Assessing Michael Sata’s 18 months presidency

Assessing Michael Sata’s 18 months presidency


By Lucky Mulusa, MP.

PERIOD COVERED:              September 2011 to March 2013 – 18 months

Organ:               Presidency

Head:                                                Michael Chilufya Sata – President of the   Republic of Zambia
Overall score:           F
Benchmark   used:    Mbeki, Obasanjo, & Wade





  1.   Custodian of the Constitution
A protected and respected constitution A disregarded  constitution



  1.   Unification of the nation
A proud citizenry


Father figure to PF members only


  1. Definition   of governance and national character


Identifiable political/economic disposition e.g. neoliberal state,   developmental state, socialist state etc. No identifiable national character




  1. Identification   of national challenges and guidance of preferred suitable intervention   strategies


Clearly articulated challenges e.g.:

i. Economic and social infrastructure underdevelopment;

ii. Unemployment;

iii. Poverty;

iv. Uncompetitive economy

v. Relevant ministries, Etc.

i. No clearly defined set of challenges.

ii. No clear strategy to deal with national challenges

iii. Uninformed and chaotic creation of ministries, districts and   provinces.


  1. Keeping   the citizens informed on the state of the nation.




State of the nation addresses

Press conferences

Scheduled interaction with citizens in provinces & towns.



Two chaotic state of the nation addresses.

0 press conferences.

0 Scheduled interactions with citizens in provinces & towns.


  1.   Custodian of the pride of the nation and chief   goodwill ambassador
Professional representation of the nation at local and international   fora



Conduct home and abroad has been less than decent and impressive.



  1. Driving   of a national development agenda



Clearly defined development agenda



Apart from a flawed manifesto, no evidence of any development agenda.


  1.   Provide clear guidance on foreign policy
Clearly defined and discernible foreign policy on security, peace and   conflict resolution, political and economic integration of Africa and   transformation of global institutions e.g. WB & IMF i. No discernible foreign policy.

ii. Support for Mugabe

iii. Unprovoked attacks on Western countries

iv. Out-dated cold war era rhetoric (support for Cuba against the US)

OBSERVATIONS: President Sata,   will probably go down in history as the worst president that ever graced our   proud nation. He has failed to observe several constitutional provisions   right from the first day of duty, when he over nominated MPs.  The latest being a second instruction to   the DPP to prosecute a citizen. He is a shadow of the Sata we knew, as   governor of Lusaka, and minister of health when he seemed to be allergic to   sloppy work culture and earned himself the nickname of “action man”. Under   his care, Zambia is a deeply divided nation on tribal and political lines and   is retrogressing economically and politically. The international political   and investor community is beginning to express concern. The complexity of   governance has completely eluded him, and he has failed to provide a coherent   policy direction, resulting in the country receiving the first negative   outlook rating from the credit rating agencies. He has failed to attract any   other presidential visit beyond Mugabe’s who has also started snubbing him.   Even those to whose aid he has rushed, such as President Joyce Banda, have   failed to regard him suitable company. Presidents of countries he has visited   such as Botswana, Angola and South Africa have shied away from reciprocating   his visits. It is unlikely that under his presidency, Zambia will be given an   opportunity to host any gathering of heads of states as it was traditional   under all the presidents before him. Nor can the region give any mediation   role as was the case for Kaunda (Independence of several states, and   Kenya/Somalia conflict-1967), Chiluba (Angolan peace accord – 1994, and the DRC/Great   Lakes Region Conflict).

SUGGESTIONS: President Sata is   very difficult to advise. According to Guy Scot, “You can’t teach an old dog   new tricks”. He is in his own world. But what his office should do, is to   breakdown the PF manifesto into Key Performance Areas (KPAs) for all his Cabinet   Ministers and should then should sign performance agreements with them. The   Ministers in turn, should derive and sign Performance Agreements with their Permanent   Secretaries, who in turn should do the same with their directors. The   Directors should accelerate the process further down to last level of staff.   The directors under the supervision of PSs should oversee the drawing up of   programmes to actualise the deliverables from the manifesto. This will   culminate into the much needed strategy to give credence to the PF manifesto.   The PF manifesto is not in sync with either the SNDP or the Vision 2030 and   therefore the Party cannot claim to be following these two MMD crafted   strategies as claimed by Sata and Guy Scot.     

Technical observation:  The President and his key advisors,   in choosing suitable governance option/s that speak to the unique challenges   of the state, and as preferred premise for positioning the country in the 21st   century globalised world challenges; the choice is usually from six different   normative conceptions of political/economic governance dispositions. The main   variants of the disposition chosen, guide policy adoption which feeds into   crafting strategies for intervention in governance, market failure, economic,   and human development. The leading choices range from Neo-Liberalism on the   extreme right and Marxism/socialism on the extreme left. Others fall in   between and have their own different characteristics. Advocates of   neoliberalism, have in general, been committed to the view that political   life, like economic life, is (or ought to be) a matter of individual freedom   and initiative.

Accordingly,   a laissez-faire or free market society is the key objective, along with a   ‘minimal state’.  The political   programme of neoliberalism includes the extension of the market to more and   more areas of life; the creation of a state unburdened by ‘excessive’   intervention in the economy and social life; and the curtailment of the power   of certain groups (for instance, trade unions) to press their aims and goals.   Chiluba was an ardent support of neoliberalism and one could see how he   destroyed the labour movement he once led for seventeen years. Thabo Mbeki,   on the other hand, combined a blend of neoliberalism, liberal   internationalist and institutional reformer – hence his leading roles in the   creation of the African renaissance programme, the NEPAD initiative, and the   African Union. Marxists/Socialists are concerned with the establishment of   conditions necessary to empower people to take control of their own lives and   to create communities based on ideals of equality, the common good and   harmony with the natural environment.

The   political/economic options chosen lead to policy options. Again two variants   dominate and these are Policy First and Market First. In the first one,   decisive initiatives are taken by governments in an attempt to reach specific   human and economic development goals. A coordinated pro-environment and   anti-poverty drive balances the momentum for economic development at any   cost. In the Market First policy guidance, the option is in line with   neoliberals who adopt the values and expectations prevailing in today’s   industrialised countries. The wealth of nations and the optimal play of   market forces dominate social and political agendas. Trust is placed in   further globalisation and liberalisation to enhance corporate wealth, create   new enterprises and livelihoods, and so help people and communities to afford   to insure against – or pay to fix – social and environmental problems.

The   two policy options guide the manner in which a party in government then deals   with incidences of market failure. In a laissez-faire economy, an efficient   financial intermediation system mobilises and allocates scarce resources   towards activities that would optimize the rates of return. This creates a   gap in the market place whereby certain segments of the economy remain   underserved by the banking system. These include development projects that   involve high potential risks and long gestation periods, but yet have   significant long-term benefits to the overall economic development of a   country. Similarly, there are also some sectors or groups of businesses   which, due to their business characteristics and lack of track record,   limited credit history and inadequate collateral, do not have adequate access   to financing from the banking system. These clearly are instances of market   failure to which policy intervention becomes necessary.

The   golden thread highlighted above is what makes governments be described as   having policy predictability and policy consistence. When investors want to   invest in your country, they need to place you somewhere and they would like   to identify and predict the policy direction you are likely to take according   to your clear identity. You will notice from the above therefore that twenty   first century state governance is not just issuance of political rhetoric at political   rallies. It is a discipline which is as complicated as the practice of surgical   medicine and reasonable levels of education and an astute mind on the part of   the President and Ministers becomes cardinal. On this score Sata is simply un   gradable. In this review, the President was found wanting and not to possess any   diplomatic etiquette, and neither was he found to have any state   craftsmanship required for the job of President of the Republic of Zambia.


Next state organ to be reviewed – Ministry of Finance



Reviewed by: Lucky Mulusa, MP.

Solwezi Central Constituency

March 2013

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