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EXPEDITE MUKULA TRADE POLICY FORMULATION, STATE TOLD

By PETER SICHALI

MUKULA traders have called on Government to expedite formulation of policy to legalise Mukula trade.

The dealers claim that Government has continued to lose millions of Kwacha through illegal Mukula trade.

One of the traders, Mr Lickson Kaona said there was need for Government to quickly formalise the trade so that it could start benefitting from taxes.

Mr Kaona said few people were benefitting from Mukula trade as illegal dealers who smuggle the logs were not paying any taxes to the government. “We urge Government to speed up the formulation of policies on trade of Mukula and other endangered species. The trade has continued despite the ban therefore Government should formalise it so that it can benefit in terms of taxes and contribute to economic growth,” Mr Kaona said.

He said formalisation of Mukula trade would contribute to the country’s economic development and create jobs.

And Mr Kaona urged the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to engage dealers when coming up with regulations. Mr Kaona appealed to Government to ensure that more Zambians are given licences as compared to their foreign counterparts.

Recently, Government had indicated that it was in the process of formulating policies that would formalise trade of Mukula and other endangered timber species.

The ministry in consultation with business review regulatory agency and Ministry of Justice had come up with a draft policy to curb illegal trade of Mukula and other timber species.

Election 2021 – Which is the better value – Tribal balancing or Meritocracy?

HE nomination of presidential and running mates process seems to have confirmed our obsession to tribalism or tribal balancing in our politics. 

Dr Canisius Banda brought out a different aspect of governance which we want to push to the back of our minds when we choose or discuss politics.

In discussing the choice of Professor Nkandu Luo as running mate to president Edgar Chagwa Lungu, Dr Banda referred to the need for merit in government.

What immediately came to mind after listening to Dr Banda’s interview was the statement by the Chinese President in an interview two years ago. President Xi Jinxing stated in that video which went viral on social media, that China chooses its leaders based on meritocracy and that some presidents and prime ministers of certain western countries would never rise to any position in China because they don’t merit any appointments.

The chances of stability and continued development of our country would definitely be better if we chose meritocracy over tribalism or tribal balancing. I should perhaps give the definition and history of meritocracy to help readers make their judgment.

Meritocracy is a combination of two words from Latin and Ancient Greek; merit from mereo which means to earn and the suffix cracy which means power. The purely Greek word is axiocracy formed by axios (worthy) and cracy (power).

Meritocracy is therefore defined as a political system in which political power is vested in individual people on the basis of talent, effort, and achievement rather than wealth and social class.

According to Wikipedia, some of the earliest example of an administrative meritocracy, based on civil service examinations, dates back to Ancient China.

The concept originates, at least by the sixth century BC (Before the Birth of Christ), when it was advocated by the Chinese philosopher Confucius, who “invented the notion that those who govern should do so because of merit, not of inherited status.

This sets in motion the creation of the imperial examinations and bureaucracies open only to those who passed tests.”

 Among the major world nations, China presents the best example of a meritocracy. In China, a person cannot rise to national leadership without going through the regional and provincial governments. Only those who have proven their leadership skills and have clean records can rise to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

In his recent book, The China Model, Daniel Bell, a professor and political theorist at Tsinghua University in Beijing makes the case for what he terms political meritocracy as the selection of leaders in accordance with their ability and virtue and not by the ballot.

Political meritocracy he argues, is a distinct form of government separate from a despotic authoritarianism in which power is held by the threat of force not merit.

The key word in this argument is virtue which is defined as behaviour showing the highest moral standards. The synonyms of virtue are goodness, virtuousness, righteousness and morality.

It is evident from the success of China that meritocracy presents better chances of advancement. It is a better substitute for tribal balancing which leads to mediocrity and failure to deliver public services.

And this is the point that Dr Banda tried to emphasise in his defence of Prof Luo as the most suitable running mate from among all the Patriotic Front ministers and members of parliament.

Dr Banda argues that Prof Luo is the most experienced politician in Zambia today. She was a minister in 1998 and has held many ministerial positions, which include Local Government and Livestock and has been in cabinet for over two decades.

He says that Prof Luo knows how to run a government, is highly educated, and she is a woman and the participation of women in politics must be encouraged and she is PF.

Dr Banda says Prof Luo has never stolen or been accused and over two decades has never been summoned by the Anti-Corruption or been jailed.

In the words of Dr Banda, President Lungu is from the eastern part of Zambia and Professor Luo is from the northern part of Zambia, “so if you talk of tribal balancing there you got it. It balances.”

In comparison, the running mate for UPND Presidential candidate Mr Hakainde Hichilema is a former secondary school teacher Ms Mutale Nalumango.

Ms Nalumango was a trade union leader before she ventured into politics. She was elected as a member of Parliament for Kaputa and only served one term as MP. It was during that same time that she was appointed as deputy speaker of the National Assembly.

In relation to tribal balancing, both Prof Luo and Ms Nalumango are from the northern part of Zambia. Both of them are women and that is where the similarities end.

In terms of experience in running government, there is a yawning gap between the two.  Prof Luo is more exposed and can be relied upon to control ministers who going by her age would be her young brothers and sisters.

If we use meritocracy as the standard, Prof Luo may be compared to the late president of Tanzania, Mr John Magufuli.

He was chosen to be a leader of Chama cha Mapinduzi purely on merit. Magufuli had very long experience in the civil service and government and the people of Tanzania benefitted from his virtuous values.

Ms Nalumango has been absent from government for a long time and she would be working with a boss who has never experienced public administration. Besides, the performance of labour leaders in government has not been very good.

Some outstanding failures of leaders who came from the labour movement into government was that of Solidarity Leader Lech Walesa of Poland.

The question facing the voters in this election therefore is whether to choose tribal balancing or meritocracy. Our challenge is to decide the better of the two values; tribalism or meritocracy.

Yours truly

Troubleshooter

pentvision@gmail.com, ecchipalo@icloud.com, ecchipalo@yahoo.co.uk

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