Sunday, January 20, 2008


I am sure I have written about this ad nauseum, but I just have to blog about it again.
I of course make several calls to Zambia a week, and i am baffled by some on the changes that the people and the government are allowing to take place!
The loan system has had major issues in the western world as we can see at the moment. The western world has more resources and a better financial system...i.e people get paid on time! Yet loans are proving slightly problematic in the west.

In Zambia, some people don't get paid for months. You do a job this week and get paid months later! There is also no job security. You can be fired for any number of reasons without repercussion to your employer. So how can you be given a loan if you do not know when your money will come next???

Also I think it's wrong that houses can be $100 000 in a society that has majority of the population making less than a dollar a day??? I find it criminal that property should be that over inflated!!!!

If the illiteracy rate is 80% in the country, do the people really understand what the loans stipulate? what about loan insurance? do they have any and can they afford to get it? I have heard of people getting car notes!!!! Jezzusss!!!! Car notes in Zambia??? How often do the cars get repossessed? can people afford to lose their money that easily?

Does it then surprise the masses that the theft if escalating, or that there are more street kids??? Is it really surprising that the Zambian people are no longer as hospitable as they used to be and lots of households offer you nothing to eat or drink when you visit? Is it really a shock that the difference between the bourgeoisie and the proletarian societies are that vast?

To me this new society we are creating resembles the days of apartheid... move out all the poor and keep all good things for the rich. Difference is, they are not forced to live in shanty compounds with sjamboks. Over price everything so the general masses can't afford anything leaving more room for the rich to build unnecessarily huge houses and park their 5 luxury cars in the garage.

I hear the words 'progress' and 'globalization' being thrown around often in relation to Zambia. Please do not misunderstand me... I am not against progress or globalization. I am against the 'copy cat' syndrome that we are manifesting.

Globalization does not mean becoming carbon copies of the west. Neither does progress. Zambia is a society on it's own with a lot of issues that are different from the west. For this purpose, the way we do things must be Zambia friendly so to speak.

You do not have to be an economist to see the accident laying in wait for the future as far as financial crises go if this 'loan' system is allowed to progress. As usual the poor and the "middle class' (if Zambia has such a thing) will be the ones to suffer.

Just in case you think I'm speaking gibberish take time to visit the Jesuit Center for Theological Reflection . See how difficult times are getting for most people. After that look up how much people get paid in the country and compare you figures.

Vox populi, vox dei...that's not really so no?

I would also like to take a moment and write a little bit about the flooding in Zambia. In case some of you out there are ignorant of the issues that come from floods, I can tell you that food is scarce in those areas, most of the houses in shanty compounds and villages are built with mud and hence melt away during this period. Ablution areas flood too which means drinking water gets polluted and we can anticipate water borne diseases spreading at a fast rate. Mosquitoes thrive in these conditions, so malaria is a big issue at the moment. Take into consideration that pathogenic issues are sometimes difficult to isolate.

In addition, even though the Red cross is assisting in these issues and giving tents. The tents do not help much because the rain comes in and winds blow the tents away and the rain gets into the tents. A lot of schools are being used as shelters which of course puts a hold on education.
So to those of you that are religious, remember the folks affected by the flooding in prayer. The rest of you I suppose can send money to the Red Cross... if you care.


Luse said...

This is a good piece. Times are when I think one of our own 'undoing' as Zambians is this need to be 'polite and nice' even when what is owed to us is being ransacked in broad day-light. Not that being polite is a bad thing, but, heck, time comes when the noble thing to do is get the whip and teach a lesson to those misusing the trust we have invested in them! As a friend of mine likes to quip, 'the future in Zambia has become an option!' We have to choose the future and act accordingly today!

Manena said...

Thanks for the comment luse!
I had also forgotten to mention that the APR for the loans is around 23%, which is crazy!!! I am not sure if they know how much they will have paid when their loans are paid off...if ever.
The future is indeed an 'option'.

kokakolafanta said...

When I went home it was like I was in two different countries. The houses with money had MONEY and the houses with no money almost made me cry.
The rich ones kept saying "come home there are so many opprtunities" koma everyone knows kuti it depends on who you know if you want to get a good job and make real money.
You know our friend with a bachelors degree in economics is still working as a receptionist!