Sunday, September 23, 2007

LETTERS - Zimbabwe, The Constitution and Loyalties

Boycotting the AU/EU summit
By Keith Jedburgh Muliwana
Sunday September 23, 2007 [04:00]

Allow me to commend his Excellency Levy Patrick Mwanawasa for his bold decision to boycott the European Union Summit in Lisbon Portugal if Mugabe is not allowed to attend. Indeed it takes a bold person to arrive at such a decision which calls for other African heads of state to help Zimbabwe. It is unfortunate to see economic refugees from Zimbabwe in Zambia when Zimbabwe is endowed with a lot of natural resources, all because of the greed of former colonial master Britain.

One would argue why Zimbabwe is undergoing an economic recession because of one man, Robert Gabriel Mugabe. I can only refer all the Mugabe critics to the speech he gave here in Zambia during a ceremony to honour our own freedom fighter and father of the nation Dr Kenneth Kaunda.

Mugabe, a devil as depicted by the west, only did what is primarily a root to human empowerment, which is land. Without land we are nothing. This, however, is not to say Mugabe is perfect.

As Africans, we must stand as one force if we are to attain human development and indeed economic development as the west and east have.

May God bless Mwanawasa for seeing what others cannot see and it is my prayer that Zimbabwe’s problems are resolved because their plight is not for them alone but for Africa and the world at large. Who wants to see his mother or his sister in a foreign country as an economic refugee?

Participation and Constitution-Making process
By James Kazembe
Sunday September 23, 2007 [04:00]

Within any socio-political system, a central problem is the reconciliation of conflicting preferences. One solution is to impose a dictatorship, where an individual decides which opinion is to be adopted and overrides the wishes of the dissenters.

This state of affairs was very rife in Kaunda and Chiluba’s regime. Unfortunately, this is the same situation we are currently going through. Another available option is to establish a democratic system in which after deliberation may still block the ideas of a minority. In this sense, democracy is regarded as tyranny of the majority.

No mechanism or system is itself without its demerits. However, theorists like Adaman and Devine (2001) propose that major decisions should be subjected to a process of participatory and democratic system.

Personally I am sympathetic to proposals for a degree of participatory democracy. Any democratically mapped out system has a tendency to reconcile any differences, before an agreement and actions are possible. Such conflict has to be resolved before any ideas can be formulated in detail.

Those who believe in a participatory and democratic system should also be prepared to accept that democracy is often a relatively flexible mechanism by which some conflicts can be ameliorated.

Diverse ideas can be reconciled by multiple ideas of negotiated exchange. In such a system there are no champions or losers as some politicians seem to portray. It is useful to be responsive and know that people can be persuaded to change their stance or ideas during some process of interaction or negotiation. Crucially, the purpose of a democratic system is to create a platform for all citizens to participate.

The process is expected to enhance consensus, empowerment, integration, accountability and political commitment and support. Among other things, these are considered preconditions for strengthening democracy. Those who do not appreciate these elements exhibit wild behaviour.

Their egocentricity throws dignity and morals to the winds. Where is democracy in Zambia if the wishes of the few greedy outspoken individuals override the wishes of the majority on the constitution making process? Exclusionist tendencies will not take this country anywhere.

"Kneeling" before the President?
By Gilbert Wandi
Sunday September 23, 2007 [04:00]

Last time The Post showed the picture of Southern Province minister Mulyata on his knees before President Mwanawasa in Livingstone and if we thought it was going to end there, we were mistaken because this time it had to take the whole defence minister George Mpombo to go down on his knees at the airport before Mwanawasa left for New York.

Does it really mean the only way our leaders can show respect to the president is by kneeling before him?

Looking at Mpombo’s action at the airport, I wondered if the leaders we have in MMD today are able to face the President and challenge him on some of the serious issues that could be affecting the nation.

Is the kneeling we are seeing our leaders getting accustomed too the new way of them trying to save their jobs?

I know our President needs to be shown respect but not the way some of the ministers are cracking their knees kneeling before him. Does it mean Mwanawasa intimidates his ministers or the ministers feel intimidated when they are in his presence?

The kneeling we are seeing today from the ministers could be another way of them telling the President that they still need their jobs.

That’s why we need professionalism in these positions, and not basing them on the cadre-mentality we are seeing, if we are to move forward as a nation.

Are our ministers kneeling to protect their jobs or out of respect for the President?

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