politics


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To all my fellow Zambians:

Good luck with the Zambian elections in October 2008. I am sure we will pick the right candidate to continue where the late President Levy P Mwanawasa, SC. left from (MHSRIP).

For those of you that are endorsing HH, I hope he carries his nation at heart, and puts the Zambian people first before politics. I have no doubt that with his credentials he can take the Zambian Enterprise to the next level.

Here is a clip candidates should start watching closely, and if HH really wants to preach change, and take the Zambian Enterprise to the next level, he should know it takes people to seek change.

If the smart people of the Zambians Enterprise are looking for change, they need to support the Candidate for change, which in this case I can see most of you are endorsing HH. Take a close look at USA presidential elections.

Does this sound familiar?

Does it sound like Zambian economy? Well it’s happening in America. That is what happens when you put wrong people in office all the time.

Candidates need to lay down their plans in a meaningful, and practical way. Not waffling around same old policies. Ideas, Ideas, the key to success. Here is another example:

 

In Zambia we have had same candidates rotating from one position to another, they all descended from UNIP. We need another president like the late Mwanawasa to continue fighting corruption, and take our country to the next level.

A candidate who would put the Zambian interests first before his own, one who would empower his own people and create jobs. One who would allow foreign investment, but put Zambians that are innovative on top of the list.

I hope we all take time to know the candidates well. The ball is in our hands, people. Pay attention to what our candidates are saying. We need a president who will be able to understand our most needed issues within the Zambian Enterprise as a whole.

A candidate who understands the outside world as well and has foreign policy credentials. One who understands economics, because whether we like it or not, what ever goes on around the world has significant impacts our own economy.

Take time to screen candidates in and out before we cast votes. We need a candidate who is strong, dedicated, never gives up, honest, intelligent, humble, compassionate, innovative and creative. One who sees beyond his nose and makes right decisions at least ninety-nine percent of the time.

Here is another clip.

And for politically minded women, who are aspiring to stand for President in 2011, do not get discouraged, you can do it. Here is a role model for women.  I edge our Zambian men to stay open minded when it comes to women leadership. We women get things done. Hillary ran an incredible campaign …

… and the opposition picked this candidate for VP to overshadow Hillary’s historical campaign. Of course this one is not my choice, though I am sure some Zambian women would like her since she has five children youngest is only 4 months. She is a joke to me because she was handpicked. On a good and humorous note though, she is not afraid to take on a challenge!!!

Having said that, I would like to see women participating in Zambian presidential elections. I am calling upon intelligent Zambian women to take up the challenge in 2011.

I wonder why the Zambian constitution can’t open up for presidential candidates to pick their running mates before they are elected in office. This is an important point for us to seriously think about before the 2011 elections.

It is very crucial to have running mates screened at the same time with their presidential candidates. We have all seen what happens when a sitting president dies in office, the Vice President jumps in to act as president.

Wouldn’t be nice to have the VP get screened before hand? Transparency is very important …

Live Long & Prosper; that’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion. 

 

Belliah K Theise

Chief Operating Officer – Zambian Chronicle 

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) –

President George W. Bush and his top policymakers misstated Saddam Hussein‘s links to terrorism and ignored doubts among intelligence agencies about Iraq’s arms programs as they made a case for war, the Senate intelligence committee reported on Thursday.

The report shows an administration that “led the nation to war on false premises,” said the committee’s Democratic Chairman, Sen. John Rockefeller of West Virginia. Several Republicans on the committee protested its findings as a “partisan exercise.”

The committee studied major speeches by Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other officials in advance of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, and compared key assertions with intelligence available at the time.

Statements that Iraq had a partnership with al Qaeda were wrong and unsupported by intelligence, the report said.

It said that Bush’s and Cheney’s assertions that Saddam was prepared to arm terrorist groups with weapons of mass destruction for attacks on the United States contradicted available intelligence.

Such assertions had a strong resonance with a U.S. public, still reeling after al Qaeda‘s September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Polls showed that many Americans believed Iraq played a role in the attacks, even long after Bush acknowledged in September 2003 that there was no evidence Saddam was involved.

The report also said administration prewar statements on Iraq’s weapons programs were backed up in most cases by available U.S. intelligence, but officials failed to reflect internal debate over those findings, which proved wrong.

PUBLIC CAMPAIGN

The long-delayed Senate study supported previous reports and findings that the administration’s main cases for war — that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was spreading them to terrorists — were inaccurate and deeply flawed.

“The president and his advisors undertook a relentless public campaign in the aftermath of the (September 11) attacks to use the war against al Qaeda as a justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein,” Rockefeller said in written commentary on the report.

“Representing to the American people that the two had an operational partnership and posed a single, indistinguishable threat was fundamentally misleading and led the nation to war on false premises.”

A statement to Congress by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that the Iraqi government hid weapons of mass destruction in facilities underground was not backed up by intelligence information, the report said. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said Rumsfeld’s comments should be investigated further, but he stopped short of urging a criminal probe.

The committee voted 10-5 to approve the report, with two Republican lawmakers supporting it. Sen. Christopher Bond of Missouri and three other Republican panel members denounced the study in an attached dissent.

“The committee finds itself once again consumed with political gamesmanship,” the Republicans said. The effort to produce the report “has indeed resulted in a partisan exercise.” They said, however, that the report demonstrated that Bush administration statements were backed by intelligence and “it was the intelligence that was faulty.”

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said: “We had the intelligence that we had, fully vetted, but it was wrong. We certainly regret that and we’ve taken measures to fix it.”

PUBLIC SUPPORT

U.S. public opinion on the war, supportive at first, has soured, contributing to a dive in Bush’s popularity.

The conflict is likely to be a key issue in the November presidential election between Republican John McCain, who supports the war, and Democrat Barack Obama, who opposed the war from the start and says he would aim to pull U.S. troops out within 16 months of taking office in January 2009.

Rockefeller has announced his support for Obama.

The administration’s record in making its case for Iraq has also been cited by critics of Bush’s get-tough policy on Iran. They accuse Bush of overstating the potential threat of Iran’s nuclear program in order to justify the possible use of force.

A second report by the committee faulted the administration’s handling of December 2001 Rome meetings between defense officials and Iranian informants, which dealt with the Iran issue. It said department officials failed to share intelligence from the meeting, which Rockefeller said demonstrated a “fundamental disdain” for other intelligence agencies.

(Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan, Donna Smith)

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OBAMA SPEECH IN FULL: A MORE PERFECT UNION
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008/ 10:17:53 ET
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

 Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk – to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

“People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend’s voice up into the rafters….And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild.”

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.

Legalized discrimination – where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs – to the larger aspirations of all Americans — the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright’s sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old — is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know — what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination – and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past – are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina – or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn’t. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

“I’m here because of Ashley.” By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

Barack Obama is a Democratic Senator from Illinois and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

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In every country there is rich and poor. For those who never experienced poverty in their up bringing, poverty is a tale. We hope politicians that are out to make change in the society should remember the legacy  to bring change. Zambian chronicle is here for change. Some clips below are here to show how important every child is. No matter, which environment or place they are being raised in. Poverty will never stop them, they dance, they play drums with their inborn skills and talent. 

Most of us at Zambian chronicle grew up with no resources, limited education system, walked to school, no lunch packs. That did not stop us, we made it, and grew up with hearts to reach out to other people with our limited resources. our legacy is to help kids( boys and girls) and women, By bringing out the positive side of this world. 

We expect Zambian presidential candidates to focus on  important issues like education, to help the future generation to be better leaders and reach their dreams.

 

Zambian Chronicle’s legacy:- Next Zambian President should bring hope to the future generation. Please all Zambian leaders should address the problems below:

v=8c1ByH_oMz4&feature=related]

Tribal Zambian Party

Zambian kids dancing

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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b6_edited.jpegNegative Campaign ,Malicious Rumors, Gossip and Hatred on Aspiring presidential candidates are set backs and can bring a Destruction in Voting for a Great President. 

By Belliah K Theise

On March 9 2008, I posted our opinion on what negative campaigns can do to the communities. DIVISIONS and ANGER, I saw this coming. This is unhealth to the country. By all means, stop attacking each other in one party. You are confusing your supporters. Click the links and see for yourselves the effect of Negative campaigns.

WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Friday denounced inflammatory remarks from his pastor, who has railed against the United States and accused its leaders of bringing on the Sept. 11 attacks by spreading terrorism.

As video of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright has widely aired on television and the Internet, Obama responded by posting a blog about his relationship with Wright and his church, Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, on the Huffington Post.

Obama wrote that he’s looked to Wright for spiritual advice, not political guidance, and he’s been pained and angered to learn of some of his pastor’s comments for which he had not been present. A campaign spokesman said later that Wright was no longer on Obama’s African American Religious Leadership Committee, without elaborating.

“I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies,” Obama said. “I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it’s on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Reverend Wright that are at issue.”

In a sermon on the Sunday after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Wright suggested the United States brought on the attacks.

“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,” Wright said. “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

In a 2003 sermon, he said blacks should condemn the United States.

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

He also gave a sermon in December comparing Obama to Jesus, promoting his candidacy and playing down Clinton.

Questions about Obama’s religious beliefs have dogged him throughout his candidacy. He’s had to fight against false Internet rumors suggesting he’s really a Muslim intent on destroying the United States, and now his pastor’s words uttered nearly seven years ago have become an issue.

Obama wrote on the Huffington Post that he never heard Wright say any of the statements that are “so contrary to my own life and beliefs,” but they have raised legitimate questions about the nature of his relationship with the pastor and the church.

He explained that he joined Wright’s church nearly 20 years ago. He said he knew Wright as a former Marine and respected biblical scholar who lectured at seminaries across the country.

“Reverend Wright preached the gospel of Jesus, a gospel on which I base my life,” he wrote. “… And the sermons I heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God and one another, to work on behalf of the poor, and to seek justice at every turn.”

He said Wright’s controversial statements first came to his attention at the beginning of his presidential campaign last year, and he condemned them. Because of his ties to the 6,000-member congregation church — he and his wife were married there and their daughters baptized — Obama decided not to leave the church.

Obama also has credited Wright with delivering a sermon that he adopted as the title of his book, “The Audacity of Hope.”

“With Reverend Wright’s retirement and the ascension of my new pastor, Rev. Otis Moss, III, Michelle and I look forward to continuing a relationship with a church that has done so much good,” he wrote.

Also Friday, the United Church of Christ issued a 1,400-word statement defending Wright and his “flagship” congregation. John H. Thomas, United Church of Christ’s president, lauded Wright’s church for its community service and work to nurture youth. Other church leaders praised Wright for speaking out against homophobia and sexism in the black community.

“It’s time for all of us to say no to these attacks and to declare that we will not allow anyone to undermine or destroy the ministries of any of our congregations in order to serve their own narrow political or ideological ends,” Thomas said in the statement.

___

Something to think about.

 Here is something positive for you talented guys:

Nationwide Contest: Obama in 30 Seconds

MoveOn.org is sponsoring a contest to create the best political ad for Barack Obama. MoveOn.org did a similar contest in 2004 called “Bush in 30 Seconds”. The winning ad is below.This time around the ads should be positive and convey why Barack Obama should be the next President. The winner will have his or her ad aired nationally and get $20,000 for new film equipment.They even have a message board for collaborators.From MoveOn.org:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: make a 30-second TV ad that tells the nation why Barack Obama should be our next President.

Today, we’re launching an ad contest called “Obama in 30 Seconds.” Anyone can make an ad about Obama between now and April 1. The public will vote on the best ads, and a panel of top artists, film professionals, and netroots heroes will pick a winner from among the finalists. (Judges include Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Naomi Wolf, Oliver Stone, John Legend, Donna Edwards, and Markos Moulitsas. The full list is below.)

Visit ObamaIn30Seconds.org for more details.

Thanks a trillion

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   

Post report

IS he the Raila Odinga of Zambia? Wait until kulibonesha-ta assumes Kikuyu type of domination.

Say whatever you want to say, Michael Chilufya Sata is part of Zambia’s political menu. No, in fact, he is the staple of the Zambian political diet.

Of humble education, Sata’s message resonates with the pain and suffering of the masses. Little wonder his party organises well among the urban-poor. Cadres love him; he even walks with them in flooded shanty streets strewn with garbage. He has traversed some of the most inhospitable terrains in Zambia where other politicians have not. He is the man of the people, their last action hero – mwine filimu.

But on introspection, the ascendancy to opposition politics by Sata is democracy’s best victory and worst mockery.

In a country where the current president is not quite blessed with speechifying flair, Sata’s fluency has become the inspirational heartbeat of Zambia’s politics. But it’s not just his charisma; you will not be wrong if you substituted his middle name for this word- action.

His close aides say his former policeman and railway man does not listen to advice. He does not even listen to himself. His voice is his own master. Publicly though, Sata claims he does listen to advice.

During television and radio interviews, Sata always tries to dominate. His party is believed to be infiltrated by MMD and the intelligence. And he too has done the same with the MMD and the intelligence. He has sympathisers at almost all the levels. See how be blew up the recent RTSA fees last week!

Born in 1937, age is just a number when you appreciate Sata’s sense of urgency to work Zambia’s dilapidated hospitals, roads, bridges and shanty towns. His résumé as Lusaka governor and Minister of Health speaks to the kind of pragmatism he exudes when faced with a crisis.

Many of his critics do not like his campaign tactics, maybe even his smoking habits.

In Zambia’s kind of politics, the old man is seen as a very good politician. And that’s because people live in a numerical universe, where politics is about numbers – and who can doubt that Sata is a crowd-puller? But people live in a moral universe as well, and if you look at the voter turnout during the recent Kanyama by-election, Sata comes at you as part of the reason people may have lost faith in the power of politics to change their lives.

But faith in Zambia’s politics melts away at the altar of Sata’s impressive rhetoric. And for many years to come, Sata will always have an attentive audience in the ‘hood’. Yet, there are many that doubt he possesses enough truth-power upon which his state presidency can advance the lofty ideals of democracy and political decency.

Observers say Sata’s political mill is filled with the mangled yarn it has always been, a web of good and ill together. Having served in the Kaunda and Chiluba regimes, many contend that Sata is part of the good, the bad and the ugly of yesteryears.

On the contrary, others say the new Sata is kind of cool. The man has laundered his image to become the political institution whose polemics are fodder for the headlines Zambians hate to miss.

Yet, to the skilled observer, he is no more than a Mwanawasa non-conformist and combatant. Many still fear that if Chiluba anointed him successor, he would have been more of the same.
Attack is the best defence, and so it seems in Sata’s political football.

In his game plan, weakness is not an adequate currency in the marketplace of power. So, he has fashioned himself as a relentless pain in the flesh of Mwanawasa’s presidency. Since 2001, Sata has become the embodiment of people’s resentment to bad governance and injustice.

Its this native intelligence of chachacha – the will to fight authority, the BOMA – that sets Sata apart from other opposition politicians. Indeed, Sata the PF president is a much more effective workhorse than the sum of several underlings that own other opposition political parties.

Many people admire the way Sata stands up for Zambia in the face of the Chinese trading juggernaut, which threatens to eclipse the local manufacturing industry. Although he raises genuine concerns about Africa’s look east policy to China, eyebrows have been raised about his engagement of Taiwan.

This does not negate the fact that China must come right on human rights at home and Darfur in Sudan. In Zambia, it has been Sata’s contention that the Chinese should venture into production rather than become petty traders in markets, that they should not casualise our workers, if they are not yet ignited by their explosives. These are patriotic demands indeed.

Yet again, his past is still very much a part of his political future. In this limelight, many Zambians are still bewildered: Is Sata’s politics driven by selfish ambitions or a genuine passion to serve the poor, unite the nation, and dismantle the family tree of nepotism nascent in our foreign service? History will be the best judge.

What matters, though, is that he has been consistent with his inconsistencies. And that’s where some feel Sata would make a better president for contemporary Zambia, because he does not mince his words. His blunt approach to issues is his greatest strength, and unfortunately, his greatest weakness.

His people skills have often been questioned, mainly because of the stern manner in which he delivers instructions, in no uncertain terms. But Sata’s Jerry Rawlings no-nonsense leadership style would come handy in a country like Zambia, where infrastructure needs urgent attention, as much as those that deliver public services need frog jumping.

That’s not all. With Sata as president, the mines will not be playing games with government. They would have to pay the new taxes without negotiations and time wasting threats of litigation, or else soldiers will be at the mine gates. It will not be far-fetched if Sata would do with our copper what Hugo Chavez did with Venezuela’s oil.

That’s the first thing some people would love about sata-nomics, the knowledge that the government has the responsibility to safeguard Zambians’ copper for the benefit of our people. Although the new Sata is at war with the old policies he built while in the MMD, he at least for now acknowledges that foreign capital knows no all-weather friends, that foreign investors have no moral and social obligations to our people.

On the Copperbelt, Sata’s message has lacked diplomatic etiquette, but it has been unequivocal in denouncing the new mine owners as being motivated by profit, that their business is conducted for private gain, and not for our public benefit. His memo has been well received in the mine townships – that the primary responsibility of managements is to the owners of the mines – not to some nebulous entity called the public good.

Who can blame Sata if he wins votes by lambasting the new Oppenheimers refusing to pay new taxes? The man is alive to the harsh realities of an economy held hostage by the greed of foreign investors colluding with the myopia of government leaders.

Let’s give credit where it’s due. Sata’s Robin Hood heroics on the Copperbelt are well deserved. As long as the Copperbelt is still a case study of robber capitalism, Sata’s niche will continue to grow. Without meaningful monetary benefits from our copper, who will be surprised if citizens kidnap mine workers, like in Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta region?

As long as the government continues to perambulate on its knees – begging the mines to pay the revised taxes – Sata will be there to tell the story, as it is.

Yet, in an earnest political milieu, there would be no room for Sata, whose role as MMD national secretary, some people contend, was to organise youths into instruments of hooliganism during the MMD national convention and the Chawama by-election in 2001. Sata has denied links to violent cadres.

But maybe people should give the man a break. There is absolutely no need to blame Sata’s type of politics if there is no alternative leadership in Zambia.

With all due respect, where is Prof Clive Chirwa when Zambia needs him? There is no doubt that escalating poverty has made the urban poor to opt for the brave Cobra they know, rather than wait for the ever-calculating intelligentsia.

A combination of the late Daddy Zemus’ Tuzakaina Liti and Nathan Nyirenda’s Mwe Makufi has come back to haunt the government’s flimsy policies on poverty.

This is the wave that Sata continues to surf, the unmet socio-economic needs of a disenchanted electorate.
With a horde of UNZA academics on his side, Sata’s abilities to transform the country are now lionized by both professionals and the Eagle Eagles. Indeed, Sata has laundered his image to suit the times, or is it the times that suit his talents?

Although he has refused to pander to the hallucinations of the current MMD government, critics doubt Sata is blessed with enough nobility to guarantee political space in which the people can exercise their rights.

Still, his position on the NCC is laudable. And if his MPs were thinking from their bellies and not their heads, he would be right to fire them all. These MPs are on the wrong side of the people, they are on the wrong side of history. The NCC is nothing but a moneymaking kantemba.

The NCC is part of the government’s window-dressing of the constitution-making process. And if we all agree (to disagree?) that the constitution must be written in our people’s language, using their own alphabet, then all those PF MPs are part of the grand government deception.

Those PF MPs who went against party policy are now an accident about to happen. They can learn a lesson or two about towing the party line. And if there are by-elections, they will come as a referendum of Sata’s growing popularity.

The fact is, as long as MMD government policies continue to be flawed, Sata will always be an asset to opposition politics in Zambia. As long as Sata is back on the right side of the people, for whatever reasons, people have reasons to celebrate this prodigal son of Zambian politics. And hopefully, when his life story is written, it will not end like VJ’s wrong sunset.

Come 2011, if the other presidential candidates do not match up to Sata’s campaign: bakalalila. Watch this space.
Kazhila Chinsembu is a freethinker and public-read scholar at the University of Namibia.

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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.

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

Copyrights © 2008 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc   

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.

——————————–

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.

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