people-driven constitution


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By Belliah K Theise

 b6_edited.jpegThis week ‘s memo is about  the next Zambian president. Who should take the Zambian presidential sit in 2011?

I hate to admit this, the truth is, our leaders are always voted by villagers, marketeers and street boys who have no clue about education and foreign policies. 

 According to our observation, most politicians have a way to get into a mind of a person with little knowledge or no knowledge at all.  This includes developed countries. If you take a close look on politics, you will find that people end up voting for a candidates who keeps preaching what voters want to hear. People will go out to vote just because of a hear say,  without assessing a candidate  in practical terms.

In most cases, political Candidates have a tendency to study what the audience want to hear. Any one can stand and say I will give you jobs, bring rich breakfast, lunch and dinner in your home. Zambian Voters will listen because there are no jobs and are in poverty. As a candidate, you are happy when people vote for you. Are you going to keep your promise once you are voted in office?

 Practically, things always turns out to be different from all the promises that politicians make.

it’s time for candidates who are aspiring, to start preaching on practical issues and not to give fake hopes to people. Talk about real things that affects the economy of every country, and explain, to voters that it is not an easy path to bring stability to the country, it takes hard work and devotion to make things happen.

Disappointments, comes out when a candidate makes fake promises, do something else after being voted into office. We ask all the aspiring candidates to be more practical in the way they make promises to people, to avoid early disappointments.

It is not fair for voters  who have no clue on “Inflation” or economics, who listens innocently and line up to vote for a candidate who later does something contrary to his/her promise.

Zambia has highly experienced ,knowledgeable, and educated people.  Why is it that Zambians ends up voting for wrong leaders?

Could it be that all the educated Zambians, are too frustrated with the system, and has opted to sit back and watch, while the poor Zambian villagers , marketeers and street boys take their stand to vote for what they hear from those who can read their minds and give them fake promises? or could it be that qualified leaders and educated Zambians are  too busy with other duties and other personal stuff, or they are not brave enough to fight for their people or  is it lack of bringing themselves out with a positive approach to their fellow Zambians?

 If you are candidate or a voter. It is time to revisit your weaknesses and try to improve on them.

Our advice is:

Avoid:  Hate, tribal, gossip, and malicious rumors. By all means, should not be used as a tool to pick a right candidate for president. Validate each rumor, use your own discretion and common sense. Avoid operating like robots that are programed to perform certain functions.  Operating like a robot, makes both leaders and their voters look like idiots, when things go sour.

Remember:

Not every rumor or gossip is true. Yes there is no smoke without fire, but you have to remember that humans always enjoy negatives that appear on a candidate without using their good sense of judgement or common sense, they vote basing on those facts. If a negative outweighs a positive side of a candidate, it takes away all the good work he/she has done.

Remember, Media and campaigns are there to help voters to pick the best candidate, but at the same time, uses that as a tool to bring down a candidate, if the opponent has strong links to the media.  Many great leaders are brought down in no seconds, and voters end up voting for useless candidates.

Again… use your common sense and your good judgement, when you read negatives that comes flying on potential candidates.

On that note, we decided to re-visit Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika’s profile, as she seem to be carrying all the package of what makes a great president.

We at Zambian Chronicle, would like to see Dr Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika, contest for president in 2011. We have well rounded Zambian candidates like, HH and Many more, Inonge adds to the package.

For years, Zambians have had a problem when it comes to picking a president. It’s time to check where Zambians go wrong when it comes to voting?

Weakness:

We Vote with emotions, tribal, rumors and hate, Worse more when it comes to gender. 

In the end we get disappointed with our own voting when things go in a different direction. 

May be it is time to turn around, and look seriously inside lives and works of the aspiring candidates, without looking at a tribe, relations, cheap gossips or malicious rumors.

It is even more difficult to convince a Zambian mind, when it comes to women leadership.

When we look at Zambians, we see a lot of potential candidates men and women, that can lead us in 2011, and bring light to Zambia. 

I am not here advocating for Inonge because I am a woman.

Here at Zambian Chronicle, we are looking at the credentials, Education and experience.

Zambia needs a candidate for president, that has both local and foreign policy experience. As an African country we can not rule out education. It should be very cardinal  in this aspect.

 Therefore when it comes to choosing a president, let us open our eyes and pick quality and not quantity.

Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika and Hakainde Hichilema are both quality.

Having said that, Zambian Chronicles will continue to bring out candidates, that we think can make great president for Zambia in the future.

As we pointed out, in our earlier debates, Hakainde Hichilema and Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika, have the real package.

Therefore, without looking at the tribes and gender, we feel Inonge can make a great president for Zambia for 2011. This includes, the appointees of ministers and local government officials.

This forum may help the next Zambian President to pick right candidates for certain roles.

Below is Inonge ‘s profile and credentials:

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

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Princess Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika (born 10 July 1943, Senanga) is a senior Zambian politician currently. For more about her check

http://www.inongelewanika.com/family.htm

   1.   Dr. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika is currently Ambassador of the Republic of Zambia to the United States of America . Before her appointment to Washington D.C.

 2. She was Ambassador and Special Envoy to the Zambian President during his term as Chairman of the African Union.

3. Dr. Lewanika served as a Member of Parliament in the Zambian Parliament from 1991 to 2001. She was the first Chairperson of the Zambia All Party Women Parliamentarians Caucus and also founding Vice-chairperson of the outhern, Eastern and Horn of Africa African Women Parliamentarian Caucus.

  

4. At a very critical time just before national elections in 2001, Dr. Lewanika chaired the National Crisis Committee of the Alliance of Opposition Political Parties.

5.  She is a former candidate for President of the Republic of Zambia in the December 2001 Elections.

6.  She is an Educator by profession and has worked in various levels of Education.

Prior to her involvement in politics, Dr. Lewanika worked with UNICEF in key leadership roles in Africa overseeing more than twenty countries at a time. Jim Grant, the former head of UNICEF once called her “the most knowledgeable person about the children of Africa .” Dr. Lewanika was among five women from various continents to brief members of the United Nations Security Council on the first and unprecedented debate that resulted in UN Resolution 13 on WOMEN, PEACE and SECURITY in the year 2000. She was among sixteen (16) eminent African Women Members of the Organization of African Unity (now African Union) Committee on Peace and Development, an Advisory Group to the African Union.

She was President of Federation of African Women’s Peace Networks (FERFAP) from 1997 to 2002. As President of the Federation of African Women Peace Networks (FEFAP) she contributed to mobilization of peace activities. In that capacity, she was selected to be among ten prominent African Women Peace Workers that visited Rwanda soon after the genocide. She later led a United Nations delegation to Burundi and Rwanda to assess the effects of the genocide on women and children and recommend intervention strategies. She led the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) Observer Mission of 96 Southern African

Academicians, Researchers and Members of Civil Society to the Zimbabwean Presidential, Mayoral and Council Elections in 2002. She was one of the International Youth Foundation’s founding board members.

Dr. Lewanika holds a Ph.D. in Early Childhood and Primary Education from New York University . She is a mother of two grown daughters, a grandmother to four boys and a grand daughter. She has lived in five countries and speaks eight languages.

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A look at more of  Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika’s work Below: 

After 30 years of promoting girls’ education in the less-developed world, aid workers are now realizing that it is not enough to simply open the school door to girls. Unemployment, clean water and HIV/AIDS are now also on their agenda.
Inonge Mbikusita-LewanikaWASHINGTON (WOMENSENEWS)–Like many aid workers and activists trying to improve the lives of women in developing countries, Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika has long viewed education as the key to solving many of her countrywomen’s problems.Mbikusita-Lewanika, a former member of Zambia’s parliament and now the country’s ambassador to the United States, says the benefits of educating girls are so numerous– from raising marrying ages and lowering birth rates to stemming health and economic problems–that she would like to install a plaque reading “Send the Girls to School” in every village.But 30 years after the U.S. government and other aid-givers began to promote gender equality in their programs, they, like Mbikusita-Lewanika, have learned that relieving the burdens of poor women is more complex than once thought. Foreign aid officials from the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and various nongovernmental organizations say that it is not enough to open the school door to girls if their families are besieged by unemployment, unclean water, labor-intensive household chores and, increasingly, debilitating health problems such as HIV/AIDS. Nor is it enough to get a few women elected to the parliament or congress while women in the countryside still suffer age-old discriminations.To succeed, say aid experts, gender-equality programs must be integrally incorporated into the aid process from top to bottom, beginning with constant attention to gender issues at the policy level and ending with a wide distribution of burden-relieving aid in the rural areas where discrimination is often most ingrained.In Africa, for instance, women perform about 75 percent of agricultural work, according to Mark Blackden, the lead economist in the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction and Management of Gender Equity Division. He estimates the continent’s per-capita income would have doubled over the last 30 years if women had been given more aid and education to help with crop production. But aid givers have only recently realized that “one does indeed need to talk about the African farmer and her husband,” Blackden said.Instead, because of cultural misunderstandings, they have often directed agricultural education and technology to men. As a result, Mbikusita-Lewanika said, it is not uncommon to see men sitting on tractors as women and girls continue to cultivate with a hand hoe nearby.Clearing a small plot of land in this manner can involve 18-hour days, leaving women little time to raise their children, gather fire wood, walk long distances to find potable water and, increasingly, care for the sick. With such intensive household labor needs, Mbikusita-Lewanika said girls often have little time for school.”The average woman takes care of everyone else but herself,” Mbikusita-Lewanika said at a recent Capitol Hill briefing for legislative staff.In countries where economies have been destroyed by conflict or AIDS, another factor diminishes the rationale for education: The lack of jobs when a girl graduates. As a result, Mbikusita-Lewanika said that, while education “may be the most important investment, it may not necessarily be the first investment” that donors should undertake. For instance, providing drinking water would save women in many Zambian villages 1 1/2 hours a day, she said.In 1973, the U.S. Congress passed the Percy Amendment requiring that the nation’s foreign aid help integrate women into the mainstream of developing countries’ societies. Since then, the U.S. Agency for International Development–the main administrator of U.S. development aid–and other organizations have progressed from conducting a few gender equality projects a year to considering gender issues as a part of nearly every decision. While women’s issues once were often segregated in a separate office or set of discussions, all programs are now expected to address their impact on women.”The progress can be summed up in one sentence: It is no longer a separate thing,” USAID administrator Andrew S. Natsios told a Washington foreign aid conference earlier this month.

More Work to Be Done

Still, aid officials and activists say there is much more to do. According to the World Bank, more than 20 percent of the world’s population still lives on about $1 per day. The majority are women. And women’s burdens, especially in AIDS-stricken Africa, are growing as they bear bigger social and financial burdens.

One way donors can begin to lift that burden, Mbikusita-Lewanika told legislative staff, is to bypass governments and distribute aid money to local faith-based organizations and other groups that work at the local level and already know the intricate problems the women in their community face. Many central governments have not established effective ways to distribute help in the countryside, she said.

Other officials suggest increasing funding to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. The $2 billion the Bush administration is prepared to spend in 2004 “is not enough,” said Kathryn Wolford, president of Lutheran World Relief, based in Baltimore.

Wolford also suggests an increased focus on debt relief for poor countries, which would free funds for social programs and infrastructure that could relieve women’s burdens.

Other activists say aid organizations need to collect and process more data showing the positive link between women’s participation and economic development. While many activists suggest that there is already too much talk about women’s problems and not enough action to solve them, economists say that more convincing evidence of the link between women’s progress and economic progress could be found.

At the foreign aid conference, Phil Evans, the senior social development adviser for the United Kingdom’s U.N. mission, said that statistical gender analyses are often riddled with “methodological problems,” in large part because researchers have focused on studying women instead of placing them in a societal context.

Some say the United States should signal its commitment to gender equality by ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, an international treaty that aims to outlaw discrimination against women and requires signatory countries to periodically report on their progress. President Carter signed the treaty in 1980 but the U.S. Senate has not ratified it as 174 nations have done.

Ratifying the treaty would send a powerful signal that the United States will join the world to “use the instruments available to us to hold countries accountable” for improving women’s lives, Geeta Rao Gupta, president of the Washington-based International Center for Research on Women, told legislative staff.

New Solutions in Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, USAID is attempting to deal with these challenges and its methods are not always very subtle. To encourage families to educate their daughters, USAID gives extra rations of vegetable oil to girls who attend school every day for a month, Natsios said. The number of girls attending school has increased overall from 6 percent to 35 percent, Natsios said, and is reaching 50 percent in some towns.

Not all of USAID’s work in Afghanistan is so targeted at women and girls but Natsios said he has found that nearly every project is having an impact on women’s status. For instance, the U.S. program that is building a 300-mile road from Kandahar to Kabul is unexpectedly improving women’s health in southern Afghanistan. Now mothers in childbirth and women in other forms of medical distress can be driven to medical facilities in Kabul in a matter of five to six hours. Before the road was built, the trip could take two days, Natsios said.

In addition, USAID has installed day-care centers in all Afghan government ministry buildings. Natsios said women who work for the ministries–many now widows with young children–said they would not return to their jobs unless their children had a safe place to go.

While many activists and government officials say gender issues are no longer seen as women’s alone, they hope the next 30 years will bring a greater resolution to age-old problems.

“It has taken a very long time to get as far as we are and (we) have a very long road to go,” said Julia Taft, assistant administrator and director of the United Nation’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery.

Lori Nitschke is a freelance journalist living in Washington, D.C. She was recently a Knight-Bagehot fellow at Columbia University in New York, where she received master’s degrees in journalism and business administration. Previously, she covered economic issues for Congressional Quarterly.

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2008 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc   

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ü      Create A New People Driven Constitution

The greatest single most achievement the Zambian Enterprise can accomplish for 2008 as a milestone is to produce a new constitution using the National Constitution Conference (NCC) as a vehicle.  

If all stakeholders felt that their constitution provided for equal opportunities, guaranteed civil liberties and protection for all, the enterprise would have achieved strides worth thousands in light years.  

In that regard it is highly palatable that peace loving individuals will give the NCC delegates all the needed support to achieve this milestone. The October 6, 2001 issue of the Economist magazine carried a story about Turkey’s Constitutional Amendments.

“… MANY Turks have long thought of their parliament as a bunch of buffoons interested mainly in making money, not laws. That may change, as the 550-member chamber keeps up a marathon session to pass a set of reforms that are intended to clean the face of Turkey’s constitution and reinforce the country’s still rather wobbly democracy.”

At issue was the fact that both political philosophies represented in the Turkish parliament approved what seemed on paper as the best brand of policies any mid eastern nation would espouse but the ideas only looked great on paper.

We are hoping the great genius minds of the smart people of our enterprise respresenting us in NCC will come up with a document that can stand the test of time. These delegates are the framers; we are hopeful they will envision a Zambia that will be there for centuries to come because they framed the right manuscript on behalf of us all. 

ü      Deliberate Infra-Structure Investment

Infra-structural development is about capacity building and very critical to national development. Without capacity economies don’t grow with healthy veracities.

Capacity enables a country to handle tasks with great ease and lack thereof creates auxiliary derivatives such as development of shanty compounds in the middle of a metropolitan area.  

In this modern day and age infra-structure capacity does not refer to road, railways, subways, modern airports, etc. alone, it also refers communication apparatus such as turning Mwembeshi into a super information highway, for instance. 

It involves well stocked libraries in city centers, schools, colleges and universities with a deliberate attempt to have all these connected to the internet.  Tunisians did it and their population is one of the most literate on our continent, it is no wonder they have poverty levels at 4% of their population with nearly a tenth of natural resources when compared to us. 

It involves well planned town, cities and provinces with town planners whose eyes are on the ball. Japanese planners have 15 year projections with simulations accompanying … it is no wonder they enjoy one of the highest qualities of life in the entire world.  

With a billion dollars in reserves, the Zambian Enterprise has more than enough in it’s back pocket to invest into infra-structure that matters …

ü      Create Economic Zones In Each Province

One of the greatest achievements of the UNIP government was the creation of provincial economic zones deliberately planned to urbanize rural areas. They were not termed that way but their objectives met all the prerequisites of such.  

Livingstone had ITT Supersonic and Livingstone Motor Assemblers, Mansa had Mansa batteries, lead and manganese mines, Chipata had Eastern Industries that made Eagle bicycles, Mongu had canneries and so did Mwinilunga; the copperbelt was an economic engine, the list is endless. 

When the MMD came into power they literately had no clue what they wanted to accomplish except privatization. In fact, they mistook democracy in many instances with privatization. They abolished the office of National Planning because they thought it advocated for a command economy. 

Using other forums at the time we advocated for national planning that had a neo-spin to it, laid down the benefits of such schemes but it wasn’t until the current president came into office that they reinitiated planning mostly tailored on proposal of this author. 

Well planned economic zones not only mitigate urban migration en masse, they also help accelerate national development at exponential rates well across the board.  Besides if you fail to plan, you are in an essence planning to fail …  

One reason, Malaysia stood out among the Asian tigers was because it deliberately initiated economic zones and today the world’s tallest buildings are not in Western Europe nor are they in the Americas but in Central Asia.  

ü      Continue Keeping Macro-Economic Factors Under Control

Macro-economic factors and dwindling investor confidence are always behind corporate underperformance.  Among the macro factors concerns over interest rates, high oil prices, staple commodity prices and jitters over the reserve currency weakness impact economic growth … 

These factors lead to markets savagely punishing companies thus failing to produce the goods and services at optimal capacity. Companies that record profits tend to be tarred with the same brush and their share price don’t respond to their profits.  

When the market starts to focus back on company-specific issues rather than the macro-economic picture and look at those that are turning themselves around, performance picks up. 

There is no doubt that Fundanga at BOZ and Mangande at Finance have been among the best choices our enterprise has picked for their respective jobs but short term gains can easily blur one’s focus. 

It is therefore extremely necessary that they keep their eyes on the ball with the big picture in mind because if we don’t continue keeping the macro-economic factors under check, the unprecedented 85% growth LuSE experienced last year might be lost … 

Strict investment philosophies in the market tend to sometimes make publicly traded companies to under perform but investor confidence makes people start looking at companies showing above average growth so long macro-economic factors are in favor.  

ü      Reform Tax Rules

The old adage of two things one should be sure of being taxes and death remains true to this day. So weaknesses in the institutional framework need to quickly be identified to make necessary adjustments. 

One of the most important factors in good policy-making is the strengthening of the institutions that contribute to it. The tax policy-making process should heavily rely on institutional strength to see it through periods of major transitions such as our Enterprise is going through right now … 

Dealing with enforcement and operational policies is not only a good initiative when it comes to strengthening the treasure, it also helps narrow the role of the other revenue  collecting units thereby reducing excesses while increasing proceeds. 

Parliamentary scrutiny of tax proposals tends to be increasingly ineffective as tax legislation becomes more complex. This is because our current Members of Parliament have no dedicated independent groups of economists and lawyers to support them on budgetary matters. 

Outside the framework of government,  institutions like the University of Zambia’s economic studies should provide virtually more and not just research-based independent economic analysis on taxation policy.  

Business leaders should also be encouraged in the systematic use of consultations, at least on business tax issues. Drawing business in to contribute to the refinement of ideas emerging from government helps fill the gap left by the broader weakness of institutions.  

But business should not be responsible for developing tax policy as this leads to signs of consultation-fatigue. Their role should be limited to consultancy and be used as a barometer that measures what impact tax proposals have on operational efficiencies. 

Given the importance of institutional strength to consistency and stability in policy-making and the classy-daddy-3.gifimportance of that consistency and stability in maintaining economic growth and development, there is a strong case for more comparative inter-jurisdictional work to be carried out on the institutional framework of tax policy-making.  

That’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion. 

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

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ben-ali.jpgZine El Abidine Ben Ali was born on September 3, 1936 in Hammam-Sousse, to a family of moderate means, which brought him up to respect tradition and imbued him with a sense of dignity, patriotism and respect for others.

From these values he developed a propensity for simplicity, hard work and rigor, as well as a sense of moderation and tolerance. While still in the Sousse secondary school, Ben Ali responded to the call of patriotic duty.

Outraged by colonial oppression, he became active in the nationalist movement, acting as liaison between the regional structures of the Neo-Destour Party and the armed struggle. As a result, he was imprisoned and excluded from all educational establishments in Tunisia.

Yet he did not give up his studies and soon resumed them with enough energy and determination to persevere into tertiary education after completing high school. Recognizing Ben Ali’s outstanding qualities, the party sent him abroad to pursue his higher training as part of a group that was to form the nucleus of the future national army.

He first graduated from the Special Interservice School in Saint-Cyr (France), then from equally prestigious schools: the Artillery School in Châlons-sur-Marne (France), the Senior Intelligence School (Maryland, USA) and the School of Anti-Aircraft Field Artillery (Texas, USA).

He also holds a degree in electronic engineering.“My interest in computer science,” he was later to say, “has had a considerable impact on the way I work, giving me a definite taste for Iogic, rigorous analysis and long-term planning which shuns improvisation.”

The second stage in Ben Ali’s career was marked by a steady increase in responsibilities, due to his sense of duty, his readiness to Iisten to others and his capacity for rigorous analysis. Prior to making any decision, he would carefully consider available information, analyze situations and compare results.

Once the decision is made, he personally sees it through to a successful conclusion thanks to diligent action and close follow-up.Summarizing this process to an American newspaper, he said in a nutshell: “I listen, I ponder, I act.”

In 1964, while still a young staff officer, he created the Military Security Department which he directed for 10 years. ln 1974, he was appointed military attaché to Morocco and Spain. He was then assigned to the office of the Defense Minister before becoming Director General of National Security (December 1977).

In April 1980, he was appointed Ambassador to Warsaw. At the end of his tour of duty in Poland, he returned to Tunisia in 1984, to serve, first, as Director General, then as Secretary of State (October 29, 1984), then as Minister of National Security (October 23, 1985). On April 28, 1986, he became Minister of the Interior, and in June of the same year a Member of the Political Bureau of the Socialist Destourian Party (PSD).

He was soon appointed Assistant Secretary General of the PSD. Promoted to the rank of Minister of State in charge of the Interior in May 1987, he was appointed as Prime Minister on October 2, 1987, at the age of 51, while keeping the Interior portfolio.

By the same token, he became Secretary General of the PSD.President Habib Bourguiba at the time was weakened by old age and illness, and was surrounded by seraglio intrigues. Ben Ali, however, remained above rivalries, and acted rather to ease the political climate, to promote openness to organizations such as the Tunisian League of Human Rights and to establish contacts with opposition parties.

This won him the sympathy and respect of the entire political class, which considered him a man of dialogue and openness.As Prime Minister, Ben Ali took charge of a country in crisis. He confronted the situation with determination, foiled intrigues and took endless calming measures.

He strove to restore confidence, advocated logical and realistic solutions, and invariably made the higher interests of Tunisia prevail. During that disturbing period, President Bourguiba was increasingly subject to frequent lapses and was eventually disconnected from the realities of the country.

On the strength of a medical report drawn up by seven specialists treating President Bourguiba, attesting to the latter’s incapacity, and by virtue of Article 57 of the Constitution, Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali assumed the highest executive office on November 7, 1987.

The ensuing transition went smoothly and in full respect of constitutional legality, and the former president was treated with all due respect.From the moment of his investiture, President Ben Ali has made every effort to honor the commitments contained in his Declaration of November 7th: rule of law, sovereignty of the people, national reconciliation, respect for fundamental freedoms, democracy, pluralism, social justice, solidarity, hard work, openness and modernity.

This program received the support of the overwhelming majority of Tunisians as it met their expectations.First of all, Ben Ali restored the vitality and credibility of the old Socialist Destourian Party (PSD), which had fallen into lethargy.

Renaming it the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD), he renovated its structures, modernized its action methods and reformulated its discourse. The RCD opened up to the young, renewed its cadres, and restored free debate and a sense of initiative for the rank-and-file. This reinforced its credibility and its grassroots outreach, and widely enlarged its constituency.

On the political plane, a climate of détente and national concord set in and numerous measures were taken to establish true democracy and lay the groundwork for the rule of law. The Constitution was amended to do away with lite presidency and automatic succession.

The Economic and Social Council was re-structured, its prerogatives extended and its representation broadened to promote national consensus on major development options. A Constitutional Council was created soon after the Change of November 7th to guarantee, in both letter and spirit, the constitutionality of the laws.

In 1998, a constitutional law provided that the opinions of the Constitutional Council be binding on all powers and all authorities.Freedom of expression was guaranteed, and the Press Code amended three times to modernize and liberalize public reporting conventions, and to provide journalists with adequate conditions to exercise their profession.

Specific measures were taken in favor of the opinion press. A new reform of the Press Code was announced in 1999.A new law on parties was adopted in 1988. It redefined the procedure governing the establishment of political groups, giving pluralism a new impetus and an irreversible character. The early presidential and general elections of April 2, 1989 were the first in the country’s history to take place in absolute transparency and perfect conformity with the law.

As a candidate of all Tunisians, across party fines, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was elected that year President of the Republic. The consensus in support of President Ben Ali was confirmed by his re-election on March 20, 1994, and on October 24, 1999, with a very large majority.

The amended Electoral Code also promoted the multi-party system in the 1994 general elections, as it enabled, for the first time since Tunisia’s independence, the entry of the opposition into the Chamber of Deputies.

The introduction in 1998 of new amendments into the Electoral Code allowed the opposition to win 20% of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies after the legislative elections held on October 24, 1999. The opposition won the same proportion of seats in the municipal elections held in the year 2000.

Other amendments lowered the minimum age of candidates for the office of Deputy and guaranteed the right to run for office for all electors born of a Tunisian mother while, previously, only the elector born of a Tunisian father could be a candidate.

The Constitution was also amended to allow for several candidates to run in the country’s presidential elections. For the first time in Tunisia’s history, the incumbent president was challenged by opposition candidates, during the elections held on October 24, 1999.

President Ben Ali made Tunisia a pioneer country in the protection of human rights, seeing to the implementation of a comprehensive policy combining economic, social and cultural rights with civil and political rights.Just two weeks after the Change, a bill laying down the rules for pre-trial custody and preventive detention was adopted.

The State Security Court and the office of State Prosecutor were abolished and so was hard labor.The 1984 United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Punishments or Treatments was ratified without reservation. The rights of the child are now protected by law, and the culture of human rights is promoted and widely disseminated.

A new law was enacted in 1999 with the aim of reducing the period of pre-trial custody, instituting public service work as a sentence instead of imprisonment (provided that the convicted person accepts it freely); and defining torture according to international standards.

The purpose of the law was to harmonize national legislation with the relevant United Nations Convention which Tunisia had ratified unreservedly. Moreover, a bill was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies to establish the rule of dual jurisdiction in criminal cases and to create the position of magistrate in charge of the implementation of sentences.

Authority over detention facilities and their administration were also transferred to the Ministry of Justice. Since November 7, 1987, President Ben Ali has expressed his unwavering commitment to the emancipation of women and his determination to further women’s rights.

The National Pact, a culmination of the national reconciliation drive engineered by Ben Ali, was endorsed by all the country’s political and social tendencies and currents, thus sanctioning national consensus. A general amnesty law was decreed.

President Ben Ali announced, on February 13, 2002, the introduction of a major constitutional reform bill aimed at consolidating the bases of the republican system of government, further anchoring democracy and promoting human rights and public freedoms. The proposed reform is considered the broadest and most far-reaching in the history of post-independence Tunisia.

The reform bill gives a high profile to human rights and freedoms within the body of the Constitution, consecrates pluralism in presidential elections, and introduces a greater role of Parliament in the oversight of government activity, while preserving the characteristics of the presidential system of government.

Among the other provisions of the reform bill is the creation of a second legislative body beside the Chamber of Deputies. The reform bill broadens the role of the Constitutional Council, consolidates its independence and entrusts it with the task of monitoring presidential and legislative elections at all stages.

Based on his deep belief in the will of people as an over-riding imperative, President Ben Ali decided to submit the bill, after its adoption by Parliament, to a popular referendum, so as to make sure that the intended reform truly reflects the people’s choices and aspirations.

To put the country back to work, President Ben Ali succeeded in clearing the social climate by rehabilitating the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT), instituting dialogue between management and labor, and making labor a cardinal value.

This was done out of the conviction that there cannot be any social justice or progress without the creation of wealth and without a concerted effort to ensure production and creativity.The economic reforms introduced against this background have enabled the country to achieve a sustained economic growth rate of about 5 percent and to lower the inflation rate to 2.7 percent.

A national program for modernization and upgrading of the industrial fabric has been developed in collaboration with the European Union, with which Tunisia signed an association and free-trade agreement in 1995.

The country’s modern infrastructure, favorable legislation and climate of stability and growth have attracted an increasing number of foreign investors. The economic success of the Tunisian model is recognized all over the world and some observers have even called it “the Tunisian miracle.

In June 2000, Tunisia was ranked as the most competitive country in Africa by the World Economic Forum 2000-2001 Report. in 2006, it reiterated the,feat by being ranci ed.as the most competitive country in Africa and in the Arab world by the same WEF. For period 2007-2008 Tunisia still took first place in Africa.

No doubt the humanistic approach to social realities will prove to be one of the dominant features of President Ben Ali’s personality and record. A man of the people, he constantly listens to citizens, and espouses their concerns and expectations. What he has accomplished in this respect is based on a genuine sympathy with the underprivileged and a rejection of exclusion, together with investing in disadvantaged regions and creating equal opportunities for all.

As a result, the poverty rate has been lowered to 4.2 percent and the middle classes now account for 80 percent of the population. Thus it is deep appreciation, even affection, that Tunisians feel when they see their president making impromptu visits to deprived districts, steep mountain areas or social, educational and economic institutions.

Ben Ali strives to give concrete expression to the concept of national solidarity, which is the foundation of his social policy. His visits are invariably followed with immediate action, sometimes in the form of a cabinet meeting the same day, which he chairs in person, to make appropriate decisions.

It was after such a visit to one of the remote areas of the country in December 1992 that the president decided to create the National Solidarity Fund, commonly known as “26-26 Fund” after its bank account number.

This decision was warmly welcomed by Tunisians, who demonstrated their solidarity by responding to the appeal of the president with generous donations to the fund.The mission of the “26-26 Fund” is to end isolation, improve living conditions in deprived areas and enable their inhabitants to undertake income-generating projects.

Building on the exceptional success of this fund in fighting poverty, a new fund, the National Employment Fund, also known as the “21-21 Fund”, has been launched for the purpose of creating job opportunities.In addition, the creation of the Tunisian Solidarity Bank and the establishment of a micro-credit system have made it possible to finance thousands of small projects every year, create jobs for young graduates and promote enterprise.

The educational reform which made school attendance compulsory until the age of 16, has raised the schooling rate for 6 year-old children to more than 99 percent, fostered openness, tolerance and innovation, and has further promoted equality between men and women.

Such equality has been reinforced by a host of avant-garde measures taken by Ben Ali. The Code of Personal Status, one of the most advanced in the world with respect to women, has been strengthened and gender equality is now a feature of daily life. After the 1999 legislative elections, the number of women in the Chamber of Deputies has virtually doubled.

As a result of the numerous presidential initiatives in favor of women, and particularly the measures of August 13, 1992, Tunisian women, more than just having their gains and basic rights guaranteed, became full partners to men in all fields of development.On the foreign plane, President Ben Ali has instituted an active and dynamic diplomacy.

Working for the integration of the entire Maghreb, the establishment of an inter-Arab consensus and the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean area of co-development, Ben Ali is actively contributing to the search for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. His chairmanship of the Organization of African Unity highlighted his commitment to seeking negotiated solutions to the conflicts afflicting the continent and to preventing new ones.

In September 2000, the UN General assembly adopted this humanitarian project, paying tribute to this initiative which aims at establishing a mechanism for the consecration of universal values and ensuring a better future for the whole mankind.

UNESCO’s designation of Tunis as Regional Cultural Capital in 1997 marked Tunisia’s growing cultural influence and its ability to contribute to dialogue among civilizations. At the instigation of its president, Tunisia’s entry into the arena of new communication technologies has been facilitated by numerous government incentives.

All universities and high schools are connected to the Internet. A program has been launched to connect public libraries to the worldwide web.In 1998, upon an initiative of Tunisia’s President, the International Union of Telecommunications( ITU), an organization affiliated to the United Nations, decides to hold a World Summit on the Information Society.

The Summit took place in two distinct phases, being hosted by Geneva in 2003 and Tunis in November 2005. By many accounts, the Tunis Summit which is also known as the ” Summit of solutions” was a tremendous success both at the organizational and the conceptual levels. It will be crowned by the adoption of two major texts: the ” Tunis commitment” and the ” Tunis Agenda”.

President Ben Ali is married and is the father of six children. His wife, Mrs Leila Ben Ali, is active in a number of Tunisian and international charities, working to promote the causes of women, families and children.

The other presidents in the running included Zambian President and current Chairperson for SADC nations, Dr. Levy P Mwanawasa, SC. who came in second, Namibian President Nifikepunye Pohamba in third place, President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique in fourth place, President Mamaduo Tandia of Niger for fifth classy-daddy-3.gifplace, President of Botswana Dr. Festus Mogae in sixth and President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana as seventh …

Special thanks go to our friends at Tunisia Online, the World Economic Forum, The Global Peace Index Group, Global Competitive Index Group, Economic Times, Time Magazine, Financial Times, CBS, WSJ Online and many others too numerous to mention … thanks a trillion. Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

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A great deal was accomplished last week in the Zambian Enterprise after the 338 members of the National Constitution Conference (NCC) were sworn in by the Chief Justice.

Now, whether some of them understood what they were up to, we don’t know but they are part of history in making for the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ). 

Every body wants the best constitution possible and most want to copy from others out there so they can incorporate parts from them they think make those countries some with the best policy documents out there. 

If Kenyans ended up having the strongest constitution in the world, it is because they adopted a people-led path for its formulation. But overall, a constitution that lacks originality is just another document available for reference and not empowerment. 

Even the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is considered one of the best constitutions in the world because on paper it says all the nice things but its practical aspects are more despotic than republican despite being titled as such.  

For instance, Title 1 has 9 articles that are just the cream of the world for a people that have sovereign power to govern themselves. But overtly, Venezuela is considered a dictatorship in certain geo-political circles; despite strong reference to the preeminence of human rights, ethics and political pluralism espoused in Article 2 of its constitution.  

It is therefore, paramount that all the necessary aspects of our new constitution be of original intent not just be borrowed ideas that sound good on paper but show no originality. Those aspects need to relate to the Zambian Enterprise and its people on how we want to govern ourselves and how we want to prosper as a nation. 

A good constitution provides every citizen with the rights to nurture, it provides freedoms necessary to take advantage of all opportunities despite one’s background, it enhances every one’s chances to self-actualize and allows for every one to play their necessary roles in national development.

In 1795, Immanuel Kant in his philosophical sketch on perpetual peace wrote … “The only constitution which derives from the idea of the original compact, and on which all juridical legislation of a people must be based, is the republican.4

This constitution is established, firstly, by principles of the freedom of the members of a society (as men); secondly, by principles of dependence of all upon a single common legislation (as subjects); and, thirdly, by the law of their equality (as citizens).

The republican constitution, therefore, is, with respect to law, the one which is the original basis of every form of civil constitution. The only question now is: Is it also the one which can lead to perpetual peace?

In order not to confuse the republican constitution with the democratic (as is commonly done), the following should be noted. The forms of a state (civitas) can be divided either according to the persons who possess the sovereign power or according to the mode of administration exercised over the people by the chief, whoever he may be.

The first is properly called the form of sovereignty (forma imperii), and there are only three possible forms of it: autocracy, in which one, aristocracy, in which some associated together, or democracy, in which all those who constitute society, possess sovereign power.  They may be characterized, respectively, as the power of a monarch, of the nobility, or of the people.

The second division is that by the form of government (forma regiminis) and is based on the way in which the state makes use of its power; this way is based on the constitution, which is the act of the general will through which the many persons become one nation.

In this respect government is either republican or despotic. Republicanism is the political principle of the separation of the executive power (the administration) from the legislative; despotism is that of the autonomous execution by the state of laws which it has itself decreed.

Thus in a despotism the public will is administered by the ruler as his own will. Of the three forms of the state, that of democracy is, properly speaking, necessarily a despotism, because it establishes an executive power in which “all” decide for or even against one who does not agree; that is, “all,” who are not quite all, decide, and this is a contradiction of the general will with itself and with freedom.”

classy-daddy-3.gifWe are confident that all the 338 members of the NCC will take their duties seriously for the sake of the enterprise and will understand that this is a higher calling.

That calling demands a strong understanding of posterity and the knowledge of the fact that their work today will enhance our system of governance as a republic, afterall we are paying for it … 

Because the Zambian Enterprise is greater than any single one of us and that’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian chronicle … thanks a trillion.

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

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The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
Posted to the web 10 December 2007

THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has decided to attend the National Constitution Conference (NCC) and fight for a better Republican Constitution within the conference.

UPND President Hakainde Hichilema said in Lusaka yesterday although the party was not happy about the Government’s refusal to amend the NCC Act and address various concerns, it decided to attend the NCC in the interest of the nation.

Speaking during a Press briefing at the UPND secretariat, Mr Hichilema said the UPND National Management Committee (NMC) resolved that the party should continue fighting the battle of the Constitution within the NCC, the referendum and finally in Parliament.

“At the level reached in the Constitution making process, our party’s NMC which met on Friday December 7, 2007 decided to carry the fight into NCC.“As a party, the UPND will continue to act as a whistle blower in the Constitution making process and fight any machinations to make a bad Constitution for the people of Zambia,” he said.

Mr Hichilema said when the NCC Bill went to Parliament, UPND moved amendments to take into account stakeholders’ concerns.He said the concerns were, among other things, the need to increase the composition of the NCC and include those who decided to stay away.

“In our attempt to achieve amicable resolution of outstanding issues which many stakeholders felt were not addressed in the NCC Act, we also held meetings with the Ministers of Justice, Information and Lands. “Subsequently we wrote letters to the Head of state dated October 9 2007 and a reminder dated November 18 both of which were not responded to,” he said.

Mr Hichilema said the UPND members of Parliament (MPs) and councillors would fight for the interests of the Zambian people.He said the UPND had been consistent on the Constitution making process and that it wanted a Constitution that would stand the taste of time.

Mr Hichilema said at the NCC, the party would fight among many other things, that the republican president should be elected by 50 per cent plus one of the valid votes.The election date, Mr Hichilema said, should be enshrined in the Constitution and that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should be independent.

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He said stakeholders such as the Church and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) should be represented on the ECZ, as was the case in South Africa and Mozambique.

“The Chief Justice should not be the returning officer for the presidential elections, but the chairperson of the independent electoral commission,” he said.

The UPND also recommended that there should be a mixed proportional representation system of elections to Parliament.

Mr Hichilema said MPs defecting to other political parties and creating unnecessary by-elections should not be allowed to re-contest their seats for the remaining life of that Parliament.

Chief Government spokesperson Mike Mulongoti welcomed the decision by the UPND.Mr Mulongoti said, however, it was sad that the UPND had taken a confrontational stance on the NCC by saying that it would give the MMD a good run in the Constitution making process.

“For us as Government we welcome the participation. The spirit should be for people to go to the conference. It is about making a law and the MMD is going there just like any other party,” he said. 

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LUSAKA, Zambia, Nov. 23 (UPI) —

Zambia’s parliament has rejected a report recommending changes to the national constitution act that would increase the influence of trade unions.

Parliament voted against the report submitted by the Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights and Gender on a 63-61 vote Thursday.

The vote was the latest milestone in a politically charged debate in the African nation. The Times of Zambia said further debate on changing the National Constitution Conference (NCC) had been blocked until the NCC Act had been passed.

The proposed constitutional changes would have increased the representation of trade unions on the committee reviewing proposed changes to the constitution itself.

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It is rather shocking that the Justice Minister – George Kunda has been instructed by the President Levy P Mwanawasa, SC to present a new controversial bill to be enacted into law – The Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) bill. 

It is aimed at tightening the operations of civil society groups at a time when the same NGOs have been very vocal against the recommended constitutional adoption review and dismissed the roadmap proposed by the Zambia Centre for Inter-Party Dialogue (ZCID), as a “body of politicians” with self-interested motives. 

The bill was introduced last evening (Tuesday) amid accusations that the legislation is aimed at stifling criticism. The minister is quoted as saying … “I am a bearer of the message from the president (Levy Mwanawasa) that this bill be enacted into law”.  

“Government has sneaked in the bill in parliament without consulting the stakeholders. The motive behind this bill is very suspicious,” said Rueben Lifuka, president of Transparency International Zambia. 

This also follows media reports that some members of the opposition parties are not willing to put a stamp on government’s plan while the Catholic Information Service for Africa issued a similar demand from Nairobi seeking a people-driven constitution. 

According to the Nairobi report, government’s proposed modus operandi is faulty; firstly because it is politician-driven, secondly because it insists on parliamentary supremacy, and thirdly because it proposes that government should prepare Constitutional Bills for amendments of the Constitution. 

The minister contended that the bill wanted to enhance transparency and accountability among civil society groups and also seeks to provide guidelines for the establishment, registration and coordination of NGOs, including international organizations that have offices in Zambia.  

While we at the Zambian Chronicle find some excellent provisions in it such as its ability to enable the government to suspend civil society groups that fail to submit quarterly or annual returns or when they misapply funds they receive from donors, we find the timing rather suspicious.

If enacted, all international and local NGOs have to abide by the new rules and in some cases be deregistered if found to be non-compliant. The bill comes to the floor for full debate on Friday and is most likely going to pass … thanks a trillion. 

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.