Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sustainable development, bio-diversity and environmental awareness in Zambia

Humankind has a duty to analyse and act upon environmental issues. The generations of the future have to be environmentally aware if we are to survive. It is vital that concepts such as sustainable development, bio-diversity and how to achieve environmental awareness whilst retaining a sense of environmental integrity are grasped. The Zambezi International School will be a truly unique, co-educational institution, based on the banks of the Zambezi River in the heart of the most important safari area in the whole of Southern Africa

ZIS will see the birth of a revolutionary educational ethos; through the medium of the natural environment, pupils can be exposed to issues of multiculturalism and the challenges of the environment itself, where they test themselves in a different context within a variety of appropriate activities so promoting a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

ZIS will be the first school of its type in Southern Africa and possibly the world. A school with an environmental philosophy, a thirst for social justice and a determination to make a difference. Based in the Kazangula District of Southern Province on the shores of the mighty Zambezi River, with a strong commitment towards community upliftment, outreach projects and the empowerment of local people.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Monthly Update - November 2008

Thanks to all who joined our Facegroup 'Build a school in Africa'! Your support is greatly appreciated and will make a real difference in the lives of many young people in the developing world.

The first thing we want to do is thank the students at St Benedict's Catholic College for their tremendous fundraising efforts. Will Doran is keeping me up to date with your efforts. You guys are amazing!

We are currently in negociations with one of the Chiefs in the Kazangula District about securing land for the development of the Zambezi International School and we are making progress! The Chief is very impressed with our plans and believes that we will make a real difference in the lives of his 'subjects.' All being well we should be applying for planning permission within the next couple of months or so. Constance is doing an amazing job from her base in Livingstone and is working closely with local officials to ensure that everything runs smoothly. We have now set up an account for the Thembinkosi Foundation.

We will shortly be updating our website with details of how our supporters can contribute to our fundraisng effort. Every little helps and ever pound will go towards the betterment of people's lives in Zambia! As soon as we have £5000 in our account we can apply for charitable status through the Charity Commission. Hopefully we will have filed our application before the next newsletter!

We have written a letter to many prominent politicians, celebrities and sports stars. It would be great to have some famous people backing our project! I have posted a copy of the letter I sent on the discussion board on Facebook. Please feel free to send it on our behalf. You might be a friend or relative of an England international, best mates with someone of Hollyoaks or have a rich uncle/aunt!!! Please ask them to support the Thembinkosi Foundation in our quest to Build a school in Africa! At this stage of the project we are still very much about raising awareness and drumming up support for our venture.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Zambian Elections 2008

Rupiah Banda (MMD) is the new President of Zambia. He's won the election by the narrowest of margins defeating Michael Sata by about 1% of the vote. Sata and his Patriotic Front party are now crying foul and claiming that the election has been stolen from them. Unfortunately The Post newspaper, once a bastion of impartiality, is adding fuel to what might turn out to be a nasty fire. Sata said before the election that he would only accept the outcome if he won! The danger is that he now tries to mobilise the popular support he has in the urban areas and causes civil disobedience. Zambia is a peaceful country with no history of violence and there is great respect for the rule of law. However, Sata is a dangerous populist and should he wish to he can organise and mobilise a dangerous level of support from the most disenfranchised people in Lusaka and across the Copperbelt. He has the support of many of the poorest people in the cities and one can just pray that Sata is moderate in the way in which he calls for action from his supporters.

One would hope that Mr Sata takes a step back and thinks before he opens his mouth. Unfortunately precedent would suggest that this won't be the case. Part of the problem is that Sata led in the early stages of the election process. The first constituencies to be declared after Thursday's election were those in the urban areas - PF strongholds - and thus Sata built a strong lead as results were returned. However, the MMD has great support in rural areas and these results were declared after the urban results. Thus Sata's lead was chipped away constituency by constituency until ultimately Banda overtook him and was declared the winner.

Part of Sata's problem is that in his arrogance he fails to appeal to a cross section of society in Zambia and cannot see that without appealing to voters across all provinces he cannot win the presidency. As in 2006 Sata has lost an election because he could not gain support in the countryside. Rather than face this reality Sata cries foul!

Had Sata been blessed with wisdom he wouldn't have broken off negotiations with Hakainde Hichilema and his UNPD party. HH, as he is fondly known, about a third of the vote - mainly in his stronghold of Southern Province. Evidently had Sata and HH reached an electoral pact then one of them may well have secured the presidency. One can only speculate what happened behind closed doors but one suspects that HH knows that his day may well come whilst Sata, a man in his seventies already, was in his last chance saloon as far as the presidency is concerned. The fact that Hichilema can secure a third of the vote from the third party certainly suggests that he may well become the 'Obama' of Zambian politics.

One hopes that Rupiah Banda will continue the legacy of Levi Mwanawasa. The fact that he was the Vice President and from the same political party bodes well for a level of continuity. Let's hope that his critics, and particularly Sata and the Post newspaper, are willing to work with him to secure a brighter future for all Zambians.

The Post has particularly disappointed me during this election campaign. Their reporting has been subtly partisan and anti Banda. They have persisted in referring to him by his first name, whilst referring to Sata by his surname, which is clearly disrespectful in Zambian society. They have made accusation after accusation against Banda's character on the word of witnesses as reliable as those who testified against Christ. In the interest of unity and peace one hopes that the Post will now give Rupiah Banda a chance to govern. The Post has a history of keeping Zambian politicians 'on their toes' and one hopes that they continue to do so in the interest of the people of Zambia but in a non partizan and unbiased way.

I write as one who subscribes to the Post and has long admired the role the newspaper has played in Zambian democracy but who has grown disheartened with the publication in recent months.

Finally I congratulate Rupiah Banda on his victory and pray for peace and prosperity for all Zambian people.