Call it impact: Australia Awards alumnus contributions to African development near 50 years

by Adriana Abreu-Combs (

RodgerChongweThe Knowledge I gained in my prime years while attending the University of Western Australia has had an overwhelming influence on me… The student activism [I was exposed to] in Australia has had a great deal of influence on the conduct of my career.”

Nearly 50 years on, Australia Awards alumnus Rodger Chongwe continues to make waves in his home country of Zambia and region.

Rodger was one of the first African professionals to receive a scholarship funded by the Australian Government under the Commonwealth African Assistance Plan, an extension of the Colombo Plan. When he embarked to Australia in February 1963 to study law, his country was called Northern Rhodesia, becoming independent a year later as Zambia. Rodger completed both a Bachelor of Law (1966) and postgraduate qualification (1968) at the University of Western Australia (UWA).

Read more: Call it impact: Australia Awards Rodger Chongwe

By Rodger M.A. Chongwe, S.C.

General Observations

Article 91(2) of the current Zambian constitution provides that

"The judges, members, magistrates and justices, as the case may be, of the courts....shall be independent, impartial and subject only to this constitution and the law and shall conduct themselves in accordance with a code of conduct promulgated by Parliament."

A Code of Conduct for judicial officers has already been enacted into law in answer to this provision of the Constitution.

Judicial independence as articulated in the constitution, though necessary and desirable, has its downside: judges who do not have to "answer" to anyone for their conduct or decisions may pursue self-serving agendas and become lords unto themselves.

Thus judicial independence must not be pursued to a point where judges become totally unaccountable for their actions. In short, judicial independence must be balanced with an appropriate measure of judicial accountability.

Read more: Judicial Accountabilty

The following is an article I wrote in response to the pseudo-democratic 2001 Zambian national elections.

This article is posted in response to the many calls for validation of my observations that election rigging has plagued Zambia for many years.

It is paramount that more is done at State-level to address our flawed electoral processes, to revise the Constitution's bias for the party in power, and to bring fair and proportional representation to our people.

The December 27th 2001 Zambian National Elections

Zambia is a former British protectorate. It became an independent state on the 24th of October 1964. Seven presidential and parliamentary elections have been held since. The election of 27th December 2001 was the eighth. Apart from the election of 1996, previous elections have raised few significant controversies.

Read more: Endemic Zambian Election Rigging

46 years after independence a leader of a political party in our country is hauled to the offices of one of the Law Enforcement Agents to explain why his personal account was credited with an amount of USD 100,000.00 allegedly given to him by the former Chairman of the Bank as a political contribution to his political party. If there were such a criminal offence in our statutes against a Bank donating money for political causes this allegation would definitely be cause for a criminal investigation.

But only twelve months ago a former President of Zambia claimed that an amount of USD 8 million which was in a Zambian Government Account was his own money given to him by friends and well wishers when he was in office. He has named none of these friends and well-wishers!

Read more: When Will Zambian Politicians Grow Up?