Hakainde Hichilema, Edgar Lungu and the Politics of Contrasts and Comparisons

E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), M.Div.

The campaign time has come in earnest. It seems all the parties now have a general idea of who is going to be their presidential candidate. It is game on. Without being sub judice, it is clear that after the discharge of the injunction against Rupiah Banda, the ECZ and several other interested parties almost certainly are taking him as the MMD’s presidential candidate. We, however, await the determination of the final matter to know for sure whether Nevers Mumba will bounce back to lead the MMD into the by-election.

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Zambia Decides

By far the winner on the campaign trail so far has been Hakainde Hichilema. Time has worked to his advantage. While the PF and the MMD were embroiled in bitter internal wrangles, HH had the time and support from his caucus to take his “Zambia United” tour across the breadth and depth of our country. This tour had taken him to Solwezi, Nakonde, Kapiri Mposhi and Kabwe. He has also been to Chama, Isoka and Kasama. If there is any candidate that has had a head start to this campaign it is Hakainde Hichilema. The infighting going on with his competitors has helped him sharpen his message. Those discontented with both the PF and the MMD have expressed support for Hichilema’s candidacy. Some MMD Members of Parliament such as Felix Mutati have now pledged to help campaign for Hichilema. It does look like this election will be his to lose.

Even though Hichilema’s campaign has had all these strengths, his fragilities are also quite enormous. Hichilema only campaigned with his wife once: during the launch of his candidacy. And that was the last time we heard of his wife. In Zambia, most successful presidential campaigns must greatly rely on the help of spouses. The Hichilema campaign team should find a way of involving his wife. If she cannot address rallies, they should at least find a way to take of lot of pictures of her with her husband. It is not necessary for her to talk or to address masses like her husband, but it will be good for the optics of Hakainde Hichilema to have Mrs. Hichilema appear with him. Generally, Hichilema appears stiff and rigid on the campaign trail. He has tried to loosen up a bit by biking along other supporters in Chipata. He has also been pictured dancing to some tunes on rallies. That is positive and helps shed off the stiff, business-like and serious appearance.

As stated earlier, the other thing HH needs to work on is to make more appearances with his wife. This is important to the electorate who for some reason still highly regard family unity. The second reason is that spouses somehow humanize candidates. There is something that a spouse brings to a campaign that a candidate cannot. When we look at Michael Sata’s campaign, his wife Christine Kaseba helped humanize him and brought support on her own. Chiluba had Vera during his 1991 campaigns. And so did Levy Mwanawasa, have Maureen, during his 2001 campaigns. I just hope that Hichilema will make his wife a little bit more visible. She has a lot to add to the campaign.

Mrs Lungu addressing a rally in Mongu alongside husband

Mrs Lungu addressing a rally in Mongu alongside husband

PF presidential candidate Edgar Lungu has already identified this reality and has his wife by his side during campaigns. She spoke at Edgar Lungu’s rally in Mansa making her husband to quip, “this woman could as well grab my Chawama seat”. That exchange of words can only work to the advantage of Edgar Lungu. It shows that they both as a family are ambitious and want to rule the nation. It also shows that both Edgar and his wife are susceptible to the temptation and trappings of office: a reality that rarely works against any political couple. Spouse involvement in politics also gives the people something to talk about apart from the real boring issues. In politics real issues could be monotonous, repetitive and uninteresting. But what can never be boring is the accent of a wife of a presidential candidate. People would like to gossip about how a spouse wears her Chitenge and how she does her Brazilian hair. They want to talk about how she looks and what she says. In the end, such talk only goes to humanize candidates. It also translates political rhetoric into a more common conversation. And today, between Hichilema and Lungu, Lungu looks more human, and casts a common man image to the electorate. In the ballot box, people would more certainly vote for a candidate they feel identifies with them. Hichilema has a lot of good things going well for him. But he needs to repackage his optics and his wife and family could help him do that.

Hakainde Hichilema

Hakainde Hichilema

Another matter of great interest is with regard to “tribal perception”. When Lungu went to Mansa, speakers included Kalaba, Inonge, Bwalya and Lubinda. When Hakainde Hichilema spoke in Mumbwa and Kabwe campaign speakers comprised Maureen Mwanawasa and Charles Milupi. That being the case, it appears like Lungu has a more diverse team than HH appears to have. This is not a matter of factual reality, but a matter of perception. And perceptions do matter in Zambian politics. Hichilema needs to deliberately diversify the team he takes on his campaigns. When he went to Muchinga this week, he appeared with Felix Mutati. But he needs to do more than just appear with Mutati. Diversity must appear sincere on HH’s part. It should not appear like he is just trying to work with Mutati to win votes. There has to be some changes in HH’s campaign team to show that he is willing to genuinely work with other political players, particularly those coming from the Northern-Muchinga corridor. The Hakainde campaign team should ask themselves, why is it that in spite of a lot of hard work in this area, his party and campaign still gets perceived as regional or tribal? They need to quickly work on some optics. In Kasama when he visited the Chitimukulu, it was very disappointing that no one came to HH’s defense on time. By the time Mutale Nalumango was responding, it was already too late and Father Frank Bwalya had already taken over the narrative reinforcing the idea that UPND had lied about the Chitimukulu endorsement. What HH needs is a quick response team that handles sensitive tribal issues, especially with regard to Northern-Muchinga-Luapula corridor. This corridor could prove decisive for HH. If he cannot find those that can willingly work for him, he can at least hire someone to do that for him.

This campaign period will be about real issues. But sadly, it will also be about feelings, perceptions, and other irrelevant things. A candidate wins not because they have handled huge issues very well. Candidates win because they connect with the voters sometimes at very personal levels. It is in this regard that we must caution those that are underestimating Lungu simply because he did terribly during the Radio interview. Lungu might not be the best speaker, but if he were able to connect with the common man on the street, it would be difficult to beat him. With good management and change in optics HH could as well become that inspiring politician demanded by the common man and woman.

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Suggested citation:

Munshya, E. (2014). Hakainde Hichilema, Edgar Lungu and the Politics of Contrasts and Comparisons. Elias Munshya Blog (www.eliasmunshya.org). 13 December 2014

Why It is Illegal for Guy Scott to fire or transfer government officers

E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), M.Div.

News that the government of Acting President Guy Scott has either fired or transferred some senior government workers makes sad reading. We should all be concerned when a transitory government purports to perform functions that are outside its mandate. According to Article 38 (3) of the constitution of Zambia, a Vice-President who is performing functions of a President after the death of a substantive President cannot “revoke any appointment made by the President”. That being the case, it is illegal for the government of Guy Scott to replace Bert Mushala with Chanda Kasolo at the Ministry of Information. Some have advanced two arguments why they believe the Guy Scott government is in order to replace Mushala with Kasolo as Permanent Secretary. We will deal with each of these arguments in turn.

Guy Lindsay Scott of Zambia

Guy Lindsay Scott of Zambia

Some are arguing that the Guy Scott government is in order because in essence what they did was just transfer Mushala from Information and in his place they brought Kasolo. According to this argument, what is forbidden in the constitution is “revoking” the appointment and not “transferring” the worker. Now this is a very weak argument. If an action has the same effect as “revocation” then it should be condemned as such. We all know that there is a reason why an Acting President should not be revoking the appointed officers. An acting president as the name suggests is a temporary leader who assumes executive functions for the ninety days between the death of one president and the election of the next. During this time, it is expected that no major changes should take place in the government. Transferring senior government officers does have the same effect as revoking their appointments. First, it unsettles the basic structure of a government. Second, it sends a chilling effect on government officers to toll the line of the temporary leader. This temporary leader does not have the legitimacy to command such allegiance. Third, it could jeopardies the country’s good order and security. If security agents in Zambia feel insecure during a moment of executive transition, we have no idea how they would react to such activities. There is some strength in knowing that the basic officer structure left by the late President Sata should remain unchanged during the transition.

Guy Scott can't do through Msiska what the constitution disallows him to do - Munshya

Guy Scott can’t do through Msiska what the constitution disallows him to do – Munshya

The second argument being advanced is to the effect that, in fact, it is Secretary to Cabinet who has done the transfer and not Guy Scott. For the lack of a better term, this argument is absolute nonsense. The Zambian system of governance is a “political system”. Having a political system means that both the civil service and the armed forces are under oversight, supervision and control of our elected politicians. In Zambia, the Secretary to Cabinet even if she is the head of the civil service does not make personnel decision at Permanent Secretary level. This is the preserve of an elected and sworn President. Consequently, according to our constitution, the political leaders are estopped from changing the fabric of the senior civil service in the ninety days of an executive transition. As such, the Secretary to Cabinet does not have the power nor the authority to do what he is purported to have done. If Guy Scott is estopped from making changes, this certainly means that Secretary to Cabinet Msiska is equally estopped from making changes. In essence, Guy Scott cannot accomplish indirectly through Roland Msiska, what he cannot accomplish directly through his office. That which the constitution stops Guy Scott from doing, cannot be done by hiding through the signature of Dr. Msiska. It is an open secret that in the don’t kubeba government, systems and basic government decency has been heavily compromised. But we must do all we can to remind this government to do right. Even after the death of President Sata, this maltreatment of our system was exhibited. Instead of having the political leadership announce the passing of the President, it was a procedural indignity for the death of a republican president to be announced by a Secretary to Cabinet. After all is done, it will be good to make an inquiry into what exactly transpired in this sacrilege in protocol.

By stating that our system of governance is a “political system”, we do not in any way state that “professionals” or “technocrats” are irrelevant. What we are stating is that professionals and technocrats have a place in our system. But their place is not in usurping the role of elected representatives of our people. Zambia is not a technocracy it is a democracy. It is in this vein that we should agree with what Miles Sampa stated at one point when he was at Ministry of Finance. When he was a Deputy Finance Minister, he had differed with some technocrats there. In responding to them, Sampa made it clear that the role of technocrats is not to make “policy” but to implement it. Policymaking is a preserve of elected representatives who have political accountability to the people of Matero or Milenge as the case may be. Since technocrats are not directly accountable to the people, our system of governance makes them amenable to politicians and then politicians in turn are amenable to the will of the people. Zambians voted for Sata, for Guy Scott and will vote for Sata’s successor on January 20, 2015. Zambians never voted for Roland Msiska, and as such, he should exercise only those powers that are consistent with his role as Zambia’s most senior civil servant.

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Scott shouldn’t behave like a substantive President

Another concern we have that has insolently blurred the divide between politicians and the civil service concerns the so-called “District Commissioners”. The DCs are supposed to be civil servants. As civil servants, they are not political representatives of our people. It is surprising how these unelected DCs usurp civic and municipal functions that should be left to respective mayors and councilors to perform. DCs behave as if they are the mini-presidents or mini-ministers of their districts. This is a huge anomaly. To put it another way, a DC is not to Milenge what Sata was to Zambia. Again, my DC friend in Ithezi Tezhi is not to that town what Munkombwe is to Southern Province. We will leave that discussion to another day.

But for now, we condemn Guy Scott’s deplorable way of governing by transferring government officers. It is illegal, to say the least. We urge him to exercise restraint especially during this time that his party is undergoing a political bloodbath. During these times, there is a great temptation to act irrationally and to abuse power. We urge Guy Scott to be reasonable. A warning is in order. Scott could be thinking that he has political bombasa. But immunity is so unreliable as a way to hide what we Zambians perceive to be illegal. All Scott needs is to ask Bo Rupiah Banda and he will be told that in “bombasa” Zambians do not trust!

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This article appeared in the print edition of the Zambia Daily Nation on Friday 21 November 2014. Munshya wa Munshya on Friday column appears there every Friday.

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A Great Man Who Died “Empty”: Tribute to Dr. Myles Munroe (1954-2014)

E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), M.Div.

The news came as a shock to me. Like most deaths, the passing of Dr. Myles Munroe was completely unexpected. He was flying to a meeting he was hosting in The Bahamas when his private plane hit a crane and disintegrated. All the nine passengers including Dr. Munroe’s wife Ruth died on the spot on November 9 2014. The Prime Minister of Bahamas, Perry Christie, remarked that the passing of Dr. Munroe was a huge loss to the island. Indisputably, Dr. Munroe had risen to be the most internationally influential preacher the commonwealth of Bahamas has ever produced. On many levels, the passing of Dr. Munroe has been a loss to his family, his church, his international followers and indeed to his native country. Munroe held three bachelor’s degrees, a Master of Arts degree and an honorary doctorate degree. He was a lecturer, advisor, pastor, and best-selling author.

I had the privilege of being introduced to the books and tapes of Dr. Munroe very young in my life. I started listening to Dr. Myles Munroe in my teenage years. My friends and I found the teachings from Dr. Munroe to be quite spiritually stimulating, emotionally vigorous and intellectually challenging. In the early nineties, a deacon in my home church in Chingola, the Grace Fellowship Family Church, lent me a book by Dr. Myles Munroe. I was only sixteen. But the book “In Pursuit of Purpose” changed my life. Henry Charles Sichone was a very dedicated church leader in Bishop Mumba Kalusenga’s congregation. He now provides leadership to a ministry called “Praise Ministries”. He had a home library where we could borrow books. It so happened that while he was sorting his books, I saw him tack away the book “In Pursuit of Purpose”. When I asked if he could lend it to me, he cautiously gave it to me with strict instructions that I return it in good condition. I had no idea just how much of an impact that book would have on my life. I am really glad that I came across that material. Dr. Myles Munroe helped shape my life through that book.

The Word of Faith Movement has received a lot of criticism. However, I find that some criticism to be quite unfair. While it is true that some within the faith movement only taught the idea that in order to make it in life you have to just “claim it”, there were other teachers who taught hard work, self-discipline and perseverance. Dr. Munroe belonged to the latter. There are several principles I learnt through the life and ministry of Dr. Myles Munroe.

First, Munroe taught about personal purpose. He taught that one’s fulfillment in life depends on them doing and becoming what they were born to be and do. This statement is quite liberating. I remember as a teenager reading through this statement and determining from then on that my fulfillment was not dependent on what my parents told me but on what I felt was God’s purpose for my life. It was this sense of personal purpose that led me to enroll in a theological college immediately after High School in Chingola. I have tried to pursue my personal purpose since then.

Second, Munroe taught about excellence. It was not enough to just know one’s purpose. Each person must work on excellence. The whole reason why we have a purpose to fulfill in life is because purpose brings something we can excel at. This is perhaps one of the most fundamental principles. The purpose of life is not to be rich or to be powerful, but rather to satisfy the primary reason why you exist. It is not about trying to be someone else, but it is about being an original. For some personal excellence might mean having to integrate several facets of life. Munroe was a preacher, lecturer and leadership consultant. It took excellence to integrate all these roles.

Dr. Myles Munroe

Dr. Myles Munroe

Third, Dr. Munroe taught about death. According to him, the grave is the richest place on earth because in it is buried great dreams that were never fulfilled. To motivate people, Dr. Munroe came up with a plan. The plan was about disappointing the grave. Instead of dying with a lot of potential, Munroe encouraged people to die “empty”. For him, a good death meant dying after you have fulfilled your purpose and emptied each and every piece of ideas or thoughts for the good humanity. Two weeks before his death, Munroe encouraged a TV audience to die like he was planning to die “empty”. The thought of human mortality does besiege each one of us. Existential questions abound in our minds. However, we should concentrate on ensuring that each day we live is spent emptying ourselves for the good of humanity. Indeed, after many lessons from Munroe, I am determined now more than ever to not only live purposefully, but also aspire to die “empty.”

Like many of us, Dr. Myles Munroe did have critics and detractors. He too had some debatable teachings. I am familiar with some of the controversial teachings later in his ministry. However, these controversies were never grave enough to warrant the criticism he received from some quarters. As a dispenser of concepts and ideas, Dr. Munroe did get into trouble. One of the most controversial aspects of his teachings has to do with his “Kingdom Theology”, which did seem to justify colonialism. Additionally, his teaching that “Christ” could be distinguished from “Jesus” was also quite controversial. For sure, the orthodox view is that, the man Jesus is actually the Christ. The humanity of Christ cannot be separated from the divinity of Christ. The human Jesus is the divine Christ. Weaknesses sometimes do show that we are all just human after all. Even the unimpeachable life of a great man like Myles Munroe could have some blemishes here and there. That is the hallmark of our own fallible humanity.

"A great man who died empty"

“A great man who died empty”

Years after I first encountered the teachings of Dr. Myles Munroe, I got to listen to him personally at a leadership conference in Swaziland. It was around the year 2000. The first meeting was at Lugogo Sun Hotel where he taught about leadership. The second meeting took place in Manzini where he spoke about the principles of purpose. It is these same principles that I had read about in his book “In Pursuit of Purpose.” I was just so glad that I could listen to him live. He appeared to be a very courteous fellow. After the Manzini meeting, I rushed to the stage, handed him a paper and he autographed it for me and for a hundred others that had jostled for the front. I have always had in my mind a desire to visit his home base in the Bahamas. But he died before I could travel to listen to him there. For sure, he died a great man. But he also died empty. He fulfilled his purpose and I just hope that each one of us will live to fulfill our own purpose and then die “empty”.

Rupiah Banda should form his own party and stop “ubuloshi”

E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), M.Div.

Nevers Sekwila Mumba

Nevers Sekwila Mumba

If RB wants to stand, it would be great for the likes of Mulusa and RB to form the Movement for Bwezani and Mulusa (MBM) so that they can field RB. They should leave the MMD so that the party functions under the leadership of its elected president. What RB is doing to MMD, is not leadership but treachery. This is not how an elder statesman behaves, this is the way a spoiled child behaves. In other words and indeed for a lack of a better term what Rupiah Banda is doing can be called “Ubuloshi.”

No one should ever defile Rupiah Banda’s right to aspire for the presidency. He is a very old man, but he is a citizen nevertheless with full constitutional rights to stand for the presidency. Our constitution gives rights to babies as well as very old men and women. However, what is really offensive and unacceptable is corruption, theft, treachery, nepotism, and “ubu loshi”. You might ask me what is “ubuloshi”? I do not mean that RB ni ndoshi, here is my definition of political “ubuloshi”. Going behind the back of an elected leader and engineering a “political comeback” by poisoning the minds and hearts of the very people that were responsible for the failure of the MMD in the first place.

Handing the torch of leadership to the young is not easy. It requires great discipline from the old. It is remarkable that Mandela did it. Banda has the right to contest on his party which he and Mulusa will form, but he should not bring this confusion and tumult to the MMD. Why should these UNIPIsts be allowed to kill the MMD just like they killed UNIP? Nevers Mumba could not have come up with any magic to change the declining fortunes of the MMD within 3 or 5 years. It would take time and sacrifice and discipline. Evidence is there to prove that parties usually decline when they have a transition in the presidency. The same happened to UPND, but UPND is on the upswing, do you know why? It is because, they kept the young HH even when everything was showing that he was losing it, and now the UPND is being rewarded.

The same should happen to the MMD. Give Mumba a chance. A chance to make mistakes. A chance to be himself. A chance to reinvent the MMD. A chance to work on himself as a leader. A chance to be a true political candidate. But even before he could even cough, Rupiah the poisoner Banda wants to come back through the back door.

So what happened then to the speech RB gave in 2011. What happened to all those lectures he gave at Boston University ? This is the problem when a leader hires speech writers to do speeches for him. RB is not committed to any thing he read because the speech was just written for him. My advise to RB is to go back to his lectures at Boston and to reread the speech his consultants wrote for him in 2011.

As for Mulusa and all the young like him, it is disappointing, very disappointing to say the least. For now, we await the formation of a party of Mulusa, Muhabi Lungu and RB because Nevers Mumba is likely to win the court case.

If the MMD is not happy with Nevers, wait for the general conference and vote him out fairly. Not this game. If Nevers is being disrespected because he is a former pastor, then we all who are connected to churches should be very concerned. You killed MMD. You stole using MMD. You did all sorts of wrong using the name of the party, and now that you wanted someone to lead you you went begging to Nevers and you elected him overwhelmingly. It is shocking that you want to kick him out and bring back the very guy who made MMD to lose in 2011. Ninshi? Sata afwa and Rupiah Banda feels like he can bounce back?

I do love Rupiah Banda. He is a very kind old man. He looks to be very humorous. He is a statesman. He has respect all over the world. But this treachery is unacceptable. My advice to him is ” Bo Bwezani, form your own party and leave MMD alone.”

An Open Letter to Dr. Christine Mwelwa Kaseba

 

Kuli ba Mama Kaseba:

Intanshi mutende!

Before I proceed any further, let me state out-rightly what this letter is not about. As a person who strongly believes in women’s rights, I must commend your decision to stand as presidential candidate within days of burying your spouse. Indeed, every woman must aspire to provide leadership to this great country. Your ambition therefore should be encouraged. I also should assure you that your decision to stand has somehow provided that needed courage for all women all over Zambia. Indeed, there is no minimum time required for mourning. There is no one-way of mourning our beloved ones. Usually, traditions have been used to shackle good women, especially after the death of their spouses. Your bravery to provide your candidacy for consideration, therefore, should be commended. I therefore do not condemn you for taking this courageous step. You have done well. I want to live in a Zambia where women will indeed have the liberty to make decisions based on what they feel is right. The time should come when women should stand against traditions that have the potential to subjugate. As a spouse, you have a say in the way you want to mourn or not mourn the departed. While it is true that it has only been a week since your spouse was put to rest, we should commend you for wanting to carry on the legacy that he left behind. And in your own way you have chosen to continue the legacy. And that Ba Mfumu is where I find the problem.

Kanabesa, the reign of your late husband was controversial for our country.  Your spouse presided over a nation that has emerged more tribal and more nepotistic than any other president that has ruled our country. In three years we have accumulated more kaloba in billions of dollars. If this were the legacy you want to carry on, I would ask you to re-examine your heart and think again. Zambians are not naïve; we have seen how that the Zambian diplomatic corps now comprise your relatives and those of your late husband. Surprisingly, there are a number of diplomats whose only credential is that there were at one time very close personal friends of your spouse. I believe that part of the diplomatic corps should be scared now that you are aspiring to replace President Sata. But there is another cadre of diplomats that your candidacy will protect – your relatives and those of President Sata. If you say that this is the legacy you want to carry on, I should be the first one to state that please Ba Mfumu reexamine your decision.

Dr. Christine Mwelwa Kaseba

Dr. Christine Mwelwa Kaseba

From the civil service to the army, and parastatal organs, your relatives have greatly benefited from you being First Lady. Ba Mfumu your actions while First Lady in looking out only for the interest of your family creates reasonable suspicion in my heart that you do not mean well for the future of our country. Do not get me wrong. You do seem to be a great woman. You are educated. You do have a great experience as a medical doctor serving the needs of our poor at the University Teaching Hospital. But when we look at the government and see how many of your bululus are in office, it darkens our hearts and makes us wonder whether your reign will be any different from that of your late husband. As Laura Miti has rightly put it: “I just don’t want anyone from the Sata family. We need to dismantle the nepotistic edifice built in the state by the Sata presidency.”

Michael Chilufya Sata

Michael Chilufya Sata

When your husband was ill, we all saw that he had lost weight and that he was not alert at all. He was visibly sick, very sick. We meant well when we asked that your family consider withdrawing him from power so that he could concentrate on getting better. Who knows? May be he could have lived a little longer had he been away from the pressures of the State office. But our advice was met by repeated injury from yourself and those in his government. Even when he was addressing parliament, as frail as he was, the images of your beaming smile has despoiled our memory. We knew there was something wrong. But your smile tried to cover it all. You should not be blamed for the actions of your spouse, but it certainly creates questions in some of us to wonder what really was going on. As a spouse, were you complacent in keeping your husband going even when he had no capacity to provide leadership to our country? Now that you are aspiring to lead our country, it is in good conscience that we should ask these questions.

I am Ushi from Milenge, and as a people from the pedicle, we all know how widows become the first suspects after their spouses have died. That tradition is deplorable and we must condemn it. We should preside upon families to treat widows with all dignity and respect. As the Glorious Band sang in “Isambo Lya Mfwa”, it is unfair to heap the blame on the widows. That being the case, ba mfumu, we have a few questions that need answering considering that you are putting your name forward.

Obviously, we cannot insist on traditions now, when during illness our calls for humanity and Ubuntu were rebuffed. We cannot insist on a period of mourning now, when even at the time that Michael Chilufya Sata was visibly sick and incapacitated, all we saw was a cadre of people wanting to continue profiteering from the palms of a sick man.

I do not have confidence in your candidature. Your desire is to continue with the same legacy of corruption, nepotism and tribalism started by your spouse. You do not provide anything new and your time at State House as a spouse of President Sata inspires little confidence. You are a woman nevertheless and in a country that has been destroyed by men in power, it might be a source of relief to have a woman in power. But I really doubt if this woman should be you.

For now, I wish you well and hope that all goes well with you and yours. But please if you get elected to the presidency stop nepotism and tribalism and please help Zambia reduce on its appetite for “kaloba”.

Napwa Niine,

Munshya

MMD Adopts Nevers Mumba for upcoming presidential by-election

This is a statement issued by the MMD Secretariat and Media Team today, November 16 2014

Nevers Sekwila Mumba

Nevers Sekwila Mumba

The Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) has unanimously adopted MMD President Dr Nevers Sekwila Mumba as its candidate for the upcoming presidential by-election. After a lengthy meeting that started in the late afternoon on Sunday the 16th of November 2014 and ended almost at midnight, the MMD National Executive Committee (NEC) resolved that Dr Mumba was the duly elected MMD president and as such is the automatic candidate for any presidential election.

The NEC had met to consider this matter among other items that included the MMD’s participation in the upcoming by-election, resource mobilization and the possibility of making alliances with other opposition political parties. The NEC has given a full mandate to the president to investigate possible election alliances and to consider what role former president Rupiah Banda would be best suited for in the run up to the by-election.

The MMD constitution does not provide for another election during the time there is a sitting president, nor does it allow the NEC to overturn the decision of the MMD National Convention which was last held in May 2012 and saw Dr Mumba elected by 70% of the vote in the second round of an election that used the 50%+1 system.

Grieving the Cobra: Mourning President Michael Chilufya Sata

E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), M.Div.

Michael Chilufya Sata

Michael Chilufya Sata

The passing of President Sata has been devastating to the nation. But while the nation mourns, we should never forget that the President was a father, a spouse, a grandfather, an uncle and a close relative to some citizens among us. The loss that these relatives have suffered is surely personal, deep and disheartening. Relatives and close friends are shedding inconsolable tears, weeping and mourning this loss. Indeed, while political cadres are busy beating each other up and causing confusion, we must never forget that, there is a tangible family grieving. In this period, we need to give the respect due to the First Lady and her family. During this difficult time, we must sympathise, empathize and share in the sorrow of this loss. It is not time for politicking.

Just as Hakainde Hichilema has said, the time for politicking will come. This time, we must exercise utmost grace to each other as we mourn. Acting President Guy Scott and Secretary General of the Patriotic Front Edgar Lungu have now signed a joint statement assuring the nation that they will behave themselves properly as we go through this mourning period. We must commend these two gentlemen and all the people that surround them for coming up with a ceasefire while the nation goes through this difficult time. It would be ridiculous for these guys to be “hiring” and “firing” each other while the body of the late Michael Sata lies in state at Mulungushi. Indeed, politicians must not turn this personal loss of the Sata family into a hive of “pangas” and “chipaye”. President Sata should be mourned in peace, tranquility and respect. He really deserves that.

Signing President Sata's book of condolences at Mr & Mrs Mate's residence in Cochrane, AB, Canada

Signing President Sata’s book of condolences at Mr & Mrs Mate’s residence in Cochrane, AB, Canada

Each of the late president’s relative or close friends will deal with this loss differently. Grief is very personal in many respects. No one should dictate to another how he or she should mourn his or her father, uncle, or grandfather. There is no one-way of mourning the late President Michael Sata. As such, the period of mourning itself should be an exercise in tolerance and patience. Relatives and close friends should know that the nation joins them in this loss. A grief psychologist Kubler-Ross has identified five stages that are typical during the time of loss. On average each person undergoing grief goes through these stages. The first stage is denial. Usually, when we receive sad news, the first reaction we lean towards is to deny it. We don’t want to hear the desolate news. There are many in the nation and indeed in the family that at first experienced denial. It is very normal to undergo this stage. When the news is very sad, it is a human reaction to want to deny its reality.

1937 to 2004

1937 to 2004

The second stage of grief is anger. Anger can come in different ways. It could come from a spouse who feels like she did not do enough. It could come from a relative who feels there might have been a better way to handle the loss. Anger could from children who feel like it did not have to be. During loss, like the nation is experiencing right now, it is easy to plunge into anger. In some instances, family members, in anger, begin to blame each other for their loss. Very often, a widow gets blamed for her spouse’s death even if she had no hand in it. This is not fair. While, it is normal for a grieving person to be angry, one thing we should never allow is to let anger lead to irrational and unfair choices. Anger is a powerful human emotion. It is a part of our humanity. During loss, it would be perfectly all right to experience this emotion. However, after we have experienced anger, we should transform it into something meaningful. The greatest respect we can give to the memory of President Sata is to transform the anger, arising from the loss, to something more positive for the nation and the family.

The third stage in the grieving process is bargaining. In grief, the bargaining stage is where one begins to “bargain” within themselves. They begin to try and soften the pinch of loss or death. At this stage, most people begin wishing something could be done about the loss. For Christians, they begin giving God conditions. They feel and think in terms what-ifs. The bargaining stage is where one begins entertaining the idea of a “resurrection”. It is a stage of wishing the departed would come back. When bargaining, a person experiencing loss could even decide to give up something valuable in the hope that doing so would make God change his mind and restore the loss.

The fourth stage is depression. The depression stage is where “we feel sad” about the loss. Here grief takes us to the level where nothing can sooth. The depression stage is that stage of loss where no one can see or feel. It is a personal stage. No one can really know how painful your loss is. Each person experiences this stage differently. It is all right to feel sad. We are human after all. We are bound to feel sad. Jesus himself wept at the loss of Lazarus. The children, the spouse, the relatives, and the close friends of the late President should be joined by the nation in feeling sad over this loss.

The Cobra who charmed a nation

The Cobra who charmed a nation

The fifth stage is acceptance. Now this stage is not about feeling that the loss is “okay” but rather feeling that this loss is actually real. In the acceptance stage, the loss event is accepted as valid. You are not trying to deny it exists, but rather you recognize the pain and embrace it. In this stage, you let go and recognize the inevitable. The acceptance stage is the most powerful of all these stages. It is challenging though. It is challenging in the sense that most of us as humans are reluctant to come into terms with our pain. We do not want pain. We do not want to be reminded that the president is no more. But painful as it may be, it is important that we move towards acceptance. Acceptance of loss is epitomized in one Ushi adage which states that “pafwa abantu pashala bantu”. This adage reinforces the idea that those that have lost a father, should take courage in the fact that the father did indeed leave behind warriors to take over from where he left. It is this courage that leads to acceptance of the grief.

Regardless of what we say about loss, however, there will never be a replacement for those that have departed. The pain is real. The loss is painful. But after we have grieved, it will be time to pick up the pieces and try to move on, with hearts still reeling from the pain of the loss. But as a tribute to the life of the departed, we must not give up on life. We must do all we can to make Zambia a better nation for it is through this action that we will truly demonstrate our fidelity to the life and times of Michael Chilufya Sata.