Poverty and Power in Zambia

From Zambian Economist Thu Feb 14 2013, 00:08:00

By Chola Mukanga

Poverty is first and foremost a deficiency of power, in particular political power. The reason for this is that economic and political controls are interlinked. Where people have little political power they will also be economically poor. Where people are poor economically, they will also usually have little political power. In Zambia the poverty of power manifests itself nationally and individually.

Nationally, Zambia has very little power. Although the country gained "independence" long ago our future is still shaped by large external powerful forces. These hold ultimate power and dictate the affairs of the nation - they rule us from the dark shadows. It is easy to see the poverty in power across the donor table. It is easy to see it when we beg for investment. The large external forces that control Zambia's power range from business interests; NGOs; foreign governments - and of course in recent times China has increased its influence in the affairs of our country. This poverty of power is not theoretical. It is directly linked to the poverty of individuals because collectively as a country we have placed ourselves in a situation where we rely on others to shape our future.

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