Mmegi Blogs :: Professor Mike Faber
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Thursday 17 August 2017, 11:24 am.
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Professor Mike Faber

Over the recent holiday, I learnt from the internet that Mike Faber had died in February 2015. It seemed important to me that his many friends here who, like myself may not have known of Mike’s death should be told.
By Sandy Grant Wed 11 Jan 2017, 16:15 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Professor Mike Faber








Mike was attached to the Ministry of Finance and Development in the late 1990s living with Didon in a flat in the Village. Obituaries record something of his truly stunning career and to give everyone a better idea, I attach this sample from an obituary contributed to News Analysis.

‘Robert (Oakeshott) and I were young economists advising Kenneth Kaunda and his chief economic adviser, Arthur Wina. We’d completed a considerable amount of research and found that the claims made by the once monolithic British South Africa Company - which had put in a claim to the incoming Kenneth Kaunda Government for £35 million for lost mineral rights- had neither legal nor moral authority. A White Paper was released and it was written in a style which contrived to be both elegant and fierce.

The document indicted both the BSA Company and Britain through a close examination of events from 1890 onwards - from the time when the Pioneers of Cecil Rhodes marched into what was once called southern Rhodesia and then took over the mineral rights in the north, Zambia.”

During negotiations that led to Zambia’s independence, Kaunda was prepared to pay the BSA Company £50 million, spread over until 1986 in equal yearly payments of £2,250,000 tax free a year in London. Some in his United National Independence Party (UNIP) believed that the entire sum should be raised immediately and paid to BSA Company to settle the question of mineral rights once and for all.

At that point a long and detailed study of the BSA Company was made available to journalists and the then editor of The Times of Zambia, Richard Hall, wrote in ‘The High Price of Principles (Penguin Books, 1969): “It was circulated around the (Zambian) Cabinet and the revelations about the frail foundations upon which the general rights had been based produced a dramatic change in attitudes. The idea of paying £50 million, or anything like it, jettisoned.”

The BSA Company was furious. It denounced the White Paper as “propaganda” and so raising the status of both Faber and Oakeshott in the eyes of Kaunda.

Minutes before the Union Flag fell to the floor on the night of October 23, 1964, Hall tells how a bearded economist (Faber) drew from his pocket a piece of crumbled blue paper. On it, hand written was the terms of a statement prepared by a group of officials. An agreement had been reached. Zambia offered £2 million to the BSA Company and Britain would pay a further £2 million.

The two men who had masterminded the financial scoop for the Zambians looked on. But soon Oakeshott and Faber became key economic advisers to the new president in Lusaka and Zambia’s Economic Affairs Minister, Arthur Wina.

So two remarkable individuals from the heart of the British establishment found themselves at the decision-making centre of a country destined to become a leading member of the Commonwealth, a prominent participant in the Organisation of African Union

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(OAU) and a key member of the African Frontline States in their struggle against all-white rule in Rhodesia, then led by Ian Smith.

‘Robert (Oakeshott) and I were young economists advising Kenneth Kaunda and his chief economic adviser, Arthur Wina. We’d completed a considerable amount of research and found that the claims made by the once monolithic British South Africa Company - which had put in a claim to the incoming Kenneth Kaunda Government for £35 million for lost mineral rights- had neither legal nor moral authority. A White Paper was released and it was written in a style which contrived to be both elegant and fierce. The document indicted both the BSA Company and Britain through a close examination of events from 1890 onwards - from the time when the Pioneers of Cecil Rhodes marched into what was once called southern Rhodesia and then took over the mineral rights in the north, Zambia.”

During negotiations that led to Zambia’s independence, Kaunda was prepared to pay the BSA Company £50 million, spread over until 1986 in equal yearly payments of £2,250,000 tax free a year in London. Some in his United National Independence Party (UNIP) believed that the entire sum should be raised immediately and paid to BSA Company to settle the question of mineral rights once and for all.

At that point a long and detailed study of the BSA Company was made available to journalists and the then editor of The Times of Zambia, Richard Hall, wrote in ‘The High Price of Principles (Penguin Books, 1969):”It was circulated around the (Zambian) Cabinet and the revelations about the frail foundations upon which the general rights had been based produced a dramatic change in attitudes. The idea of paying £50 million, or anything like it, jettisoned.”

The BSA Company was furious. It denounced the White Paper as “propaganda” and so raising the status of both Faber and Oakeshott in the eyes of Kaunda.

Minutes before the Union Flag fell to the floor on the night of October 23, 1964 Hall tells how a bearded economist (Faber) drew from his pocket a piece of crumbled blue paper. On it, hand written was the terms of a statement prepared by a group of officials. An agreement had been reached. Zambia offered £2 million to the BSA Company and Britain would pay a further £2 million.

The two men who had masterminded the financial scoop for the Zambians looked on. But soon Oakeshott and Faber became key economic advisers to the new president in Lusaka and Zambia’s Economic Affairs Minister, Arthur Wina.

So two remarkable individuals from the heart of the British establishment found themselves at the decision-making centre of a country destined to become a leading member of the Commonwealth, a prominent participant in the Organisation of African Union (OAU) and a key member of the African Frontline States in their struggle against all-white rule in Rhodesia, then led by Ian Smith.’

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