Zambian political parties always excel at outdoing each other in how many free things they promise Zambians during election campaigns. Free education from grade one to university, free fertilizer, free hospitals, free clinics, free title deeds, free land, free loans, free solar hammer mills; free, free, free.
If you spend an average of 5 minutes going through a roadblock, 4 in a day means you lose 20 minutes of productivity. Going through 10 sets of 4 roadblocks a month at 20 minutes each set is 2,400 minutes a year or 40 hours, which is a full working week lost each year! A person who earns around K4,000 per month will lose close to K1,000 in productivity per year as they go through roadblocks.
For the longest time, I thought that our political leaders make bad decisions over the country because they are ignorant or lack exposure. For some it may be true, but it slowly dawned on me that when politicians are in power, they more or less know exactly what they are doing, even if the decisions they make seem senseless. There is a rational logic to what they do.
We are about to elect the seventh president in about six and a half months and we are in for a roller-coaster ride, if recent political events are anything to go by. We shall all need sackfuls of popcorn as the political drama unfolds with new parties being formed, alliances being forged, defections and counter-defections accompanied by endless media statements about how so and so is not a factor.
I am amused and amazed in equal measure as the constitutional debate keeps raging that almost everyone from political parties, churches, NGOs and every interest group in Zambia are all purporting to speak on behalf of “the people” as they all make various demands that are often incompatible and contradictory.
The Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) must be the most organized cartel in Zambia. The latest results, showing that only 18 people out of 187 (9.6%) who sat the bar exam are worthy of holding practicing certificates proves that the powers that be at ZIALE must be some of the most selfish people in this country. I do not mean to be mean and rude, but that is exactly how I and many other Zambians see these people.
When I first read the story alleging that 2016 US Presidential candidate Donald Trump had called blacks (especially Africans) as “lazy fools only good at eating, lovemaking and thuggery”, I knew it could not possibly be true.
50 years after independence, we are still struggling with basic issues like water and sanitation facilities at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), the nation’s largest health facility. The situation is very sad, especially at A05, an isolation ward where children with contagious diseases such as typhoid are kept.
I have seen everything from wrong diagnosis, overdose prescriptions to deaths caused by pure negligence. How can a doctor who has spent 7 years in medical school, done a year of internship, been mentored by senior doctors with decades of experience and has worked for several years fail to know basic things like what dosage of a drug to give?
Back to the topic of electricity / energy, I visited one of the companies selling solar solutions in the Show grounds during the Agricultural and Commercial Show last weekend. I asked the sales man the question of how much it would cost me in total to unplug from the “The Matrix” of ZESCO.
The very simple answer to load shedding is to increase prices of electricity. More precisely, to stop government price controls in the energy sector by completely removing the power of the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) to approve changes in prices of electricity and leaving pricing completely and totally to market forces.
This obsession to keep the Euro/Eurozone together no matter the cost is total madness. Greece shot itself in the foot by fixing its books to join the Euro and then going on a spending binge financed by cheap credit from Europe. The European banks are just as much to blame for this as Greece.