Analysis: CHARLES CHISALA
A FEW years after attaining our independence, there arose countrywide discontent among Zambians that they were not enjoying the fruits of self-rule.
The radicals began to preach: “Independence is good, but it is meaningless and useless if it does not bring fruits to the masses.”
And the Times of London observed in an editorial: “…the radical and nationalistic militancy of the semi-educated young generation regardless of tribe brings it into conflict with its elders.
“It is particularly critical of the men who hold office now because 10 years ago they led the party to independence and of smug young place-holders in civil service. That militancy finds itself in anti-white, anti-western and anti-capitalistic expression. President [Kenneth] Kaunda had to recognise it in his declaration last year that Zambia would speed up nationalisation and Africanisation…”
Let us digress to point out that according to Irvin Babbitt, “an imperialist is the man who stands for nothing higher than the law of cunning and the law of force”.
The imperialist being highly focused had long ago done his homework.
In 1860, in what was dubbed the ‘Scramble for Africa’, all the colonising Western nations met in Geneva, Switzerland, and gave themselves a timetable of 100 years in which they would “educate and civilise” Africans and give them independence to rule themselves in 1960.
We were under British rule for 73 years and at independence in 1964, we had only 100 university graduates – one medical doctor, a Dr Konoso; one engineer, Andrew Kashita; five lawyers, and the rest were mainly teachers.
And those with full secondary education (equivalent to Grade 12) were 1,500 while those with two years at secondary school (equivalent to Grade 9) were 6,500.
Here is the Dudley Seers Report to the government then on the economic development that prompted the Kaunda administration to act quickly on privatisation:
“In every town there are Europeans enjoying in plain view vastly superior standards of living, housing, education and medical care. These are a very small minority but have the best-paid jobs in the mines and the railways; work the most prosperous farms and own nearly all the financial wealth.
“They also hold almost every senior position in the civil service. And since the great majority of the population are impatient for economic and social change, this dichotomy could prove dangerous.”
And indeed, President Kaunda’s government took over 26 companies involved in passenger and cargo haulage, chain-stores and manufacturing concerns which birthed such state conglomerates as Indeco, Contract Haulage, ZSBS, ZCBC and ZOK.
Of course, this did not go well with the capitalist-exploiter in the West.
And the white expatriates in government began to mislead the UNIP government. Former Bank of Zambia governor Caleb Fundanga wrote: “The crisis that sub-Saharan Africa is facing today can be seen as having to a large extent been created by the world financial system, which encouraged ill-advised borrowing and investment in import substitution industries in the 1960s; despite the fact that these policies obviously caused imbalances, this was not given serious consideration so long as the debt continued to be serviced.
“In the recent deep repayment crisis, these institutions which themselves advocated disastrous policies are now turning around and blaming poor nations for supporting the same policies.” (Planners and History p. 32)
And as in the Guatemala strategy, the Western nations began to support the opposition party, the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).
It is important at this point to let Zambians know the events that contributed to the regime change in Zambia.
According to a career intelligence officer, a Dr Mwale, there were coordinated intelligence exchanges between Zambia and South Africa at the time. The regime change in Zambia was initiated by the Americans and the British who didn’t want the future ANC government in South Africa to be influenced by UNIP and Dr Kaunda.
Veteran trade unionist-turned-politician Frederick Chiluba and his colleagues in the democracy movement were allegedly given US$600 million, which was deposited at some embassy in Pretoria, from where they drew their campaign funds. (Sunday Post 26th March 2006).
To be continued…
The author is Zambia Daily Mail production editor.
Analysis: CHARLES CHISALA