Kaunda Did Zambia No Favours

Interpreting failure as success seems to be an ability the likes of Shannon Ebrahim exhibit on a regular basis when writing about Africa’s post-colonial history. Her article eulogising Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia is a case in point (The Mercury, June 25).

Her claim that Kaunda was one of Africa’s towering heroes may make sense from a socialist perspective, but in terms of freedom and democracy in Zambia, his 27 years were a disaster. Two years after achieving independence Kaunda banned all opposition in 1966, imprisoned Simon Kapwepe, the Opposition leader, and declared Zambia a one-party state.

By 1969 Kaunda had nationalised all industries, particularly the copper mines, Zambia’s chief revenue earner. Poverty and penury followed as a result of Kaunda’s socialism and his misnamed policy of Zambian humanism. Twice, in 1985 and 1989, Zambia required IMF bail-outs as a result of the dire straits into which Kaunda’s socialist policies had plunged  Zambia’s economy.

The post-colonial ruin of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania and so many other African states as a result of socialism should be the subject of critical scrutiny rather than disingenuous attempts at the eulogy. Kaunda did Zambia no favours.

Sent into The Mercury and published, 28 June 2021.

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