It’s always better to do things the right way even if it calls for the exertion of our greatest efforts or the making of our greatest sacrifices.
And we have certainly not handled the KCM issue in the right way. Emotion, political expediency and other considerations took us over and we forgot our legal obligations under the arbitration agreement with the owners of KCM.
As Nevers Mumba has correctly observed, the Patriotic Front government has handled the matter of KCM in the manner that is likely to cost the Zambian taxpayer a lot of money in damages or compensations.
It’s very clear that the Zambian government completely ignored the arbitration agreement they had with the owners of KCM.
Now they have to reckon with that reality – the reality that there’s an arbitration agreement and the owners of KCM have fallen back on it.
The outcome of this arbitration in South Africa is not difficult to guess. It is very clear that the owners of KCM will win and receive awards. And we will not be able to ignore it the way tribunal orders are ignored here. This is not like the closure and destruction of The Post which they could deal with as they pleased, ignoring Tax Tribunal orders to reopen the company. There was no international arbitration to worry about in the case of The Post. All they needed to do is get some helpful judges like Sunday Nkonde to help with the liquidation of the company with an ex parte order and enter into some clearly corrupt consent orders. This cannot be done in the case of KCM. Yes, they can easily do what they did with The Post here but there’s international arbitration which they have no control over.
And they shouldn’t cheat themselves that they will simply ignore the arbitration orders.
They are trying to play smart without being clever.
Let’s get one thing straight: clever people are great. Everybody wants to be clever – and many of us think we already are – and most people want to work with individuals who are smart and quick-witted. We are rewarded for being clever. From the time we start school and even before we are praised for giving the right answer. As we enter the workplace the more senior people give us opportunities to develop and promote us for knowing what to do and how to do it. That’s how we progress and move up the ladder. But clever people can start to believe they know all the answers.
So they don’t learn to ask questions. And they don’t really listen, instead spending the time thinking about what they are going to say next and how they are going to phrase it beautifully. Or, worse, they just keep talking because if the other person can just be made to understand the world in the same way as the clever person surely they will change their mind. This will, at some stage in their career, limit not only their growth but that of their team and, probably, their business. As we get more senior, we are more likely to be rewarded for the results that come with listening and asking questions.
Surely is being clever a good thing when you’re dealing with a complex problem? Well, yes, of course, but it’s not enough. The world is a very complex place and, unless you’re Google, you probably don’t know everything. Getting other points of view and seeing the world through a variety of eyes can mean the difference between success and failure.
However, this is hard and it’s especially difficult if you’re in a position of power because many people may be reluctant to speak up. It’s your job to “make” them. You can’t do this simply by saying “we have an open-door policy” or setting up a suggestions box. Instead you have to learn to listen hard.
At a minimum this means learning to ask great questions and to give people time to answer them.
People don’t make decisions based simply on facts – if they did nobody would smoke or eat food that’s bad for them.
There’s nothing wrong with being clever. We need clever people but cleverness involves more than simply knowing the right answer – listening effectively and asking great questions gives you insight into how others think and can help you and them continue to learn and succeed.
But what is it that really motivated them to do things the wrong way? Greed. The key players in this saga are all benefiting in one way or the other. There’s money being made! But at whose expense? The Zambian taxpayer! Do they care? No. They don’t care!