Miles Ahead

The “Miles Ahead” Project
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On June 14 2005, Barclays Group undertook an overland expedition from the Head Office at Canary Wharf, London, which culminated six months later in Cape Town, South Africa. The aim of the team, a crew of eight, along with Barclays staff in each country, was to make a positive impact on, and a meaningful contribution to, all the communities in which Barclays operated at that time. These include the United Kingdom, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Egypt, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa. In addition, the hope was to raise a million pounds for charity and touch the lives of hundreds of people en route. In Europe, the expedition was about fundraising for specifically chosen projects in Africa. This six-month journey, carried out in association with the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), celebrated a culture of caring for the community. The Project was branded “Miles Ahead.”

“Miles Ahead” Project was launched by Barclays Group as an initiative to support non-profit organizations in Africa by encouraging sustainable and meaningful community development. The Project Planning began in February 2004 to May 2005 and Project Execution from June 2005 to December 20. “180 degrees project” were responsible for conceptualization and Project Management. Barclays was responsible for communications, public relations, and fundraising activities.

The actual Project implementation and execution ran from June 14 to December 13 2005. The crew covered 30,000 km over 157 days and having traversed 17 countries with over 6,000 Barclays staff who were actively involved in 159 fundraising activities which raised GBP1,600,000. which spanned over five months and raised awareness for the various community partners, NGOs and causes that Barclays supported throughout the countries in which it operates.

The five-month-long event itself kicked off at Barclays’ new Canary Wharf headquarters in London, with a convoy of four off-road vehicles which transported a relay of teams comprising representatives from selected charities, Barclays’ staff, celebrities, and crew. The colorful vehicles painted in blue and white made their way from London through France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana, ending in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2005.

Events such as football, sailing, sponsored marathons and extreme sports such as bungee jumping and white water rafting, were held in each of Barclays-member countries to rally support and awareness for the charities. The communities’ activities saw the participation of government ministers, the bank’s customers and the public, invited to rally support for the charities.

Funds raised through Miles Ahead were channeled into sustainable upliftment initiatives on the African continent. The support focused on education, social inclusion, for example, street children and orphans, the environment, the disabled, HIV/Aids, and health issues. In Europe, this was achieved through partner organization UNICEF and its Girls in Education program.

Our Zambian Miles Project Manager was Mwaba Mwaba D. Mwaba (Not sure which one is the Last/Surname Lol) who together with the Executive Committee (EXCO) team coordinated and gave support to all members of the project team.

I was a member of the Miles Project in Zambia and ensured specific matters of safety and security were taken good care of. I had already driven 1,100kms from Lusaka to Nakonde Border post and made contact with and briefed all heads of security, immigration, and customs officials about the visiting crew. On behalf of the Bank, I single handily received and in the usual Zambian hospitality way welcomed the entourage from the Tanzanian side on the Zambian soil. I assisted them with immigration and security protocol entry formalities into Zambia.

I had to accompany the crew up to Projects in Chinsali, Shiwangandu, Mkushi, Lusaka, and Livingstone until we passed over the button to our Zimbabwean Counterparts at the Livingstone Bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The first Zambian Republican President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda was the patron of Miles Ahead. Barclays Bank Board Chairperson then Mr. Hakainde Hichilema (Yes the same HH) who later became President of the United Party for National Development (UPND) was part of the crew in Chinsali. I took an opportunity to take a photo with Dr. Kaunda at Shiwangandu in Chinsali. I was surprised to know that the man could still remember me after 15 years. He recognized me from the Anti-Corruption Commission days when I used to frequent State House on National duties. I always treasure that picture up to date and will do so for many years to come.

Kabanda Lilanda did Bunji Jumping in Livingstone. Simon Bota and I did White Water rafting covering the first ten dangerous water rapids on the Mighty Zambezi River in the Tourist Capital of Zambia – Livingstone City. That was a great experience and excellent exposure. That exhilarating and breathtaking White Water rafting on the Mighty Zambezi River did not go without a near miss. It was both hair-raising and jaw-dropping when one of the Senior Executive Members of the Bank fell off the air-inflated boat and was sucked down by the dangerous waters and thrown nearly hundred meters in front of our boat While everyone else was frantically looking for him at the back. Luckily, the life-saving jacket was still wrapped around him. It was clear that the man had gulped several cups of water against his will. Scary. Life and Living.

The art of “Letting Go” and “Moving on.”

The art of “Letting Go” and “Moving on.”
——————————–In my past life, I worked with two of my elderly Colleagues who had religiously worked for this Institution for 35 and 36 years, respectively. I’m not sure how many times they may have been awarded gifts and “long service” awards and bonuses. They had worked under 7 CEOs/MDs, and they would vividly and passionately recall the good characters and personalities of each of them while reading three bulky newspapers from the first page up to the last page which was normally sports page.

While we were busy logging in our laptops and review early email assignments from our line directors, the two comrades would read articles in newspapers loud and making unpleasant running comments almost on every page. From 8.00am, the two comrades would be buried in newspaper stories analyzing every topic ranging from politics, sports, local court stories, business and everything in between up to 10.00am. They would move to the kitchen and make themselves a cup of tea or coffee. They would come back with those cups of tea complaining why the milk was powdered and instead of fresh milk. They would sip their cups of tea While attempting to log on their big screen computers only to realize they had forgotten their login passwords.

They would call Information Technology (IT) Helpdesk to reset the passwords or decide to walk downstairs to summon one of the younger Turks to “make the computer work.” By the time they log in, it was a lunch break. Instead of taking 1 hour, they would disappear for 2 hours only to reappear at 3.00pm and discover they had emails in their inbox inviting them for the 8.30am meeting in the Boardroom. Their Line Director had asked for a report which was needed by noon, and the fellows had not delivered. Surely that type of conduct is career limiting. We all must know that certain things, reports, and board papers can’t just wait until you finish drinking your tea.

For one reason or another, the mere thought of working in one institution for more than 25 years (Quarter a Century) has always scared me. I may be naïve, or it could be that rolling stones gather no moss, but even these two gentlemen had gathered none at all except rust. I could be wrong, but my view is there is another life outside your known “comfortable zone” and corporate circles. Even a change of Desk position, job role, job description, function, Change of Department or promotion could make a difference. Being stagnant can be an energy-sapping and tormenting excercise. There are only a few ways out. If you overstay in one working place or the environment, I have this gut feeling you may become part of the ancient pedantic culture and old furniture.
If you work in a Financial Institution, for example, you could have been availed at preferential staff rate a car loan, a house loan, furniture loan, educational loan, wedding loan, cash advance, personal to the holder, leased vehicle, etc. These types of “so-called incentives” indirectly binds you to an institution and limits your ability, flexibility, and capacity to maneuver and look out for higher positions and higher package incentives internally and externally – within or outside opportunities with different institutions.

The undeniable fact is that some prospective employers, no matter what your 35 years of experience and qualifications you may show them will not move them and may not be so willing and ready to take on your personal liabilities. The challenge which may turn into real fear is that once you resign, your former employers reserve the right to call for their money with immediate effect and or they will transfer your loan from Staff to “general customer” portfolio and commercial interest rates kick in immediately.

In some Sub-Saharan African countries where I have been privileged to serve, inflationary, and interest rates on commercial loans can be that high. Inevitably, one thinks twice and tends to hang around – stay for some time longer in one position.

Once entangled in such web of personal debts and contractual obligations, chances are that your promotion is most likely going to be painfully gradual, very slow or none existent.

Some institutions may take advantage and may stop considering you for any departmental transfer, internal promotions, salary increase or zero annual bonus knowing full well that the probabilities or chances of you are initiating a self-induced resignation is almost none or close to zero. You are trapped in debt and indirectly bonded by the contractual loan obligations you appended your signature on. This could explain why certain brilliant individuals may not seem willing to change industries and try Oil and Gas, Power and Energy Sector, Transport and Telecommunications, IT and other Parastatal Companies which may be equally well-paying jobs. Such type of members of Staff may not resign easily, and they may continue to report for work grudgingly. Surely their poor performance is guaranteed to be noticed by all. After all, their friends and colleagues are noticing how they cannot manage to browse a newspaper and get to work, but want to read and analyze every article in three National papers using company time, company chair, company phone, company desk while sipping a cup of tea provided by company resources.

Employers may also be hesitant to ask you to leave since once they initiate, the labor laws may demand that they compensate you for such a separation. Your labor value now becomes a diminishing return. The company can’t sponsor you for further training as that is considered throwing good money after bad investments. Your promotion prospects become next to zero. So is your personal net income growth. Eventually, no one invites you for any Company strategic meetings. No one notices whether you have dodged or concerned about your whereabouts. Like a zombie, your overstaying in one position creates the perception that you have stopped adding value to the company, and your existence on a payroll becomes just another statistic. Any dynamic company would love to move on.

The company will continue to bring in younger Turks half-size your age, more qualified as your bosses and they will pay them three times your current salary. You wonder whether it is nepotism, tribalism, regionalism, racism or Management is just being unfairly discriminatory. You have missed the writings on the wall. Once you notice that the Human Resource team has placed an advert internally and externally in the media inviting applications from interested parties for positions within your department with similarities in your Job description and job role, be wise and start to introspect and intensely pray and reflect on what may befall before your own eyes. You end up engaging in a “Complaints and Corridor Gossip Mode” criticizing every decision Management implements While being nostalgic about the working environment 35 years ago when no one used computers, internet, wifi, smartphones, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Kiwi or Instagram, pasture, e-bay or Amazon, Alibaba.

Eventually, what was once a comfortable retreat becomes a prison. If you continue to deny and avoid the opportunities to move forward, you will ultimately find the situation so intolerable. I would advise that it will be better not to consult Sangomas, but you’ll do well within what is in your powers and a short prayer to your Creator. Do whatever is necessary to get yourself out of that Institution which may have become Toxic for your own safety and health considerations. Unfortunately, by the time that happens, you will have lost many of your best options.

I firmly believe in the concept that a human being must be their own most significant asset. Put your time, effort, and money into training, grooming, and encouraging your greatest asset – you yourself. Allow your abilities to blossom somewhere else. Progress is made by those who dare to be wrong and the persistence to find how to get it right. Great achievements are crafted into existence by those who, when they begin, are not sure exactly how they’ll do it.

Don’t wait until you know how to do everything before you have the confidence to do anything. Find confidence in the authenticity of your desire and the goodness of your purpose. Just remember God is still in Control and on the throne up in the Heavens. You don’t have to be already an expert to gain expertise. You have to get busy. If you should stumble a lot at first, get back up each time and apply what you’ve just learned. Even when you stumble going forward, you’re still moving ahead.

Don’t wait for confidence to somehow come to you. Get out there and create it for yourself. Console yourself that you are worthy and able to reach the goals that truly meant something for you. Get going, and enjoy the experience of allowing your capabilities and abilities to blossom, somewhere else. “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility,” Eleanor Roosevelt. Move one. Come out of that “discomfort zone.” It does not matter at that point whether you are staggering, crawling, moving sideways or forward, but certainly, the moving should not be going backward.

On August Sunday morning, from Church meetings, the family went for lunch at Swensen’s at Bedok Mall. After some sumptuous lunch meals, we all decided to buy knowledge – books each for reading, stocking the physical bookshelves and home use and old fashioned display. We all know there are ibooks, but the Zambian mentality of having the physical books with pages in hand compelled us to haul some books back home. I bought an Interesting small book from the Popular Bookstore at Bedok Shopping mall entitled “Who Moved My Cheese.” Although, I had read this book before and had Lessons Learnt from the same during the “Great Manager’s Program,” it was still refreshing to re-focus and learn more real-life lessons from it.

With over 2.5 million copies sold worldwide in more than 40 languages, Who Moved My Cheese is a simple parable that reveals profound truths.

It is the amusing and enlightening story of four characters who live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy. Cheese is a metaphor for what you want to have in life, for example, a good job, a loving relationship, money or possessions, health or spiritual peace of mind. The maze is where you look for what you want, perhaps the organization you work in, or the family or community you live in. The problem and FACT of Life are that the cheese keeps moving. Change is the ONLY thing which is constant in real life. We ALL have to get used to this undeniable FACT of life.

In the story, the characters are faced with an unexpected change in their search for the cheese. One of them eventually deals with change successfully and writes what he has learned on the maze walls for you and me to discover. You’ll learn how to anticipate, adapt to, and enjoy change and be ready to change quickly whenever you need to. Valuable lessons, indeed!

Discover the secret of the writing on the wall for yourself and enjoy less stress and more success in your work and life. Written for all ages, this story takes less than an hour to read ( I was reading and underlining and highlighting salient points, so I took several hours though) , but its unique insights will/MAY last a lifetime those who have read, digested, got inspired and applied even few lessons out of the many.

Spencer Johnson, MD, is one of the world’s leading authors of inspirational writing. He has written many New York Times bestsellers, including the worldwide phenomenon Who Moved My Cheese? And one with Kenneth Blanchard, the One Minute Manager. His works have become cultural touchstones and are available in 40 languages.

My family and I traveled to Malaysian Capital and visited the famous Petronas Towers and later moved to another board town called Johor Barhol to reflect and consider other probable moves to another Continent.

The date is 31st August 2015. The Day is a Monday. Time is 6.11pm. A short silent prayer of thanks to my Creator, family, and colleagues always do the trick for me. It is time-up. On my marks, get ready, pack, and go! I logged-off, shut-off/down and power off the Official laptop. Unplug it from the power socket within my Official workstation. That’s it. It is done and dusted. Together with other Company Assets, I religiously handed them over to my Global Line Director. This official handover process signified the end of yet another Professional Epic journey with Standard Chartered Bank Plc (SCB). Time had come to formally leave the services of Bank to pursue other personal interests outside the Bank how time flies. 31/08/15 – 6.11pm marks version 6.11 information and data overload. It has been six years and 11 months of dedicated, selfless, diligent, and professional service of Financial Crime Compliance work within Legal and Compliance Functions of SCB ever since I joined on 01/10/2008.

As I bid farewell, adieu and move on, I would like to take a moment to especially thank you and say goodbye as I remember and cherish our times together. It has been great interacting and knowing each one of you. I have enjoyed working for Standard Chartered Bank. I greatly appreciate having had this fantastic opportunity to work with you all within the Country, Region, and Global role. It has been both an enjoyable and learning professional experience and growth. During these last six years and eleven months, you all have supported me and through your coaching, encouragement, and guidance. With many of you, I have shared a unique camaraderie which I hope will continue in the years to come.

My colleagues and seniors have been unfailingly supportive and professional, and I have learned a great deal about several Countries, Regions, Group Functions, Client Segments, and Products – not forgetting the famous Acronyms and great Corporate Politics of this great Standard Chartered Bank.

To my colleagues I worked with within the Africa (COMESA and SADC Region, Southern, Central, Eastern, and West Africa), Middle East, Asia Pacific and ASEAN Region, the European and Americas Regions, I will miss your enthusiasm, perseverance, and the ‘never say die’ spirit and of course the talent that you brought to our groups and various
Projects and Assignments. I sincerely thank you for all your support throughout and hope you continue to extend your cooperation to the current MANCO leadership teams and the succeeding managers. I wish you all, my fellow partners and everyone in the larger SCB family, all the very best.

This is not a goodbye, only “hasta luego” or “see you later.” Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They mean I’ll miss you until we meet again! ~Author Unknown. The world is round, and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning. ~Ivy Baker Priest.

The word thank you may not be enough actually to thank you, but I wish nothing more for you but your realization, growth, success and that of Standard Chartered Bank every success in all its future endeavors.
Stay well and be blessed. Many thanks and kind regards. I signed off.
Later that evening, I went online and bought Air tickets for my family members and me to relocate from the East to the West via South in December 2015.

Mistakes are worthwhile Achievements

04/09/2019 – For my kin and Kith. “Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement” Henry Ford advised. Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was an American industrialist and a business magnate, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and the sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production.

With the current economic fundamentals today, no one should sit comfortably on their laurels and facebooking, whatsapping, instagramming, selfing the who day and night. Not ukwikala fye NDWII umungulu mungulufye. Umuntu kusakana. Kweshako. Ukutatala. Bembas have a very funny saying, “Mukashi wandi njipikila isembe, ifintu kwesha besha” (Ask your neighbour to interpret for you.

When you attempt something ambitious and make a mistake, you can fix that mistake. But if you never make the attempt, you can’t go back and reclaim the wasted opportunity. Act, create, speak, build, write, sing, dance, explore, even if you do it badly at first. You’ll get better and better as you go along. The catch word is to start something. Embark on that dream. That assignment you have been thinking of.

Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward. – Henry Ford encouraged us.

Be willing to be a fool and you’ll be able to be a genius. The greatest achievements are those that have never been done before. What have you never done before? What purpose have you avoided fulfilling because you didn’t know how or where to start?

Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you. These are not cliches but real tools you need no matter what you do in life to stay focused on your path. – Phillip Sweet

The place to start is precisely where you are. The way to start is to do whatever you’re able to do, without any further delay. Write the first draft, and then you’ll have something to edit. Take the first action, and suddenly you’ll be on the path to achievement.
Have a blessed week and take care of yourselves and your loved ones. KEKK 09/2019

Problems Guaranteed

05/09/2019. AmaFYA. Mapesho. Mapenzi. Amachusho. PROBLEMS in the City. “We can NOT solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” Albert Einstein advised.

Whether it is Corruption in Nigeria or Kenya, Xenophobia (Hatred by Black South African People against other Black Foreign Nationals and ensuing violence against them), National Debt, Climate Change/Drought, Food Shortage, Mealie Meal Prices, Power Load Management etc, the above sage is apt.

At a macro level (Personal household level), it is similar. Maybe the question or problem you’re faced with doesn’t have a good answer, or at least not one you can find right away or in any forseeable future. And maybe you can be a little bit comfortable with that. Perhaps, despite all your best efforts, not everything gets resolved before the end of the day or end of the week or end of the month or indeed, end of the Year. And maybe you can get a great night’s sleep, and have a delightful weekend, nonetheless.

Just remember that “Most of us never stop to consider our blessings; rather, we spend the day only thinking about our problems. But since you have to be alive to have problems, be grateful for the opportunity to have them”. – Bernie Siegel advised. Yalikosako iyi advise but reality check confirms that everyone has challenges of different magnitude.

Sure, it’s fine to get all the issues resolved, tied up in a nice, neat conclusion. But it’s not essential, and it rarely happens like that anyway in real life in all continents. You can live a great life for a long time, even with lingering complications and unanswered questions. Don’t put your life on hold waiting for all the problems to be solved. They will never be solved not by nations and not by individuals.

In life, you’re going to have a lot of problems. Everybody’s got problems. Some is worse than others. Some is sickness. Some, like me, you’ve got problems that you don’t like that come up. But you’ve got to handle them. – Tom Benson said. Sometimes a myriad of them. Taputapu. A lot of them at the same time or concurrently. Sometimes, Kuichailafye. That is the way we get by. Life goes on. No one gets out of this life alive anyway.

Living a moderate, public, private or rich and joyous life does not prevent you from resolving the difficult issues. On the contrary, it helps you prioritize things and discover effective ways to deal with them. Work diligently to solve the problems, to get the answers. While you do, live well, gently refusing to let anything keep you down. Keep walking. Keep on pushing ma FILES. Stay well and be blessed. KEKK09/19

Sites and Sounds of Singapore

I scribbled these personal notes in my Hotel Room at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore in 2015.
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There is Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Sydney Opera House in Australia, Taj Mahal in India, Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, Buckingham Palace in London, Kaaba in Mecca, Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, Eiffel Tower in Paris, Statue of Liberty in the USA, the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, Findeco House in Zambia, Egypt has Pyramids and Singapore has Marina Bay Sands.

Marina Bay Sands is an integrated resort fronting Marina Bay in Singapore. Developed by Las Vegas Sands, it is billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property at USD8 billion, including the land cost. Land space, life and living in Singapore can be costly.

Singapore had topped 131 cities globally to become the world’s most expensive city to live in 2014, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The city’s strong currency combined with the high cost of running a car and soaring utility bills contributed to Singapore topping the list. It is also the most expensive place in the world to buy clothes. Singapore replaced Tokyo, which topped the list in 2013.

It was our weekend staycation. Marina Bay Sands Hotel had been our weekend second home. It was an agreed-upon way of a family celebrating a special thanksgiving occasion for one of the family members. Two rooms at level number 50 were not only high enough regarding height levels, but the cost was also equally high. But, when you come to think of it, this property is arguably the most expensive place on Earth at least in 2015. You pay for quality, you pay for security, and you pay for cleanliness. You pay for high standards.

The Marina Bay Hotel is home to the World’s famous Sands Sky Park on the 57th floor, atop three Magnificent towers where the available family members enjoyed a breathtaking 360• view of Singapore skyline.

Room at the top, Sky on 57, KU DETA nightclub was equally tempting. The girls took a relaxing dip in the stunning World’s highest Infinity swimming pool located on the 57th floor. Never remind yourself of the term acrophobia. What else can you say; this is the highest infinity pool in the world located at the Sands Sky Park on Level 57 of this magnificently designed hotel!

Thanks to the no inclement weather, the lush gardens and Sky Park observation Deck – a gravity-defying cantilever was a special treat.

The four days holiday from Friday seventh to Monday tenth August 2015 was special days in Singapore and for the City State of Singapore. The people and the “Red Dot Nation” were in a celebratory mood. Sunday ninth August 2015 marked 50th National Day. The Country had adequately prepared a lot of exciting activities across the Island. After all, the Nation’s Golden Jubilee was indeed worth celebrating.

A wonderful Parade to mark Singapore “SG50” National Day brought about an electric atmosphere at the Padang and many people with were with Singapore, and the world when they sang and waved the many Singaporean nicely designed scarves and flags. Singapore Defense Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen also thanked the organizing committee and creative director Dick Lee for pulling off the largest NDP ever. I suspect it will be the largest for a long time to come, perhaps even up till SG100,” It was a “massive undertaking,” he noted.

At the peak of Sunday’s celebrations, close to 250,000 people turned up at multiple sites such as the Marina Bay Floating Platform and the surrounding area. Singaporeans made the show their own. “They put emotions into it, and from that point of view, that was the greatest success.”

Singaporeans reminisced when the veterans from the vintage parade marched past, they gushed when the aerial display was up, and some cried when the tribute film for Mr. Lee Kuan Yew was aired, said Dr. Ng.

Looking ahead was something the then Education Minister Heng Swee Keat hoped as well that Singaporeans continue to do, with the SG50 year not yet ended. “We still have many exciting things coming up, like the Jubilee Walk and an exhibition showing our hopes for our future,” he wrote on Facebook as he added his thanks to the various SG50 organizers as well as the Old Guard and pioneers for making Singapore’s short history a proud one. “I have confidence. We are a young but special nation. There are challenges ahead, but we have the heart and the spirit to take Singapore onward.”

What a Jubilee Weekend. From the Old Guard leaders marking this historic moment, to pioneers in uniform standing tall, to little ones “lighting up” the Padang, to other Singaporeans working through the weekend to keep Singapore running safely and smoothly, to all their neighbors and friends sharing the joy in all ways big and small they all came together to celebrate as one people. Singaporeans braved the heat, rain, and crowds to show their love and support to one another.

The following month of September 2015 was equally an exciting month as Singapore held its Elections. One day, I sat down watching TV and the Political campaigns for General Elections, in Zambia, in the USA, in the UK, in Singapore, other Asian and African Countries.

With wall-to-wall coverage of the U.S. presidential election campaign, you could be forgiven for missing the fact that Singapore was also going to the polls on Friday 11th of September 2015.

The elections had been called earlier. If the current Government had wanted, they could have gone up to January 2017. They cut short their term of Office. It was a political strategy if one asked me. Some Salient points to take note, explore, consider and maybe take a leaf from are the concept of compulsory voting: This solves the Apathy afflicting several Countries in Asia and Africa. Interestingly, all Singaporeans who are twenty-one or over have to vote on Election Day or stand to lose their right to vote in subsequent polls. A list of people who didn’t vote is published by the elections department after the ballot, and offenders are removed from the register of electors. Getting back on the ledger is possible only if you have a valid reason for not having voted, like delivering a baby, or are willing to pay Singaporean Dollar SGD50 which is equivalent to USD35. For many Singaporeans, September 11, 2015, was the first time they got to vote, as opposition parties contested every parliamentary seat for the first time since independence in 1965. A record 2.5 million Singaporeans were estimated to be at the ballot boxes during 2015 according to the Elections Department.

Lessons Learnt here is that Electoral systems have to work. National Identification Cards (Ids) have to be tamper-proof, and the system has to be incorruptible. Singapore is undoubtedly a shining example.

Voting stopped at precisely at 20.00hrs. Results started flowing in by 22.00hrs. By midnight, all the results from all the Constituencies had been officially announced by the Electoral Commission Officials. By 02.00hrs, all Heads of Political Parties had been given equal time on Television to say something and mainly thank the people and or concede defeat. By 03.40hrs, the winners Prime Minister was addressing the Nation through a Press Conference flanked by his A-Team all dressed in white, thanking the Voters, for their support and confidence shown in him, his Party and Policies.

The Prime Minister was profoundly humbled, and urging his newly elected and re-elected Members of Parliament (MPs) to serve the people of Singapore diligently, be accountable and transparent in all their dealings. Officially, there is no corruption in Singapore. He thanked the Opposition Parties and pledged to work with all Singaporeans including those who did not vote for the PAP (People’s Action Party). The Prime Minister and his team were back to work that very morning. It was a good result for the ruling Party and Excellent results for Singapore.
There are some lessons many Countries can learn from Singapore’s General Elections. From America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Some Salient Points like “Cooling-off” period and “Best Losers” MPs concept are great to favorably consider, note, explore and may take a leaf from under many Electoral reforms.
With wall-to-wall coverage of the U.S. presidential election campaign, you could be forgiven for missing the fact that Singapore also went to the polls on Friday the 11th of September 2015.

Quick campaign period. Zambia held Presidential Elections in January 2015. By February, the Country was back in a Campaign mood for the August 11, 2016, General Elections. That obviously may be a cost to the Campaign teams from all Political Parties involved. Not forgetting the diluting of Campaign messages which by then would have become stale and not impactful.

Singapore has one of the shortest official campaign periods in the world. In 2015, candidates got nine (9) days, the minimum required by the constitution, to woo voters.

The country also observes a “cooling off day” where no campaigning is allowed on the eve of polling day. That is meant for electorates and voters to reflect, digest and dissect the campaign messages deeply. Voters are allowed to make up their minds to settle for who they want to lead the Country and manage resources on their behalf.

Compare that with the United Kingdom (UK), Zambia or indeed the United States of America (USA) were campaigning for November 8, 2016, presidential election had been in full swing since 2015. We had seen Mr. Donald Trump and Senator Mrs. Hillary Clinton vigorously campaigning for an extended period. They had many states and so many people to reach out to.

By the way, no Poll surveys are allowed in Singapore. The United Kingdom (U.K.) for David Cameron’s Prime Minister Victory Surveys was wrong. The Stanbic/Standard Bank of South Africa sponsored Survey on Michael Chilufya Sata and his Patriotic Front (PF) and Rupiah Bwezani Banda’s Movement for Multi-Party Development (MMD) general elections in Zambia in 2011 were wrong. The 2015 Zambian election survey between Hakainde Hichilema (HH) of the United Party for National Development (UPND) and Edgar Chagwa Lungu (ECL) were wrong.

In Singapore, it is illegal to publish the results of an election survey or conduct exit polls once an election is called, offenses punishable with up to 12 months in jail and a fine not exceeding SGD 1,500. The Attorney-General’s Chambers issued “stern warnings” to Singapore Press Holdings Ltd., publisher of the island’s most widely read the paper, The Straits Times, in 2013 after it printed the results of a survey of voters during a by-election. Doctor Joseph Ong was arrested in 2011 for publishing an exit poll during the 2011 general election online, Asia One reported at the time.

No entertainers. Musicians like Pilato, Jordan Katembula (JK), Danny Kaya, Moses Brothers, Mampi, Bikiloni and Professor Difficulty, Dorika Ndaifulila, Dangerous Jo”burg, Black Muntu, Dandy Crazy (Donchi Kubeba), Chester, General Kanene and many such others are not allowed to demean others on the Political scene. Candidates can only hold outdoor political rallies at designated sites, which are allocated through a ballot.
Parties are also barred from sharing the stage with traditional Getai singers, live performances held during the Hungry Ghost Festival that coincides with the 2015 vote, a likely draw for middle-aged voters, the Straits Times reported.
That’s different from election campaigns in Zambia, India, Indonesia, USA and several other Countries where actors and entertainers frequently endorse candidates and appear in campaign rallies.

Group districts – The government created multi-member wards in 1988 where voters elect a group of candidates instead of an individual. The system requires parties to field as many as six candidates, including at least one of a minority ethnicity. While some have argued the rule makes it harder for smaller opposition parties to field candidates, it also resulted in the removal of then-foreign minister George Yeo in 2011 when the ruling People’s Action Party lost in his district in the general election.

One idea the seemingly never-ending several African Countries Constitution making process can explore and consider is the issue of the “Best Losers.” An MP in Mandevu (Zambia), Kibera (Kenya), Alexandria (South Africa), Moshi (Tanzania) Constituency for example who loses by 50 votes but has been voted for by more than 20,000 votes is much better than an MP who won an election in another constituent voted by 900 voters beating his/her other 10 rival MPs by 20 votes only.
Singapore reserves parliamentary seats for Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs), who are the “best-losers” among the opposition candidates. The system ensures a minimum number of opposition members of parliament after each election. While NCMPs are entitled to vote on most issues, they don’t represent any particular district. There were three in parliament before it was dissolved for the 2015 elections.
I have had a chance to carefully read, watch, follow the electoral system and speeches. Even when one wishes to put across an opinion which is slightly different from the other party, whether ruling or opposition, it is done in such a way that the electorates would be left appreciating the manner, the sense as well as points raised and would wish to proceed with analyzing further.
An example is the well respected former Minister of Finance the “Rising Star” who gave out facts and figures which made sense during his campaign within his Constituency. Many including those in Opposition Parties applauded his campaign speech. He is a London School of Economics graduate from the United Kingdom, a Harvard University Graduate. His former classmate, a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) of Government Investments Corporation and now Economics Professor at Singapore University is the only one to give a response. The way he came out was by first agreeing to most of the points, praise the Hon. Minister for the great work done and pointed out by suggesting few areas of improvement.

The concept of it shall be well, or we will be well in future begs another or other questions. When would that be? Why leave such a process for the future generations to correct? Why not resolve now? When God created us human beings and put us in our Christian Nation called Zambia, he did not say we have to exhaust and make all the mistakes in our lives and within our lifetime.

Even at our personal levels, we can learn from others and avoid more significant problems. For example if it took 300 or 400 years for UK or USA to develop a semblance of a democratic process and relatively peaceful Electoral process, it must not surely take Zambia or indeed any other African Country the same period of time to know that grinding machetes on tarred City roads, carrying spears, gun trotting by senior cadres who move around with shotguns in public, knives around their waists may lead to a bloodbath like what happened in Kenya or Rwanda genocides. Those are very tragic and unfortunate incidences which should never be allowed again by anyone.

The best is to learn lessons from others and peacefully conduct elections in a peaceful Zambian spirit and manner. Let us get it clear also that the Singapore, UK or USA Electoral or indeed any other known systems may not be the best arrangement to copy, but apparently, certain good traits like absence of unprintable, unpalatable insults, violence, and criminal activities can be emulated from any other Country where International Observers have noticed peaceful voting process. We can hold different opinions and views without becoming a Nation of Insultants. We need consultants, not insultants.

The reason we may not wait for the unknown future is that Singapore separated from Malaysia in August 1965, a year after Malawi and Zambia obtained her independence in October 1964. Singapore was also once a British Colony. If they can conduct peaceful campaigns and elections, why not our beloved Country and Nation Zambia? In Botswana, Namibia, and other Countries can why can’t we? It can be done and now without waiting for the unknown future.

Chachacha brought some loss of life, the 1986 food riots shed some blood, the 1990 student riots which brought about Mwamba Luchembe’s failed coup had some members of the society being shot by stray bullets, the third term debate brought some loss of lives, the Chawama, Mapatizya, and some bye-elections Mukaika Constituency in Eastern Province had brought out some hair-raising and untold miseries to the blood oozing cadres, Chongwe incidents and Livingstone issues where lives have actually been lost before should be genuine reminders to avoid violence and loss of life.

Such uncouth and uncivilized way of conducting our Politics and campaign must just come to an end. We pray for peace in all the ten Provinces of Zambia, on the Continent of Africa and indeed the whole World as we carry out Political campaigns peacefully during general elections now and beyond. Posterity would judge us harshly if we left it up to our younger generation to resolve the impasse we seem to have created for them. Our grand Children would point an accusing finger at us and ask us, what role we played to smoothen the process and build a peaceful society for them to enjoy. We all have a role to play. We owe it to our good conscience to act with civility and offer tangible solutions. Stay blessed folks.

Put Knowledge to good use

06/09/19 – Today is a fresh start. Make something good with it. You’ve learned a lot about how life unfolds, what works, what doesn’t, what holds you back, what moves you forward. Now is your chance to put all that knowledge to good use.

Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart. – Sarah Ban Breathnach

You’ve seen the mistakes that others have made, and your own mistakes as well. Today you can benefit from those observations, avoiding the pitfalls as you work to make good progress. You’ve felt the sting of regret and the joy of purposeful achievement. Beginning right now, you can choose to create much more joy and much less regret.

If you are the kind of person who is waiting for the ‘right’ thing to happen, you might wait for a long time. It’s like waiting for all the traffic lights to be green for five miles before starting the trip. – Robert Kiyosaki

Here is where your future begins. Be honest with yourself about what you really want to do, to experience, to become, for every choice leads you in a specific direction. Go ahead, feel the miracle of life as it glows within you, and fill your world with purpose, with meaning. Take the fresh start that begins right now, and live, and love, and give, and grow.

We are spending much more time than we realize in our mind, trying to control everything trying to find an explanation for all the things that happen to us but often times we don’t even have the right explanation anyway. Trusting God brings a lot of peace in our lives and this is a level where God wants to bring us, He desires for us to grow spiritually as much as Christ did. “What does not kill you makes you stronger”. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Stay well and be blessed folks!

Perfection is never attainable

06/09/19 – Reflections! “Perfection is never attainable, but if we chase perfection we can attain excellence”. Vince Lombardi said this. So whatever you have been to do for a Long time now. Kwambakofye! Fikalaisova kuntanshi. There will never be a perfect or appropriate or convenient time to start. Start now and by practicing and doing it, ukalakontolola, realise mistakes and strive to correct or perform better towards perfection thereby accidentally or reaching excellence.

What can you do, that you’ve forgotten you can do? What can you do, that you’ve never known you could do? What would cease to be impossible if you could stop assuming it to be impossible? What would you achieve if you were convinced you could achieve it?

You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don’t have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success – none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here. – Ram Dass

Reality is more than what has already been, or what is now, or what you’re sure of. The most exciting and valuable part of reality is what is possible. Your possibilities are just as real as your memories, your doubts, and your assumptions. Which will you choose to believe, to express, to follow into the future?

We encounter and enter our richest, most humanly defining experiences by way of a tear in the fabric of things, because we are running late, or because we recognize, across a crowded room, a face whose lack of perfection allows a unique light to shine through and to stir us with uncommon wonder. – Eugene Kennedy

Instead of focusing on the obstacles, you can decide to see the opportunities inside the obstacles. Instead of being dismayed at what has happened, be encouraged and excited about what is now possible. Open yourself beyond your fears, beyond your doubts, beyond the excuses and assumptions. Open yourself to the best of what is possible, and make that your central reality.

I believe that a trusting attitude and a patient attitude go hand in hand. You see, when you let go and learn to trust God, it releases joy in your life. And when you trust God, you’re able to be more patient. Patience is not just about waiting for something… it’s about how you wait, or your attitude while waiting. God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference in Christ Jesus name. Amen 🙏 Stay blessed folks

Forgiving Oneself

Random Thoughts! It could be the Gold in Mwinilunga, the Xenophobic violence in South Africa, the Mealie Meal Price in Zambia, the Dorian Hurricane Destruction in Bahamas, the Death of Zimbabwean Robert Gabriel Mugabe in Singapore! “The mind moves in the direction of our currently dominant thoughts”!
Not Florence but Earl Nightingale advised us.

You can think whatever you choose, so choose to think highly of yourself. You’re capable of much more than you yet know, so find some more of your unique greatness and bring it to life. While you’re at it, remember to also think highly of others. The way to bring out the best in people is to sincerely expect it.

A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching. – Swami Sivananda Stated that.

Think highly of life itself. Consider what an amazing opportunity each day represents, and do all you can to live up to its beautiful potential. Think highly of whatever circumstances you find yourself in. Instead of complaining or fearing, use your powerful mind to dig out the best path forward and then use your efforts to follow that path. It helps. It works for others. Not ukulanwafye chibuku pa Lazimen’s clinic every morning nokuteya isolo pa Chilenje market! Umuntu kusakana, kweshako tamanga.

What matters is to live in the present, live now, for every moment is now. It is your thoughts and acts of the moment that create your future. The outline of your future path already exists, for you created its pattern by your past. – Sai Baba said. Don’t just wait for 2020 and 2021 to become a machete wielding Cadre for a Political Party Campaign Team. Such thoughts are career limiting!!

Think highly of the future. Rather than worrying about what might come, focus your thoughts and your actions on making the very best of what does come. Whenever you think, make the choice to think highly. Lift your thoughts high, and your whole world will be lifted.

It’s toughest to forgive ourselves. So it’s probably best to start with other people. It’s almost like peeling an onion. Layer by layer, forgiving others, you really do get to the point where you can forgive yourself. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Stay well and be blessed

Climbing the tree with hands in back pockets

You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water – Ravindranath Tagore advised. You can’t climb a tree with both hands in your pockets! Like the Biblical Moses, kumapo Inkonto (Moses used the Rod/Walking Stick) as directed by the Almighty God. Just like the Aushi People of Mansa used the Reed Mats (Amatanda hence the name Chief Matanda) to cross over the Luapula River into present day Luapula Province from Kola and Luba Lunda Kingdom In Present day Congo DR. (I Chabuka Baushi)! Tabali fye Ndwii! Nabazinkimana no Kuichailafye! They had to come up with plan Z after abcdefeyc failed! You want to become a lawyer, accountant, Doctor, Engineer, Economist? Ku pounder! Umuntu kubelenga ! Ukulya ama book 📚 no kunwa ink! Tafisa inga meno yamukanwa! Lesa tapela muminwe atambikafye!

To make anything happen, you must do more than just wish for it. And that is a very good thing. If your wishes instantly became reality, life would be sadly empty and disorderly. Nothing would have any substance or lasting value, for anything could be quickly wished away.

Whatever you go into, you have to go in there to be the best. There’s no formulas. It’s all about passion and honesty and hard work. It might look glamorous, but it takes a lot of hard work. The blessing with the arts is that you can do it forever. – Hugh Masekela emphasised.

As it is, the goals you actually attain are the ones that really matter. That’s because they’re the ones important enough for you to invest yourself in. For a wish to come true, you must go beyond the wish, giving the substance of your time, effort, imagination, and commitment. In so doing, you imbue the fulfilment of that wish with real meaning and value that cannot be attained in any other way.

A lot of people have their big dreams and get knocked down and don’t have things go their way. And you never give up hope, and you really just hold on to it. Hard work and perseverance. You just keep getting up and getting up, and then you get that breakthrough. – Robert Kraft assured!

You don’t have to stop with mere wishing, for you can do, you can build, you can work, you can grow. You can create for yourself the joyous and satisfying experience of making good things happen. Put your wish into action, and do what’s necessary to bring it to life. That’s how you get what you’re truly wishing for. Not nawikala fye Ndwii! Chimbwi ni Plan!

Just remember, To love and be loved are definitely life’s cherished blessings, yet like everything else, love is not a cake walk or a bed of roses. It comes with its pitfalls and its high points. No doubt then, you need divine help to get you through the tough times and even those happy times when you are overwhelmed with love. May you have a blessed life and find solace and wisdom through these few messages in the name of his only begotten Son!

Family Waring Factions

Ba Benjamin Franklin batile, “You May delay but time will not”.
In the last 5 years, I have observed and noted with dismay, some 5 groups of Family members who once upon a time on the Copperbelt were very closely knit to each other as sisters, cousins and brothers but instead of happily living together in Lusaka 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. 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? Doubtful! The Western modernity of Nuclear Family definition has crept in. Wako ni Wako Te fintu sana! Only bumping into each other accidentally during shopping, funerals, wedding or Elections. Tesana!
Let us all Kindly try to step back from our frustration and ask ourselves this. What good, useful thing can you do right now? Set aside your annoyance and think about this. What can you be thankful for?

We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. – C. S. Lewis

Let go of your anger and let yourself focus on this. What would make the situation better for everyone involved? It’s easy to become overwhelmed with negative emotions. Yet it’s always possible to work yourself back to a more peaceful, positive state. We all go through stuff. Thinking others don’t have issues is a misnomer.

We are not living in a world where all roads are radii of a circle and where all, if followed long enough, will therefore draw gradually nearer and finally meet at the centre: rather in a world where every road, after a few miles, forks into two, and each of those into two again, and at each fork, you must make a decision. – C. S. Lewis

Make the commitment to let your best intentions guide you away from your worst reactions. Forgive yourself, forgive others, accept the moment, and move forward. You’re living in a world that’s filled with abundance, on a day that offers countless possibilities. Make the choice to be a positive presence, a positive force, and bring the best possibilities to life.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. The Lord has said ‘Fear not, for I am with you’. Whenever you are without hope, feel the soothing voice of God lifting you up and guiding you to the end of the dark tunnel towards light. Cast off your burdens, as there is someone who will give you the courage and strength to overcome all the problems. Lesa fye umwine! Stay blessed folks – Kunda Katwishi Kalaba 09/19