Zambia: Parastatal madness and constitutional debate

This roundup covers Zambian bloggers who are discussing “the parastatal madness,” the debate over the constitution of Zambia, the election crisis in Zimbabwe and the African Forum on ICT Best Practices 2008, which took place in Burkina Faso recently.

New Zambia talks about “parastatal madness” saying that:

Secretary to the Treasury, Evans Chibiliti, disclosed earlier this week that a number of companies (Zamtel, Zesco etc) owe the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) billions of Kwacha in unremitted taxes. Apparently ZRA has sufficient legal tools to compel defaulting clients to pay,but the situation is tricky because of ” the strategic importance of the erring firms and institutions”.
The truth of course is that this is not entirely true. One only needs to peruse through the PAC report to see that most of the parastatals are actually owed a lot of money by the government, this is why they never pay taxes! Many of us have previously called for these parastatals to become independent, but reality is that incentives for government to act are very weak. Parastatals help governments to shift debt around! Mr Chibiliti calls this implementation of “various debt swap and cancellation initiatives”.

Issues over matter blogs about the constitutional circus in Zambia:

Legal issues, especially those to do with the constitution making process, stump me, I must admit, but this round of making the constitution is simply baffling. A few years ago, the President, Dr Levy Mwanawasa, State Counsel, against all opposition, appointed a Constitution Review Constitution chaired by renowned lawyer Willa Mung’omba.

The epitome of opposition to the Mung’omba commission was the resignation of Zambia Democratic Congress president, the late Dean Mung’omba from the body just after the first sitting, if I remember correctly.
Forgive me if I am wrong, but Willa and Dean were brothers and yet the latter refused to be part of the charade, and if President Mwanawasa’s sidestepping the results of his own creation is anything to go by, Dean was right to think the whole thing was a joke.
In fact, Mr Mwanawasa has not said very kind things about the job done by the Mung’omba team particularly for suggesting the mode of adopting the resultant document via a Constituent Assembly.
The issue of the high cost of such a venture kept cropping up with the argument that parliament was adequate for enacting the draft constitution into law. But I am stumped even more that the same amount that was to be costly setting up a CA is now being spent on the National Constitution Conference.

Mwankole has concentrated on the Zimbabwe election crisis:

It has been speculated that Hitler may have suffered from a mirage of psychological issues, he was an ideologue with unshakable convictions…….. He did not use language for the purpose of interaction with others, but only for the purpose of dominating others. He endlessly engaged in long-winded and pedantic speeches, with “illogical arguments full of crude comparisons and cheap allusions.

As in the case of Hiltler, I find that Mugabe's direct reports, especially the army chief are pandering to the whims of a mentally ill man.

Much worse how do these policemen beat up their fellow countrymen for voting against Mugabe, during the day and go back to their homes at night, in the very neighbourhood where the people they beat up live?

Finally, ICT Journalist discusses the recent African Forum on ICT Best Practices 2008 held in Burkina Faso:

The level of interest in using technology solutions to address critical development challenges is getting high in Africa. At the same time, there is an essential need to accelerate the penetration and application of technology on the continent, particularly at the public sector level.

Feedback received from various government leaders and international financial institutions on the continent clearly shows that the best way to achieve this objective is to provide the conditions necessary for African governments and advisory institutions to share their own best practices, subsequently creating a roadmap for the future.

In this way, African leaders and the institutions that support them can actively assist in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public sector institutions through the use of technology and create the capacity for Africa to increase its own competitiveness.

Any institution that provides leadership on this issue would simultaneously achieve a high impact outcome for Africa’s development and an opportunity to distinguish itself from the crowd.

1 comment

  • John Counsel

    What a pity Zimbabwe isn’t sitting on an ocean of oil.

    If it were, “regime change” would become an immediate priority for the Bush administration.

    Weapons of mass destruction could be invented once more and the country invaded. Mugabe could be hanged, along with his key cronies, for their crimes against humanity.

    Bush could go out on a high in November, and the world’s attention could be diverted from the mess in Iraq.

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