Zambia – a loser country?

If you have the slightest interest in the politics and economy of Zambia there is one blog and/or facebook page you need to follow. It’s called “Zambian economist” and the author is just that. Here he not only breaks down complicated issues of how economics and politics are intertwined but explains it in a way so that anyone can grasp it. He occasionally gives space for people to contribute and the piece I’m sharing here is from an anonymous reader and the responses that followed. The following extracts are taken from the Zambian economist facebook page>


 

15 aug 2014

A LOSER COUNTRY
By Anonymous

Ours is a loser country. Everything about this country is depressing and uninspiring. Here, everything is politics. The whole lot of Zambian leadership is an inferior species incapable of moving forward. We deserve the poverty we are experiencing because of the leadership we have allowed to govern the country. There is an erroneous belief that our pitiful condition is the result of lack of money. No. Progress is not a priority here. No amount of money can develop this country. Poverty has become part of the Zambian culture.

It’s the ‘kombonik’ management at national level that continues to fail us. The misguided socialist policies of our first president laid the foundation. Next came the kleptomaniac. While looting the national coffers, this person had the audacity to stand in front of the nation and declare it a Christian nation; whatever that means. If you ask me, it is nothing short of blasphemy.

This country cannot be representative of the kingdom of God. We are a failed state. The countless churches at every corner are just a reflection of the consequences of our self-inflicted suffering. We can blame it on the IMF, World bank, or ‘imperialists’ but deep down we know it is us who have made the mess. It is us who have failed to advance.

Zambians are not a strong proud people. It’s a consequence of poverty and hunger. The humility you see is actually humiliation. It is defeat and hopelessness. The only thing that some education has done to people here is make them speak some English but no real meaningful productivity. We are experts at consuming foreign goods but cannot mend a pothole even after over decades of independence.

A Zambian will laugh at you for wearing third rate Chinese clothes but cannot produce anything. Your national state-owned media says everything about who we are: backward. But don’t worry. Elections are coming soon so we should be able to see goods being handed out. Living in this country is scary and depressing. It is like living in a house where no one is working but somehow you are managing to pay rent and utility bills. Grace of God? I don’t think so. It’s just our ‘kaponya’ culture. With its filthy ugly disorderly towns, it is no wonder we are not patriotic.

(Author : ANONYMOUS)

A shocking assessment of the state of #Zambia.

Question:

Is Zambia a loser country?


 

18 aug 2014

Here are your three best responses that dealt with the substantive issues raised by the Anonymous author :

RESPONSE 1 : SYDNEY KASANDA

Zambians, and black people in general, have failed to adopt the ‘Capitalist Nigga’ mentality. We have a depraved attitude towards development and glorify anything foreign especially that which emanates from a white country we deem superior.

We have a low regard of our own achievements and bash anyone that exhibits some semblance of success through hard work unless they gain their wealth through corrupt and illegal means.

Yes, we are a loser country that has no pride. Fifty years of independence and we are no better than when we bought bread through windows. Our political landscape shows no advancement since our colonial masters left. We have adopted a cadre mentality and branded ourselves as national leaders.

Each one of us has a responsibility to turn this around but our poverty stricken outlook is represented in our disposition. We are no better now. Foreigners see the potential in this country yet we are comfortable being employees who cry foul when mistreated. We have only ourselves to blame.

(Author : Sydney Kasanda)

RESPONSE 2 : JOHN TEMBO

I am always torn when I read such articles because I agree with them and also because I disagree to a certain extent. I think Zambia is developing slowly not because of its leaders but inspite of its leaders. The entrepreneurial spirit and the peace loving nature of its people is what gets us through.

I think the people are also too passive sometimes. They are not willing to sacrifice, to protest and fight for what is rightfully theirs. They are content with the status quo and the scraps that fall off the politicians table. Only looking out for ourselves and not the nation as a whole. Above all complacent and lazy!

But having said that I have seen Zambians who in their small ways are trying to change this country for the better and that gives me hope. We are a losing country at the moment but I think we are slowly turning this around. We won’t be like this forever. Change is happening slowly but surely!

(Author : John Tembo)

RESPONSE 3 : BILL MOPOA

I may not agree with some of the things pointed out by the author especially on religion as we all need God whether we like it or not. But he is very right on other aspects. This is a country which has a lot of potential, but conditions are very appalling from political to economic, social to sport, religious to culture.

Zambians have no sense of pride for their country and they would rather trust and love a foreigner and foreign stuff, than love their own. Zambian have an inferiority complex and lack confidence in themselves. Everything is about who you know to get what you want, ati “nchekelako”, but thats corruption. I agree with the author. We need this kind of thinking maybe we can wake up. We have a beautiful country but wonder why this is so.

Going further, from the political point of view, one thing we need to do is to sort out our leadership and governance issues to promote accountability in top leadership and stop corruption. There is no way you can allow a wife of a former president to be running around with £28m. Then just know that there is a problem somewhere.

This is just one of the many problems we have in Zambia corruption in highest places. Zambia needs a constitution that is pro-people power and remove most of the power from the central government. The constitution that will strengthen government institutions and become independent of the government.

We also need to educate ourselves about certain acceptable values in society and maybe we can change our mentality. ZNBC should be at the forefront airing such programmes to educate the masses about how we should be proud of our country, our attitude to work, our country and to one another. Anyway, I have a lot to say, but I end here. Thanks for this article ZE.

(Author : Bill Mopoa)

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2 thoughts on “Zambia – a loser country?

  1. This was some really pathetic and provocative garbage especially coming from an “economist” who should know better that real and meaningful development does not happen overnight. This sort of writing does not do Zambia any good. There are certain things that need not be said in the public forum and such ranting is definitely the kind we should avoid as Zambians because if you are not offering any solutions, then you might aswell just shut up! No educated Zambian child with a humble upbringing goes back to his parents house or village to call the mother, grandparents, uncles and aunties Losers for continuing to live in poverty because of the enlightenment they have experienced or the world is experiencing.

    Something is really wrong with that picture. We get educated not to come around and insult our society once our eyes have been opened rather we get educated so that we can offer solutions to the vices ravaging our communities with the acquired skills. When people say, “Rome was not build in a day,” its not just a cliché. Bad things happened before arriving at the good we see today. Slavery, colonialism, Holocaust, World War 1 and 2 were all a products of industrialization.

    What that literally means with regards to Zambia is that countries such as Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain or should I say the industrialized countries where on a path to development while our forefathers in Zambia where busy running naked with spears and arrows trying to survive just one more day, no pun intended.That is way before there was even a country called Zambia. So if you ask me why Zambia is not developed, that right there, is the number one reason. We have been left behind and are playing catch up to the industrialized world unfortunately in the spectacle of the same Western countries.

    Hence, when we talk about development, Zambia is still a young country and has yet to experience a people driven development process akin to the civil rights movements in the United States. An economic revolution that lays the foundation for sustained development and the largest part of the growing up process the country has to undergo is having an efficient education system that would lead to an educated society that can actively participate in the decision making process and understand how policies implemented affect their well being.

    The trickle down effect of having say 80% of the Zambian population having completed secondary education would be an enormous boost to Zambia’s development, moving the country into sustained development territory in the likes of Brazil, India, China and some Southeast Asian countries.

    So please let it be known to all that Zambia is not a Loser but a young and vibrant country with a bright future ahead. Although I agree with with you on the corruption issue, I would have to say that is expected in any majority over minority or minority over majority relationship unless deliberate policies are put in place to protect the marginalized. In this case, the minority few educated Zambians have taken advantage of the majority uneducated. The only way to reverse that trend is when you balance the scale by having equal access and affordable education for all.

    Finally, let us not sabotage the great advances each successive regime has contributed toward Zambia’s development but understand that national development is measured on a continuum and each and every one of us has a role to play and to embody the words of John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” So my friends rather than whining and murmuring about the state of affairs in our country and dishonoring ourselves in the public media, let us be the change we wish to see.

    1. Thank you for your contribution on the issue. I agree with you on many points. Take note that nothing of the above was written by Zambian economist but by readers given space on his blog/facebook page. It’s important to let everyone voice their opinion and in that way create debate and you have given a well written reply to the first text above. Perhaps you should forward it to Zambian economist and it might be published through him to reach more readers. Regards Elina

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