Saturday, July 07, 2007

Dr. Kimbwandende Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau and Kisinsi

I was wondering - in the quest to find a more local form of government, one that takes culture into account, maybe there can be a blending of cultural forms of organisation, and central state financing, combined with local economic theory. This is from the great dr. Kimbwandende Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau, Phd, from "African Cosmology of the Bantu-Kongo", chapter "Historical Background of the Kongo Cultural Zone" (written in 1980):

KISINSI

"Yet Africa is in conflict today, because of these artificial structures established by artificial African law, a law that is against the will of the African people. Africa struggles because it seeks to cut itself away from all the exploitative chains it is tied to. All investments, properties, concessions, etc. granted today in Africa under the present artificial law, are not secure for African systematic way of organization (Kimpa kia kisinsi) will not tolerate such departures from our kisinsi, the African way of life organization, and becaue these proprietorships support present inhumane regimes throughout Africa. The African future will be built on its own norms and values that are deep-rooted within its own systems, which are unfortunately unkown by the great majority of its leaders, our African Kisinsi.

Since this system is not discussed scholarly elsewhere, it seems important to me, before ending this chapter, to describe shortly what makes the main difference between this system and other systems, i.e., capitalism and socialism/communism [Kinyudiki/Kimayudukwa ye Kimumvuka/Kikintwadi].

Capitalsm, on a national level, is a system whereby the work of the majority of people produce the wealth of a few individuals who are owners of means of production. On an international level, capitalism is a system by which the world's developing countries provide the work and raw materials, to make the wealthy minority gain. In other words, the slavery of man is the basic source of capitalism and it's expansion in the world. The capitalistic view is different from the communistic one.

Communism, on the other hand, is a system that tries to control in the name of the state the wealth and the land of a given country pretending equality among it's citizens.

These two systems, capitalism and communism/socialism are, by all means, in the African view, equally imperialistic systems. These two systems are the cause of the world's insecurity because of their superficial antagonism. Because of the lack of their mutual understanding, they are destructors of international institutions, and above all, they are killers of the world's order and it's leaders. They are indeed "oiseaux de meme plumage" (birds of the same feather) whatever their tensions are. Neither system lives without their hand on the gun, because they only own the art of killing.

Contrary to capitalism and communism/socialism, the African "Kisinsi" is different. What the Bantu-Kongo, Luba, Mongo, Nyarwanda, Zulu, etc. constitute in their daily life is a system [kimpa/fu] whereby the land, source of happiness and blessing to all terrestrial life, belongs not only to indiduals, landlords, or to a state, as it respectively exists in the case of capitalistic or communistic systems, but to the essential fundamental community, kanda, and all it's members, be they poor, rich, scholars, idiots, young or elder. They all have access to that inalienable land. As a Kongo proverb says, "Community land is our life" [N'toto wa kanda ni moyo eto].

The Kisinsi is a system by which the chief is a symbol, the mambu, (literally words, affairs, policy) belong to the people of the community (society) in its entirety. In the African system, Kisinsi, the individual is never land belonging to heirs. The right to heritage belongs to the community only. The African Kisinsi is explicit here by the Kongo society, that it is a system where leadership is a moving force [Kimfumu ma kiantumba] held through the "stooling" process [mu ntumbulu] under the control of all social forces throughout their political, philosophical, religious and productive relationships in all local levels, conceptually and cosmologically generated here (see figures 6 through 17) from Kala, emerging life level and its growth toward leadership; from Tukula, through Luvemba, the step for greatest change and for abandonment of all negative accumulated elements within the system, to Musoni, the social jinn, [simbi bia nsi], the step for regeneration of forces, potentialities, and vitality needed to reshape and rebuild the sytem, i.e. the rebirth process, or the dingo-dingo, the constant back and forth of energy of change.

On the basis of these cosmological ideas, the concept of dictatorship is impossible in the African Kongo-Kisinsi discussed here through it's cosmological ideas.

The Kongo-Kisinsi is a conceptial system which is aware of Mwisikanda, the human community members, rather than about outsiders' interests [n'luta mia banzenza]. Kisinsi is a strong and fundamental African system that would build a strong Kisafelika, not a chauvinistic system or philosophy.

The Kisinsi is a huge tree which strongly emphasizes first, a positive peaceful and fraternal neighbourhood among all it's branches: on Kisafelika and Bisafelika, strong neighbourhood in continental states and it's inhabitants; on Kisinsi, strong neighbourhood among the national diversities, on Kisikanda, strong neighbourhood in the ethnic groups and communities; on Kisizunga, strong neighborhood in local communities; on Kisivata, strong neighbourhood in the village's subdivisions such as belo, mwelonzo,moyo and buta. The Kisinsi deals with all muntu, human beings, as part of the human race and its community survival.

The Kisinsi is a system of philosophy fundamentally based on tolerance. The Kisinsi punishes with care and love; it regulates social conflicts in ways of love and autocratism (zola ye ntungasani). As a member of Kisinsi, a Mwisinsi does not arm himself against another muntu, a being under the control of the dual soul-mind. He wants to see in all freedom other soul-minds develop in other bodies as in one's self in order to live [zinga, i.e., tambula ye tambikisa] receiving and passing on. Because sytems do not have the dual [mwela-ngindu] by themselves, they become worse when led by leaders whose soul-mind is under the lowest level of human value understanding. The Kisinsi, as kimpa/system in bad hands, becomes a killer and does kill.

Muntu, the soul-mind-objects [ma kia mwela ye nitu], should not kill other soul-mind-objects as a respect to himself and to his bumuntu (mindfulness). When a muntu, in whatever intention, kills another muntu, he looses his state of inner human being [mbelo a kimuntu], i.e., that of the soul-mind-object. He identifies himself with an animal, a no-soul-mind-object. Then he loses his verticality [kintomayulu], th power to think before making any decision, to yield for horizonatality [kilukongolo], the power to act instinctively as do all prostrated beings.

The act of killing soul-mind-objects is the strongest factor that reveals not only the weakness of a leader, but also his complex of inferiority and all kinds of psychological problems it may reveal. This is, in short, the main ideas that explain the Kisinsi upon which the African concept of law and crime discussed in this chapter find their roots. It is upon this system that Africa is going to build its future with its doors largely open not only to its "best friends", if they do exist, but to all its enemies, because they are well known, for they are constituted as human beings, i.e., naturally, rightly and legally co-owners of our planetary land.

African leaders must see today's world policy differently in order to understand carefully from the bottom of their hearts the role that Africa should play in the future of the human beings that we all are, for the peace of this world.

African leaders should deeply understand that the continent they are leading today has a special mission. A mission that should develop a new order which will save humanity and this world. As a Negro Slavee, Hollis Read, wrote more than a century ago, " Afric has been reserved for the development of a higher order of civilisation ". Such an order and responsibilit will never be conceived by the awakening of Africa if its leaders continue to follow the path of present world tensions based on ideological antagonisms, and, moreover, if African leaders found African nations upon personal prestige, corruption, human torture, inconceivable expenditures, meaningless projects instead of seeking solutions to real, social problems posed throughout the continent among its inhabitants: housing, nutrition, water, disease, education, transportation, poverty, rural exodus, and agricultural development.

I think it is a social crime for any African authority "paying" himself, say, $5,000 monthly in a country with an economic system where more than 90% of the citizens, because of the poor national planning policy, live with less than $100 for the year. Today's African leaders do not seem to be paid. They go as many times as they want to the national bank and "load" trunks of their cars any amount of money they desire. For them every weekday is a payday. It is a universal shame for foreign governments to support such policies, whatever be their interests, in such corrupted, undemocratic and bankrupted nations. The fall of such governments will weigh more on their supporters rather than on the supported individuals themselves.

To Africans of all ages it is about time to rethink what the Kongo ancestors aphorismically said once "Don't alow the exploitation to repeat itself" [Nkutu a zengi fwanda lumbu kimosi].

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9 Comments:

At 1:56 AM , Blogger Cho said...

"What the Bantu-Kongo, Luba, Mongo, Nyarwanda, Zulu, etc. constitute in their daily life is a system [kimpa/fu] whereby the land, source of happiness and blessing to all terrestrial life, belongs not only to indiduals, landlords, or to a state, as it respectively exists in the case of capitalistic or communistic systems, but to the essential fundamental community, kanda, and all it's members, be they poor, rich, scholars, idiots, young or elder"

A very crucial point.
In traditional african context, everything belongs to the people and the chief is there as a symbol of that common ownership.

This article is important, aside from its metaphysical over tones. I think what he calls for is exactly what I have been calling for. A creation of a unique Zambian idea to development at ease with our culture.

I was having a chat with my friend as I was explaining to him the african idea of marriage as a social contract between families (as opposed to individual) and the impact that plays as self inforcing contracts. And the role of succession as a form of social insurance. These are just few examples of where our culture already provides strong foundations for development.
It seems to me that we won't succeed unless we marry our culture with development.

 
At 4:37 AM , Blogger MrK said...

It would also be interesting to see how this communal ownership can be tied into official forms of community ownership.

For instance, a community could become a legal entity, complete with shares, and use those to finance their development, distribute profits, etc.

They could receive a percentage of shares of all the business that is done in their area by law. Thereby having an incentive to attract business, for the good of the community.

There would also be a lot more control of environmental standards, labour standards, etc. because many more people would be involved.

My idea of decentralisation so far has basically been without going into any cultural issues, but I think these could easily be incorporated or morphed into/from a decentralized 350 or so unit local government system.

Another idea - if all locals who set up a business in their own community would be limited to paying 10% taxes to that community, that would give a huge boost to economic activity.

 
At 12:06 AM , Blogger Cho said...

I think a key challenge with the 350 units approach is how that impacts on traditional boundaries.

If Chiefs were part of the administrative it would require some more thought on how the boundary definitions would work.

 
At 8:58 PM , Blogger MrK said...

The 350 unit approach is specifically intended to bypass any claims to tribe or region.

Putting chiefs at the center would take a huge effort in education, and time invested (generations, really).

However, as an alterantive approach, really as a way of circumventing inaction on the implementation of the 350 unit concept, would be to use their rights and authority to develop rural areas.

Right now, chiefs have rights to a lot of land, which could be developed and make them very rich indeed, if they received part of the proceeds and other perks, like infrastructure building and creating their own businesses.

 
At 4:08 PM , Blogger Cho said...

"The 350 unit approach is specifically intended to bypass any claims to tribe or region"

lol!!

So out goes Chief Chitimukulu and others!

The alternative approach would work better I think - working through existing channels but making them more efficient.

 
At 7:37 PM , Blogger MrK said...

lol!!

So out goes Chief Chitimukulu and others!


Maybe they'll be happy with just a good pension. :)

But I'm still puzzled why they don't develop their own areas. They have plenty of land. If they made deals where they were at least partial owners of all the businesses or farms in their areas, they would be hugely wealthy.

 
At 2:21 PM , Blogger Cho said...

They need good business advisers!

lol!

Seriously the issue is capital and know how....the investors are now going to them with cash in the brief case promising all...

In the colonial days...the native treasuries were rich and full of entreprise...the Lozi king for example owned a few businesses....

 
At 7:43 PM , Blogger MrK said...


Seriously the issue is capital and know how....the investors are now going to them with cash in the brief case promising all...


So they do need good business advisers.

If they (for instance) a patch of teak trees worth $1 million, why can't they borrow 10% of that value from an ordinary bank?

They have lots of land, they can borrow against a lot of it, like you would borrow against the value of your house.

So why do they need companies to bring money to them?

But being a liaison between the chiefs and future companies working in their areas could be extremely lucrative, and beneficial to all sides.

Chiefs wouldn't have to operate any of the businesses themselves, they would simply be share owners.

Check out the way Trump makes his real estate developments pay. It would be interesting to morph that in a concept that would help chiefs develop their areas, while having them and their people benefit to the maximum extent.

 
At 9:12 PM , Blogger MrK said...

In the colonial days...the native treasuries were rich and full of entreprise...the Lozi king for example owned a few businesses....

Well that is a situation we have to 'get back to'. (Hence the name of my blog. :) )


Here is a model:

- Any company that does business in a chiefdom hands 20% of it's shares over to a company that is 100% owned by the chief.

- In exchange, the goverment permanently lowers their state taxes from 25% to 5%.

- In case of underdeclaring taxes, another 30% of shares are handed over to the chief's company.

- If they again underdeclare profits, 100% of shares will be owned by the chief's company, and the company will be prosecuted for the profits they didn't declare.

That, combined with some outside monitoring of the company's books, should be more than enough deterrent against underdeclaring profits.

 

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