Opinion

Is Kaunda’s Conscience Clear?

Kenneth Kaunda may be Zambia’s founding president, but he certainly is no angel.

For all that he has done to protect Zambia and advance our independence, he was also the architect of the one-party state and the most brutal period of political repression and grinding poverty. While we can safely grant Kaunda the deep respect he is accorded by our history, it has become quite insufferable to witness his current subjugation to the current authoritarian president of Zambia, Michael Sata.

Keep in mind that Kaunda is the man who once told us that Michael Sata is “not presidential material” as he is “only suitable to work under someone else.” But Lord have mercy, Kaunda has been turning and turning ever since Sata became president. Yes, on Wednesday December 5, 2012, Kaunda made a 360-degree turn when he remarked that Sata is “a hardworking leader” with “distinguished leadership qualities” who deserves support. Kaunda is right now believed to be Sata’s “special advisor” – perhaps he thinks he is once again a puppet master?

While accompanying Sata at a ceremony to commission a hydro-power station in Chinsali, Kaunda showered loads and loads of praises on the Zambia’s lackluster head of state. “This man Sata is working hard. That’s why I appointed him governor for Lusaka,” Kaunda said. He went on, “I know how hardworking he is. He’s great. God our father, we thank you for giving us this great leader.”

Indeed, thank God almighty for the great leader who says he is above the law, the great leader who demeans and shouts at his officials in public, the great leader who wants the Anti-Corruption Commission, ACC, to first report to him before they commence investigations on any senior government official, the great leader who promised Zambians “more money in your pockets in 90 days” and much, much more. But surely, the good God almighty must have a better plan for Zambia.

The best Kaunda can do is to keep quiet and enjoy his retirement instead of making such statements which actually border on being in active politics. If Rupiah Banda woke up one day and said all the good things about MMD’s Nevers Mumba or UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema, all hell would break loose and Sata would deride him and call him all sorts of names. RB would be openly threatened by our thuggish, delinquent government to keep away from active politics otherwise his benefits would be curtailed. But what is Kaunda doing, if it is not active politics? But since it suits Sata and they appear to be bedfellows, Kaunda is getting away with it.

But the worst part about Kaunda growing closer to Sata is the widely held suspicion that Sata would like to return Zambia to the one-party state, and copy many of the brutal tactics employed by Kaunda.

Now this is a man many people say is behind the demise of Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, his childhood friend and a authentic hero of Zambian independence. Kapwepwe was Zambia’s vice-president for about two years, from 1967 to 1969. It was a very powerful position then, not what we have today. But then this is the man Kaunda appeared to have feared most to the extent that when Kapwepwe quit the United National Independence Party, UNIP, to form the United Progressive Party, UPP, in August 1971 Kaunda knew he had a real challenger. This was the beginning of Kaunda’s persecution of Kapwepwe, who was also a trained journalist. Kaunda banned the UPP on February 4 and odered the arrest and detention of Kapwepwe and 122 others under the notorious and vague Preservation of Public Security Act. Zambia was under a State of Emergency law that carried over from colonial Northern Rhodesia and Kaunda had sweeping powers to do as he pleased, even to people he grew up with. But prior to his arrest, Kapwepwe was savagely beaten by UNIP vigilantes in Lusaka’s Kamwala second class trading area. A front page picture of Kapwepwe struggling to get up was published in the Sunday Times of Zambia.

Kapwepwe was to remain in prison until December 31, 1972. He would have been 90 years old if he was alive today. Now can you imagine that exactly 40 years ago Kapwepwe, with a lot of other people including Alice Lenshina, were all sitting in Zambia’s prisons purely at the pleasure of Kaunda.

His death on January 26, 1980 was largely blamed on Kaunda. Kapwepwe is said to have suffered a “stroke” two days earlier while visting one of his children in Kalulushi. Word has it that he went to Kalulushi for some fresh air after his Chinsali home was once again ransacked by the police, as he was believed to have been keeping arms to dethrone Kaunda.

During the search, his water pump was dug up in search of the said firearms. The search yielded nothing except that it humiliated Kapwepwe who was later held for a few days at the local police station for further investigations. Soon after that he travelled to Kalulushi. So was the stroke induced by this constant harassment by the police state? Well, there are 101 chances that it may have been. Up to this day Kapwepwe’s family does not want to talk much about the suffering of their beloved father at the hands of Kaunda.

The list of those that suffered persecution and humiliation and even mysterious disappearances and deaths at the hands of Kaunda is almost endless. Elisha Banda, Justin Kabwe, Bearings Lombe, Kennan Nkwabilo, Arch-Bishop Elias Mutale all died in very mysterious accidents. Even journalists like Robby Makayi, Mario Malyo and Patu Simoko got their share of what it meant to be held indefinitely under the Preservation of Public Security Act which many still say is what contributed to keeping Kaunda in power for 27 years. So one did not really have to be a politician but as long as some UNIP vigilante pointed at you, you were history.

The one party state that came into effect on January 1, 1973 made Kaunda’s persecution of citizens even worse. So please, please stop claiming that this old man is an angel.  He is far from it. There are people still alive today who were victims of Kaunda’s mess and have tales to tell. Worse still even some of the people from the “Special Branch” as the Office of the President ,OP, was called then, who undertook the assignments to create accidents and so on are also alive today. Those spoken to have horrific stories.

Now if the apparent praises of Sata by Kaunda and the closeness of the two is anything to go by, then it should explain why Sata’s government was and still is in a hurry to have all mobile phone SIM cards registered. If you understand the implications this should really have hairs at the back of your neck stand up. There were no cell phones in Kaunda’s time but all telephone calls were randomly interfered with. People that were marked and considered to be in bad standing with Kaunda’s government had their phone lines constantly tapped. With the SIM card registration, this is where we are heading to. The random tapping has not been very effective on the sim-cards and Zambians are in for a rude shock.

In conclusion, Kaunda must actually stop confusing the masses because his skeletons would fill the entire Zambia if brought out completely. President Sata himself as a minister in the MMD was one of the people who wanted Kaunda locked up or at least to clear the air on the many wrongs done to the Zambia people. For many years Sata had no kind words for Kaunda. What has changed today? Does President Sata have a conscience, and is Kaunda’s conscience clear?

8 Comments

  1. Peter Mpande

    The word is “CONSCIENCE”, and it has a different meaning from “conscious”.

    The great Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe was taken ill while visiting his daughter DR Sampa Kapwepwe who was a medical practitioner at Chibuluma Mine Hospital.
    I do not recall her ever suggesting that her great father’s death was due to anything other than natural causes.

    Obviously, you are not aware of the fact that Mr Kapwepwe died in his daughter’s hospital, ie in Chibuluma Mine Hospital where his own daughter worked as a medical doctor.

    Mr Kapwepwe was attacked by UNIP thugs in 1973, and died in 1980, SEVEN (7) years later. Not even the most incompetent medical practitioner would dare suggest a link between an assault in 1973 with a stroke in 1980.

    As for the claim of “brutal repression” under Kaunda, my surmise is that the writer is one of these ignorant young rabble-rousers who depend on hearsay to write up their sensationalist articles for the sole purpose of seeing their name in some publication or other.

    I would remind the publishers that the late President Frederick Chiluba and his erstwhile Vice President Levy Mwanawasa, ended up severely embarrassed when Kaunda challenged them to name those who had died as a result of his (Kaunda’s) “brutal rule”. We saw one or two disgraced former shushushus and one or two former “activists” who claimed to have been tortured, but failed to press their case since they could prove nothing.

    I seem to recall that journalist Lackson Nthani, who became an overnight hero “revealing” the State House tunnels, never succeeded in showing us a single “torture chamber” as alleged by Mr Chiluba, who ended up being called a fool for revealing critical state security arrangements for the head of state. Both Mr Chiluba and Mr Nthani were subsequently dismissed as a couple of dangerous fools, and Mr Nthani has never recovered his journalistic reputation.

    President Mwanawasa, later, merely ensured that those who had successfully sued for wrongful detention, received their compensation as awarded by the courts.

    It is an established practice for any respected publication to check a story, counter-check and stick to verifiable facts before publication.
    I doubt that you did so, in this case.

    If I were a member of the Kaunda family, I would sue the writer and the publication.

    Does it occur to you that the Kapwepwe family was, and still is, fully capable of suing the State if they felt that their father had died as a result of torture or ill-treatment by the State? They have both the expertise to make a case and the resources to pursue it.

    • Ka Kwendo

      Mr. Peter Mpande, you are entitled to your opinion unless you are part of the Kaunda’s or really are blind and dumb, that is why you have contributed the way you have in support of a man with blood on his hands. This same article is on Zambian Watchdog. The comments the will make you commit suicide. As for Chiluba revealing the tunnels was the greatest mistake of his tenure and on this he should have been caged. But also remember that a torture chamber can be any place and may not look like one. Remember the bookshelf in Luckson Nthani’s footage on the tunnels? Would one imagine that the bookshelf was actually an entrance to some secret place. So I want to believe torture chambers were there under Kaunda’s repressive regime. The article has brought out a lot of things even names of victims so am sure whoever wrote it knows what he is talking about.

  2. Peter Mpande

    The word is “CONSCIENCE”, and it has a different meaning from “conscious”.

    The great Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe was taken ill while visiting his daughter DR Sampa Kapwepwe who was a medical practitioner at Chibuluma Mine Hospital.
    I do not recall her ever suggesting that her great father’s death was due to anything other than natural causes.

    Obviously, you are not aware of the fact that Mr Kapwepwe died in his daughter’s hospital, ie in Chibuluma Mine Hospital where his own daughter worked as a medical doctor.

    Mr Kapwepwe was attacked by UNIP thugs in 1973, and died in 1980, SEVEN (7) years later. Not even the most incompetent medical practitioner would dare suggest a link between an assault in 1973 with a stroke in 1980.

    As for the claim of “brutal repression” under Kaunda, my surmise is that the writer is one of these ignorant rabble-rousers who depend on hearsay to write up their sensationalist articles for the sole purpose of seeing their name in some publication or other.

    I would remind the publishers that the late President Frederick Chiluba and his erstwhile Vice President Levy Mwanawasa, ended up severely embarrassed when Kaunda challenged them to name those who had died as a result of his (Kaunda’s) “brutal rule”. We saw one or two disgraced former shushushus and one or two former “activists” who claimed to have been tortured, but failed to press their case since they could prove nothing.

    I seem to recall that journalist Lackson Nthani, who became an overnight hero “revealing” the State House tunnels, never succeeded in showing us a single “torture chamber” as alleged by Mr Chiluba, who ended up being called a fool for revealing critical state security arrangements for the head of state. Both Mr Chiluba and Mr Nthani were subsequently dismissed as a couple of dangerous fools, and Mr Nthani has never recovered his journalistic reputation.

    President Mwanawasa, later, merely ensured that those who had successfully sued for wrongful detention, received their compensation as awarded by the courts.

    It is an established practice for any respected publication to check a story, counter-check and stick to verifiable facts before publication.
    I doubt that you did so, in this case.

    If I were a member of the Kaunda family, I would sue the writer and the publication.

    Does it occur to you that the Kapwepwe family was, and still is, fully capable of suing the State if they felt that their father had died as a result of torture or ill-treatment by the State? They have both the expertise to make a case and the resources to pursue it.

  3. kangala Itoito

    Peter Mpande, you are coming out like you are actually Panji Kaunda or one of the many illegitimate children of Kaunda. Sue if you want what. Kaunda has far too many secrets and its high time someone talked about them. Remember how he tried to cover up the murder of Tabita Mwanza, Kambarage Kaunda’s lover in Ester/Kamanga compound. Kambarage, one of Kaunda’s twin sons got away with it but truth is he killed the lady in cold blood like his elder brother Panji killed someone over a woman in the early seventies. The writer of the artilce is right on spelling mistakes or not the message is clear that Kaunda is not an angel.

  4. wamulume Mukundakufwa

    I remember most of what has been written by Evans Mulenga. I seem not to get the rationale behind Mr/Dr/Prof Mpande’s point of view. Is Mphande saying the story is untrue or false? Surely we all Know Mr. Kapwepwe was beaten at the instigation of Kaunda’s own hit man Boniface Zulu who was some std 6 graduate from Kabwe Mine School and Youth Chairman of sort. We know how corrupt Kaunda’s rule was too—if the acquisition of Meridian Motors from Andrew Sardanis and Lupenga Trading for his children was anything to call straight business deals. The North Korean Aid of millions of dollars of heavy workshop machinery was all given to Lupenga Trading FOC.

    Remember also Kaunda nationalized Kanjombe stores despite the fact that this Indian was a very good UNIP financier those days of the independence struggle…you call that being grateful?

    A colleague who was working at SB/OP got a similar unexplained car crash death at the same location where many well educated young men perished. His name was Nyati will you refuse this fact as well? At this same spot another colleague we always called Supper Cop the husband to, also, late Lucy Sichone died in a similar car crush. Was this a coincidence? Sichone was a good Top cop on the copper belt if you remember and was merely doing his job. No insinuations here. All we are saying here is that a lot of deaths of prominent men occurred without full investigations being carried out in most instances.

    True Kaunda may not have directly contributed to Kapwepwe early demise but can you imagine how it was for old man Nshimpundu Kapwepwe to have lived under such cruel circumstances worse than the colonial era when he was instrumental in ensuring Kaunda was first President of Zambia? How would you feel really that your own child hood friend would turn against you in such a manner all in the name of preservation of POWER? For Kapwepwe to have formed UPP its because he found that Kaunda had gone dictatorial. He had become a god in Zambia who had forgotten about the group’s independence struggle wishes for the people of Zambia. True Kaunda also promised us an egg per day, a Pint of Milk A Day and shoes on every child—did we see those things? Will we ever see those things at the rate our jobs and more money are being created?

    Kaunda built the TAZARA, INDENI, TAZAMA Pipe Line, University, UTH, Schools, Clinics, Turned Barotseland into Western Province, created Copper belt Province, renamed towns from Broken hill, Fort Roseberry, Jameson and Abercorn to whatever they are today. Do you really think the renaming/creation of these things really gave Zambians wealth? How many in Gwembe valley have benefited from TAZARA, Indeni and Tazama? Some kids are born not to see a car in these areas yet this is the 21st Century! How many kids benefited from UNZA in Kaunda’s 27years as a percentage of kids between the ages of 18-30 years? How many die in Shangombo, Kaputa, Gwembe valley despite the UTH having been built 40 years ago? Don’t just be sentimental about these things, you do the so called research you so much want and tell us if alternative developmental initiatives would not have been more beneficial to the whole of Zambia. For example with the same money Kaunda used to build UNZA he could have turned Munali or Hodgson Technical college (DK) in Lusaka into a Scientific University for Central province, Northern Technical college into an engineering University for Copper belt, Chizongwe in Chipata for Agriculture, Hilcrest for medicine in Southern province and so forth but he opted to invest in brick and mortar built himself one huge monster he could not manage. You are still making the same mistakes of building new brick and mortar structures when the old can do the same job. In fact today you don’t need to be inside a structure to do your degree or whatever you wish to call it. A smart phone, Net book or Lap top a broad band network and a printer is all you need. WHY do you want to waste so much cash on building these things? Perhaps for practical degrees such as engineering, agriculture and medicine you may once in a while require residence for laboratory work but that can be arranged termly….certainly to do a Law Degree all you need is to be near a police camp, prison and a local court.

    Remember also how Kaunda economically destroyed this country? I laughed when during the kwacha auction the rate had gone up to K 22 to a US dollar and Kaunda blamed it on greedy businessmen as if he had given them an alternative currency to trade in…but remember what he did? By presidential decree (magic) he brought the rate down to K 8 to the dollar except he had no dollars to go round at K8 and the prices he was meant to bring down remained high.

    How about the Kebby Musokotwane and UNIP leadership fiasco? Do you call that great leadership skill? He destroyed UNIP just because he thought it was a family business and no one was to head it but him and his family. His own son has been UNIP President for more than twenty years with no elections and Kaunda is happy and keeps this old son at our tax payer built mansion near state lodge. And by the way, look at any of his kids with all the money they had at their disposal none of them could think of having a good education—can you imagine even those considered educated can hardly manage on their own except on or in a government free job?

    Perhaps Mr./ Dr/Pro Mphande can give us an accurate researched account from his point of view then we can learn from there and erase from our memories what we went through in Kaunda’s 27 years of hunger, poverty and whatever he called us all…stupid-idiots.

  5. Polio Chanda

    “But the worst part about Kaunda growing closer to Sata is the widely held suspicion that Sata would like to return Zambia to the one-party state, and copy many of the brutal tactics employed by Kaunda.”

    Zambia, today feels like a one party state. I have never really felt that Mandela was one of the heroes of Africa for some reasons but for once his opting to be out of public politics makes his a real hero. Any one to suggest this to super ken? I know he reacts badly to such suggestions but doing so would help protect his “image” as the “father” of the nation. this would also protect his from being manipulated to serve certain interests

  6. Polio Chanda

    …. protect him from being manipulated by certain powers to serve certain selfish interests ….

  7. Cincinta

    The writer has no facts. He wants to potray the SIM registration as Govt. way of intimidating people percieved to be Anti Govt. SIM registration started a long time when Zamtel then started their Mobile phones and because most people did not like the process of leaving their particulars started going to other networks. That is how Zamtel stopped.

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