One day, I came across Dr. Canisius Banda’s article on this very page entitled, “Give Sinkamba’s ‘Weed’ A Chance.” It made interesting reading because it was not an article you read everyday. It took you out of a problem prone environment right to where solutions come from.
The issue with rubbing shoulders with people of one’s kind or similar mindset, especially with a judged societal sanity, is that it’s either you rarely get to know the truth or expose yourself to new ideas.
A progressive people is one that keeps moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things. But this demands that we become curious because it’s curiosity that keeps leading us down new paths.
But our colonial education system took out this very trait, a curious mind and left us with a submissive one. Our education system has had, for decades, an in-built slant that means it suppresses critical thinking and helps create a mindset of blind loyalty.
The system was essentially designed to serve the economic interests of the colonisers, which was the primary motivation for colonialism in the first place.
What we call education is, actually, not but training. Its purpose was not to bring a person to understand the objective limits to the advancement of individual and societal welfare, but to train a person how to live with problems and even administer them among his kind in an ‘efficient’ manner.
This was a well thought out plan to prepare our colonial societies for retrogressive laws that would follow specifically to manage us as they could only survive under a subdued people. Does it make sense that stealing a farm animal worth K50 carries a stiffer punishment than stealing K1m in a bank?
The answer lies in identifying who worked on the farm and one who was employed in the bank. This is why it was so refreshing to read about the latest Cannabis decision by government. Just who said the use of Cannabis is limited to smoking it?
Dr. Canisius Banda refers to such a mindset as “a dangerous nitwit, an inimical presence in our community.” He observes that Cannabis must be decriminalised the worldover. Nonetheless,
regulation, albeit wise, must be enforced just as it exists for many other things.
Without wondering why, today, we incarcerate poor souls for merely growing and possessing a handful of Cannabis. Observes Dr. Banda, “It is one of those sorry things that are anachronistic/obsolete and embarrassing that are products of false or flawed premises, this in itself arising from sheer ignorance.”
What our lawmakers, who must be in Parliament to equally represent an ordinary life in rural Zambia, ought to understand is that the political usefulness of the current education system was not that it imparted skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic but that it promoted values such as loyalty to the colonial order and disciplined self-sacrifice in the interest of the colonial system.
In 2013, Mr. Peter Sinkamba announced the Green Party manifesto to legalize cannabis for economic, industrial and medicinal purposes. He was ridiculed, reviled, insulted and called all sorts of names. I travelled to Kitwe and I met him at Continental Lodge in Riverside, my opinion of him immediately changed.
The man was right and he, too, knew he was right. But, to add salt to the open wound, his consolation came from lone voices such as Dr. Canisius Banda whose opinion would be played down based on political prejudice.
Dr. Banda said, “Peter Sinkamba has a point. Trouble is, he is from the future. In his enlightenment, he is many years ahead of the average Zambian citizen. Indeed he will be misunderstood, reviled and even fought because his audience is way behind him. His attitude should be like that of Jesus, ‘forgive them Father for they know not what they do’. Jesus, you see, came from where we are going.”
It has taken time to understand Mr. Sinkamba because he was way ahead of us. What is even more shocking is the fact that Mr. Sinkamba was right while the rest of us were wrong but it was Mr. Sinkamba who was presumed wrong just because he did not conform.
Dr. Banda observes, “The temptation to be irritated by this foolishness is indeed strong. However, those that know must duly resist it. A person with a new idea is always a crank until the idea succeeds.”
But after all is said and done let’s remember why our colonial masters took away our ability to think critically; great ideas alter the power balance. That’s why, everywhere you go, great ideas are initially resisted.
©Zambia Reports 2019