Friday, 1 February 2008


By Gershom Ndhlovu

I had an interesting response to last week’s column “What Was a Rumour Then” from someone calling himself Lee. I reproduce it below:
“At the moment Levy seems to be doing well for the country in terms of the political, economic, social and technical aspects of the Zambian scenario.The positive developments achieved in the aforesaid areas under Levy appear to be gradual, possibly due to our high expectations. The fact is Levy has taken the country a step forward, as opposed to the levels of neglect experienced in the previous MMD administration.It is my considered view that behind Levy’s success is more of Maureen than the ministers. The ministers seem to be closely monitored by Levy, hence the decency being exhibited by the pretending few, thereby allowing the country to move forward progressively.Maureen may be recommended for the high position in anticipation of continued progress in the development of the country. In my opinion, we don’t have enough leaders available, so we need wider options to choose from, Maureen included.At times I reflect and imagine that we should not have restricted the term of leadership of the country, but just put in effective regulations to make the president accountable to the people for his deeds as well as making people adequately informed about what is actually happening so that they can make informed decisions when it comes to voting.
In Zambia it’s like we have a situation of certain people making choices (voting) on behalf of others (who are not well informed). I strongly feel we will have a good leader restricted, and then be presented with a bad one only to achieve in derailing the progress of the nation.”
Lee’s argument is clearly reminiscent of the mindset the nation had under President Kaunda when we never imagined anybody could take over from him until came along trade unionist Frederick Chiluba.
Unfortunately, it is Chiluba who strangled the fledgling democracy in the MMD when he woke Levy up from slumber instead of allowing members to vote for a leader of their choice and I believe the choice was there then. The choice is there now without bringing Maureen into the equation.
On the wider horizon outside of the MMD, there is UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema, Heritage’s General Godfrey Miyanda, APC’s Ken Ngondo or even Bashikulu BaSata with his rocking boat.
I do not believe that the MMD, or the nation for that matter, lacks leaders. In 2001, there were 11 presidential candidates. If my memory serves me right we had Gen Miyanda, General Tembo (FDD), Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika (Agenda for Zambia), Gwendolyn Konie (SDP), the late Anderson Mazoka, (UPND) and, Ben Mwila (ZRP).
The rest are Sata (PF), Mwanawasa (MMD), Tilyenji Kaunda (UNIP), Dr Yobert Shamapande (NLP) and Nevers Mumba (NCC).
Now, surely, a line up like this does not show a shortage of leaders in the nation not to mention the MMD itself whose senior members are expressing their interest for the top post. So far Gen Shikapwasha, Gen Chituwo, Mike Mulongoti and Ng’andu Magande have indicated their wish to be considered.
The dampener for them, however, is that President Mwanawasa has told them that any minister who wishes to contest the MMD presidency will be fired so that s/he concentrates on campaigning for the position.
The irony, however, is that Maureen is not a minister and will therefore not incur the wrath of her husband, the ministers’ appointing authority.
Whatever is the case, the baseline is that Zambia does not only need a leader, it needs a good leader who should turn round people’s fortunes. It is such a shame that over 80 per cent of Zambia’s citizens live in abject poverty and squalor despite the massive natural resources our country is endowed with.
The problem that arises in the case of Maureen is what has always been raised in elections and by-elections, where the party in government has gained advantage by using state resources for campaigns. In terms of the 2011 presidential race, Maureen is already on the starting blocks when everyone else is still grappling with the kit.


So, computer hackers hit the electricity generating system of Zambia and other neighbouring countries resulting in a country wide blackout at least for Zambia, so the CIA believes.
A cyberattack caused a power blackout in multiple cities outside the United States, the CIA warned. ZDNet, a respected technology company reported on its website late last week.
According to ZDnet, the SANS Institute, a computer-security training body, reported the CIA's disclosure last Friday. CIA senior analyst Tom Donahue told a SANS Institute conference on Wednesday in New Orleans that the CIA had evidence of successful cyberattacks against critical national infrastructures outside the United States.
"We have information that cyberattacks have been used to disrupt power equipment in several regions outside the U.S.," Donahue said. "In at least one case, the disruption caused a power outage affecting multiple cities."
Donahue added that the CIA does not know who executed the attacks or why but that all of the attacks involved "intrusions through the Internet."
The CIA analyst added that his agency had evidence of blackmail demands following demonstrations of successful intrusions.
"We have information, from multiple regions outside the U.S., of cyberintrusions into utilities, followed by extortion demands," Donahue said. "We suspect, but cannot confirm, that some of these attackers had the benefit of inside knowledge."
One Zambian IT expert in the UK said on his blog,, that while aging generating equipment could be blamed for the blackout, he did not rule out the possibility of hackers breaking into the ZESCO computer network.
The prospect of cyber terrorism is very real. Russian agents have in the recent past been accused of hacking into computer networks of neighbouring countries that were part of the former Soviet Union but have increasingly aligned themselves with America.
Britain recently complained against attacks on computer networks of its sensitive government departments by China.
For those who know something about botnets, phishing, viruses and remote access should understand the possibility of computer networks being attacked using these tools.
For now, spare Rhodnie Sisala.


MrK said...

Hi Gershom,

At times I reflect and imagine that we should not have restricted the term of leadership of the country, but just put in effective regulations to make the president accountable to the people for his deeds as well as making people adequately informed about what is actually happening so that they can make informed decisions when it comes to voting.

Usually there is a split between the head of state, and the head of the government (say, there is a president and a prime minister, or a monarch and a prime minister).

The president has the ceremonial role and represents the nation. The prime minister is actually the head of government, and is more of the master politician, the intellect, etc.

Of course, Zambia started out with a president and a prime minister.

It is all about the division of power. And if more power and independence was vested in the civil service and parliament, that would lead to even better government, less dependent on the personality and skill of the president.

MrK said...

On Cyberterrorism.

Under the present administration, I would not trust anything coming out of the CIA.

The CIA are now lying to their own people, trying to influence domestic policy, as happened with John Kiriakou who claimed that 'somehow', torture did work, that it had led to actionable intelligence (from all other reliable sources, it hasn't), etc. He is lying, of course.

The USA is resembling the USSR more and more. It is time that they were thrown out of the White House.

And do we really need cyberterrorists to explain the power failure in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia?

thepicturemonger said...

This is a good blog Gersh. I have found quite some interesting materials for reflecting on. In fact I agree with you on many of these subjects.
Keep it ups!!

Unknown said...

Thanks thepicturemonger. We shall endeavour, where we can, to raise issues that matter to the people of our beautiful country.