In the struggle for the re-introduction of plural politics in Zambia, a popular rendition in almost equal measure to the Patriotic Front’s donchi kubeba (don’t tell them) mantra griped the election fever.
That one, though, was a direct attack on the now fallen dictator Dr Kenneth Kaunda. Proponents of multi-party politics in Zambia burst into the streets singing, “Chiluba leta ubwembya tumeko ishilu,” literally translated as Chiluba bring a rod so we can spank the mad man in direct reference to Dr Kaunda.
Dr Kaunda was not amused when his hearing senses came across those popular but derogatory campaign lyrics of 1991. He once remarked; ‘one day, you will come looking for me at midday with a torch in October’. That’s how much he predicted Zambians will miss him.
By the way, October is considered one of the hottest months in Zambia – the pick of summer – but Dr Kaunda’s maxim was an interpretation suggesting for his unpopular exit, the country will be greatly miss his statesmanship.
Not too long into the Chiluba rule, Zambians began showing signs of despondence and were missing Dr Kaunda such that had it not been for a constitutional change barring him from contesting the 1996 elections engineered by President Michael Sata himself, the situation will have been different. Sata did not even have kind words for Dr Kaunda’s sons such as Panji – a deputy minister in his government today. That’s as much as he detested the Kaunda dynasty.
In 1996, Dr Kaunda could probably have bounced back because traits of mismanaging the country were somehow already visible under Chiluba and the MMD’s worst ever rule of their 20 years in power is their first half when Sata was instrumental to most of the decisions that were made holding two high positions in the party and in government as chief executive and Minister without Portfolio respectively.
And nearly a year into the PF’s rule, the situation is not different from the pre-1996 scenario and most of the MMD’s first 10 years in office.
Interestingly, SACCORD, an organisiation that worked its lungs out alongside many other non governmental organization that traded their principles to portray Rupiah one hell of an evil leader is beginning to confess. They may not do so outrightly.
Why? They probably have realized they had teamed up with a group of deceivers, liars, thieves and murderers in the name of consortium of NGO’s for the sole purpose of hounding Rupiah Banda out of office. Little did SACCORD and their Lee Habaasonda realize they were a trump card massaging egos and political interest of dark forces.
Reality has started to dawn. The PF is running a brutal regime that is intolerant to divergent views and has bedded the present day and of the few surviving African dictators – Robert Gabriel Mugabe. Unless two agree, they can’t walk together. This is what Michale Sata and Mugabe have affirmed. Simply put, they are birds of the same feathers flocking in the same direction of dictatorship.
Zambia is slowly but surely turning into a police state as evidenced in the brutal response of the police to opposition leaders, its members, offices, media houses and individuals citizens holding alternative views.
In view of this, SACCORD, through it’s information officer Obby Chibuluma admits; “We last saw this poor leadership in the Kaunda and Chiluba days. While president Banda almost used it, he was not as ruthless as the PF are almost becoming where you have any minister ordering the police to arrest critics and the police undertake such instructions.’
What Chibuluma may fail to admit is that under Rupiah Banda, democracy thrived, the economy was booming, the rule of law was observed, respect of human rights was of prime importance. There was certainly normalcy in the management of national affairs however Rupiah and his administration’s failings.
And that is why Rupiah wept when Sata ascended to the throne. He wept when Sata was given the instruments of power not because he had lost but because a blossoming Zambia had been surrendered to a pack of wild animals. Call them ba mumbwe, ba chimbwi but the country was traded by a curtail of few individuals to a clueless populist leader who before long has shown his true colours.
Before they even clock a year in office, their fervent supporters such as SACCORD, TIZ not to mention the Catholic Church are beginning to realize this is a regime of tyrants – a group that eulogies dictators such as Mugabe, Fidel Castro of Cuba and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. It will not be surprising to hear them praise King Mswati of Swaziland as their mentor.
A priest – Father Viateur Banyangandora -, three citizens, the Daily Nation, Unza, Radio, Hone Fm, online media, media lecturer Clayson Hamasaka and his wife Pamela, six Times of Zambia journalists, three Zambia Daily Mail journalist, Hichilema and some of his UPND cadres already victims of a brutal regime. This is but a tip of the ice-berg.
US ambassador Mark Storella and TI Zambia chapter president Rueben Lifuka can no longer sit on the fence and watch the country go to ruin. They have since openly spoken about the intolerance manifesting in the PF regime.
Just how will it be when its election time? Look at how President Sata’s relatives serving government want to turn Zambia into blood-bath because of their tribalism.
They have gone to the extent of framing Hichilema and his party because of the stereo-typed notion that UPND is a Tonga dominated party is supposedly good for them to ride a hate campaign bordering on ethnics.
How unthinkable and careless could these leaders be? Never did Rupiah and his team engage in such type of cheap politics even when it was clear that while as opposition leader President Sata was running the PF on tribal lines.
Rupiah never, not at once, abused intelligence information about Sata’s activities to score political points as the case with the current head of states who unleashed his agents to investigate Hichilema’s business only to make them public.
Sata, as opposition leader lied on oath about his properties and possession before the Supreme Court, and Rupiah had all the credible information of the extent of those lies and even when they set out to trigger civil unrest with the support of a certain Zambian of Indian origin owning a bank no such information was laid public.
That is probably what is causing SACCORD and a lot of Zambians to miss Rupiah. But it’s too early, there will be more to miss about Rupiah by the time President Sata will clock not even a full term but the same three years his predecessor served.