Category Archives: Zambian elections 2011

Michael Sata Declared Zambia’s Fifth President

Note: Picture of Michael Sata was taken from Lusaka Times, which counts as public domain.

After much anticipation, Michael Sata was declared Zambia’s fifth president today. There were reports of violence in Solwezi (northwest), the Copperbelt (northern) and even Lusaka in the past few days since Zambians went to the polls on the 20th of September. Riots erupted over the delay of election results leading to suspicion of rigging. Yesterday, there were two power shortages where I live near the university. Even before the power shortages, the main television stations updating us with election results had stopped reporting due to an “exparte injunction imposed on three privately-owned media houses” to withhold publishing anything concerning the elections until results had been verified and finalized. By evening when electricity came back on, it was clear that Sata (and his party, PF) was in the lead. Though there were still 34 constituencies remaining to be counted, he had already obtained 40 percent of the votes while the incumbent Rupiah Banda trailed behind. They had not counted many of the constituencies in Lusaka yet. It was common knowledge that Sata had overwhelmingly swept the urban areas by huge margins. When official results were announced late into the night, immediately, we heard shouting, cheering, people running into the streets to celebrate and dance. Sata had won.

According to Lusaka Times, “Justice Irene Mambilima announced early this morning that with totals completed from nearly all the country’s 143 constituencies, Sata had won with 1,150,045 votes, representation 43 percent of the total. President Rupiah Banda had 961,796 votes, representing 36.1 percent. Eight other candidates shared the remainder.”

Now, what of President Michael Sata, otherwise known as “King Cobra”? He was a minister in the governments of both Kaunda and Chiluba. He used to be in the United National Independence Party (UNIP) under Kaunda and then changed to the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) under Chiluba so some see his move to the opposition Patriotic Front (PF) as simply opportunistic and disingenuous. Yet many Zambians consider him as someone to gets things done. He’s known to look out for Zambians. They remember the time when he was a minister of health and they never ran out of medicines at the clinics or hospitals. Detractors, however, worry that his reputed lack of tact and “political thuggery” will cause embarrassment at home and abroad and in dealing with foreign investors.

There is no doubt Sata is a polarizing figure, especially when it comes to the thorny issue of foreign direct investment. Sata has been known to run on an anti-Chinese platform, allegedly heavily supported by Taiwanese donors. Although this claim has been circulating, it has never been substantiated. When I asked an official whether it was true that the Taiwanese were donating campaign money to PF, he replied with a resounding no. It was to the benefit of Sata to tone down his anti-Chinese remarks, which he followed through this time in his campaign. Many of his supporters perceive him to be their defender, one who looks out for Zambians at a time when it seems investors reap all the benefits at the expense of locals. One thing is for sure: Sata has promised to change the way negotiations are done with the Chinese and work to ensure better work conditions, pay and benefits for Zambians.

However, targeting one group of nationals with xenophobic remarks may backfire. Many Chinese may pull out. Already, I have witnessed and experienced elements of xenophobia among Zambians — a strand of “Orientalism” that once plagued (and still exists in parts of ) the United States. Sometimes, I hear Zambians yell out “ching chong” or ask “why are your eyes like that?” Though there are Japanese aid workers and students and South Korean students learning the local languages — I’ve been told Japan and Korean companies are looking to invest in Zambia as well — the common response among Zambians is that “they’re all Chinese.” I have found myself often having to explain the differences among the nationalities and describe the diversity among Chinese themselves in terms of provincial origin, ethnicity, class, profession, and other ascribed attributes. The British colonial legacy has also influenced many to disparage those with non-European features and what they perceive to be “poor English manners” and English language skills. It seems, in general, one’s fluency in English is a marker of status. Thus, it becomes one of the most significant factors in their perceptions of the Chinese in Zambia. Perhaps, a type of racial hierarchy, maybe not the kind operating in the US but similar, is in effect as well, no thanks to Hollywood.

Of course, the discontent with the way many Chinese investors have handled labor matters is legitimate due to poor compensation and treatment of local workers. It is also undeniable that the majority of Chinese individuals and families in Zambia remain physically isolated and less socially and culturally integrated. However, it is curious and telling that the magnitude of emphasis placed on the Chinese (as an abstract, homogeneous entity rather than a group of individuals with diverse interests and origins) in comparison to the emphasis on the actions and often times, complicity of local officials and elites working in partnership with the Chinese is so much more severe. Why? The glare seems to me quite misplaced. It’s also alarmingly reminiscent of the historical racism against the “inscrutable Orientals” in the United States enshrined in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Why Hilary Clinton and Michael Sata, among others, have chosen to emphasize the role of the Chinese in Zambia and on the continent of Africa also raises a few eyebrows. There is a joke among my Zambian friends that Lusaka has turned into a “province” of South Africa. It’s taken over by South African shops, malls, and companies. In the same vein, India has pledged $2.2 billion dollars of FDI in the next several years. Though China is currently one of the top investors in Zambia, labor issues have emerged in South African and Indian companies as well. It seems these problems are symptomatic of the way laws and policies (including tax benefits) have been implemented to give greater advantage to foreign investors and little or none to locals. One piece of evidence is the exorbitant rates at which local micro-finance firms and banks charge Zambians if they want to borrow money to start their own business — often times at 50 percent interest. Thus, if Sata delivers on his promise, he will work to ensure that Zambians themselves give each other the opportunity to become business-owners and stakeholders.

Only then will the rewards of increasing foreign direct investment ultimately and justifiably flow to Zambians themselves.

Election Day in Lusaka, Zambia

The mood is tense today. People are anxiously awaiting election results as they slowly trickle in from the nine provinces. Few buses are operating and most stores in town are closed for fear of outbreaks of violence. Election day, however, proceeded smoothly.

**Note: This picture was taken at 7 in the morning on election day at a local market polling station near Mulungushi Village in Lusaka.

Election Day

Polls opened on September 20th, 2011 at 6 in the morning. By the time I reached one of the polls at 7 in the morning, there was a long queue of about 100 people. I visited three polls in Lusaka until they closed at 6:30 in the evening. The polls were located in relatively middle class, suburban neighborhoods. I use “middle class” loosely because even well-to-do Zambians with stable jobs, residing in a gated home, may find themselves living from paycheck to paycheck because they have to financially support 12 to 14 people in their family. However, they are “middle class” in comparison to those who live in compounds and some villages beset by immense poverty. I was warned by my Zambian friends not to enter the shanty compounds to observe the election process for fear that some of the young men would become violent since they started drinking beer early in the morning.

Voting Process

One of the polls I observed was located on campus at the University of Zambia (UNZA). The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) officers, dressed in bright orange vests, allowed me to enter the voting stations and take observation notes. Around 10 to 12 election monitors from various NGOs, transparency organizations and political parties were present to ensure fairness in the voting and tabulation process. At the university polling station, voters were divided into 12 streams by last names in alphabetical order. They stood in queues and waited. For every 10 voters, around seven were men and three were women. Although demographics show a 1.01 sex ratio and total voter registration was split equally among the sexes, this was not reflected in my observations of the election process. From experience, I have noticed that discussion of politics is a male-dominated activity. Many times when I have visited Zambian homes, as soon as the discussion turned to politics, the women either remained silent or left the room. The exceptions are the younger generation (the few teenagers not influenced by MTV and American pop culture) and UNZA students, who tend to be politically vocal and active.

Over 50 percent of the voters I saw were “youths,” – the “youth” bracket in Zambia encompassing age 18 to 35. It must be noted that “youths” comprise about 30 percent of the total population. Around 50 percent are 14 years old and under, constituting the next generation of voters in 2016.

Voters reached the front of the line, where their voter registration and national registration cards were verified against a list of Zambian national names with accompanying photos. The ECZ officer doing the verification loudly announced the voter name, NRC number and page and line number of their location on the list. Voters then proceeded to the next ECZ officer who prepared their ballots and stamped them. Voters were given three ballots – presidential, parliamentary and local council ones. The ballots included names and colored photos of each of the candidates. After receiving the stamped ballots, voters proceeded to voting booths which ensured that their votes would be cast in private. After casting their votes, they then proceeded to place each of the ballots in one of the three large plastic bins. The plastic bins were sealed on all sides.

Voices of Contention

Printing of the ballots, which took place in South Africa, and the provision of colored photos on the ballots proved to be a major source of contention among the voters I talked to. I stood around at each of the polling stations (100 meters away per ECZ regulations) to listen to conversations and talk with friendly voters. A group of men gathered near the UNZA polling station. They had voted and were complaining about the process. I approached them and they revealed skepticism of the election process. One man said, “Why did they have to go print the ballots in South Africa? Why? They could have done it here in Zambia. You just photocopy the ballots. What’s so hard about that?” Another man argued, “We don’t have the capacity to do certain things here.” He was interrupted by a third man who replied, “What do you mean we don’t have the capacity here? It’s a photocopy. You see, this is the problem with our leaders. We have a leadership vacuum here in Zambia. They give everything to foreigners. We’re a rich country with everything we need, yet there’s nothing left for us Zambians.”

They then complained about the printing of colored photos. The first man asked, “Was that really necessary? Why did they waste money on colored photos?” The two men in agreement insisted on the problem of the leadership vacuum in Zambia while the third man pointed out that there was a serious lack of human and technological capacity. They continued to argue while I asked questions and took notes. Three hours later, this small group had become a large crowd of 10 to 12, as more men (mostly UNZA alums) joined us in the discussion. Several of the men insisted that they wanted to stay at the polling station until it closed to guard against any suspicious activities. They were already informed of an incident in Lusaka where a man had been caught with pre-marked ballot papers. Locals reacted and stoned, burned and destroyed five vehicles.

Voter Stories

One general pattern I observed all three polling stations was the huge voter turnout. At the third polling station, which was at a local basic school, queues had dwindled but that’s because it was evening and polls were about to close. Overall it seems, in Lusaka, Zambians were exercising their right to vote. Later on, when I took the bus and walked home, I greeted and asked each pedestrian I encountered, “Did you vote?” Every single one, except for one older man on a bike, said they voted. The man, a bricklayer by profession, said he did not vote because he did not trust any of the politicians. “They never fulfill their promises,” he told me.

Repeatedly, voters told me, “We’re ready for change. Our people have been suffering for too long.” In the morning, I met a young lady who told me she wanted to become a teacher because she had a passion for teaching and inspiring young children. She was born with HIV and lost both parents by the age of 5. She lives with her grandmother and revealed to me that life had been one struggle after another for her. She told me she was not planning to vote, but changed her mind because she thought it might make a difference. “I want change. That’s why I’m here,” she said. Another young man I spoke to said the same thing. Over and over again, people talked about the suffering and hardships they have gone through. High rates of unemployment, not having enough money for school, not having three meals a day, lack of sanitation, electricity and clean, running water, and having to wait at the clinic for seven hours to be seen are pervasive problems they face on a daily basis.

One of the most memorable conversations I had was with a young man, an UNZA graduate, who could not find employment. He worked on a contractual basis, occasionally writing articles and selling them to newspapers. He said, “You know, we Zambians, they say we’re peaceful. I don’t know why, we’re too accepting. But this time, people are fed up. People are tired. We have been suffering for too long. I’m telling you in Lusaka, especially in the Copperbelt, people there have nothing to lose, things will happen if this election turns out badly. We’re fed up and we’re ready for change.”

Zambian Presidential Debates 2011

We in Zambia are bracing for presidential, parliamentary and local elections on Tuesday, September 20th. Just from talking to my Zambian friends, it seems the attitude towards elections are mixed. Some have expressed apathy concerning any possible change resulting from elections. Especially in Lusaka, it seems many of my Zambian friends are resigned to a kind of bleak fate: “We already know who will win; what’s the point?”

As I’m writing this post, two days before elections, a group of boisterous men have gathered outside the Internet cafe to watch and cheer on a soccer match. I initially thought they were standing around to talk about the upcoming elections and gave myself mild chiding for not suspecting that it was soccer! Of course!

On the contrary, my host family in Chongwe, a village one hour away from the capital city, demonstrated enthusiasm, meticulously planning out their day to include voting and other activities. One family member was selected to man the polls and was particularly passionate about enforcing all the stipulations set forth by the Electoral Commission of Zambia. My Chinese friends, on the other hand, exhibited fear and slight curiosity as they discussed recent and potential outbreaks of violence caused by political party cadres. Gently admonishing me, my Chinese friends encouraged me to stay home on election day. “Be careful,” they said. “Don’t go into town!”

Their attitudes stand in sharp contrast to researchers who have come in the last two weeks to witness various facets of the election process. Like me, researchers have a hunger for the experience — it’s really a privilege to witness such a momentous occasion. Although researchers arrive with a focused question about one facet of the election process, overall, we’re curious about the whole experience. I want to know, how does the election process work, who will vote, what will Zambians talk about before and after voting, and will University of Zambian students stay up all night, as I am told, and what happens in the aftermath of the elections? I will be at the polls, bright and early on Tuesday with my notebook, recording details as the ever-vigilant anthropologist.

I have been following televised parliamentary debates and posted two of the transcripts here and here. The presidential debates held on September 12th and 13th were also lively and engaging. I have transcribed, summarized and posted the highlights below. There are ten candidates running for president. A majority of the candidates, but not all, were present for the televised debates.

**Disclaimer: Mistakes or inaccuracies made in the transcripts are mine. Also, the picture of the liberation statue in front of the government building was taken from the Wikipedia page on Zambia, which constitutes public domain.

General Introduction

Forum for Democracy and Development (Edith Zewelani Nawakwi):

  • Believes as a political party that Zambia is in a deep social crisis, the most vexing problem being the deep poverty people in Zambia are faced with

  • Believes that poverty arises due to two factors: 1) the over-centralization of government, which enables the government to make decisions on behalf of he people and 2) the exclusion of nationals in the mainstream of our economy.

  • If you discuss those two issues you’ll find that if you’re talking about corruption, poor governance, a constitution that is not respected, you will discover it’s all centered around over-centralization of government. To eradicate poverty is to decentralize political and economic power. The first task at hand is to have constitution agreed to, the system must be agreed to and that the country as rich as this before us, cannot be called a middle income without a middle class.”

Alliance for Development Democracy (Charles Milupi):

  • Believes that poverty and increasing suffering of Zambian people and “chronic underdevelopment” especially in high density township and rural areas must be fought and eradicated

  • Founded on seven pillars, accountability, wiser management of our resources in order to create wealth and also in order to create employment for the Zambian people, among other pillars.

  • Also focused on quality education and health nation as well as the section that includes retirees.

  • We’re looking at creating adequate and adequately-funded social security system, including adequate pensions and above all, we also believe we need sustainable agricultural sector and make sure this will be put in place. We believe that Zambia is very rich. All statistics show this. Therefore, it is anomalous that in such a well-resourced country, we have this suffering, this poverty.

Zambians for Empowerment and Development (Dr. Fredrick Mutesa)

  • Academic turned politician
  • Believes that decentralization of government is key. This involves devolving power to the districts.

  • Believes job creation is key to role of government and the main target is the emerging youth, which constitute almost 70 percent of the population. Focus needs to be on young people.

  • Believes in aiming to improve public service delivery, which involves a two-pronged strategy outlined in the manifesto.

Heritage Party President (Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda):

  • Has a website:

  • Was the former vice president of the Republic of Zambia, a cabinet minister and later a minister of education

  • Believes that the most serious issue that requires attention is the problem of poverty.

  • I think that all the parties are talking about this poverty. In our case, we have identified that this problem arises from disparity from urban and rural centers. That’s why we focus on the village. We refer to this as a village concept. At the beginning of our time in government, we want to introduce a very unique concept, a village trust development fund. This is because we do not accept suggested decentralization, which decentralizes current systems to rural areas. We think that will decentralize corruption which we are against. Zambians should be treated as shareholders and it’s about time they should directly benefit and get dividends.”

United Party for National Development (Hakainde Hichilema):

  • “Why in a rich country are so many people poor? Answer this question, why are people suffering. Over 70 percent of our people are poor. There’s no debate about that. The missing link is the quality of leadership. Run government affairs and party in efficient manner that will advance agriculture, mining, health, education, tourism and others and work in these sectors to exploit the resources to benefit the lives of people in Zambia with specific policies under each of these sectors.”

National Restoration Party (Elias Chipimo Junior)

  • Elias Chipimo – 46 years old, a lawyer by profession.

  • The deaths of his mother and father while traveling to the village where they were registered led Mr. Chipimo to run for president.

  • “It was the tragic accident of my mother and father that helped me see that the suffering of the people especially through health sector. It was not enough to complain. I needed to do something. I made a decision to run for president of the country. As party, we believe one thing is critical. Put in leadership that will stand on platform of values we have a bold and radical vision. Three outcomes – to make Zambia an energy superpower and continental breadbasket.

National Movement for Progress (Ng’andu Magande)

  • Established by ordinary men and women scattered throughout Zambia

  • Believes that this country has gone into a slumber.

  • Achieved growth in early 2000, in 1998, Zambian’s growth rate was minus 2 percent. The growth has been at 6 percent in spite of abundant natural resource and technological growth.

  • Believes that using advancement of technology in the world and natural resources can help move this country much quicker and get to as much as 10 percent growth. National unity and identity must be present for this to occur.

On High Unemployment Levels and Poverty

ZED (Dr. Mutesa): In 2011, the number of people inf ormal employment is 490,000 out of 13 million ctiizens. And to remind audience, in 1964, when we achieved independence, we had 300,000 people in formal employment. In terms of question about taxes, if you look at the 2011 budget, there are few workers who are carrying the heaviest burden….What we need to do is reform the tax law. We need marriage allowance, children allowance…

FDD (Madame Nawakwi)): We believe fiscal policy must be distributed and the burden must be on rich. Working poor are becoming more poor because of…We must use fiscal policy to redistribute income and taxation as far as mining is concerned and support the local people. Here if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re treated as criminal as far as taxation is concerned. We must focus on creating a middle class. Zambians must begin to be given an opportunity to enjoy wealth at the household level.

ADD (Mr. Milupi): We believe that one way to create jobs is to decentralize government because the moment the power is devolved to districts, you’re automatically creating number of jobs in different categories – administrative, technical, service, and basically, the money going to outlying areas will create demands for new goods and services and market will broaden. In addition to that, the workers need tax breaks in this country. The workers should not be taxed on allowances and they should negotiate the tax increments so they take home something on payday.

UPND (HH): On the issue of diversification, why it is not working, it’s very simple. It’s an issue of leadership and vision in this county. We have not utilized revenue form mining sector, especially when there’s a windfall, 4 trillion kwachas and use it to allocate to other sectors. The money from the mono-economy must be used to grow other sectors. What will we do next? We cannot talk about income redistribution before you make income. Economic growth is too low. Politicians must bring understanding, not just hearsay. We are going to create jobs, because it’s directly related to poverty. If people are employed, they’ll be less poor. We are going to focus on job creation. this is probably where we should spend more time….

We will also focus on value addition. If you sell your resources in the raw form, value is less. If you process, you add value. Make sure you can process your raw materials. If it’s copper, you must be manufacturing wire. In doing that, you will invest in manufacturing process which will create more jobs as opposed to selling raw cooper which is what is happening now. You see trucks carrying our copper going to south Africa. Why would you do that you’re damaging your own capability to add value addition if you are producing groundnuts, substantial groundnuts, why are you selling them rather than processing them? Every time you fly, we’re eating groundnut from other countries. Then we go on South African Airways, we’re eating our nuts that’s roasted in our country. Its’ a question of having leadership that does not understand the basic responsibility of leading the country. we need breed of different people, this is right timing to make that decision and choice. We’re very clear about that. We also talk about education .you need education. Someone said education is expensive. Try ignorance if you think education is expensive.

NAREP (Mr. Chipimo Junior): We have written a paper called NAREP economic summary plan which defines how we want to diversify the economy. First, let me talk about why we’re a mono-economy. The problem has been we have been focused on line of rail thinking, where if we look at our economy, it was built on the mining sector, specifically along the TanZam railway. There’s been no development in other areas, except in these areas. Now Zambia has large arable land. We don’t have a infrastructure access.

That’s why we decided we need to focus on building a new economy by creating energy superpower out of what we have. If you speak to directors of energy, the ministers will explain, but they have not been adopted by the current administration. You have 2 and 5 percent of petrol that are consumed in vehicle which have to be made out of bio diesel, made out of crops grown locally. You create demand in rural communities. If you had right policy in place, you can expand, you can do bio fuels with just about anything. That can create economic justification for putting in infrastructure which will access the arable land…Our goal is to develop Zambia as an energy independent nation in the next 20 years so we can achieve full rural development. There’s a tree called longwe tree, after 5 years will achieve forestation, has flower to enable us to have beekeeping, produces seed which when you squeezed produces diesel which you can put straight into your vehicle. These initiatives which can alter Zambia into an energy superpower, can also bring meaningful development to rural areas.

What we’re saying is 1 million new jobs in 5 years and 10,000 business owners in each province. You have to have the right policy in place to support local manufacturing. But you need to invest in people. Our manifesto is focused on investing in people secondly, you need to import the right technology to revamp the sector and product things in smarter and efficient way.

HPP (Brigadier General Miyanda): In my day, manganese and groundnuts and coffee was processed in kateshe. Pineapples in a project which I was involved in, was processed at the pineapple plant in _. it’s not because old timers did not know what they wanted. Economists have jargon, and they said liberalize, let everyone liberalize, let them do anything. This was from socialism. When we liberalize, what was dismantled was when we used to process meat in the southern province for export.

NMP (Mr. Magande): Why has Zambia been mono-economy? Because it was designed to be that way. I think that the colonial system – and I don’t mean it in bad faith, they identified what they wanted to do. They used Zambia to do what they want to do as good solder. I take my hat off. They built the infrastructure that still exists to take things out and build in other areas. We don’t need to speak so many issues about this mono economy. Just to identify. When we are talking about building Zambia,we’re building it on the economic wings of colonialism. Retrace the steps.

On Retirement and Pension Plans

UPND (HH): We must accept that the current system has failed the people of Zambia. The first issue is to clear all outstanding payments the first year. It’s doable. Number one, clear all outstanding pension payments and here I include retrenchments, retirement benefits, I’m talking generically. Obligation number two is to keep them current. Those that may be retiring in a particular year they’ve notified in time and when that time comes to retire, they’re given the package. We want to enhance the value of the pension to address issue of challenges faced in collecting it. Finally, we want to decentralize payment of pension. If you live in _, you will receive your pension there. You don’t have to get on the bus and risk accidents to get your pension.

NAREP (Mr. Chipimo Junior): This is a major campaign issue. We’ve indicated that we want to make sure that parliamentarians do not get paid their gratuity before the pensioners are paid to them. The timing of the payment. If its’ paid late, you’ll find that person who was entitled to the pension has died. It’s important the these pensions keep pace with inflation we have to be smarter about how we manage the rate of inflation. The third is the logistics of payment. There are payment schemes that can be set up to prevent people from having to travel long distances. The fourth thing is we want to improve the quality of management of the payment of pensions themselves. The quality and oversight of these schemes must be addressed.

HPP (Brigadier General Miyanda): The policy already exists though it can be improved. When people work for the state or any company and they’re contributing to a pension scheme it’s expected that as soon as they retire they will get their benefits. There’s nothing to debate about. It’s inhuman to subject any retiree to wait indefinitely to be given what is due to them. This is their money, they’re contributing to it. From our point of view, what it requires is to be paid and to improve package itself.

NMP (Mr. Magande): We intend to collect information, all public workers who have not been paid their terminal benefits, these are in different categories, in our office, we have a group of pensioners who were retrenchees when we had the structural adjustment programs. There were 170000, now 11,000. in our manifesto, we will pay all who have to be paid. We will resolve the cases within the fist budget of the NMP government. Their former secretaries, their former technicians, engineers getting as little as 100,000 kwachas. We want to limit pension payments to inflation rates and also current salary scales.

On Gender Equity

UPND (HH): Equity is important. Our society has disadvantaged women. We need to lend support to the fundamental belief individuals must have that women and men are equal. We need proportional representation in parliament. Women who are disadvantaged in employment must be given equal footing. Start on girl-child education to make sure she’s not forced to stay at home. It starts from here. We also negate love for the women in our families, so this has to start at home.

NAREP (Mr. Chipimo Junior): We must give presidential tax rate for women to have people prefer to hire them and support them in rural community to help them.

NMP (Mr. Maganda): Allocate adequate funds to empower women and youth vulnerable and disadvantaged and rural areas. Those will be targets for empowerment programs.

HPP (Brigadier General Miyanda): We need a period where we dialogue together, provide leadership, domesticating laws, provide guidance for exchange. Debate first. Encourage dialogue first in the house.

Zambian Parliamentary Debates 2011 (Roan Constituency of Ndola))

In the spirit of open dialogue, the debate for Roan constituency of the Copperbelt province (in northern Zambia) was one of the more lively and engaging ones. This particular debate also illuminated how concerns and issues surrounding foreign investment are framed in public discourse and used in political platforms. Thus, I have included an excerpt of the debate below. To learn more about Luanshya and Roan constituencies, situated in influential mining centers, visit the Norwegian Center for Human Rights. Also, the list of Zambian parliamentary constituencies is accessible here.

Mr. Siwakwi (Forum for Democracy and Development)

Mr. Kanta (United Patriotic for National Development)

Mr. Mulubwa (Multiparty Movement Democracy – the ruling party)

Mr. Mwaba (Independent)

Mr. Kambwili (Patriotic Front)

Mr. Kambwili: The question was how do you create other employment apart from mining industry? The answer is simple. To create, for instance, we need to attract investors who can make cornflakes. We can talk to investor who make cornflakes in South Africa and ask them to set up factory in Luanshya so people can get jobs. We can ask people in South Africa to set up mango juice factories so that people can get jobs.

Mr. Mwaba: You have been running parliament for five years, where are the factories?

Mediator: He’s just asking.

Mr. Kambwili: I have been trying to bring investment by MMD.

Mediator: He’s trying to…

Mr. Kambwili: Don’t interrupt. Let me finish. We’ve been meeting the vice president.

Mediator: The gentlemen don’t agree with you.

Mr. Kanta: Yes, Mr. Kambwili was there. Let’s be frank. One, I’ve been saying get donor attachment. Two, declare __ constituency. When we do this, we will attract investment.

Mr. Siwakwi: It’s very unfortunate sometimes to discuss on programs when you can’t offer solutions. The role of the MP is to advocate, negotiate, use as a mouth piece and make sure the development in your area comes. When you talk about development, you ensure investors. I want to disagree with the former MP. He’s been there for five years, what does he have to show. See, you’re supposed to negotiate. If you’re there, the problem we have had, is that our former MP has been banging the table every time he wants something. You need to have negotiating skills to get government to help you.

Mr. Mulubwa: You know, some people are clever when they’re talking.

Mediator: Let’s stick to the issue. The issue is whether you can bring in investors to make cornflakes.

Mr Kanta: Okay, yes, I”m agreeing with my friend here. The fact is that he’s been there for five years. Being a leader, like I agree with my friend here, when we have a problem, for instance, in the mines, 15MCC, when they have a problem, as a leader, you have to _.

Mr. Kambwili: Attraction of investment is government policy. If you deal with government that doesn’t have the policy to attract investment, as MP you can’t do anything. The government must accept views from opposition.

Mediator: We need to move on. How will you improve lives of people in Roan and Luanshya. Sanitation and health.

Mr: Kanta: Now, what the Chinese have done is that they have given the people two hospitals to use and the other hospital is for the mines. Now we have a situation where one clinic is in section 9 and other clinic is in _. When you’ve got a patient, it becomes difficult to transport patient from section 1, for example [interrupted by Mediator].

Mediator: So how will you improve the situation?

Mr. Kanta: I will talk to investors so that they can allow patients to use section 5 clinic, or we speak to the government to build a clinic in the _ hospital so that people in section 4 can go; they’re traveling too much. So I’m going to fight for the clinic to be open 24 hours.

Mr. Siwakwi: Currently, we need to have a clinic that will run for 24 hours. We’ll reason with the govt so that it’s revised. Also we have section 5 clinic, which to me, I want to at least support my MP, he’s tried to make it a hospital but the authorities have not been able to help. That place has got sufficient space, even for us to mortuary, so that people can have access to resting place in peace. For now, that clinic is being used by some people who are not using it the way it’s supposed to be.

Mr. Mwaba: I will make sure that the clinic operates the way it’s supposed to operate. And I will ensure that all clinic operate 24 hours and we’ll get ambulances work 24 hours. And section 8 and section 9 will have maternity wings. Let me just say this, the wards will help, committees, people in the wards will have access to CDF, CEC, youth empowerment funds and women empowerment funds to help communities move out of poverty.

Mr. Kambwili: Sharice [mediator], health and sanitation is the responsibility of the central government. As I’ve already said, when you speak out of ignorance, this is what happens. We have less than 50 percent of nurses in Zambia and that’s why section 7, 8 and 9 don’t run for 24 hours. So what will the people do? How can we keep the clinics open? We need the government to train and look after nurses and pay them well so they don’t leave the country and work in other countries. But you just say I’ll open these clinics in the sections. What I’ve done in the health sector is I’ve brought three state of the art machines, beds, equipment, worth 4 billion kwachas, and you know what happened, Sharice [the mediator], the MMD has..[interrupted by Mediator]

Mediator: Okay, thank you so much, I’ll let the others speak.

Mr. Mulubwa: Look, as MP you have to manage the constituency. My brother is claiming that he’s bought all these machines. I’ve been to the hospital. The machines don’t even work. I’ve been to the church where he’s bought computers. They don’t work.

Mediator: Wow will you address the issue of health and sanitation.

Mr. Mulubwa: That’s what I’m saying. Even from local resources, how much has been given? If you add up the figures, it’s a lot of money.


Mediator: Mr. Kanta, would you like to address issues?

Mr. Kanta: The most important thing is that one, our focus is to create and ensure that miners will create their own companies. They can work in their own communities. When water and sewage is sorted out, they will need repair. Local contractors, we’ll sort out that.

Mr. Simawki: You see, creating employment is the responsibility of all leaders. When you look at population, I want to emphasize it’s not only mining where you can create jobs. We need to overhaul as it has been alluded to, that jobs should be given to local so that they can also benefit. The second one is that we should be able to make sure that people of this constituency diversify. I mentioned agriculture. It’s where we can create jobs.

Mr. Mulumbwa: There’s one question , he says how many people have you employed. I’ll answer that question. ¾ of people who are working for me, I would say more than 600 people.

Mr. Mwaba: In _, I haven’t employed many. But I want to talk about the question about the Chinese, people are painting the Chinese badly. The Chinese are not bad in business. Let me talk about, in South Africa, the Chinese have been [interrupted by Mediator].

Mediator. Mr. Mwaba, let’s bring the issue home. Bring it home.

Mr. Mwaba: I am bringing it home. Who are we wrong to say, they cannot work in mines, they can’t look after our people. You know I’ve seen these shafts. That’s what they’re getting their incomes from. We need to sit down and support them [the Chinese]. Look at the equipment they’re bringing in. See the other companies – they don’t do anything, they don’t bring in the equipment, they don’t help our people.

Mr. Kambwili: Nobody is saying we should chase the Chinese. All we’re saying is that the miners you’re employing, pay them well. What we’re saying is some Chinese investment, pay our miners well. If they’re not prepared to pay the miners well, let them get out of Luanshya.

Mr. Mwaba: You know what Mr. Kambwili is saying, he’s been barred from entering the place there. We need to sit down with investors and discuss. The conditions for the miners.

Mr. Kanta: You know, these mines, I’ve got a vast experience in mines. Once upon a time, all the mines in Luanshya were closed. This time, the only one producing copper is P__. Come two three mines from now, the miner will employ 2 or 3000 people. Let me explain something coming back to the Chinese, that when we are building, they’re building the mines. Once effected, it’s a done deal. People will be paid a lot of money. As a leader, I’ve seen this, where the leader is pushing them to go on strike. And I’m saying [interrupted by Mediator]

Mediator: We’re winding down. Please 30 seconds why we should vote for you.

Mr. Kambwili: I’m the best candidate. Chambishi [mines] was open ten years ago. They’re still paying poor salaries. See for yourself. Choose the best leader who will represent you effectively, articulately your issues and seek results. Trust your leadership, and believe in me.

Mr. Mwaba: We’ve seen what people have done to this constituency. They’ve run it down because they don’t trust investors. We will work with investors. You have to work with whatever is there. If you don’t work with investor, how will you work with your people?

Mr. Mulubwa: People should vote for the MMD, RB [Rupiah Banda] is true leader. We don’t want leader who insults every time he is on platform. Every time he [interrupted by Mr. Kambwili].

Mr. Kambwili: Please let me finish.

[Mediator also interrupts and tries to mediate among arguing candidates]

Mr. Mulubwa: So let people vote wisely, a leader who does well.

Mr. Kanta: I’m saying, you know we have achieved a lot together. We will work together to drive ourselves out of poverty, please vote for this man because you know him, you know that he’s an achiever, a team worker and also a team manager.

Mr. Siwakwi: I want people of this constituency to vote for me, just me. Give it to the right person because I’ve been with you, I understand your problems, and I’m here representing you, so make sure on that day, 20th September vote for me because I’m able to argue, advocate and negotiate for you.

Mediator: Thank you for coming to the program.

Zambian Parliamentary Debates 2011 (Wusakili Constituency in Kitwe)

Presidential and parliamentary elections will take place on September 20th, 2011. In the past month, candidates for Member of Parliament (MP) have been featured on television debates. They have concentrated mainly on Lusaka and the Copperbelt provinces. I have recorded and transcribed one of the debates below. This debate for Wasakile constituency located in the Copperbelt province (in northern Zambia) was presented on the ZNBC show Race to Manda Hill on September 4th. **Disclaimer: The photo was taken from ZNBC’s website, which constitutes public domain.

Mr Kalobo (Multiparty Movement Democracy – the ruling party)

Mr. Mukumbuta (United Patriotic for National Development)

Mr. Myondo (United National Independence Party)

Mr. Zimba (Forum for Democracy and Development)

Mr. Myondo: We all depend on Kitwe Central hospital. My wish is to have a hospital that will cater to all these bases. When you from say, Kapula, you’re going to spend money to town. The roads are in very bad state. From sections B1 to B7, roads in those townships, you can’t call them roads because they’re ditches.

Mediator: Pick it up from there Mr. Mukumbuta.

Mr. Mukumbuta: There’s poor sanitation there. Imagine today 46 years after independence, people are still using communal toilets. In a big population of over 150,000 we only have one clinic. People of Chambuli have been suffering. No water, no proper roads. Same problem in other places. All these problems are attributed to failure of leadership on part of MMD, the party in control of the central government on part of PF these are the people controlling the government chambers.

Mediator: What are the issues? Mr. Kalobo?

Mr. Kalobo: We have water and sanitation which is being addressed by MMD government and health also being addressed. Mr. _ said there’s no clinic in Chambuli. There is one under construction. There are roads which are being addressed too. We have markets which the MMD is help building. We have problem of unemployment, which was also being addressed because it’s in our manifesto. We have problem of local money supplies. We have other problems like of widows, men in jail, the problems of the orphan, or should I say the vulnerable.

Mr. Mukubuta: I think he’s gone over the bar. We’re not talking about _. I want to disagree with him. The clinic in Chambuli, was it done over night? I totally disagree with him.

Mr. Kalobo: We have a clinic opposite the market, it’s under construction.

Mr. Zimba: It starts with one understanding the responsibilities and duties an MP. As an MP, your main duty is to lobby. You lobby the government for funds in order to tend to the problems you have in your constituency. You also lobby outside the government. There are various embassies in this country today. You lobby there as you look at what should be done in your constituency. Beside that, you need to mobilize the people themselves. People also need to participate in taking care of issues in their localities. So those are some of the things I will do once elected in office to better the lives of people in the constituency and improve the whole area in the constituency.

Mediator: Mr. Monda, issues of unemployment are very high because most activities revolve around Nkana mines.

Mr. Monda: I suggest that people in constituency make what we call cooperatives so that they utilize that fund because as a group it’s easier to access that fund. As a group it’s easier that way. That fund, I don’t think people know about that fund. So sensitize people and have them make cooperatives.

Mediator: How will you solve the problems once elected?

Mr. Mukumbuta: First, and foremost let me talk about problem of lack of employment. This leads to lack of parental care and this leads to juvenile delinquency. Where I am, I am an employer. I have employed hundreds of people. I will teach them that one, I’m able to employ them, I will teach people there how to create jobs. We have the giant, which is the Nkana copper mine. It has 16, 837 workers that is Nkana mine and Mferira. Just Nkana has 16,837. I will lobby for employment for the people. My local people should be employed. We’ll have an open pit.

Mediator: Mr. Kalobo, how will you carry out these promises you have made?

Mr. Kalobo: Let me start with problem with health. That should be built under infrastructural program. In the last years, 27 hospitals have been built. It’s in our manifesto. As I alluded to earlier, in Nkakongo, we have a clinic just waiting to be commissioned. Let me come to employment. The MMD government has built good policies in place that will attract foreign investors. So when those investors come, they’re going to create more jobs in two ways – local suppliers and foreign investors. When people are employed, the government can collect taxes. In short, tax base will be broadened. That will lead to more money in the pocket. That is employment side. I also mentioned the markets. Markets under local government infrastructure. We’ll build more markets. I was citing examples of _. That is just an example. I also mentioned the vulnerable. We have public welfare assistance of which in the last 5 years about 250,000 have been assisted under the food security pack. In the last five years, 700,000 have been assisted under public welfare assistance, in terms of education, health and social services. Thank you.

Mediator: People are stealing copper. How will you solve this problem?

Mr. Kalobo: It’s the duty of community to report to the police and the police should act. It’s not the role of the member of parliament to…

Mediator: A member of parliament should be concerned.

Mr. Kalobo: If the police has not done anything then MP can come in.

Mr. Myondo: Why is this common? Because there’s no jobs. They don’t have jobs, so they go and steal copper.

Mr. Mukubuta: Let me go back and say I want to disagree with the candidate from MMD, where he stated that more taxes and more money in the pocket. That’s the problem we have the MMD, they have the same language. More money in the pocket, more taxes. Let me come to the issue of theft. Illegal mining is the biggest enemy to the mining sector in this country. Once elected, the first thing I will do, I want first to each people manners that it’s not good to use _ and not use brains. One police post in _ and another police post in _ and another police post in _. The most important thing to educate people that it’s not good to be powerful, it’s better you be wise. It’s matter of changing people’s mindset. And we should encourage neighborhood watch. Citizens must be involved. When they see such intolerable behavior, they shouldn’t fear, because I think it’s important because some people think they’re above the law.

Mr. Zimba: I’ve interacted with people on the ground. I’ve seen their difficulties. I’m already self-sustained. I’m trying to better the situation for other people I want to agree with the issue of schools. In this country, even if we are going to boast about the policy of the current government unless we don’t want to think seriously, our education is only basic mind you. I hope you understand what that means. That means just something on the ground, a starting point. It’s not sustaining. You look at the curriculum system, you look at the way these teachers are being trained, you look at the infrastructure, it’s all basic. We need to overhaul the whole system so you get back to situation where you can compete favorably with the outside world. We live in a global village. If I’m educated in Zambia, I should be able to fit in the United states of America. But if you take an educated person in Zambia, they can’t even fit anywhere.

Mr. Myondo: That is true. We only have two basic schools. We have so many children.

Mr. Mukubuta: Let me try to disagree with _. I think there’s only one basic school. The other one is on the other side. We have only one high school, which was not even upgraded but promoted to be a high school. I think it’s a waste of time to not comment on issues of education. Indeed, these schools have number of problems. No teaching aid, even if you have good teaching methodology, without teaching aids, you are not able to teach. Le me give you an example. _ high school has 1700 pupils. Teachers and students ratio are 50 to 1. how can they survive? They don’t even have water.

Mediator: Connected to issue of sanitation, how will you solve the problem?

Kalombo: We are working as cooperating partners. If you go to _, the issue of garbage will be a thing of the past. So there’s a solution already provided. I also wanted to disagree with my friend seated near me, over pupil to teacher ratio. Between 2004 to 2009, the government employed 35000 teachers. This year about 4000, in mid year about 5000. so government is working on teacher to pupil ratio. In case my friend didn’t’ know here.

Mr. Mukubuta: I’m talking about facts. How many were sent to _ high school? You find human waste there. There are conditions that _ people are subjected to. That’s communication enough that they don’t have toilets. When they don’t have toilets they will do what they feel like doing. For instance, they are using 450 families using one communal toilet. That is simple mathematics.

Mr. Kalombo: The issue of toilets. It’s the B section and D section. The other parts, the toilets were done in 2001. toilets are there. People are stealing pipes, they’re vandalizing. Who’s suffering? Rumor is that it’s the opposition. It’s my appeal to the people of _, let people refrain from such bad vices. The MMD government is doing its best.

Mr. Zimba: I wouldn’t blame the people of Wusakele for the situation that is described here. I would look at it that the people of M want the whole world to see how badly they’re being treated. Someone here is boasting about new toilets. There’s no such thing. A new toilet , in my view, if they’re built in the house. He’s talking about pipes stolen. Yeah, why would people steal the pipes because they need to put the toilets in their house. People are subjected to…even the human waste you find, that’s what happens at night. They have to do what they do and put it in the bags and then take them out. I wouldn’t blame them. In my view, this is one compound that should go. It’s not human. That is what I feel, elected to the office, I will work towards that. I’ve been there especially the B section and other side of it. I don’t think people are happy there. The way it is, you can’t improve there. You have to do away with it and start over again. Talking about the stupid toilets on the side of the house is not the way out. The whole thing is a mess.

Mr. Mukubuta: I can’t have such plans of demolishing people’s houses. The best remedy is just to improve on sanitation. By removing such communal toilets. That’s what we should talk about here. You know, there’s not even space in Kitwe for people to go. We need to improve the township there. I think please, there has been a government in power for 19 and a half years now.

Mr. Kalobo: We’re going backwards. These people are telling us toilets are 3 km. You are sitting here lying. Toilets are there. The solution has already been provided by MMD government. Toilets are there.