Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Politics of Celebrating Zambia’s Independence

President Sata must apologise to the country for the first 10 years that he spent in the opposition destroying every meaning of celebrating Zambia’s Independence Day

By Nyalubinge Ngwende
President Michael Sata cannot, even in his worst of dreams or best of jokes, recite a single day when he attended any national day while he was in opposition. This man refused to attend any national day and asked Zambians not to celebrate Independence because there was nothing to celebrate for.

For full eight years during the reign of Levy Mwanawasa and two additional years of Rupiah Banda as President, Sata never saw any national importance in the Independence Day of Zambia. He also refused to attend Youth Day, Labour Day and to observe the Heroes and Unity and other national calendar events.
Radio QFM quoted Sata in 2009 as follows:

“Yesterday, Patriotic front Leader Michael Sata said he will boycott this year's 45th independence celebrations despite being officially invited.
Mr Sata wonders what is there to celebrate when the country's own Telecommunications utility is being privatized and the country is facing a fuel shortage.
He says president Rupiah Banda can hoodwink Zambians with his apology over the fuel shortage in the country but that he cannot bluff them.
Mr Sata says when president Rupiah Banda came to power corruption at play wanted to influence the supply of crude oil and that the inexperienced people brought in are only after making money.”

Monday, 21 October 2013

Zambia's 49 Years of Peace, Unity—Teamwork Achievement

Zambia at 49, starts in earnest celebrating the 50 years Independence Jubilee. But the country's first President Kenneth Kaunda seems to be stealing all the attention of being the author of political peace and unity the Southern African nation has enjoyed over years while others who played party are forgotten and hardly mentioned
Kenneth Kaunda with colleagues negotiating Independence at Lancaster House
 By Nyalubinge Ngwende
Zambia celebrates 49 years of Independence, still adorned in the laurels of being an African and world icon of relative political peace and stability. 

It is a country that is a mosaic of 72 tribal groups which in any circumstance could be a sign of fragility that could spell tribal unrests and political instability.

However, for the 49 years that the country has enjoyed self rule it has not just managed to maintain relative cohesion among the 72 tribes, but also inculcated a culture of nationhood to a large extent where all these tribes have confidence in the governance system.

But during such celebrations, the country’s politicians tend to personalise the period of the Independence event. Those in government want to monopolise the event as though they are better placed to understand its essence. Others in the opposition seem to challenge any sense that makes this day to be of any essence and worth celebrating in the face of economic problems. That is politics and the country has learnt to live with the parallels. 

That aside, the most annoying is how all other freedom fighters, simple husbands and wives, sons and daughters, who put their lives in the line of danger so that we can enjoy the things we do today, are forgotten. Instead the focus of government leaders is turned at the extolling one person, Kenneth Kaunda, who is made to appear as though he is the sole author of Zambia’s Independence as well as the peace and unity the country continues to enjoy.  

This is wrong and it should not be accepted.

When greater nations divided the continent to perpetuate their imperialists’ interests, some selfish citizens in most African countries collaborated: embraced mercenaries to pursue tribal interests over nationhood. They even endorsed racism, to secure profits and markets for export of their raw materials and imports of finished goods. 

But our fore bearers chose to be different. They chose to build an independent and united country. They also stood against imperialism in several neighbouring countries; they braved trade sanctions and isolation, sacrificed their limited resources and fly overnight military plane attacks. That was done to defend the rights of our country and those of our African brothers and sisters whose nations were not independent, so that one day their lands, too, could be free and realise self rule. 

Because we are unique, we extended our love to Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa and Angola. Our leaders did not just see Africa’s freedom within this country, but across boundaries. It was the belief of our political leaders that this great country could only be free and enjoy political stability if its neighbours and the whole of Africa and its people were liberated from all forms of subjugation—be it political, racial, economical and social. 

As other nations continue to quarrel within themselves, their national leadership still warring about which tribe must rule, trying to stingy other groups over control of national wealth, washing their countries in bloodbaths and perpetuating heinous crimes against children and women, causing displacements of hundreds of thousands of their people within and across their national borders, Zambia has remained a bastion of political peace and stability. It has taken in over a quarter a million of refugees since the 1960s.

Our country has stood united. To bind together 72 different tribes into one nation is no mean achievement. We do not need accolades! The world must learn our spirit and transplant what makes us a better Zambia to other nations where even the interventions of think tanks on international relations, peace and stability continue to elude those countries.
This did not come about by sheer lucky. After Independence the divided interests were quickly tamed, harmonized to enrich the country’s national aspirations. The political art or formula that was used might remain unwritten or unsung and to the jealousy, unpopular. But two words: NATIONAL INTEREST—remains the spirit of courage that pacified what would have permanently divided us.

Mwansa Kapwepwe as foreign minister in 1966
A lot of authors and political cheer leaders may try and write individual liberation struggle leaders as icons of forging the culture of NATIONAL INTEREST. It is only those who seek to disregard the spirit of team work who could think national interest can be authored by one mind and one hand. Only those who seek to extol individuals as idols will attempt to deceive those who were not there. Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, among others, played equally an important role in giving Zambia the gift of peace and unity.

In Zambian wisdom, it is clearly understood that ‘one finger cannot pick and crush louse’. National Interest is a shared virtue that comes about by political leaders realizing that their personal desires are smaller than those of the multitudes of the people they stand for. Without that virtue being shared across interests anyone from any single tribe was going to derail what Zambia holds as its internationally recognised symbol—peace and unity. 

This is the standard courage and sacrifice forming the spirit passed to this generation and those to come; gifted by God as an inheritance with which children of our children shall embrace with or without the motto: One Zambia, One Nation.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Shoprite: ‘Poster Corporation’ of Slave Wages

After years of enjoying huge tax rebates offered by politicians, today Shoprite profits from paying poor wages and an array of severe working conditions including using surveillance cameras to intimidate workers in its Zambian outlets 

Shoprite accused of slave wages, rakes millions of dollars but pays peanuts

By Nyalubinge Ngwende
It is a Supermarket chain that has all the settings of modernity: security cameras, air cons, huge freezers packed with imported and local meats, fish prawns, yoghurts and ice creams. High rising compartmentalised store shelves are jam-packed with all sorts of groceries that afford customers to buy under-one-roof.

Young men and women adorned in white shirts, with pocket tags bearing their name, and blue trousers and skirts as uniform sit in long lines of IBM computerised counters, swiping items and punching keys attending to hoards of customers.

This is Shoprite Stores, one of Zambia’s biggest supermarkets, imported from South Africa via free market economy policies of the 90s, with 100 percent tax rebates for their first five years entry into Zambia. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Dark Cloud Hangs Over Wynter Kabimba's Political Career

Wynter’s miseries are a making of his own power disorder that makes him not to read precarious political situations. The disorder of power and thinking that he is always right and fails to listen before he talks or to know before he understands, blinded him into the snare of self destruction. His own arrogance and pride has summoned his nemesis. 
By Nyalubinge Ngwende
Wynter Kabimba always looked like a secretary general of the ruling Patriotic Front who was going to steer the party to success and probably take over its leadership as president from Michael Sata. He bragged that the Patriotic Front would rule Zambia for the next 100 years, and everyone who believed that must have surely thought this ‘prophetic’ politician will always be there to help lay a foundation for a ‘record-century-rule’ by the country’s third ruling party.

Wynter (left) with Sata listening with all ears
But with the turn of events in the Patriotic Front, the general membership agitated and calling for his resignation, Wynter walks with a dark cloud of political uncertainty over his head and his continued stay in the ruling party seems unlikely. If he manages to stay, he will be a black sheep; unfortunately they do not always stay long as they feel out of place until they find their own kind elsewhere!

The man is dejected, as party leadership allegedly from all the 10 provinces are demanding that Wynter steps down.

With this growing unpopularity leading to a vote of no confidence, Wynter may be thinking he will still survive what he calls the acts of evil. Boasting that he was not elected to his position as party SG by a single vote from the provincial delegates but appointed by President Michael Sata, as he has pompously told off those calling for him to step down, he believes it is only Sata who can fire him.

The question is: will Sata stand to wait and condone a party Secretary General in Wynter who dishevels the harmony of the entire Patriotic Front party leadership in the nine provinces? I think it is never in Sata’s patience to sit-by. It is a conjecture, but the goings-on in the ruling party just gives Sata an impression that his Chief Executive Officer has failed to command respect among rank and file. He will consider Wynter to have failed to make party cadres understand him and lack any tact to manage and deal with disputes in the ruling party. 

That is leadership failure. To Sata, if Wynter has failed on this current problem, then he may not just be trusted to deal with more complicated problems that may emerge in the nearest future. My guess is that Sata may remove Wynter from the position of Secretary General and replace him, but still retain him as nominated MP and Justice Minister in cabinet. Unless Sata sees this as a premature move that is detrimental, sacrificing Wynter might just be the next thing.

But does Wynter deserve all this?

One might want to really sympathise with Wynter during these turbulent times engulfing him. But when one looks back at what has led to his embattlement, one may just agree that the man deserves a day and the next of his political miseries.

Since the confusion erupted in the Patriotic Front about a month ago a certain disorder of power with well known symptoms seems to have afflicted Wynter.

There is literally no-people-management in Wynter that anyone can admire. When President Sata finally put a stop to the endorsements because that could only happen if someone proposed his name, the intervention provided a break in the debate that was dividing the party. It must have given Wynter, as CEO of the party, breathing space to embark on reconciling the opposing views and just seek general peace. He was supposed to move in a whirlwind of things to meet all provincial leadership and talk passionately about the time they spent with President Sata while in the opposition, and the vision of leadership they have shared which, as Sata suggested, is open to all those who have aspirations. He was supposed to put to rest all suspicions that he has ambitions of taking over the party and contest presidency in the event that the incumbent does not complete his tenure. Wynter was supposed to talk peace and not war.

Instead of doing that Wynter showed the obvious signs of hubris, choosing to yell from the press, calling those opposed to him as a clique of tribalists bent on evil. This does not show any humility expected of a good leader who seeks cooperation with others. He disrespected the views of other party members on the matter, inflated a show of arrogance which is one of the symptoms of leadership failure or hubris—a natural phenomenon that strikes leaders who lose it in power by being arrogant and intolerant or insensitive to those under them.

As is the case of those who are afflicted by this condition, Wynter refused to be humbled. This is proved by Lusaka Province chairman Horace Longwe who is quoted by media saying “the party in the province has resolved that Wynter leaves his position as Secretary General because he was stubborn and had failed to connect with party structures and grassroots which do the actual voting”.

With this, one can see that Wynter’s miseries are a making of his own power disorder that makes him not to read precarious political situations. The disorder of power and thinking that he is always right and fails to listen before he talks or to know before he understands, blinded him into the snare of self destruction. His own arrogance and pride has summoned his nemesis.   

Will Wynter survive this storm?

It is unlikely. What those who want him out of his position have done is to turn Wynter into a common enemy. They know the party rank and file need to see Wynter as a bad person who has wrong ambitions and working on motives that are not in the interest of the party. They have manufactured or just stumbled on concrete evidence to implicate him. They have accused him of working with Sikwindi Situla, a publisher of the Barotse Times, to push presidential ambitions; they have linked him to the formation of a new political party called the Fourth Republic Party and that he has neglected the leadership of the PF under him.

Wynter cannot escape these accusations until he is nailed to the cross. All that is remaining now is to bring him before President Sata to meet the people and ask him who they want sacrificed for the PF two years in power. 

Sata like Pontius Pilate will then wash his hands that he finds nothing wrong in Wynter. But since it is a practice of democracy to listen to the demands of the masses, he is going to leave the matter to the party general leadership handing him over to them for their verdict. The masses always win and their role in this process is decisive. Wynter must not be mistaken, this process might seemed to be pushed by hoodlums without leadership, but because he miscalculated by failing to speak the language of the forces opposing him so that he could understand them and them him, those forces have found leadership.

With no doubt you cannot have delegations representing the provincial leadership organise, meet in Lusaka and pass a resolution demanding that Wynter must resign. The Patriotic Front hoodlums have found leadership in the name of Willie Nsanda (Sata’s campaign manager), Samuel Mukupa (PF central committee member) and Jean Kapata (Mandevu MP and central committee member).

Jean says Wynter’s utterances quoted in the media accusing other party members of being part of a tribal clique that is fighting him has brought the party in disrepute and goes against article 15 (g) of the party constitution. She has written a letter to the party leadership demanding for Wynter to be disciplined.

Wynter must know that these demands from people opposing him are not making him strong but only weakening further his standing as the Chief Executive Officer of the ruling party. He has more enemies in the Patriotic Front than he would have if he was an opposition leader.

Sad for him that his sweet grapes in the ruling party ends up making sour wine.