Authored by Diphat Tembo-CAMS, Director-Compliance and Prevention Department of the Financial Intelligence Centre-Zambia and Kunda Kalaba-CAMs, CFE, RpT, Managing Partner KEMMAN Financial Crime Risk Compliance and Security Investigative Services.

The Corona virus-COVID-19 has infected more than 414,000 individuals globally, and killed over 18,500 people, since being identified in China at the end of 2019, spurring governments across the World introducing measures such as social distancing or refraining citizens from interacting with one another, among other drastic measures to curb the outbreak. According to Worldometer which is tracking live updates and sharing statistics and corona virus news tracking the number of confirmed cases, recovered patients and deaths, as at March 24, 2020, 12:12 GMT, there were more than (414, 000 confirmed Corona Virus Cases out of which 275,000 (95%) were mild conditions with 13,000 (5%) serious or critical condition) , 108,000 had recovered and unfortunately more than 18,500 have passed on. The number of confirmed cases has continued to rise and death-toll thereof.

The World has noted that the Novel Corona virus has impacted the global economy, daily life and human health around the World. The virus has surely changed how people live, travel, shop, work and interact every day. But in addition to the pressing threat the virus poses to human health, these rapid changes have also created conducive environments in which hackers, scammers and spammers, phishers all thrive. There are reported cases where criminals want to take advantage of this fragile situation to advance their ill agenda. The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) i.e. FinCEN of the United States of America on 16th March, 2020 FinCEN said that it had received multiple suspicious activity reports, or SARs, flagging attempts by fraudsters to exploit fears of the pandemic to sell sham cures, raise funds for fraudulent charities and dupe victims into handing over money by impersonating government officials, among other scams (ACAMS News, 18th March 2020).

The continent of Africa is not spared from this global pandemic. What if at all any, could be the impact of corona virus (COVID-19) in the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in the African Region and Zambia in particular? To begin with, the 39th Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) meeting which was scheduled to take place in Arusha, Tanzania from 29th March to 3rd April 2020 has been postponed to a later date to be determined due to COVID 19. Other similar Style Regional Bodies (SRBs) are likely to cancel or postponed conferences and meetings because of the spread of the virus which slowly is taking root in Africa. The SRBs meetings are attended by various stakeholders some of which come from countries already designated as high risk; not from Money Laundering (ML) or Terrorism Financing (TF) point of view this time around but from the COVID-19 perspective. The immediate impact of the postponement of these meetings are changes which are likely to take place on the timelines of Mutual Evaluations that the SRBs such as ESAAMLG is currently conducting and other projects the Regions are participating in.

From the domestic point of view, there is likelihood that some AML/CFT meetings will be cancelled due to COVID-19 in order to comply with Directives by the Ministry of Health on adhering to COVID-19 preventive measures. Further, some of the amendments to the AML/CFT legal framework addressing deficiencies which were identified during the mutual evaluation of Zambia in 2019 were supposed to be introduced in Parliament during the current siting. However, the National Assembly was on Wednesday, 18th March 2020 adjourned ‘sine die’ due to COVID-19. Addressing the identified deficiencies will have to wait until the Zambian Parliament reconvenes whenever it will be safe to do so.

Will COVID-19 have any negative impact on anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism regime in Zambia? The response would be in the affirmative. The measures being taken to contain COVID-19 have direct impact on the overall AML/CFT regime.

Regulatory Compliance
In accordance with the 4th round of mutual evaluations of AML/CFT measures, the Financial Action Task (FATF) has adopted complementary approaches for assessing technical compliance with the FATF Recommendations and for assessing whether and how the AML/CFT system is effective. Effectiveness assessment seeks to assess the adequacy of the implementation of the FATF Recommendations, and identifies the extent to which a country achieves a defined set of outcomes that are central to a robust AML/CFT system. The focus of the effectiveness assessment is therefore on the extent to which the legal and institutional framework is producing the expected results. FATF makes its assessment of effectiveness based on 11 immediate outcomes, each of which represents one of the key goals to be achieved by an effective AML/CFT system.
Immediate outcome 3 (IO.3) of the assessment. FATF assessment methodology updated in October, 2019 requires supervisors or indeed regulators to appropriately supervise, monitor and regulate financial institutions, Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) and Virtual Assets Service Providers (VASPs) for compliance with AML/CFT requirements commensurate with their risks. By and large, AML/CFT supervisors or regulators, on a risk-sensitive basis are supposed to supervise or monitor the extent to which financial institutions, DNFBPs and VASPs are complying with their AML/CFT requirements.

One of the effective tools/methods used for AML/CFT supervision is on-site inspection of reporting institutions. In the dawn of COVID-19, regulatory agencies or indeed supervisory authorities may have to consider halting or suspending this important approach to comply with policy directives or measures being pronounced in different jurisdictions to deal with COVID 19. Further, there is high possibility of suspending planned AML/CFT workshops, training, spots inspections, conferences and meetings during this period.

Covid-19 Situation Worsening
In an event that the situation worsens, which we all pray it should not as measures are being taken for flattening period, many reporting entities’ and supervisors’ employees may be asked to work from home. Such arrangements have their own challenges. Some employees may not have access to the required data bases or speed internet connectivity to enable them effectively perform their roles and functions in good time. Economic and financial activities may slow down. Among businesses, the impact of COVID-19 will vary significantly by sector and by company. It seems quite likely at this point that travel and tourism sector, entertainment, automotive, oil and gas, and healthcare industries will be most affected due to disruptions in supply and demand. As a result, there is likely to be less financial transaction activity in the banks.

From the reporting entities or accountable institutions point of view, both human resources and Software/programs/data/systems are relied upon in order to detect and action alerts and cases of Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs), Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) or Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). In such an environment, there is a possibility for the number of STRs, SARs and indeed CTRs, sent by reporting entities especially banks to drop significantly. There shall also be a decline in the cross-border currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments (BNI) declaration reports as a result of bans or travel restrictions imposed by different jurisdictions. Wire transfers are likely to drop amidst disruptions in the global economy, balancing out the surge in cash withdrawals, online banking and crypto-currency-related activity.

The compliance levels for reporting entities or accountable institutions which manually attend to reporting obligations is likely even to go down. The foregoing entails that, the number of analyzed STRs and disseminated intelligence reports to competent authorities is likely to drop significantly. However, it is expected that those institutions that have invested in acquiring transaction monitoring systems, will continue to detect and filter STRs including submission of CTRs to Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs).

During this period, competent authorities are advised to be vigilant, alert and pay particular attention to some procurement transactions related to COVID-19 kits and equipment. The United Nations on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says approximately 10 to 25 percent of all money spend on procurement globally is lost to corruption. In the European Union (EU), 28 per cent of health corruption cases are related specifically to procurement of medicines. We do not yet have the percentages in healthy related procurement in Africa and Zambia in particular. Suffice to state that we still have ‘bad boys’ who may wish to take advantage of this desperate situation to enrich themselves by engaging in corrupt and fraudulent activities. As soon as COVID-19 was designated as being a pandemic, financial crooks i.e. “bad boys” started exploiting it and there are reports about frauds linked to CVOID-19 in many countries where the pandemic has been rampant. This calls for concerted efforts by all competent authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) to cooperate and make the environment hostile to these “bad boys” who would want to take advantage of the situation-COVID 19. Indeed, COVID-19 will definitely adversely affect the AML/CFT processes.

The week ending, 19th March, 2020, many Zambians received text messages from their respective banks advising or asking customers to stay away from branches. The messages encouraged the customers to handle their transactions through non-face-to-face interface due to the outbreak of COVID 19 in Zambia. Although it is a good measure to counter further spread of COVID-19, competent authorities may be aware that non-face-to-face financial transactions are inherently considered ‘high risk’ as compared to the physical presence of the customer in the brick and mortar banking hall and talking to the bank staff directly. Save the foregoing, consideration of Recommendation 15 (New Technology) of the FATF, shows that there are mitigation measures provided therein to deal with risks associated with non-face-to face transactions. But not all reporting entities appreciate money laundering/ terrorist financing (ML/TF) risks they are exposed to because not all reporting entities have conducted ML/TF institutional assessments associated with new technologies. It is in such an environment where criminals would want to exploit weaknesses in the AML/CFT regime.

During this period, reporting entities i.e. (Financial Institutions and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) are encouraged to use Digital Identification documents (IDs), biometric Customer Due Diligence (CDD) which can be carried out through webcams, etc.). According to the FATF, digital identification (ID) systems have the potential to improve customer ID and verification procedures by: minimizing weaknesses in human control measures; improving customer experience and generating cost savings; and improving financial inclusion. However, some risks, like cyber attacks and security breaches, present challenges for entities’ implementation of digital ID systems.

The question is to what extent are our financial institutions and DNFBPs innovated around these technologies and systems supposed to be attending to Digital ID and biometric CDD? That is a topic for another day.

Quick Wins to Consider
• Reporting entities or accountable institutions should start testing and implementing business continuity/contingency plans, which include alternate workplace arrangements such as split work sites, working from home, and rotating shifts for all types of employees

• Compliance and Money Laundering Prevention/Reporting Officers – [MLPRO] of reporting entities should reassess their approach to monitoring transactions to account for dramatic shifts in customer behavior amid the global pandemic of the new corona virus disease

• Regulators or indeed AML/CFT supervisors should find creative ways to monitor compliance, regulate the industry and enforce the AML regime if necessary, whilst at the same time being sensitive to the challenges facing the industry in these difficult and challenging times. During this period supervisors may opt to rely on ‘monitoring’ and ‘offsite inspections’ which may not be as effective as on-site inspections, if the reporting entity does not submit complete or comprehensive information for the supervisors to review or analyse.

• During this period, competent authorities and reporting entities are advised to be vigilant, alert and pay particular attention to some procurement transactions related to COVID-19 kits and equipment. ‘Bad boys would want to take advantage of the situation to involve themselves into corrupt activities to enrich themselves.

• Competent Authorities including, Prosecutors should cooperate and go after the would-be fraudsters exploiting the pandemic-COVID-19. FIUs could be good source of information on such perpetrators.

Views expressed in this correspondence represent Authors’ Thoughts and do not in any way represent those of the Institutions Authors work for.

Mixed Fortunes in Zambian Village Banking

01/15/2020 – Random Thoughts and Deep Reflections on some Risk undertakings – Zambian-Style Village Banking.

Mark Zuckerberg (Synonymous with Face Book) stated that “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks”. His sentiments have been echoed by Iveta Cherneva who categorically stated that “Only those who play win. Only those who risk win. History favors risk-takers. It forgets the timid. Everything else is commentary.”

In Zambia, between 1977 and 1999, we used to hear of local terminologies such as Ichiima, Ichilimba, Kaloba etc. During the 2000s, some of these concepts have revolved, been tweaked and refined. Some new user-friendly terminologies such as soft loans, community banking and Village banking have been conceptualized, methodologies and modus operandi continue to be panel beaten, sieved and refined as we continue in 2020.

One of the personalities, attributes or indeed one of the character traits that we are likely to find in any successful person (in whichever areas of human endeavors) is that they are willing to take calculated risks. Taking calculated risks may change one’s life for the better and or provide the way for some people to fulfill their dreams, hopes and desires. “Living with fear stops us from taking risks, and if you don’t go out on the branch, you’re never going to get the best fruit” Sarah Parish advised. Paulo Coelho further intimated; “Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks. Perhaps this person will never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won’t suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow. But when the person looks back, she will hear her heart”. Mark Twain encourages everyone to venture out and explore. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”

From the onset, let me confirm that, I have been privileged to carryout consultancy work, reviewed several village banking constitutions, rules of engagement, operational manuals, minutes and helped to design the cash-flow quadrants and projections, finance and banking platforms for Village Banking groups based in Zambia and several of those being run by Zambians in Diaspora. I have a fair share of understanding on a practical level how Zambian style Village Banking operations are currently being run.

For easy of reference and clarity, Village banking system was initially thought to be implemented in economically challenged environments in order to help those that cannot get loans from traditional financial institutions such as commercial, retail, or merchant Banks. Currently, Village Banking as a type of microcredit similar to community banking and other financial institutions such as FINCA and several others is quite popular in Zambia and among phenomenal Zambian ladies and women.

The primary objectives of the Zambian style of village banking or Women/Ladies Savings Initiatives is to provide a platform for its members to save, to borrow, promote networking, allow members to share business ideas and investment opportunities. Zambian women and ladies want to save money away from or besides/along with the formal Banking systems whose charges and service commissions may be seen to be prohibitive and feared to have potential to wipe out the hard-earned funds held in Bank current or savings accounts. It is can be viewed as part of the Financial Inclusion.

The Zambian Women Groupings have found it prudent to provide funds to individual fellow womenfolk that are in need of assistance for certain projects and business needs. The fervent hope is that by providing them with small loans, other members can engage in business transactions that will eventually increase their savings and net wealth for other projects and during rainy days.

The basic structure of a Zambian style of a village bank is much like a support group made up of strong willed, determined and focused crop of women empowering each other and other resilient ladies, who discuss financial matters, have regular meetings in which they convene and discuss the issues associated with the village banking.

The Operational details of various Zambian style Village Banking groups differ from one group to another. Suffice to state that the underlying and fundamental qualification with regard to membership is based on a referral and strong recommendation from an existing member presumed to have good character, great Reputation, must be of good standing in society, committed, trustworthy and not a defaulter on previous loan obligations. Through a vetting and voting process, new members are admitted to the group.

In general, within this group, individuals can ask for soft loans from the village bank. If a member attends meetings regularly and is in good standing with the rest of the group, one should be able to get a small loan, with specified amounts and time frame in which to pay back at socially friendly lower interest rates than the ordinary commercial banking lending rates.

Members will make regular payments to the village bank until the said soft loan is repaid in full with a reasonable agreed interest rate. With this type of loan, they often do not require any kind of collateral. Collateral is usually not required as most of the individuals and the organization may not have anything to offer as collateral. Instead of collateral, all of the members of the organization provide cross guarantees on everyone else’s loans.

If a loan for one reason or another is not repaid (and within the Zambian cultural and social context, excuses and reasons why loans are defaulted can be as varied, complex and weird to comprehend and isolate or itemize. There is just no way of knowing which ones are truthfully genuine or fake news), the individual that took out the loan would be somehow socially pressured by constant reminders through phone calls, FB Messages, SMS, emails, WhatsApp and or embarrassed to remain in the group. That goes with the member-friend who introduced the delinquent member. This type of social/soft loan utilizes social pressure instead of traditional collateral to enforce the loan. Banks have lent the hard way and sometimes can be brutal with loan impairment and debt collection mechanisms. Village Banking can learn lessons from other Financial Institutions and the current cases before the Courts of law. We will discuss the risks later.

Similar to FINCA International which is supposedly a not-for-profit corporation that uses market-based solutions, like microfinance and social enterprise, to catalyze economic growth, expand financial inclusion and alleviate poverty in underserved regions worldwide, Zambian Village Banking is also playing a pivotal role in women supporting other women. It is however not without inherent challenges, problems and risks associated with it.

“Creative risk-taking is essential to success in any goal where the stakes are high. Thoughtless risks are destructive, of course, but perhaps even more wasteful is thoughtless caution, which prompts inaction and promotes failure to seize opportunity” – Gary Ryan Blair. This is what drives resolute women to forge ahead with the Village Banking.

Although the village banking groups in Zambia would like a situation where fraud and financial crime could happen to other financial institutions like the Pensions and Insurance, it is an undeniable fact that all commercial and Retail Banks, Community and Village Banking including these Women’s Saving Groups for Zambians are potential victims.

Just like in the Zambian cryptocurrency saga, more than four (4) groups have already fallen victims and members of the Village Banking groups are in a state of confusion trying to decipher when, how, what, why and who are the perpetrators of the fraudulent schemes.

So far, one group could not share out dividends, profits and savings for the cycle ending in December 2019, as the amounts mysterious went missing by the alleged trusted Secretary to the Treasury. The second group was ambushed by robbers wearing masks during their monthly weekend meetings and hauled their contributions in a cash box and the thugs vanished in thin air. Suspicion of the mole or the enemy within the group can never be established or determined. The third group thought the Signatories had deposited funds in the Bank Account at a Commercial Bank only to discover that the Secretary to the Treasury had decided to utilize group funds to invest in a supposedly higher return investment project which apparently turned out to be a scam of crypto-currency data mining. The group have been panicking and looking out for solutions. The fourth group had challenges with members who borrowed money to invest in a piggery, poultry and saloon business. Funds (loans and interest) could not be paid back as members claimed that the anticipated profits could not be realized due to load-shedding which brought out untold misery to the piglets and killed day old chicks. These and many more practical examples are real problems and challenges of such nature need to be seriously considered and tabulate how best they could be mitigated.

I have had the privilege of working in the Financial Crime Risk Management and Investigations in Zambia for two decades. I have seen a lot of financial scams and schemes in many sectors. Be that as it may, Village Banking is a relatively new normal and the sector needs nurturing, proper guidance, clear rules and regulations in order to effectively mitigate the risks attendant with these types of informal social and financial groupings some of which are carrying risks in the way they handle the groups financial transactions.

As stated, members who borrow from the Village Banking or Women’s Empowerment Organizations do not offer any collateral. When I inquired their respective constitutions, pertaining to how they would recover delinquent loans from members, most strongly felt that where a member fails to pay the loan outstanding, the group will consider reporting the matter to the police or taking such other legal steps to recover the amount.

Whilst some of the demoralized and frustrated Police Officer’s action has been lethargic, group members have had no problem in reporting such matters or getting them to the scenes of the crime (often by cajoling, providing transport, lunch allowances or “Talk Time” and internet Bundles or money for fuel). Culprits have been surrendered to the Zambian Law enforcement Agencies, the Director of Prosecutions and his team members and subsequently to the Courts of Law. However, these three arms of Government are increasingly failing to inspire the Zambian people, failing to deliver or are painfully slow to reform and administer justice and subsequently fraudsters are left scott-free. Clearly the penal system has not moved with times and the government which assured the general populace should not fall into the trap of paying a lip service to resolving the numerous Law Enforcement Agencies, DPP and Judicial ills Zambians have been crying over since independence.

In a separate article I shared that Fraud is among the oldest human occupations. Ever since Jacob obtained Isaac’s (his father’s) blessings by impersonating his brother Essau, the efforts and energies spent by some human beings to get something for nothing has been a recurring theme in literature.
For this Christian Nation of Zambia, those who went to Sunday and Sabbath Schools or have read the Holy Book called the Bible, are reminded that the oldest fraud is told in the Book of Genesis Chapter 27.

Under modern Zambia and using the current Statutes, Jacob and his mother Rebecca depending on so many factors including political will at the top could have been charged with conspiracy, impersonation with intent to defraud and indeed obtaining blessings by false pretenses. Other professional colleagues may also argue that under the current Zambia penal and judicial system the duo would have been acquitted due to unending court gymnastics, adjournments, legal technicalities and political inclines.

Fraud is a generic term for behavior, which involves deception by one party of another. Although the law relating to fraud differs in separate jurisdictions there are common threads, which identify behavior as fraudulent. These will include the practicing of a deception, the dishonesty of the person practicing the deception, the obtaining of property and/or the intention of interfering with another person’s lawful right to deal with property as he wishes.

The number and variety of legal definitions of fraud and like criminal offences are too voluminous to repeat here and those can be discussed later.
Fraud involves deliberate criminal intent and deception. Fraud is any intentional act or omission designed to deceive others, resulting in the victim suffering a loss and/or the perpetrator achieving a gain. Some of the salient elements in Fraud are;
Knowing submission of false representation or concealment (knowledge)
2. Specific intent to deceive (deception)
3. Detrimental reliance (losing money or assets)
4. Potential/Damage/loss to other members, individuals, groups, Bank or financial institution or organization.
Fraud is defined as any loss or attempt to cause loss involving deception.

I wish to submit that just like in corruption cases sheer dishonesty and greed, not necessarily the amount of salary or wages one gets per month counts. When it comes to the question of money, do not trust anyone, and not even yourselves. This is the reason we can have a very honest and trustworthy Government Office orderly and or messenger but have a greedy, craft and dishonest Church Bishop and Government Minister. In Zambia, we have heard of several high-ranking people involved in what my grandmother would only term as embarrassing and shameful activities.

Why would such a situation arise? In white – collar crime, the potential rewards are much greater than in blue collar crime. The risk of detection is lower, successful prosecution is more difficulty as one is able to summon the whole mighty platoon of the best Legal brains in the Country, state counsels and Senior Legal men and women to raise preliminary issues in courts of law, apply a dozen of injunctions, a couple of Legally challenging objections and adjournments for years on end whilst the loot is diminishing and being shared. The resultant effect is that the penalties are less severe.

What do you expect with “deliberately ill equipped and with no adequate logistical, technological and financial resources” and largely ALLEGED and presumed to be often corrupt Law Enforcement Agencies and Officers who would rather have a drought and poverty stricken but hungry villager who has stolen a cob of maize or a village chicken (free-range chicken) be convicted for five years in prison with hard labor than let the twit swindler of colossal sums of money go scot-free under the pretext of the case being technical, complex or unpursuable.
These are all sound “business” propositions and reasons for fraudsters to put their efforts into fraudulent activities. Those engaged in such criminal activities are many. It is BIG business. To be continued. KEKK888

Simmering with Rage

10/28/2019 – Random Thoughts and Deep Reflections.
Simmering with RAGE! We have heard of Road Rages. What with morning rush hour traffic Jams, Domestic Violence, Spouse Battery or Streets fights by Political Cadres all point to someone being very angry. Question is when you personally get angry do you simmer slowly or do you jump right to the point of boiling over?
Our guess would be that everyone experiences anger differently. But if you let your fury get out of control, you may be putting your health at risk. A 2014 research study from Harvard School of Public Medical Health linked extreme emotional responses (i.e., anger) to cardiovascular incidents. For instance, in the few hours after an angry outburst, the risk of stroke tripled while the risk of a heart attack increased 5-fold. Findings showed that even though the danger of experiencing a sudden cardiovascular event after a single outburst was quite rare, that risk grows if you’re prone to frequent and uncontrollable rage.
For every minute you get angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Getting upset about the problem does not solve the problem. It does, however, burn up time and energy, and poison your attitude. Fretting is a poor substitute for action. Let go of the fretting, and opt for the action. You need to learn to breathe, let go, and take back control during moments of anger. It is imperative to your heart health and social well being.
Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you. – Joel Osteen
As natural as it may feel to get upset by life’s setbacks (and make no mistake, there are many of those still coming your way. Nothing lasts forever, not even happiness), you do have another choice. Instead of getting mired in dismay, you can decide to quickly pick yourself back up. Just because you have something to get upset about, doesn’t mean you have to get upset uncontrollably. Getting upset doesn’t make you feel better, and it doesn’t accomplish anything, so there’s really no point in it.
There’s a natural law of karma that vindictive people, who go out of their way to hurt others, will end up broke and alone. – Sylvester Stallone (RAMBO stated)
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. – Buddha
What does move you forward is a positive perspective, and that’s something you can choose any time you wish. What does move you forward is focused, determined, effective action. If you feel yourself getting upset, remind yourself that you have much better options.
Choose a positive response, and get quickly beyond whatever was threatening to pull you down. Otherwise in the Western World, you would be charged for criminal offense of physical aggregation, the system will put you through an intense short Training/Course on “Anger Management”. It is time consuming, value subtraction, loss of working hours and income, financially costly as you will be compelled to pay for it out of your own pockets, use your transport and burn gas and your official records will be dented thereby jeopardizing your future opportunities in life. Bola panshi.
Stay well and be blessed. KEKK333- 10/2019

Human Humility

Sunday 27/10/2019 – Random Thoughts and Deep Reflections –
The year was 2014. My family members had taken a Christmas and New Year break and travelled back home to Zambia to visit relatives and check on one Project. One day I decided to visit places in Chilenje (Lazimen’s and Mikes Pub) for good old times sake. Whilst chatting with colleagues, among them Mike, the owner of the place, a group of men came in 4 vehicles,(TOP of the range I should add)! I later learned that they are a bunch of the Jerabo mob or gangsters that frequented that place all the from the Copperbelt every other weekend splashing and showing off money! Ka behaviour fye! Black table, pulling girls by force, smoking Shasha and cigars in Public, ifimasele as they converse and spraying the entire 750ml Perfume in the air as they curse and insulting as they chatted! We all know several people like that! Anione anione! Some ZNBC DJs, Radio Newsreaders Or TV casters presume everyone knows who they are or are owed a beer or two under the pretext or mistaken belief that they are public figures or local celebrities! Bola panshi! Kwalisa DSTV with plenty of bouquets!

Listen to this! Nangu ni pa Facebook fye, Whatever you’re doing, a sense of superiority will make you worse at it. Humility, on the other hand, will make you better. Umuntu kubako humble limo limo! Like the Lusaka Mayor wakamako umukaka wa ngombe wanwako! The moment you think you’ve got it all figured out, your progress stops. Instead, continue to advance and improve by reminding yourself how much more there will always be to discover.

If you aren’t humble, (Aliba Humble Umuguys, Lol,) whatever empathy you claim is false and probably results from some arrogance or the desire to control. But true empathy is rooted in humility and the understanding that there are many people with as much to contribute in life as you. – Anand Mahindra advised us.

Confidence is positive and empowering, but arrogance is deadly. Be confident, but not at the expense of your respect for others. Don’t burn up all your energy proving how great you are. Invest your time and energy being thoughtful and helpful.

Be humble, be gracious, and make peace with inner fears before stepping out into the limelight and allowing yourself to be subjected to all of humanity. – Maximillian Degenerez stated!

See the victories not as proof of your supremacy, but as opportunities to offer more value to life. See the defeats not as personal affronts, but as chances to learn and grow stronger.

Take care not to waste your time in delusions of grandeur. Embrace the power of confident humility, and live well. Nipa Sunday Lelo, kuyako naku Chalichi ( Church Service, mass, meeting, congregation). Stay well and be blessed- KKK444

Rectify Reconcile Renew

10/18/19 – Random Thoughts and Deep Reflections.
Zambia, my Motherland is but a very fascinating Country. Her people are generous with entertainment in their interactions, words and deeds. Opinions can be comical, just as they can be extremely different. Unity in Diversity keep us all going. Life goes on.

In the recent past, we have read in print and on social media some divergent views some of which have come out from prominent, professional and public figures. For purposes of illustrations, we vividly recall KCM & Mopani Mining, Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane of MMD Vs Dr. Lubinda Habazoka of UNZA & EAZ, Lubinda Habazoka Vs Chibamba F. Kanyama, Sean Tembo Vs Lubinda Habazooka, Hjoe Moono Vs Sydney Matamwandi, President of the Engineering Institution of Zambia EIZ, Hjoe Moono Vs The Restaurant Owner, Kingsley Chanda ZRA CG Vs Prof. Oliver Saasa. GST Vs VAT. I have deliberately avoided to mention details of UPND Cadres Vs PF Cadres and Kabwata PF Cadres Vs Hon.Given Lubinda or HH Vs GBM. Not to forget Parliamentary Debate over the Presidential Speech pertaining to Climate Change being more comical than Trevor Noah’s Daily shows.

Before I digress further, we should all be alive to the fact that on a regular basis, we are all likely to disagree with others. We must just not let that disagreement control our lives. When you are confident of your own path in life, you will not be threatened by differing opinions. Instead of fighting against others who disagree, allow those differing perspectives to strengthen your own. Don’t resort to insults. You can disagree without being an “Insultant”. Mature debate and amicable resolutions of any divergent views assist us in lowering High Blood Pressure and Boiling Temperatures inside us. The Month of October with a scotching heat can be very HOT in Zambia. We are turning 55 as a Country. Tuleya Tulekula Ka! Lol. Bola panshi. We need each other more now than ever before. What with austerity measures!

There’s no need to become defensive when your opinions are challenged. Instead, let the challenges help you to further refine and clarify your own thinking. True success is not a matter of forcing others to adopt your viewpoint. True success comes from making your life a full, complete and valuable expression of your own unique point of view.

Jonas Shakafuswa yesterday yearned for the leadership to reconcile, truly repent and forgive. “SOME HAVE A HEART OF A SNAKE” he observed. “But then let us pray everyday for our Leaders to have a heart free of hate, replace by love. Remove greediness with selflessness towards one another” he advised.

Today the picture trending on social media is Mutati shaking Nevers’ hands. Great stuff. Although we still don’t know who is the true Blue President of the MMD, “Zambia shall be saved”!

You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination. – Ralph Marston

H.E. ECL today advised on his FB Page; “Let us all pursue peace! …Let us join hands across all the divides and ask for God’s continued love, peace and joy in our nation…On 18th October 2019, we put all differences aside as a nation to approach the throne of Grace as one”.

Your destiny is to fulfill those things upon which you focus most intently. So choose to keep your focus on that which is truly magnificent, beautiful, uplifting and joyful. Your life is always moving toward something. – Ralph Marston

Just remember, all of us Zambians know and have lived our lives truly believing strongly so that there will always be those who think differently than you do. Learn to see that as a blessing, and learn to appreciate its value. When you gratefully, peacefully, and lovingly accept disagreement, it loses its power to control your life. And you can transform it into something positive that will truly enhance your world.

We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away. – Zhuangzi

I know that most of the people I have mentioned above have either reconciled or cooled down, rectified or made amends. That is the way it should be. That is how Zambia has survived all these 55 years. It is Humanism week and a day of prayer and reconciliation.

Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later staed Og Mandino while Ann Landers preached that “Nobody gets to live life backward. Look ahead, that is where your future lies”

TGIF. Have a nice Weekend. Stay well and be blessed folks. KKK999

Forgive. Forget.Bear the Faults of Others

14/10/2019 – Random Thoughts and Reflections.
Exactly, a month ago, I shared my thoughts pertaining to my own Social Science observation in which I have in the past 5 years noted with dismay, some 5 groups of Family members who once upon a time were very closely knit to each other as sisters, cousins and brothers but instead of happily living together as extended families the very same way they used to, they have decided to go against the African and Zambian values and opted for nuclear family arrangement much to the chagrin of and perplexed elders and old parents. Sisters have turned against sisters and brothers. Cousins against cousins and aunties against aunties and uncles. I felt and I still do feel that this trend is apparently growing and both the church and the community or society seems to be very helpless against the downward trend! Will it be arrested? I was and I’m still doubtful! The Western modernity of Nuclear Family definition has crept in. Wako ni Wako Te fintu sana! We are only bumping into each other accidentally during shopping, funerals, wedding or Political election campaigns. Each one or each family for themselves and God for us all. Tesana! Tepabubi mwe

This mid-month of October 2019, when our first born daughter turned 25 years of age yesterday, as I congratulated her and wished her a happy birthday, I reminded her and several others who were around then that in real life there are and will be many times we are hurt by other people’s behaviour, actions, deeds, treatment, words etc. This is when hatred comes in our mind, which may lead to angry thoughts, which may eventually result in improper actions.

It is well said that forgiveness is the best revenge. Remembering that forgiveness is not at all as easy as you think, but it surely is the best solution to live a peaceful and a problem-free life. If you forgive others and forget about their bad behavior or actions, we can move ahead in life and achieve our goals effectively.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. – Martin Luther King, Jr. Mandela forgave those who imprisoned him. So did Kenneth Kaunda.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. – Colossians 3:12-13

People find it hard to forgive and forget. Nor do they realize that the mental situation they are in is due to their ignorance on their part in recognizing their own self. Start now. Forgive whoever has done wrong in your life. It’s the only way you’ll get ahead. The aim is to understand that others are not wrong to the extent you believe them to be, may be you are overreacting. Then they can be easily forgiven, and the mind be easily calmed.

If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. – Romans 12:20

Do not denigrate the person whom you are not able to forgive. Maybe, he is not as guilty as you make him out to be. No need to avoid him. Be neutral, be free from prejudices, and think objectively. In this process of objective observation, whatever feelings come in your consciousness, let them come out naturally. Slowly, your mind will get unburdened of these feelings of hurt. Do not think just about your own self. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Possibly, your own reaction could be wrong. Understanding the other person’s point of view makes self-analysis easier.

Do not bury your pain, lest it turns to bitterness. “Forgive. Forget. Bear the faults of others as you would have have them bear with yours”. Phillips Brooks advised. I concur with him. Forgive as God forgave you! May God Almighty bless you for the change of mind. Stay well, be peaceful and Stay blessed. KEKK – 2019

Confounded by Frustrations -AIM High

Sunday-06/10/19 – Random Thoughts and Reflections.
Fifty years after the first thirty-three (33) independent African states gathered in Addis Ababa to form the Organization of African Union (OAU), now the African Union (AU) whatever the difference it makes in dropping the word Organisation, the continent is looking ahead towards the next fifty years.
On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the OAU, Africa‘s political leadership acknowledged past
achievements and challenges and rededicated itself to the Pan African vision of ―an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.” Agenda 2063, a plan for Africa‘s structural transformation, was agreed upon by the African Union Golden Jubilee of May 2013. Transformation indeed when Xenophobic Attacks In RSA, Nationalism in many Countries, Hot spots in Sudan, Congo DR, CAR, confusion in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya Rtc. Julius Malema of RSA criticized the 2063 claiming the old Folks in current leadership won’t even be there in 2063 to realise their far fetched dreams. Time is now, not 2063!

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which started a global effort in 2000 to tackle the indignity of poverty did not achieve that very much although Consultants, Program and Project Managers may have achieved personal aggrandizement. MDGs have been inevitably replaced by Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whose broad objectives are to produce a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world. Sounds hazy, vague and difficult to measure real and tangible results. Vague in Monitoring and Evaluation of such Projects. Looks like another Failed Project before it even takes off because of unmeasurable outcomes impossible to tabulate.

The Vision 2030, Zambia’s first ever written long-term plan, expresses the aspirations of the Zambian people to be accomplished by the year 2030. It is believed to have articulated the appropriate national and sector goals to meet people’s aspirations (presuming we all know exactly what the 17 million Zambians aspire on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis). It is argued that it is based on policy-oriented research on key national strategic issues and on a process of discussion and dialogue with the private sector, civil society and the general citizenry on the long-term goals and future of Zambia. The same Zambians failing to agree on the National Dialogue and Bill 10. The same teams responsible for pro longed Load shedding Lol.

The Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) is for the period 2017- 2021 (2 years gone, 2 more years to come most of which time will be spent on Politics and National wide Campaigns for 2021 Elections. It looks like Presidential Campaigns and Party mobilisation have started for some Political Parties. High time for Party Convention and intra-party democracy and internal elections folks). The 7NDP is aimed at attaining the long-term objectives as outlined in the Vision 2030 of becoming a “prosperous middle-income country by 2030. We seem to have heard that song before and several times! Middle income, whatever that means to our rural folks and grandparents. The goal is to create a diversified and resilient economy for sustained growth and socioeconomic transformation driven, among others, by agriculture. Flamboyant and aspirational sweet-coated words sounding like a NAREP Political Party Manifesto. The President nafileka ifima Politics! Lol! (The HOW has always been a challenge)

The 7NDP is said to have responded to the Smart Zambia transformation agenda 2064 and embeds in it the economic recovery necessary for the actualization of a Smart Zambia. This is alleged to be in support of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union Agenda 2063. We are still waiting for his Worship, the Mayoral Promissory Note of Free Internet Wi-Fi within the Capital City Lusaka in 90 days. The Glorious Band sang one song “Ukulanda Kwalyanguka ukubomba kwalishupa”. Reality Check.

“Doing the Best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment”, Uyu umwanakashi uyu uwakwata Ulupiya ulwingi sana ukuchila muchipimo imintapendwa – uyu batila Oprah Winfrey advised that.

At a macro level, when the details of the moment confound and frustrate us (and frustrations are many, that is why Mpombo, Aka, Enock , Chipimo, Pule, and many others abandon Politics and try something else) we all need to draw inspiration from the goal, the purpose, the vision we seek to fulfill. When that vision seems hopelessly far away, we should strive to find solace in our ability to take small yet meaningful steps toward it from right where we are. Set your aim high, and set your focus on the moment. Aim for the moon, so that in the event that you don’t reach there, you will still be among the shining stars of the World. Keep yourself aligned with your most treasured dreams, and keep yourself busy with the practical, useful, effective efforts that will bring those dreams to fruition. Don’t over indulge. Hangover is officially an illness, at least in German.

If you want to be the best, you can’t take the path of least resistance. Every morning, you wake up, and your mind tells you it’s too early, and your body tells you you’re a little too sore, but you’ve got to look deep within yourself and know what you want and what you’re striving for. – Antonio Brown. Umuntu kwima nokuya mukusamba nokuya mukufwaya ifyakuchita. Not ukwikala fye Ndwii!

Keep your aim far ahead and keep your focus upon all you can do right now. Let your work benefit from and be inspired by your purpose, and enable your purpose to be fulfilled by your work. The big picture will motivate you to keep going. The small details will create the pathway for you to get there.

Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality. – Ralph Marston

Many people dream but never fulfill those dreams. Too many others stay busy but never really are headed anywhere. By aiming far and focusing near, you can be both a dreamer and a doer, someone who follows a dream and actually reaches it. Give purpose to your actions and actions to your purpose. Aim far, focus near, and work your way to exactly where you want to be. Have a Lovely Week. Stay well and be blessed. KKK888-2019