MY contention with Dr. Situmkeko Musokotwane is not about his age nor that he once held the same office he is holding right now.
It is because he is giving me a very awful impression of someone who has not learnt anything from his own mistakes or the IMF conditions and how damaging they have been to this country.
If you watched his interview of ZNBC, you would see that he has the same mindset of previous years even when the approach of how you sort out a debt crisis has been changing from the time of the Structural Adjustment Programme.
In 2015 Christine Lagarde herself admitted that GDP can no longer be used alone as a measure for growth after noticing that Zimbabwe, despite the reports in international media over its GDP, had an increase in the middle class compared to other countries in the region.
Congo DR has increased its production of copper surpassing Zambia for the first time in history and it is bringing a lot of foreign exchange into the country.
This has happened not because of the large mines alone that Dr Musokotwane wants to focus on. It has happened surprisingly because of what that country considers artisan miners or small-scale miners.
Zimbabwe has defied the odds even with the sanctions because they focused on small businesses that resulted in a new middle class that never existed before.
In Zambia, we should stop focusing on creating casual employment and constantly talking about the washed out ideas of FDR but instead on growing the middle class that can only come from small businesses.
The people that voted are those young people selling talk-time, operating barber shops, working for Chinese Contractors, at colleges or universities and they are waiting for something to happen.
You can easily sort this issue out without the IMF by demanding that the government be given its fair share by mining houses especially those that steal from the people like FQM. Demand that contracts in these companies be given to Zambian small business owner majority young instead of giving their relatives from South Africa.
You cannot go to the IMF to borrow $2 billion and subject your people to senseless conditions when your debt stands at $35 billion, and you are owed more than $7 billion in unpaid dividends and taxes by FQM! What about the emerald mines that have been stealing from the people?
Mr. Alan Greenspan was Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States until he was 80 years old because he was good at what he did.
Larry Summers, who was once Treasury Secretary from 1999 to 2001 gave way to Timothy Geitner during the 2008 financial crisis and only led the Economics Advisory Team to President Barack Obama instead of clinging to the same position he held before.
I would not say that Dr Musokotwane is so good that he should be brought back. Maybe Mr Ngandu Magande if we have insisted on experience.
Winston Churchill once said “Never let a crisis go to waste.” This means that in challenging times, one must question the accepted reality because things are going wrong, rapid answers are needed and the solution may well be found outside the usual compass.
The ease with which Dr. Musokotwane is approaching the IMF issue without considering any safeguards is shocking for me considering that the President wants to do a lot of things for the people and the IMF may just come and block everything.
In case people do not know, founded in 1944, the World Bank Group (WBG, or Bank) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF, or Fund) are twin intergovernmental institutions that shape the structure of the world’s development and financial order.
However, with them, comes a lot of highly sophisticated and complicated financial crooks that make billions out of a crises.
In fact, most western financial experts will never waste any time making money out of a country in crisis. For instance, through its peculiar “Securities Market Programme,” the European Central Bank generated billions of profits for creditor member-states such as France and Germany over Greece’s financial crisis of 2011. Nearly €8 billion have been lost for Greece – leading to further unnecessary austerity.
The IMF and the World Bank which are also known as the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs), were initially created with the intention of rebuilding the international economic system following World War II (WWII).
Even though they rebuilt Europe after the Second World War, they did the complete opposite in developing countries in Africa and South America. They imposed harsh conditions that saw governments losing a lot of profitable companies to financials crooks and fake investors.
The key decisions leading to the establishment of both institutions were largely steered by the US, and to a lesser extent the UK, and during the post-war period the BWIs were significantly influenced by the US’s geopolitical strength.
This simply means that once you get into bed with the IMF, they come with capitalists that are backed up by the power of the US and the UK.
To give you an example, during privatisation when the IMF and World Bank were last in Zambia, the UK government through the CDC (Commonwealth Development Corporation) pretended to be helping Zambia with privatisation and even offered $5 million to government officers to carry out this process.
However, what people did not realise was that they were using their financial muscle to get profitable government companies such as Chilanga Cement now Lafarge, Zambia Sugar for example which they would later sell to their white relatives.
To this day, only three white families make more than $30 million a year supplying to Zambia Sugar and in the UK, they have registered their products as FAIR TRADE! I saw this in TESCO and SAINSBURY.
With the IMF here, don’t get shocked when Zesco is owned by Tony Blair’s younger brother, or Zamtel is sold to CDC which is owned by the British government
The IMF mandates, focus and programmes have evolved greatly over time, as seen, for example, by the shift of their pivotal role as designers of the fixed exchange rate regime created by the Bretton Woods System, to their active promotion of a fluctuating exchange rate system after its collapse in 1973.
What do you think they will do with our currency once here? Kaunda left us with a Kwacha that was 900 to a dollar, now our kwacha is 20, 000 to a dollar.
Their Structural Adjustment Programme decimated our institutions with the effects still being felt to this day. They made their officers immune to prosecution meaning that those IMF and World Bank officers that would have done something illegal during privatisation can never touched. That is the reason I do not blame Hakainde Hichilema for having made some money for himself.
The other problem I saw with the IMF and World Bank was the secrecy veil they put on the negotiations which makes it very dangerous to leave Dr Musokotwane’s four-months agreement with un-sniffed.
Do not let Dr Musokowtane proceed without proper safeguards! At least allow Parliament to debate the issue and let ordinary people voice their opinion on the matter instead of rushing to get them here in four months.
NGOBOLA CENGELO MUYEMBE.