunes and worry about its travails, I’m always reminded of a scripture my mother used to quote when I was a child: “For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grow old in the earth, and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant.”(Job 14:7-9)

There is hope for Africa. Let’s keep holding the feet of our leaders and institutions to the fire. Let’s keep demanding excellence and reject mediocrity. But let’s do it in love. Nkosi Sikeleli Africa. God bless Africa.

Leonard Quarshie is a freelance writer and a student at the University of Maryland, University College. You can reach him at ghanaleads@live.com

Quarshie, Leonard

October 13, 2009 Posted by | Self Xpression | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment