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Tutu Fellows

A Zambian’s response to “You Lazy (Intellectual) African Scum!”

By Jacqueline Muna Musiitwa

I read the “transcript” of your conversation with my compatriot with much intrigue. Your view of the “third world” is not only dated in nomenclature, it is also dated in reality. When was the last time you were in Zambia? The Zambia of the 1980s is not the Zambia of 2012! Zambians are far from sleepy and lethargic (though I do not see sleep or dreaming as a bad thing). Perhaps it is because I subscribe to Rabindranath Tagore’s words, “I slept and dreamt that life was joy, I woke and saw that life was duty. I acted and behold, duty was joy.”

I know many other Zambians who live by the same value. I know doctors, artists, cleaners, entrepreneurs, innovators, and intellectuals, amateur and seasoned, small and big, who, despite the odds, work slavishly to improve Zambia. Some work 9-5 and others do not, but rather than focus on “billable hours”, they focus on results. People see the light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps because you spent your time behind a wall fence-watching the people rather than interacting with them, you failed to notice that.

Lastly, I contend there is no Lake Zambia. As the Chinese proverb goes, “Water not damned won’t rise.” Dams are being built. No longer will anyone rape, pillage and exploit Zambia. Zambians will not accept the morsels. People are tired of being sick and tired. In case you did not understand the lyrics to the popular Dandy Crazy song, “Don’t kubeba”, citizen action is in full swing – we just have not told you yet.

“What is different?” you wonder. In 2011, the World Bank categorised Zambia as a lower middle-income country, which means the per capita gross national income is between $1,006 and $3,975 per year. This categorisation came with pride and sorrow. Zambians know development is more than statistics. Zambians understand that development is an inclusive process; decreasing poverty is a priority. Zambians peacefully elected a new government thus demonstrating that the government is one of the people, by the people, for the people.

Arguably, Zambians have not always made the best political decisions, but the last election was testimony that the people command the way forward and will not blindly allow government to regress national progress. If government does not serve the people, the people will get a new government. Good governance in action is in Kalingalinga. No longer is it the neighborhood (where I went to school as a child) from where we would hear gunshots at night. Flimsy housing structures are replaced with brick houses, street kids are going to school thanks to free education offered from primary school to basic school (grades 1 – 9), sanitation has improved and it is a bedrock for micro, small and medium enterprises.

Not all Zambian intellectuals are sitting twiddling their thumbs “waiting for Godot”. We are not willfully sitting as our people die. The sad reality is that it takes time, time to reverse the rot in the system and time to create new visions, innovations and achievements. While Zambia may not have many patented inventions, Zambian products are part of the global supply chain. We subscribe to the “Made in the World” concept. According to the World Trade Organisation, “The statistical bias created by attributing the full commercial value to the last country of origin can pervert the political debate on the origin of the imbalances and lead to misguided, and hence counter-productive, decisions.” Nevertheless, we bear much guilt because people die under our watch. That forces us to work harder to make good on our commitments to Zambia.

Though we sometimes get sidetracked by intellectual banter, fail to connect theory to life’s realities and get frustrated by our history and point fingers, we know it is our responsibility to build Zambia. Granted, there are some Zambians in the diaspora who want nothing to do with Zambia; those are not our concern. There are many Zambians, who if called home to serve, would. Diasporans spill their sweat in other countries to be able to provide for their extended families and invest in Zambia. In 2010, remittances were over USD $68 000000. Whether from Timbuktu, Mali or Namushakende in Zambia, the money many Zambians earn invariably goes into the Zambian economy.

I recognise the fact that we all need to make a living, but you working for a vulture fund makes me question where you get the authority to apportion blame? Though we might not have domestic legal resources to go up against your New York or London lawyers, we will fight to the end, be assured. There are resources like the Africa Legal Support Facility (affiliated with the African Development Bank) that provide legal assistance to African countries to fight vulture funds. In case you did not learn this in Zambia, here is for a lesson, “Wanya!”. It will not be like the Donegal case. This time Zambia will win the case, plus costs.

I agree all humans are equal and we have quirks. Yes, some Zambians drink more than they should, and others have a negative self-perception about their black skin and their abilities compared to other races, while others do nothing but pull others Zambians down. Luckily, that is not the whole population. Furthermore, I cannot say any human is incorruptible. What I can say is that we do have institutions in place to enforce anti-corruption laws. In case you have not paid attention to the news, the current government is slowly trying to eradicate institutional corruption. Obviously, it will take time.

Rather than criticising Africa, I think you need to be critical of human nature generally; after all it is not Africa that caused the current global economic crisis. Lastly, if you want an example of a president that has not fallen for “the carrot at the stick”, look at President Kagame of Rwanda. Rwanda has in successive years ranked as the least corrupt country in East Africa. According to Transparency International, “The likelihood of encountering bribe demand occurrences is 3.9%, the prevalence of bribery is 2.15% and the impact of bribery on service delivery is 1.98%, while more than 80% of Rwandans have neither encountered nor witnessed corruption.” Botswana, Cape Verde and Mauritius all rank in the top 50 least corrupt nations in 2011.

Didn’t you know, anyone with money, black or white, is a bwana? So no, I do not think you are racist. Misinformed and prejudgmental, yes. You might have interacted with “old school” Zambians. Let me tell you, we, the “new school”, are dancing to a new beat. We are innovative and driven to find solutions to the challenges, we are globally connected and getting more people exposed and we have learned from our ancestors. Failure is not an option.

I know that when my child sits in a plane next to yours, they will be having a very different conversation.

Jacqueline Muna Musiitwa runs Hoja Law Group, a boutique New York and Kigali (Rwanda) law firm that uses the law to bridge the African development gap through advising on deals that create wealth for Africa. HLG advises investors investing in and companies expanding within Africa. She is a frequent speaker and writer on African affairs. She is a Mo Ibrahim Fellow at the World Trade Organisation and Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.

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    • Christopher

      Thank you for answering on behalf of Zambia and Zambians and reminding the gentleman that unlike him, we actually work “normal” jobs and run businesses not act like vultures in a national park. So if he would like he can join us here in Zambia and we can educate him on how to work a “real” job or run a real business.

    • mythos

      Africa north of the Zambezi and south of the Sahara is an unknown entity to most SAfrican’s for whatever reason. But not to all as I see it as an area of tremendous potential. I know of the development in Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya particularly, so much so that I am attending a course in Nairobi to mentor East African Community enterprises.

      Much better to be part of the game than sitting on a bench shooting out opinions.

      And my fellow students are from all the countries mentioned; really great and interesting stuff.

    • http://zambianpeoplesparliament Suman

      Thank u so much Jacqeline,your article has made my day. When all hope is lost for the wonderfull people of Zambia,U come out as a shining light to give hope and assurance…Its not the people, they toil and work very hard and what we lack is GOOD governance.With a young generation like yours ,that day of success is very near.In fact Zambia today is transforming positively. Please keep up the TEMPO and God Bless.

    • Achilombo

      Thanks for the post in which you have courageously defended what could be perceived as (from your perception) accusations against Zambia. At the end of the day, we are responsible for the situation in which we are a country, or as a continent. If Rwanda is making it, it is because they have chosen to make it. By the way, people will always treat us in the manner that we allow them to. This is where our responsibility lies! Meanwhile, now that we are realising where we went wrong, lets take the bridle and ride the horse in the right direction!

    • africalover

      Development through capitalism? Just look at what it begets in liberal US and Europe, happiness and wealth for the few, crumbs for most. The shrinking middle income class which made the West so enviable is in fact mostly a left over of a more state interventionist period and is for that very reason threatened by the new liberal discourse.

      Global capitalism is sucking the blood of the world for a new international nomenclatura. Anyway doom is near and it will be for all.

    • joe Kasiya

      Jacquiline,you could not have put it any better.Well done

    • Martin Lengwe

      I am astounded by the remarks of the man who sat next to you on the plane. The conversation was one short of alarming perception… his contents do not under whatsoever depict someone’s superiority over another being, on the contrary it reveals an insensitive, selfish, greed infested individual who thinks so narrowly and shallowly.

    • Abigail Sonyi Musa

      Wow!!! thank u for standing out…. well done.!!! proud of u.. Noble Woman!!

    • Sterling Ferguson

      The author forgot to mention that in Zambia the officials in that country are directly elected and accountable to the people, the people in SA don’t have this right.

    • IMPEDIMENTA

      I liked the ‘transcript’ more. It made me uncomfortable and spurred me on to do more. It was good to be told some uncomfortable facts.

      We are lazy. We could do so much more. We fall into the fat trap – we have arrived; we are entitled. It is always someone else’s fault or responsibility. No, it is ours.

    • Balt Verhagen

      What is so utterly refreshing about this blog and in particular the comments received (thusfar!) is the sense of openness of debate, a willingness to admit failures, the insistence in personal responsibilty, the quiet trust in a better future to be crafted by the people for the people. And to think that it was generated by a rather holier than thou mlungu pontificating on African intellectual laziness to a Zmbian

      What a contrast with so much appearing in ThoughtLeader (not to mention elsewhere) on South Africa. It so often revolves around the ruling party (read liberation government), the debt of gratitude we owe it and blaming the past for its own lack of intellectual honesty – or should I say simply honesty. And the almost predictable gulf between ‘black’ and ‘white’ in the comments.

      It would seem as though the arrogant American mlungu’s comments would have been more appropriately directed at South Africa..

    • Rose

      Well done Muna for leading the way! There’s hope for Africa!

    • Chris Roux

      Jacqueline, I would love to visit your country and meet with you. So much has changed in Southern Africa in my lifetime (born 1947) and nothing is as certain as one conceives things to be. We all need to keep on talking and changing if we want to really love and appreciate our countries and each other.

    • http://gainafricainvestments.wordpress.com @iamkennedym

      I think Jacqueline’s article is based solely on heritage emotions rather than the actual situation on the ground. The article clearly states that “low income earners in Zambia are the most hard working people I have ever met”. In no way in the article is the perceived laziness directly linked to productivity but rather the value in the productivity itself. We all have witnessed our governments building match boxes for the poor but not even one phd holder has protested and say “you know what, I have this idea that can create better housing for the poor at the same time saving a lot of money so that the government won’t have to borough from the vultures I.e. IMF/World bank to Finance other development projects”. This is the laziness that’s being referred to. How many civil engineers do we have in Africa? They are probably busy completing a European initiated plan to build a sky scrapper in the UAE, while the government back home is busy with a housing plan that can easily be washed away by floods. 

      I’m all for African Excellence but I believe it begins with accepting our mistakes and with every individual African saying enough is enough. After all civilization started with us, let’s take it to the next level but coming to the reality that we have a leadership crisis in Africa. It’s unfortunate that Zambia was used as an example, but let’s not be emotional about it. Let’s create our own.

    • @ti_pablo

      It gets more interesting.

      I have read both articles and I get what both sides are saying. I have some comments and questions;
      1) Is Jacqueline responding to the writer of the original article or the white guy who sat next to the writer?

      From what I got from the initial article, the writer was highlighting some issues of laziness on the part of intellectual Africans (not only Zambians, even I related to the issues raised). The issues which were raised in the 1st article (to my understanding, are;
      a) leadership – we have a leadership crisis in africa, most of our leaders are corrupt or just rulers not leaders. (3 examples might be good leaders, but out of 54 or so, that number is insignificant)
      b) our intellectuals are failing us in so many ways;
      i) We’re a consumer continent. We’re resource rich, but very few minerals have value added to them. (We have a lack of finished products being produced in Africa. This is mainly due to a lack of World class research and development. The poverty we have and the invetions coming out of Africa shows a huge gap. In the words of the wise, “Necessity should be the mother of all inventions.” (e.g. we have American Scientists researching Malaria, which is found down in Africa)
      ii) We are not creating any best practice in the way our economies and businesses are run. (Other continents create ways to define their economies, we follow.) USA and Europe might have caused the recession, but Africa has no leverage to benefit from…

    • http://Facebook J.mukwita maambo

      Muna you absolutely nailed it. Am so inspired by your article.such negativ comments about zambia tend to blur our vision hence we fail to focus on what is attainable and end up being tantalised. As zambians, we are bent on getting right this time around, we refuse to die of thirst while the fish drown.

    • MLH

      I was totally confused about who the ‘you’ is.

    • Ian Nziramasanga

      Jacqueline has defended the Zambian situation well.but what Field said unfortunately applies to some African countries and we need not outrightly dismiss his thought provoking piece. We need to discuss it more and work towards a better African that can face African challenges head on.
      Visionary leaders, Nkrume. Kenyatta,Nyerere,and others left us with a thought of a United States of Africa which is hampered by selfish leader who are dividing Africa into smaller villages due to our tribal differences.

    • Makia Efimba

      Splendid, this victimhood should end!

    • Naftali

      I have always felt that Africa and to a greater extend the fate of the black man will rise or fall together. Let me elaborate. Africa is home to almost 1B people. The population of Africa can be categorized as young with the majority falling below 40 years. This should be looked at as a resource rather than a problem. The problem currently is that this group lacks jobs and is wasting away drinking cheap liquor. However, if the continent can rise up as one then we can easily turn the problems we are facing into advantages. Kenyans have just promulgated a new constitution and are slowly implementing it. I hope the rest of Africa can learn from this process and also agitate for better constitutions. Once the instruments of governance start rolling, then internal organization starts. The diaspora should deliberately be woven into the new developments. Let’s not look at diaspora as the problem as the earlier article portrayed. Proper structures e.g. dual citizenship will eventually turn them into a resource. However, the most important thing is for Africa to unite into a formidable force. This is undoubtedly not an easy task as the west will stifle it at every opportunity. An Africa-wide economic union will create one of the biggest markets replete with resources. An economic union will mean prices for our raw materials are purchased competitively, we can have a bargaining power to set up our own factories, energy companies etc. A disjointed continent is every one’s exploit

    • Marie

      Hope Zambia will show the way for the rest of Africa. There is so much potential in Africa and so much lost due to lethargy, corruption and bad management

    • Munya Munos

      Thank you Jacque – no one could have crafted this response any better. Ruwe’s unfortunately daft & not-well-thought-out & self-denigrating article leaves a lot to be desired about “old school” Africans!

    • http://[email protected] Tonguelash

      My thoughts are that Field Ruwe voiced in Walter, is among the intellectuals and entrepreneurs that have for a while now looked away from mother Zambia. Yes Walter, if at all he exists, may have triggered a thought about Zambian intellectuals’ pathetic work ethic but the most of the recantations contained in that piece are Field’s own. He must hold his head high and take credit for the bashing he has done in that piece of writing.
      it is much like the SA situation where ‘inxiles’ of the apartheid regime are demanding credit for sticking it out while ‘exiles’ had an easier life in luxury abroad fanning up international pressure against apartheid. When the pot of gold is won over, who deserves the bigger share?
      The thing is, when you consider the Kamiriithu case in Kenya, how many Zambian intellectuals, with or without proper jobs or careers, are ready to commit class suicide; to come down in mother Zambia and take up jobs that some of our intellectual ‘diasporians’ do overseas?

    • http://www.hojalawgroup.com Jacqueline Musiitwa

      Thanks all for the comments. The point of Ruwe’s article (without being too presumptuous) was to spur on debate to force people into action. However, I do not feel that Africans need ctitisism to do that. Good critiques that provide solutions. We know the probelms; for those who don’t then you have serious problems. Now is the time to brainstorm and solve problems, FIND SOLUTIONS PEOPLE! @Imepidementa, it’s not about what you like or dislike, it is about what is doing on and about what your role is to change that. If you didn’t know that many people, of all races have negative preconceived notions of Africa or that some Africans have self-esteem issues or that some Africans refuse to take on their share of responsibility and it takes an article to show you that, then I feel for you. People who reading these have the duty to change things. The woman in the market who doesn’t have the luxury to sit and banter about these issues, it is wait yours. Critique Africa, but don’t point fingers, provide solutions or you too compound the problem.

      This sceniario is applicable to many countries..sadly, but not all. People have a tendancy to put Africa under one blanket. Not only is it unfair to generalize, it is grossly inaccurate. It is essential to put facts forward before generationalizations, especially dated generalizations. Be fair, give credit where it it due. Why do people have a sick obsession with ongoing negative portrayals of Africa? At lease be…

    • john

      Agree with the rebuke of the racially tinged article written about the “Lazy Intellectual Scum”. This article fights fire with fire and rightly indicates that assertions about Africa should not be made based on inaccurate and biased opinions.
      On a separate note, I would have liked to see some more details around the great work intellectuals are doing back in Zambia. This article fell short of doing this in my opinion and doesn’t inform us whether the success registered to date is due to the intellectuals or due to the moderately educated class.

    • Adri

      I visited Zambia in December 2011 to see the Victoria falls with my family, we were harrased with every kind of tax imaginable, to get in and out of this country. we were stopped every few kilometers on extremely bad maintained roads, if I could help it it would be my last visit to Zambia.

      Namibia Botswana and RSA borders were efficient and a breeze to go through.

    • http://hojalawgroup.com Jacqueline Musiitwa

      @iamkennedym I don’t see my response as emotional. Unlike Ruwe who used steretypes and no facts, I added some figures to back up what I was saying. And if it were emotional, I do not see what is wrong with emotion. The problem is that we tend to analyze Africa from a text book perspective and leave it there. No wonder policy and law makers make terrible decisions, 1. they don’t understand the book 2. they are not emotionally invested. Agreed, emotions can also also be bad in decision making, but a certain amount is necessary. If it is not worth dying for then it is not worth it.

      Hard working is relative. Fine I sit behind a desk all day and do no physical labor, but that does not make me lazy or mean that I don’t work hard. I think the requirements for both jobs (in my case law and a marketeer) are very different.

      I like to think I surrond myself with some very intelligent and innovative people. I do know people that have approached the government with different solar power, water purification, constrction (better or not isn’t my judgement call as it is not my expertise) solutions, but they got shot down for one reason or another, age, tribe, gender etc. So to imply someone who hasn’t succeeded in putting through their solution to government is lazy is just wrong. Other people I know haven’t been stopped by government, they have been stopped by access to finance. Accuse them of not being persistent, but that is not lazyiness.

    • Mulenga

      One thing I know is that when you are away from home, you lose touch…..period. The original story had the distance of a writer criticising from a New York apartment in the comfort of the western world far removed from the reality of the average Zambian on the ground. Unfortunately the response was similar………….sadly removed from reality….. except for the futile attempt at appearing in the know by quoting a local song and the statistics akin to individuals showing off their “knowledge”, the delivery was in total denial. Can we please have a Zambian living a real Zambian life give us their first hand experience? I left home a long time ago and I am not going to pretend I have a complete understanding of whats going on……… the response would make for good bar talk…..defend the status quo and totally refuse to acknowledge the truth….. we dont need an invitation to join the fight for a better Zambia….. don’t condescend

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    • http://aol Grant

      I haven’t had recent experience of Zambia but I’ve lived through the transition from white to black rule in both Zimbabwe and South Africa. In both cases, despite sanctions, efficient, prosperous countries have been all but ruined.
      With South Africa’s infrastucture, education and health facilities it was a regional superpower but everything has been allowed to decay.
      SA now has a president with no formal education, 783 corruption charges over his head who dances ( and falls ) in animal skins and drinks beer out of a 5litre paint tin.

      I read an article a couple of years back that said the Zambian government had sold the mineral rights to the Chinese who brought in their workers from China. When an official was asked the reason. He replied that by the time you’ve trained a local worker, he’s died of aids.

    • jandr0

      @Mulenga: “One thing I know is that when you are away from home, you lose touch….”

      I fully agree. Both the original and Jacqueline’s response showed their subjectivity. As to “Walter”‘s actual words, even they may have been reinterpreted in the original. I would also like to hear from actual Zambians currently in Zambia.

      @Naftali: “This is undoubtedly not an easy task as the west will stifle it at every opportunity.”

      I see you’re painting yourself as being persecuted before you’ve even started. Please don’t make yourself a victim. Did the west stifle ASEAN for instance? Look inside yourself, please, the potential for greatness is inside you.

      @africalover: “Development through capitalism? Just look at what it begets in liberal US and Europe, happiness and wealth for the few, crumbs for most.”

      That is fallacious reasoning. Firstly, all other systems I’ve seen tried brought less. Secondly, the great strides improving life conditions have occurred hand-in-hand with capitalism.

      The real challenge is that greed causes more trouble WITHIN governments (supposedly our trusted representatives – yeah, right). If you take the creative power of capitalism away, the greed in government will remain, and we will lose the advantages that capitalism bring.

      Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water!

      Fight government cronyism, nepotism, corporatism and corruption with all you’ve got, and then release the raw power of capitalism for human progress.

    • http://Facebook Sindawa

      Spot on duaghter of our soil, Zambia shall be great again and I see it in us the new and upcoming leaders.

    • jack sparrow

      Ouch, unbelievable at how blatant the contempt from a World Bank / IMF type is for Africans generally. But I think most of it comes about because I guess they are mostly only in contact with the astoundingly corrupt leaders of the continent. Not sure who said it but its not a bad saying: “Africa: good people, bad leaders”. That certainly includes South Africa. To Zambia; good luck on turning the tide.

    • Godot LMAO

      Very well put, though we shouldn’t teach our children that the world is fair. That if they were learned enough school they would be able to argue it out with the west’s lawyers. They should be learning military strategy, physics n chem to build badder weapons…

    • Brian B

      Brian B #
      Europeans and their descendants worldwide reap the benefit of the of their ancestors through centuries of growth development and experience.

      Colonization of Africa transposed sophistication to masses of people.

      Colonization was perceived as invasive and discriminatory exploitation and self rule followed.

      Gradually First World norms evaporated and living standards suffered.

      Is it not the duty of African intellectuals to master and harness first world practice and adapt it to meet African needs?

      Black leaders should actively and openly make use of the services of various talented people worldwide to improve living standards.

      Failure to do this makes them no better than the feudal lords that exploited their followers in Europe and the UK up until abouythe 15TH century.

      There is great fear that non-Africans sole aim is to subjugate and exploit Africans

      . By far the larger risk is the greed corruption and nepotism of many of the African ruling elite.

    • Noiree

      “Zambians in the diaspora who want nothing to do with Zambia; those are not our concern. There are many Zambians, who if called home to serve, would. Diasporans spill their sweat in other countries to be able to provide for their extended families and invest in Zambia.” Why do Zambians in the diaspora have to be called home? They should return of their own volition brimming with investment and business ideas – why do we have to wait for the government to beckon – it feels a little like “sheep sheep come home” “we are afraid” “what are you afraid of?” “the lion” the lion is dead.” (Always in need of reassurance that everything will be okay). This will not happen because the lion (a representation of the socio-economic, political, international problems) is not dead and will not die for a very long time – lifetimes! We should be ingenous in identifying our problems and solving them – construct things, invent things or invent different methods for doing the same thing but with greater efficiency, take risks and invest, develop innovative business ventures instead of reproducing exactly what your neighbour and her neighbour before and her neighbour before her all did. Do we need the government to call back Zambians in the diaspora? No build it and they will come!! Let those interested return and start their investments and businesses and let the government buy in – to inappropriately quote a South African song ‘show them – make the circle bigger”

    • Richard

      I will tell you another chinese verb: “Take criticism to heart, use what you can and discard what you cant.” To go out and attack someone who has just pointed out your failings by telling him his, means you are not learning anything from his/her criticism. Every country have their faults and all other countries will criticise them. The question is what that country does in reply. Field Ruwe saw a lot of truth in the Americans views of us, he put it out there for us to ponder. My take out of that was “when was the last time I heard a Zambian engineer develop something in his own country? There are hundreds of them doing miracles in OTHER countries, what what have they done to develop Z? It may not be their fault, but the question needs to be asked anyway.

    • http://[email protected] frank

      Thank you jacque for defending your beloved zambia.am sure that is what any sober human being would have done,defending their own.However,i read the original article with reference to most african countries,may be zambia is much better than it was depicted in the article,am not so sure.The main point i noted from the original article was the fact that politics can single handedly hider all the aspects of development in a country and that what most of the african countries are suffering from,my beloved uganda included.

    • Ian Nziramasanga

      It is a pity Zambians have gone on a defensive and that tends to stiffle creative thinking and constructive debate. If Zambia is finally on the mend then well done but please let Field prickle the conscience of other Africans who are doing badly. I tell you this applies to many others. The loss of natural resources countinue in exchange of guns and armunition and if we this generation do not put an end the coming generations will curse us. Please remember this predicament is not unique to Zambia only but to many other countries. e way up

    • Pats

      Only yesterday African leaders converged in Addis Ababa
      , most of them arriving on expensive jets to inaugurate the new Africqn Union home designed by the Chinese, built by Chinese labour, using Chinese raw materials. I shall say no more.

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    • fk

      I like most of the Jacqueline Muna Musiitwa response except the sections where she tries to be defensive. I know a lot of good things are going on in Zambia but more still need to be done. I think the “transcripts “brought out some uncomfortable facts that to some extent I agree with even if I do not like the way they were packaged. The fact that Zambian had a good election is not an end; it’s just a means to an end. The truth is; as Zambians and Africans; we all need a change of attitude. It’s better to tell travelers they still have a long way to go to prepare for the long journey than to misled them (in the name of encouraging them) that the destination is just around the corner (the Africa way)

    • http://www.hojalawgroup.com Jacqueline Musiitwa

      @fk My optimism is not to overshadow the need for more to be done. I just think that credit should be given where it is due. I think Zambia is making strides and we don’t celebrate them enough. There is a long way to go, but we are moving in a positive direction (which wasn’t the case a while ago).

      @Pats As good as the new AU building is, I think it’s sad China had to build it with Chineses labor and goods. I think Africans should have. Nothing comes for free so I am waiting to see what price Africa will pay for it.

      @Ian Nziramasanga Field Ruwe, like anyone else has the freedom express themself. That said, I did not identify with all the steretypes, which is why I expressed the way in which I see and experience Zambia. I think like attracts like and the people I know are people who are working hard and inspring change in Zambia. Yes, Zambia and Africa needs to change a lot and our work (us collectively) is not done. A luta continua.

      @Frank I agree that that African leadership needs a major overhaul NOW. I think that is where we all have a role. We need to be active in politics, voting, whatever it takes to make sure policymakers and politicians are making the best decisions for the people rather than for themselves. The problem is that people complain, but they don’t follow up and do anything. More active and aware citizenry is essential for change. Go beyond what you are fed by media and decide for yourself. Same for UG, EAC, Africa ggenrally.

    • http://www.hojalawgroup.com Jacqueline Musiitwa

      @Richard Yes, there are many professionals outside Zambia doing things to improve other places. It is not 100% their fault. I think government is a large reason for that. If government had the necessary infrastructure maybe people would stay. As much as I champion entrepreneurship, not everyone is of entrepreneurial spirit. As for Ruwe’s article, I didn’t say the critisim was bad. However, I think constructive critism is better than critisism. Why aren’t engineers creating things in Zambia? These issues can’t be address in isolation.

      @Noiree I don’t think everyone needs to return to Zambia. I think we all have a role to play in Zambia’s development from within Zambia or abroad.

      @Brian B I agree that nepotism and corruption are real issues. Moeletsi Mbeki’s book “The Architects of Poverty” tries to answer some of the questions you pose. The premise is that post-independence rather than creating indigenous systems, Africans simply replaces colonizers. As such, the current system has Africans, but gives them the power to act as colonial powers did. Definitely worth reading.

      @Adri It is unfortunate you had a bad experience in Zambia. Hopefully a politician is reading this and will use it as impetus to change things. I don’t know passport you hold or what goods you were taking into the country, but I recommend complaining to the relevant authorities. Best of luck!

    • Matthew Dunston

      I am not Zambian – am from Botswana. A country classed as middle income and not one that has grown a great number of intellectuals. We were fortunate to have selfless leaders who felt some responsibility to the cause of the people. You can have a whole bunch of intellectuals and not produce anything of value. In fact, we have more intellectuals now and we have not made much progress than the earlier years.

      In fact intellectuals sometimes live in their own world of ideas divorced from the simple masses.

      Selfless leadership is what Africa needs. Not a benevolent dictator – we always have this notion that perhaps we need dictators or somebody to push us. It is because we do not view a pursuit of personal excellence and service as that higher calling and the epitome of achievement.

      Not every intellectual can lead. I have been fortunate in my profession to try and practice leading people in different countries. It is a hard task that woefully exposed my own inadequacies! However, I am learning beautiful lessons that I hope to put to the benefit of the people of my country someday.

      But we also pay politicians poorly! Or at least those in cabinet such that we always get those B rate underachievers who must maximize their best moment and plunder and be corrupt – after all they can’t make it elsewhere. Singapore pays its ministers like CEOs and bans them from having outside business interests…. In the meantime, got to make money for my family first!

    • Cynthia

      Well done to Jacqueline for writing this brilliant response piece. It is great that she points out that indeed the Zambia or Africa of today is definitely different from the one the ex IMF guy was talking about. Different in the sense that there are more young Africans witnessing change and development from the Diaspora and taking (or aiming to take) these back to their respective countries of origin. However, in my eyes I still see no real change. Why? Most of us still do not really care. All we care about is getting ours, reaping our own benefits first. What then makes us different from the so called “old schoolers”?

      I have to say that I have been emotionally struck by the piece “You lazy intellectual African scum” and it has opened my eyes and my mind. I would like to see this piece as a challenge piece. Challenging each and every one of us to get up and do something. Like the article pointed out, how many African engineers have graduated and may I add in the last 10 years? How many African doctors? Lawyers? Midwives? Nurses? Bankers? So why are pregnant women still dying in childbirth? Why are there so many people locked up unjustly? Why are some rural African societies living without water? A basic element of life! How many Africans adopt? There are so many orphans needing love!

      In my POV, there has been no real change. Over 30 years since the guy left Zambia and we are only just beginning. What about the next 30 years? Where will we be at? Just beginning…

    • Makia Efimba

      @Richard
      You make an interesting point. How many engineers develop products which can benefit the Zambian society and to a larger extent African societies? They do very well abroad. Perhaps they should tell us why. This question has been provided an indirect response by

      @Jacqueline
      Who said Govt barriers due to tribe, gender and lack of adequate policies were mainly to blame. The question is what is being done to overcome these external hurdles? On another note why is it so difficult to raise finance when there are so many financial institutions in Zambia?

      @Cynthia
      The reason Zambia got so few Medical Drs and midwives or Lawyers is cos so few are trained and many go abroad for better working conditions and salaries. More training in terms of quality n quantity is required. Why is this so difficult to achieve even with a new President?

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    • Dendericka

      I am glad that the author wrote this piece. Unfortunately what Walter had to say was in a harsh way the truth. Black people all over the world are in the same predicament. We will not get back to glory until we develop a competence in Engineering and Manufacturing. This is the key, we can have all the drs, lawyers, financial workers in the world but it take an Engineer to build a Nation. Until blacks return to the time when this was a competence, think back to great African civilizations, then I am afraid that our global condition will continue. Compliments to the author for putting this important topic on the table. The continent and the diaspora must not take offense but put plans in place for change.

    • Dumi

      Here is the reason why we do not progress and particularly why we are called lake zambia, that article has a far much deeper meaning than this article tries to insinuate. Am disappointed that instead of reading the article and fishing out the relevant information and wisdom we want to take it personally and respond? typical zambian behavior. Why justify your self in the first place? when you know what he wrote was true? don’t women still crush rocks by the side of the road? aren’t we still in debt? don’t our politicians steal and abuse their offices for personal gain, and yes zambia does consume too much alcohol for a poor country. What functional invention has come out of zambia? so what ever wisdom was in that article has gone starght to the bottom of the lake unfortunately……zambian indeed!!!