Monday, 24 February 2014

University Of Zambia Political Lecturer Ng'oma Peddling Civic Illiteracy

When democracy entails divergence in political views and respect for citizens’ choice to belong to different political parties, University of Zambia political science lecturer Alex Ng’oma’s support for President Sata’s govt blinds him to sound like a political illiterate asking everyone to support PF

 By Nyalubinge Ngwende
University of Zambia political science lecturer Alex Ng’oma is a known Patriotic Front supporter, but he must be careful when he uses his position as an academician to try and solicit support for his preferred political party from among citizens who hold different views from his.

This is because his support tends to be blind and reduces him to peddling political illiteracy.
Dr Ng’oma is quoted in an article saying Zambians must support President Michael Sata’s administration because he means well for the country.

“Citizens should learn to support a party in power until it departs from the good causes it was elected for” (Sata needs support—Ngoma, Post Newspaper of Saturday, February 22, 2014).
The political lecturer seems to be lost in his own field of specialization, particularly losing the meaning of what multiparty democracy and its principles entail. 

Dr Alex Ng'oma
The simplicity of thinking that every government that wins elections is entitled to every citizen’s support is wrong. It defeats the divergence essence of multiparty democracy—a scale that is never in balance and a spectrum that is never white no matter how fast the spin is. It is for this that different political parties are founded on the differences in ideology and preferences of leadership style, giving citizens choice over who and what they should agree and not agree with in issues of governance.

The fact that PF only won with 180,000 votes confirms that not all Zambians agree with its leadership. When PF members accept and tolerate a president who refuses to respect democratic principles and insults with cheap and boring sarcasm pertinent national issues raised by interest groups, does not mean well meaning Zambians do the same.

We the majority of citizens are not happy when various interest groups representing a big constituent are calling for a people driven constitution,  President Sata responds by asking them whether they have ever seen an animal driven constitution for them to demand for a people driven one. PF members applaud and find nothing wrong in President Sata’s answer. But we, who are seeking an assurance over the constitution from the President, in a respectable manner, feel insulted. That already separates those who support Sata and those who prefer other leadership and style of governance. 

Dr Ng’oma continues:
“President Sata has demonstrated political will in the fight against corruption and we have seen him take action where there is clear evidence and therefore, people of Zambia must be patient with him, it is because he doesn’t want to be doing things alone.” 
Political will in the fight against corruption? Oh my foot!
Hope Dr Ng’oma is not talking about the same Sata who told the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and other law enforcement agencies not to investigate any of his ministers unless with his consent. And we have seen what that means. 

Thursday, 20 February 2014


Indeed, anything short of what the people need will be an animal driven constitution because it will represent nothing but the greedy of those who have no human heart for this country that has waited for a lengthy time for a constitution that inspires everyone regardless of their political station in life.
By Nyalubinge Ngwende
Yawning! This is because President Michael Sata and the Patriotic Front government are seriously BORING, more especially over the constitution making process. The President and PF are really disappointing and disgusting. 

Nobody objects to the fact that the PF government is borrowing heavily to invest in education, health and road infrastructure as well as create more civil service jobs. So long as each community will have a school where our children can go (albeit without quality teachers and high failure rate), every child will have a place in a university for a piece of paper called a degree (sadly so without skills that produce anything in the economy), and construction of a health centre at every other corner of a village bush path (where government fails to deploy health personnel and put equipment required to save a mother in need of obstetric emergency), the wastage matters little.

Those are Patriotic Front government and President Michael Sata’s choices. The wastage may be forgiven because our President is trying his best on things that he little understands and we were warned by former President Kenneth Kaunda that he, Sata, could not make a better President but a governor who needed someone to supervise him. We did not listen!

But when it comes to the constitution, President Sata will not fool us. The building of roads, universities, more schools and health facilities come to mean nothing if the citizens are enslaved by political tyranny that refuses to hand them a constitution meant to unleash their full liberties and broaden opportunities for citizens, regardless of their geographical position on the global map. 

A people driven constitution is our choice and not that of PF! 

We know that government has the duty to guide the formulation of a new constitution, but it is really boring when President Sata and his Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba thinks we the people do not need to care about which direction the constitution making process must take. After all, a constitution we are making is not for the PF and President Sata, it is for the 13 million Zambians at present and the more children to be born tomorrow there after the PF and Sata are long swallowed in the harsh reality of history. The worst could be the hottest part of hell!

When civil society activists are talking of a people driven constitution, they mean a good document that will stand the test of time; with statutes that meet the aspirations of the people and one that the people themselves will agree to. 

Zambians want the clauses like 50 plus one, dual citizenship, the removal of the parentage clause that restricts presidential candidature only to citizens with both parents who are born here, while those with one parent who is not Zambian are barred. They also need the Bill of Rights to be judiciable and the reduced powers of the President. Further it is their desire to clear the gray areas that have come to compromise the judiciary, in order to ensure clear lines of separation of powers among the three arms of government. 

It is BORING to continue reminding President Sata that he told the country he was going to deliver a people driven constitution within 90 Days of assuming office. Sir, we are now in the third year of your government and months are piling since the Technical Committee you appointed to draft completed their job. You are blocking them from releasing it simultaneously to you and the general public.

We will object to any further wasteful expenditure that may result from the failure of President Sata and PF giving us the constitution that he promised he would deliver.

This is why it is so BORING to listen to you President Michael Sata challenge civil society, the church and other citizens pushing for the enactment of a new people driven constitution to state whether they have ever seen an animal driven constitution.

Indeed, anything short of what the people need will be an animal driven constitution because it will represent nothing but the greedy of those who have no human heart for this country that has waited for a lengthy time for a constitution that inspires everyone regardless of their political station in life.

Such selfishness is found among animals—the monkeys—which a Russian philosopher presented as thoughtless and always trying to work alone. With a bunch of bananas hanging from up high, the monkeys could have easily reached the bunch by putting the crates available on top of each other. Alas, in the monkey world each primate chose to carry and stand on its own crate, ending up not getting any because of greedy.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Outlaw Pangas Near All Political Activity

In Rwanda the most potent and devastating weapon used to carry out genocide was a machete. In Zambia its look-alike, the Panga, has become a weapon of intimidation and political violence that starts where political tolerance and reason fails, but police and lawmakers seem to wait for the worst to happen before they can do anything to outlaw the weapon 

PF Matero youth Chairperson Heita Bwalya displays Pangas 

By Nyalubinge Ngwende

Pangas have become the most potent and dangerous-easy-to-acquire weapons to conduct political violence under the Patriotic Front.

In Matero when church pastors, political leaders and civil society activists gathered to demand for ‘Black Friday’ to press government over a people driven constitution and respect for civil rights, among them the freedom of association, a group of brutes entered the church with Pangas and planks to break up the church vigil. The ruling party PF youths, displaying their choice of weapon before Muvi TV cameras, later confessed to have been sent by area ward councilor, Morris Pio to carry out the act of violence.

It did not just end there and not just with their opponents. Because when the PF power brokering tactics that saw two groups emerge, differing over the endorsing of President Michael Sata as the sole candidate for 2016, the opposing groups resorted to use of Pangas. To show that nothing is settled through dialogue in PF, the factions resorted to settling their difference with Pangas on the road to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, as they tried to block each other from witnessing President Sata laying a foundation stone for the new plane terminal infrastructure.

The PF members hacked each other as ‘scare-crows’ in police uniform stood-by musing at the orgy and doing nothing. One life was lost and a PF Lusaka youth leader is facing charges of murder in the High Court.
The PF has now earned itself an infamous tag of Panga Family because of the frequency and prominence that its members resort to use the machete-type sharp weapon hacking and maiming others they have differed with in opinion.

The reason that a mob of ruling party cadres can get around our townships wielding Pangas, waving these weapons in front of television cameras, as they goby wrecking havoc shows how relaxed the law restricting dangerous weapons like this has become. 

Or is it that the police are just unwilling to strongly deal with lawlessness involving members of the ruling party? If not, but why,  apart from the case of murder in high court, no one, not even those who appeared on Muvi TV confessing to breaking up the Black Friday church gathering, has ever been arrested for carrying dangerous weapons that are capable of maiming and killing?

It raises a lot of questions on the part of the police and how they treat political violence in relation to public peace. They were quick at arresting and detaining Alliance for Better Zambia leader Fr Frank Bwalya for rightly defining President Sata as ‘Cumbu Mushololwa’—a bemba tribe jibe meaning someone who does not take advice, like a crooked sweet potato that cannot be straightened unless it breaks. However, they have lamentably failed to cite anyone of faces that have appeared in newspaper and television pictures with Pangas in raised hands. At the same time they have been brutalizing opposition members for peaceful demonstrations.  

Worse more are the levels of denial among the politicians, especially the government leadership, to fail to see

the danger the presence of Pangas in the hands of political thugs from the ruling party are posing to Zambia’s political peace.
Guy Scott blames other political parties for the Panga violence
In the last sitting of parliament vice president Guy Scott was in complete denial that those who were involved in the killing of a cadre on the road to KKIA were not PF members, but opposition hooligans who had infiltrated the ruling party.

Though Scott did not want to accept the problem of the Panga Family and its violence as squarely lying on the ruling party, at least, if he were a serious leader of government business in the house, the man was going to propose to parliament the need to seek stiffer regulation over the presence of Pangas in public.

Pangas are an essential tool for domestic use for pruning overgrowth of trees, cutting sticks and thatch for fencing and also as a potential weapon for security against buglers in homes that cannot afford firearms.
However, its presence in the hands of political thugs, around and during any place of political activity, a panga has proved to be a devastating weapon of merciless violence. It replaces any sense of tolerance and has assumed the basest means by which political dissent is intimidated into silence.

When politics got bad in Rwanda, the machete—which is the Panga type—became a weapon of genocide. It is dangerous, but cheaper and easier to acquire because blacksmiths all around the townships can easily make it. The equally quite heavy steel it is forged from and, given its sharp edge, it means any youthful effort of attack on another human being can cause serious wounding or cut off a limb or kill instantly. 

As already seen, the Panga is becoming a potential weapon of intimidation and unspeakable violence that can undermine free political thought and decision. With it around and with no deliberate measures taken to forestall its entry into any arena of political competition, the way it will play out during 2016 when the country returns to general elections shall only be told by those who will face the sharp side of this machete. 

It is for this that our lawmakers should seek to outlaw this weapon in public and anyone found in its possession must face the wrath of the law, enough to deter would be offenders. It would not be extreme if anyone were found with a Panga nearer any political activity to face a charge of being in possession of a weapon of murder and political violence which should carry not less than 25 years jail term.

Maybe in this way we can reduce the violent type in the Panga Family, save them from killing their own at this time and also turning the same senselessness on members of the opposition as the political things get thicker for the ruling party towards 2016.