Category Archives: Zambian Political Theology

Has Hon. Mulusa Become Unlucky?

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

Our republic can have no better politicians than the promise epitomised by young and educated leaders such as Hon. Lucky Mulusa. We are better and we will better as a nation if people of Mulusa’s calibre are encouraged to participate in politics. They bring a breath of fresh air to the political scene. When dinosaurs, that have no idea of modern economics, represent a generation of politics it is vibrant people like Mulusa that the nation can fall back on. However, in order to help Mulusa live up to his potential greatness we all have seen in him, it becomes important, actually critical to ask ourselves, has he become unlucky. This question is necessary now, especially in view of the unnecessary squabbles currently prevailing in the MMD. I am of the opinion that Mulusa is likely to emerge damaged after this debacle. He must quickly reevaluate his role in the confusion. Otherwise, he could lose the little respect he currently has in the minds and hearts of some Zambians. I say so for several reasons.

The people Mulusa seems to have joined in fighting Nevers Mumba have played him. I seem to get Mulusa’s argument. He believes in the potential and greatness of the MMD. He believes that the party can do better but cannot do so as long as Nevers Mumba continues to be at its helm. However, this message of his love for the MMD now has been overshadowed by the fact that the other rebels are alleged to have had secret meetings with State House and with senior Patriotic Front leaders. In fact, Hon. Chituwo has confirmed that he had such meetings and so has Hon. Kaingu. We are not privileged to know the motive for these meetings, and the gist of these meetings could be removed from the problems in the MMD. However, these meetings create a reasonable apprehension in the minds of some Zambians and some MMD members that the Patriotic Front is actually sponsoring the people fighting Nevers. The real casualty of such perceptions is actually Mulusa himself. I doubt whether he knew of these meetings. If he did know about them, but nevertheless, went ahead to scheme with Siliya, Kaingu, and Chituwo then I would doubt his judgment. However, if he had no idea that the PF leaders were meeting his colleagues then I would doubt his political competency. Dora and her colleagues have played Mulusa and his message has now been so mired in quagmire that it will take some more work for him to redeem himself. He could be running out of luck.

The timing is not right for Hon. Mulusa to lead a rebellion against Nevers Mumba. This is barely 2 years after the MMD lost power in 2011. Having the MMD begin fighting now will only weaken it further and make the death of the MMD inevitable. Lucky Mulusa does seem to still have some more fighting to do, but beginning them this early will only finish him.

Hon. Lucky Mulusa

Hon. Lucky Mulusa

Hon Mulusa does seem to be making several enemies at the wrong time in his political life. In times like this, he needed to be a little bit more strategic. He has now aroused the Nevers Mumba group. He has equally roused the UPND. In addition to that I understand that online, he has raised the ire of the zambianwatchdog.com website. These are too many battles to be fighting for any one man. You cannot take on so many people at the same time and expect to come out alive politically. For his part, he has also taken issues with Muhabi Lungu. Fighting Muhabi is bad strategically for Mulusa. Muhabi has several things going well for him. First, he has been public and political life longer than Mulusa. Zambians got introduced to Muhabi at a time when he was a sharp talking defender of the then UNIP President Kenneth Kaunda in the mid-1990s. Second, Muhabi being Easterner comes from the only province proving to be the stronghold for the MMD. And for the MMD to survive they need a regional base just like PF and UPND do have regional bases. For any political party in Zambia to become a national party, it must first be able to command an unwavering regional support. PF have their Northern-Luapula corridor and the UPND have their Southern region. The MMD must have the Eastern Province. Otherwise, they are toast. Third, Muhabi Lungu has actually worked for both Rupiah and Mwanawasa governments crafting the very policies that Mulusa is claiming made the MMD great. Fourth, Muhabi has taken on a different approach to the MMD problems. Every one with half a brain knows that the MMD has declined and is likely to decline further. However, the solution to these problems does not lie with fighting Nevers Mumba but with working with Nevers Mumba. Any MMD member who wishes to see the MMD rise again should try to work with Nevers and supplement his weaknesses. This is exactly what Muhabi is doing. To see Mulusa begin fighting Muhabi does not make sense. Some Zambians could as well ask, Muhabi we know, what about this new guy? Is he “a John come lately”

Nevers Sekwila Mumba

Nevers Sekwila Mumba

Hon Mulusa is not making sense politically when he claims that Nevers is irrelevant to the MMD because he caused the party to lose a ward election in Mpulungu in February. According to Mulusa, he believes that the MMD should be able to do well in the North because Nevers comes from there. The problem with the MMD is that they have a very popular opponent in the PF’s Michael Sata. Sata, in spite, of the economic failure in Zambia still remains a very formidable and personally popular candidate in the North. Currently, there is no politician who can dislodge Sata from the North. This is not Nevers’ problem. Additionally, Mulusa alleges that since Nevers is not that popular in the North this should be the reason to leave the MMD presidency. I doubt this kind of reasoning. Nevers Mumba is MMD president because he went to the convention and overwhelmingly beat his rivals. Those elections matter just like any other elections do matter. To claim that Nevers has never won an election when the guy had just beaten five other contestants in 2012 does not help Mulusa with his argument at all.

If Hon Mulusa believes that only parliamentary elections are the real elections, may be this is the time to doubt then whether Mulusa himself has lost relevance since the last time he ran for parliament, his seat was nullified due to electoral corruption. There is a lot Mulusa can offer Zambia. But this route he has taken will only lead to his political demise. My advice? Mulusa should cool down. Take it easy and fight for the people of Zambia instead of fighting Nevers Mumba. Mulusa has already done some remarkable things in both parliament and outside it. These are the kind of fights; they want him to continue championing.

Many Zambians do not believe that Nevers Mumba is the greatest of their problems. The greatest problems for Zambia are things such as the value of the Kwacha, out of control inflation, the stolen constitution and corruption perpetrated by the party in power. That being the case, the perception that it is the Patriotic Front sponsoring the anti-Nevers campaign in the MMD does not augur well at all. Nevers and the MMD needed an enemy to fight, and they have just been given that punching bag – the so-called anti-Nevers group. They will now use these anti-Nevers individuals as whipping boys (and girl) for the broader campaign to highlight the misdeeds of the Patriotic Front. This message might resonate with Zambians and entrench Nevers in the minds of many Zambians even deeper. Hon Mulusa’s star should shine, but if he continues on this path, he might just run out of political luck. Or may be Lucky Mulusa has already become unlucky!

The Temptation of Nevers Sekwila Mumba (Part IV): Battle for the Soul of the MMD

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

 The calls are eloquently loud and menacingly clear. Some influential members of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) want Nevers Mumba out. Dora Siliya, Lucky Mulusa, Michael Kaingu and Brian Chituwo are among a cadre of senior leaders howling for Nevers Mumba’s blood. They want to have a new convention so that the MMD NEC could get a new mandate from members. They feel that if the MMD continued on the same path, it will die. It does appear like they are having a “John come lately” moment since the MMD crashed a long time ago.

Nevers Sekwila Mumba

Nevers Sekwila Mumba

According to Honourable Lucky Mulusa, Nevers was elected and given some “performance deliverables” which he has failed to achieve. Since Mulusa wants to run politics like a business he feels that a manager who does not deliver the “deliverables” should be fired. I wonder, though, whether Mulusa and his group have the power to fire Nevers. Major Kachingwe tried it, and the High Court correctly said no. Never in the history of Zambian political parties has a party president been elected with a wish list of “deliverables”. Zambian politics, like anywhere else, is not an exact science. What so called “deliverables” was the MMD’s first president given in 1991? What deliverables was Sata given when he launched his one-man PF party? What about Hichilema, did the UPND give him a set of deliverables? With due respect to Mulusa, this thinking of treating Nevers like a manager who should deliver “deliverables” is unique, peculiar and quite innovative for its ludicrousness. As a political principle it is untenable.

In my estimation, the MMD is sinking now because it effectively died in 2001. It was destroyed by the very people who were responsible for its founding in 1991. It is the third term debate that obliterated the MMD as a party of any political consequence. It was only the “boma ni boma” power that kept it alive, albeit on life support through the Mwanawasa and Banda presidencies. After losing power in 2011, the life support machine also got swiftly cut off. And the demise became inevitable.

There is nothing any new party president could have done to turn around the fortunes of the MMD due to the public perception that the MMD is corrupt. What is even more surprising is that at least two of these leaders baying for Nevers’ blood have had their own parliamentary seats nullified due to, among other things, electoral corruption. For Zambians who already perceive the MMD as corrupt, it does not help that Siliya and Mulusa are spearheading the anti-Nevers campaign. Could it be then, that corruption could be the problem in the MMD and not necessarily Nevers?

Munshya wa Munshya

Munshya wa Munshya

Some are claiming that Nevers has failed as a politician to keep the MMD seats in parliament. I sympathise with this group a great deal. I have no doubt that they mean well, but choose not to evaluate Zambia’s political trends. In many ways Nevers’ temperament does not help him much. He appears pompous, aloof and politically out-of-touch. But that is hardly the reason why a party president should be removed. Even Hichilema has faced the accusations of being aloof. With time HH has learnt to loosen-up a bit, and this is working wonders for the UPND now. Under the current political environment, there is nothing the MMD can do to defend its seats in parliament. The MMD cannot hold on to their seats, especially the nullified ones, due to two realities. First, it is the unwavering support of the PF in Bemba-speaking areas and the second one is the rise of the UPND in the South, Copperbelt rural, West and Northwest. The only province that might provide some buffer for the MMD is Eastern Province. But it too is crumbling and UPND might be the beneficiary. Bizarrely, after MMD went for the 2012 convention, it had no Easterner among its top NEC leaders. This was strange considering the fact that all parties in Zambia must have an unwavering regional support to survive. The PF is regionally strong in Luapula/North while the UPND is strong in the South. Without a regional block, the MMD cannot survive. UNIP died because it lost the Eastern regional block in 1996. Had UNIP not boycotted those elections they would still be alive and well today.

Could Nevers have provided some magic to turn around the fortunes of the MMD and provide an alternative to Sata in the North and Luapula? Simply put, in spite of the cimbwi no plan economics of the PF; President Sata remains reasonably popular in the North. Neither Nevers nor Felix Mutati was going to be effective against Sata. The MMD is simply facing a very strong opponent in Sata. With regard to Luapula, the only constituency not under PF, Milenge, appears to be leaning towards PF too. MMD simply can’t match PF at the moment. And it is showing.

Michael Kaingu and Brian Chituwo have seats in the areas where Hakainde Hichilema’s UPND is doing very well. There is no way the MMD will do well in Northwestern and the Bantu Botatwe areas because those areas are returning back to the UPND. And it is not Nevers Mumba’s fault. Give the MMD presidency to Kaingu, or to Mulusa and see that they will not be able to stem the rise of the UPND just like Nevers has failed to dent Sata’s popularity in Chinsali and other areas. The MMD is in a precarious situation. They are facing difficulties from PF as well as UPND. Additionally, they are facing judgment from the courts of public opinion as the corrupt party. Public perceptions take time to change. It is expecting too much to think that suddenly Zambians will forget about the perception they have of the MMD. Conversely, the PF might be more corrupt than the MMD, but public opinion has not caught up yet. That being the case, it is ridiculous to begin firing Nevers now, for perceptions that he had no responsibility creating.

Chiluba and Sata - MMD leaders 1991 to 2002

Chiluba and Sata – MMD leaders 1991 to 2002

Mulusa says he is concerned that Nevers has stuffed the MMD NEC with his own men and women. This sentiment should be pitied. Party presidents always do that. If Mulusa wants a party where it would be different, it would be great for the gentleman to start his own party. Parties are made in the image of their leaders. Nevers is trying to fashion the MMD in his image too. I trust his judgment to have Muhabi Lungu as National Secretary. Specifically, then as regard the leadership challenge, going by precedence, it does seem that party presidents do stay safe in their positions, and it is the challengers that leave. If the four challengers decide to leave the MMD there will be lots of room elsewhere for them. They can go to UPND and of course they would be welcome in PF. And may be then, the public perception of party corruption will shift to the PF. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Mulusa and Siliya join PF? Indeed they would be welcome in PF if Nevers wallops them again at the convention. And he is likely to do so.

The same people that destroyed the MMD are now turning back and blaming Nevers for this. In Milenge we have a saying for this: Nevers balemushinga amala ya mbushi. Other people destroy the MMD, they eat from the table of corruption and then they turn back and smear goat offals on Nevers so that they can say, it is Nevers responsible for the demise of the MMD!

But is he?

 

 

The Temptation of Nevers Sekwila Mumba (Part II): A Turbulent Vice-President

By E. Munshya wa Munshya

In 2008, as President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa was reflecting on his legacy, one issue he had to confront was whether he had any regrets in choosing Nevers Mumba for his Vice-President from 2003 to 2004. According to Malupenga (2010), President Mwanawasa hoped that in future Zambians will come to the same conclusion he had come to in 2003 – that choosing Nevers Mumba as Vice-Present was a great choice.

Nevers Mumba 2To put Mwanawasa’s sentiments in perspective it is important to begin from
where it all started. When Mwanawasa assumed power, he came to a country that was deeply divided. For the first time in history, Zambia had eleven presidential candidates in the election that brought in Mwanawasa. The margin of victory for Mwanawasa was a paltry 28%, just a point ahead of his closest rival UPND’s Anderson Mazoka. The EU Observers condemned the 2001 elections as having not been free and fair. On the other hand, an active civil society and The Post newspapers had been pushing the agenda that Mwanawasa’s predecessor, Frederick Chiluba had stolen public funds and should be prosecuted for it.

Within the ruling party, the MMD, there were apparent fractures. President Frederick Chiluba, even after he had relinquished the republican presidency, still maintained a grip on the ruling MMD party. Early 2002 was a difficult time for the country and Mwanawasa needed to act fast to show that he was in charge.

Most of the leaders within the MMD were still loyal to President Frederick Chiluba. Vice-President Kavindele, Foreign Affairs Minister Katele Kalumba and many others still held Chiluba in high esteem. To respond to this, Mwanawasa fired some of Chiluba loyalists including Katele Kalumba and Lupando Mwape. Mwanawasa had to find his own niche.

In this context then, the most attractive of all the candidates he had considered to replace Vice-President Enoch Kavindele was Nevers Mumba. Nevers had been attractive to Mwanawasa for several reasons. First, he had long campaigned against Chiluba’s corruption. Starting from the 1997 formation of the NCC it had been a political aim of Nevers’ to bring to light the misdeeds of the Chiluba administration. Faced with possibilities of a prolonged fight against corruption, Mwanawasa needed a good partner for a Veep whom he could rely on in tough times.

Secondly, Nevers was attractive to Mwanawasa because he was considered an outsider. Lacking any genuine political base, Levy had somehow believed that Nevers would be personally loyal to him. Actually, Zambian presidents do have the habit of choosing politically unpopular candidates as their vice-presidents. Any vice-president that proved politically popular or astute has never lasted in that position beginning with Kapwepwe and ending with Mwanawasa. As an outsider with no political clout, Nevers Mumba would be a good candidate for Vice-President.

Thirdly, Nevers was attractive due to his tribe. When Mwanawasa came into power it was not long before the Bemba political aristocracy got concerned at his lack of regard for the Bemba hegemony. The firebrand of a Bemba aristocracy, Michael Sata was now in opposition and he never hesitated to drive home the point that Mwanawasa’s leadership was heavily nepotic and was patently anti-Bemba. When Levy started to prosecute Chiluba and his close associates, Sata even accused Mwanawasa of unfairly targeting Bemba-speaking politicians. Mwanawasa’s response to this criticism did not help matters. In Ndola in 2003 when he was asked to respond to the anti-Bemba criticism Mwanawasa is reported to have said that he made no tribal exception to the fight against corruption because “corruption stinks.” These remarks became folder for opposition leader Sata.

“Mwanawasa”, Sata claimed, “had insulted the Bembas.”

In a flurry of arrests and detentions, not even Sata was spared from Mwanawasa’s anti-corruption fury. Sata got arrested for theft of a motor vehicle in 2002. As this is going on – president Chiluba, now facing corruption charges, had abandoned his MMD membership to become a member of Michael Sata’s Patriotic Front. Sensing a tribal revolt, Mwanawasa needed a Bemba vice-president to show that he indeed was not as nepotic as his critics were suggesting. That Bemba vice-president was going to be Nevers Mumba a native of Chinsali.

At the time Nevers was assuming the Vice-Presidency in 2003, He was basically destitute. He statutorily declared a house in Texas to be his only meaningful asset. He owed a mortgage of thousands of dollars on that house. The only other asset was Chishimba Farm in Chinsali. Among other sources of income, Nevers had declared was “honoraria he receives when he speaks in conventions overseas.”

How Nevers got himself to this destitute situation has been explained in a previous article. Suffice to mention here that when Nevers entered politics in 1997, he had lost everything by 2001. Chiluba squeezed any value out of Nevers. He had lost his house, his friends, and some closest to him even suggested he was about to lose his family. The price Nevers had paid for politics was just too high. It is this kind of personal sacrifice that should make critics of Nevers Mumba to reflect and realize that Nevers was not into politics for the money. He had invested far too much than he had earned back by the time he was being appointed vice-president. It should not be hard to notice the dedication to the nation Nevers exhibited, even at the price of personal sacrifice.

If anyone did not believe in miracles, they had to. Nevers Mumba, a boy from Chinsali, and a preacher who had abandoned the pulpit and lost everything, was now going to be the second most powerful person in the country. As vice-president he had clear chances of assuming the presidency one day. Im keeping with his motto, Zambia was going to be saved and what had been a remote possibility was now within reach.

In appointing Nevers Mumba – President Mwanawasa was very optimistic. “I have appointed you”, Mwanawasa told Nevers, “because you and me share a common dream for a corrupt free Zambia.” If there were any doubts about the other reasons why Nevers had been appointed – his itinerary in his first 90 days would show. Nevers travelled to meet the Bemba chiefs and addressed their misgivings about the insults that had been attributed to President Mwanawasa. With Nevers as vice-president, Mwanawasa had a Bemba confidante who could buttress any tribal accusations against government. A preacher with a likeable and handsome personality meant that Nevers was going to be the public face of President Mwanawasa’s government. And indeed it took only a few months for Nevers’ star to rise and for President Mwanawasa to realize that the Nevers he had appointed was actually far more ambitious than he had initially thought.

Those close to Mwanawasa would whisper to him about the ambitions of Nevers Mumba. To resolve these difficulties, Finance Minister Ng’andu Magande and Home Affairs Minister Ronnie Shikapwashya would be Mwanawasa’s kitchen cabinet while Nevers was left enough rope to politically hang. Nevers’ inexperience was proving a liability to him. He became politically reckless in amassing lots of political support from the grassroots MMD branches at the expense of his aloof boss. As a likeable person, it was far much easier for ordinary MMD members across the country to meet Nevers than it was for them to meet President Mwanawasa. Perhaps the greatest asset Nevers had from his background as a preacher was his way with people. The star of Nevers had started to rise and the MMD was now perfectly in his control. With a president Mwanawasa that is struggling with health issues – it is Nevers who became the defacto leader of the MMD.

But not for long, for that rope had now drawn close to suffocate Nevers politically. And the crowd was gathering to watch him hit the ground.

It was around September 2004. Nevers had been vice-president for about 15 months. The main opposition party that was threatening the MMD was Michael Sata’s Patriotic Front. Using the levers of power that had remained intact within government and on the grassroots – the PF was growing in popularity by the day. The prosecution of President Chiluba had gathered steam. President Sata saw Chiluba’s prosecution as a general strategy by Mwanawasa to weaken the Bemba-speaking political aristocracy. Indeed, MMD structures in Luapula and Northern Province had started to crumble. Frederick Chiluba had made his political opinions clear – he was in support of Michael Sata, the man he had dribbled in 2001. Patriotic Front cadres would provide escorts to Chiluba each time he appeared in court. At one time after returning from a South African hospital, Chiluba greeted the gathered PF cadres with the “Donchi Kubeba” salute.

MMD branches in Ndola had organized a “Meet the Vice-President Dinner” to raise funds for the party. That September, Mwanawasa had travelled to New York for a UN summit. At home it was Nevers in charge. Mr. Mukutulu Sinyani, the director of the Drug Enforcement Commission had gathered some information that Katanga businessman Moise Katumbi was channeling money through the Congolese border to fund political activities of an opposition party. It did not take rocket science to know that it was President Chiluba, Michael Sata and the Patriotic Front who were the beneficiaries of these monies. That evening, Sinyani briefed the acting president about that information. More than anything else, what Nevers did with this information spelt immediate political doom for him. It set off events that would eventually lead to his dismissal.

Zambia shares thousands of kilometer borders with the Congo DR. It is a porous border to say the least. You can smuggle nearly anything along this long border. From the time Zambia got its independence juggling security for the nation in view of Congolese instability has been a delicate balancing act for any president. The reports Nevers got that evening from Sinyani are by no means isolated. Each president has had to deal with security issues arising from the Congo DR. As such, any issue that comes from Congo DR deserves wisdom and diplomacy to resolve. This is the wisdom and diplomacy Nevers had lacked that September.

At the MMD dinner dance held at Savoy Hotel, acting President Nevers Mumba made some usual political statements aimed at the opposition and then he added:

“Government has information that a particular opposition party is receiving dollars through the Congolese border.”

This statement started a flurry of events so fierce that Nevers could not control them. As Nevers finished speaking to the MMD, it was morning in New York, and President Mwanawasa was about to meet President Joseph Kabila to discuss issues of mutual importance. President Mwanawasa was supposed to meet Kabila at 13:00 Eastern Time.

In Zambia that evening, Congolese Ambassador Dikanga Kazadi reacts swiftly to Nevers Mumba’s accusations. Kazadi’s message is channeled to President Kabila in New York. The Zambian government is accusing the Congo DR of meddling in its internal affairs. Mwanawasa gets the information too that morning. This was going to create a diplomatic standoff.

“The Congo DR having itself been a victim of foreign military interference cannot interfere in Zambia’s internal affairs,” screamed Ambassador Kazadi.

Nevers’ words had exposed his lack of diplomatic skills. His recklessness towards the Congo was going to be his downfall.

In New York, President Mwanawasa gathers his team and comes up with a strategy. An apology to President Kabila would be in order and the two presidents should continue to commit themselves to dialogue on issues of mutual importance. Mwanawasa had redeemed the recklessness of his vice-president. Nevertheless, back home in Zambia, security services are on high alert and Ambassador Kazadi found an opportunity to speak even more. Those baying for Nevers’ blood within government had something to work on. With this weakness they could make Mwanawasa fire Nevers Mumba – but the problem was that Nevers had done a good grassroots organization. The MMD grassroots was firmly in his charge.

While Mwanawasa is still in New York, Vice-President Mumba does something unusual. He summons the press and cabinet to his Government House. On the agenda are the preparations for the 40th Independence Anniversary. Those close to the workings of government notice how unusual it is that a Veep should address the nation when the president is away. Nevers was not going to takeover the government, he was simply announcing preparations for the independence celebration. Mwanawasa while away is informed of this, and his inner circle wonder why Nevers had gone this far.

In Nevers’ mind, government should continue to function even in the absence of the president. As such, since he is part of the government he saw no reason why he could not brief the nation about independence celebrations that would be held in a few weeks time. Except that, Nevers was not going to be part of that celebration. Not as vice-president anyway, because by then he would be fired.

The same month of September – a few days’ latter Mwanawasa returns back to Zambia. At Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Nevers Mumba is on hand to receive President Mwanawasa. Nevers is looking flamboyant wearing dark eyeglasses.

Mwanawasa’s first words off that plane were to address the litany of diplomatic missteps his Vice-Presidents had made. The words of the vice-president were regrettable, Mwanawasa said. He also mentioned that he had to personally apologize to President Kabila over that misunderstanding. With dark shaded glasses Vice-President Mumba looks down as he listens to the president berate him. A few minutes latter he sees off President Mwanawasa and returns to his Mercedes Benz car waiting for him.

Nevers had been leader of the Christian movement in Zambia. He was the boss for a long time. He was the one to berate his juniors. But as vice-president, he had a very temperamental boss in Mwanawasa. And protocol demanded that he had to defer to his principal. But on that day, a journalist asked Nevers about his reaction towards President Mwanawasa’s sentiments. Whether Mumba had misunderstood the question or not, we may never know. This is how he answered it nevertheless.

“I am not embarrassed by this, the only embarrassment might have been for the other side.”

The “other side” here might only mean the parliamentary opposition of the Patriotic Front.

The next day, this answer made headline news in the Post Newspaper. Realizing that he had been misunderstood and probably misquoted in the report, Nevers wrote his boss apologizing for the misconception. But it was too late.

Mwanawasa had already found an unassuming Augustine Festus Lupando Mwape Katoloshi to be Nevers’ replacement. Lupando Mwape had been fired as a cabinet minister a few months into the Mwanawasa presidency. He was one of those Bemba leaders Mwanawasa thought had maintained allegiance to President Chiluba. This time that he was appointing Lupando Mwape as vice-president he had just reinstated him to a junior position of Provincial Minister.

And yes! Mwanawasa had done another miracle. He had gone for another political non-entity to be vice-president. The reign of Nevers Mumba as Zambia’s vice-president had come to an end.

But the temptation of Nevers Sekwila Mumba continued. Discussions of the next segments in Nevers’ life deserve another analysis.

The Temptation of Nevers Sekwila Mumba (Part III): Keeping the Ambition Alive

By Elias Munshya wa Munshya

Dr. Nevers Sekwila Mumba believes that political parties are not the centre of the political process, people are. As such, he sees nothing wrong with changing parties, starting new ones, disbanding others and going back to the parties that disowned him. Political parties for Nevers are tools that a person can use to aspire for leadership. As such, loyalty to a political party comes second on Nevers Sekwila Mumba’s radar. The adage that there are no permanent enemies in politics except for permanent interests, comes even truer in the political life of

Nevers Mumba

Dr. Nevers Mumba

Nevers Mumba after he was fired as Vice-President of Zambia.

In the previous article, I had mentioned how that after President Mwanawasa’s return from New York in September 2004, it took only 24 hours for Vice-President Nevers Mumba to be fired. The firing itself came as a shock to Nevers Mumba. What is even worse is that President Mwanawasa felt so aggrieved at Nevers that he even paraded Nevers’ letter of apology that he had written in connection with the reports The Post had carried about the airport event the day earlier. Most interestingly, President Mwanawasa even mentioned that he had regretted appointing Nevers as Vice-President.

After he was fired, a brood of the Mwanawasa camp within government and party was excited that Nevers had been fired. The perceived threat that Nevers presented to all those that were aspiring to succeed Mwanawasa had now been taken of. In the opinion of some, the MMD would now move on and keep the Nevers Mumba factor behind them. Not so fast though, the Nevers Mumba factor was alive and well and in the next few months he was to strike back and strike back real hard.

After the September firing, Nevers left government house, his official residence within days. Typically, a former vice-president is expected to stay in the official residence for a few weeks to allow for him to look for decent accommodation elsewhere. He left the country for the USA and a few other countries to perhaps recuperate. After this firing, he mentioned of how he tried the sport of golf and also found solace in taking a few courses at Regent University in Virginia. He had earlier enrolled there in a Master of Public Policy program.

Upon return to Zambia, a few months latter, Nevers discovered that the support he had garnered within the MMD branches across the country was quite unshaken. In fact, even within the MMD NEC itself, it seemed Nevers had some sizeable support. In a party that had grown to dislike Mwanawasa’s hardline style of leadership, most within the MMD party had taken Mumba to be a safe alternative.

The MMD was about to go to the convention that year. Now that it was just November, the arrangements for the convention were delayed until the next year 2005. MMD members who had seen Nevers as an alternative to Mwanawasa had to move quickly to assure Nevers of their support. Even MMD stalwarts like Sikota Wina and his wife were reported to be among those supporting Nevers Mumba to take over as MMD president.

As Nevers’ presidential candidature was gaining momentum, he enlisted the support of President Frederick Chiluba. Nevers knew that openly accepting Chiluba’s endorsement would be a political gaffe. And so he had to be very careful. Chiluba on his part had made it clear that he would support anyone who wishes to challenge Mwanawasa. When asked about this endorsement, Nevers Mumba’s answer was clever and yet subtle:

“I have heard that President Chiluba has endorsed me for MMD president, there is very little I can do about that since I cannot go into his mind and change it.”

Implicitly then, Nevers had accepted Chiluba’s endorsement. And if Nevers had considered Chiluba to be a thief – now that he was running for president of the MMD he could do with as much support as he could get. It did not matter that when in government Nevers did push for Chiluba’s prosecution. An enemy had become a friend – politics par excellence.

And then came the announcement. Nevers was featured on Anthony Mukwita’s Let the People Talk. It is from there that he announced that he was going to run for MMD president and challenge President Levy Mwanawasa at the upcoming MMD convention. Mwanawasa on the other hand gathered enough intelligence both within the party and indeed the nation to know that Nevers was going to be a viable candidate against him. He was told there is a revolt in the MMD branches and Nevers had real support.

With these reports, Mwanawasa had to move very fast. The only way out was to change the MMD’s electoral college. To help Mwanawasa do this was going to be the newly installed MMD Secretary Vernon Mwaanga. It only took weeks for Vernon to announce that the NEC had changed the electoral college of the upcoming MMD convention. It is the NEC that was going to choose delegates to the convention and not district or branch organs. The provincial MMD branches were also stripped of this power. Additionally, Vernon announced that the MMD was going to commence disciplinary action against Nevers Mumba. Among the charges Nevers was facing are gross indiscipline and disloyalty to the party.

The dissatisfaction that the MMD members and branches had against Mwanawasa was so deep rooted that even after changing the Electoral College, most of Mwanawasa’s preferred candidates did not win at the convention in 2005. Most notably, Vernon Mwaanga lost the position of National Secretary from an electoral college, which he himself had handpicked. But we will come back to that later.

After weeks of wrangling, the NEC finally decided. Nevers had been expelled effectively ending his ambition to be president of the MMD. Vernon Mwaanga had also ensured that the electoral college was cleansed of all the supporters of Nevers Mumba. One by one, so called MMD branch officials would appear on national television renouncing Nevers and emphasizing in no flattering language that the disgraced former priest would not come near to tasting the republican presidency.

Politics change and change very quickly. It is one thing to have support within the MMD and quite another to transform that support into a new political party. Even if Nevers was quite outstanding when compared to Mwanawasa he was no Michael Sata. Starting a new political party was going to perhaps be the most controversial decisions of Nevers’ political career.

Enlisting the services of a shadowy figure known as John Ziba, Nevers Mumba established and registered a new political party to be known as the Reform Party. With an emblem of a charging bull, the party symbol was going to show everything that Nevers stood for – tenacity, strength and power. The Reform Party had for its slogan, a phrase taken from the national anthem – strong and free. This party was not going to last long. Nevers did not manage to garner any significant support for it, and before long, the Reform Party remained a party on paper.

Perhaps, Nevers’ decision to start his own party after his expulsion from the MMD might have been motivated by the desire to emulate Michael Sata’s decision to start his Patriotic Front years earlier. However, like I mentioned above – Nevers was no Michael Sata. What Sata represented in the minds of Zambians was far much more real than what Nevers did. And so if Nevers had thought that his new party was going to succeed he was in for a rude shock. The Reform Party made no real inroads into the political scene.

After Nevers was expelled, the Bemba-speaking section within the MMD had lost their political symbol and with it they had lost their influence. This group now wanted to get back its lost power. Mwanawasa knew of this influence and in fact it had been one reason why he had earlier appointed Nevers in the first place – to appease them. For Mwanawasa to keep the Bembas happy within the MMD he appointed another Bemba from Kasama – Lupando Mwape to be Nevers’ replacement. But the Bemba group was still was unsatisfied. Lupando Mwape was not a safe bet.

Meanwhile, as the MMD is recovering from Nevers’ expulsion, a group of six Bemba candidates were lining up and campaigning for the position of party vice-president. Austin Chewe, Lupando Mwape, and Bwalya Chiti were among the leading contenders. Knowing the consequence of such a bloodbath, Mwanawasa came up with a solution, suspend all campaigns for the party vice-presidency but keep Mwape as republican vice-president. But that decision was going to be a costly one for the party.

At the convention, the Bemba group resurfaced again. The same group that was unsatisfied with the expulsion of Nevers Mumba regrouped and the influence was deafening. They influenced the MMD convention to vote for Bemba-speaking Katele Kalumba as MMD National Secretary. This shocked Mwanawasa. But at least it made him realize that in politics friends could be enemies and enemies could turn out to be friends. Katele Kalumba is one of those individuals being prosecuted for corruption and theft by the Mwanawasa government.

This MMD convention and the way it voted in Katele Kalumba made Nevers Mumba to exclaim that Mwanawasa had betrayed the fight against corruption.

To bolster his chances in politics, Nevers knew that the Reform Party was headed nowhere. As such, he sought an opposition alliance with Michael Sata’s Patriotic Front for the 2006 elections. The terms were that Nevers was going to support Sata while he is given the opportunity to stand on PF ticket for parliament. A few weeks before the 2006 elections Nevers Mumba travelled to Chinsali with a certificate of adoption from PF Secretary General Guy Scott.

There was a small problem, however. PF Secretary General Guy Scott had issued a similar certificate of adoption to another candidate Mulenga. Mulenga coincidentally is nephew to Nevers Mumba. He had campaigned hard in Chinsali and had bolstered his popularity in Chinsali. In the battle of the 2 adoption certificates, it was Mulenga’s that won. A family meeting in Chinsali had persuaded the uncle to defer to the nephew and drop out of the race for Chinsali.

Nevers had failed.

The 2006 elections came and Nevers never again appeared with Michael Sata. He never openly campaigned for him. His Reform Party was not prepared enough to even field a single candidate. It seemed like dejavu for Nevers.

In the 2006 election, Mwanawasa finally prevailed. But the MMD’s popularity was further eroded. After having lost popularity in urban areas, the MMD had now lost to the Patriotic Front in both Luapula and Northern Provinces. The Bemba-speaking areas of Zambia had disowned Mwanawasa and the MMD. In fact, even Mwanawasa’s vice-president Lupando Mwape lost to a little known lawyer in a contest for a seat in Kasama.

With the Reform Party now basically extinct Nevers started making gestures to Mwanawasa for an appointment into the diplomatic service. His efforts at going to Canada kept being rebuffed by Mwanawasa and his loyalists. There was no room for Nevers Mumba. His sin had been too much. And his temptations were unforgivable.

Two years after the 2006 elections, President Levy Mwanawasa died. Fresh elections were to be called within 90 days of the burial. The MMD found its candidate in the republic vice-president Rupiah Banda. Knowing that the MMD was basically non-existent in the Bemba-speaking regions of Luapula and Northern Provinces, candidate Rupiah Banda turned to both President Chiluba and to Nevers Mumba. The 2009 presidential by-election would pit Michael Sata against Rupiah Banda. Sata’s friend Frederick Chiluba was no longer supporting the PF. He had changed back to the MMD because Rupiah Banda was more hospitable to him than Mwanawasa had been.

In countless campaign stops, Nevers appeared with Rupiah Banda in Mansa, Chinsali and several others places. Campaigning for Rupiah Banda meant almost instantaneously that Nevers was still going to be game.

After Rupiah Banda won the elections – Nevers’ dream of going to Canada as High Commissioner would come true. The turbulent priest, turbulent vice-president and controversial politician was now on his way to Ottawa to become the country’s ambassador. Upon hitting the ground in Ottawa, Nevers became a hit. He learnt the art of diplomacy quickly and got loved almost instantaneously by his diplomatic colleagues. In 2010 he was appointed dean of the diplomatic corps of Canada. Apart from Canada he was also ambassador to several Caribbean nations such as Bermuda, Jamaica and The Bahamas.

Within the business community, Nevers connected very well. Barrick Gold had just come to Zambia and were making huge investments into Lumwana. President Banda was happy to have Nevers in Ottawa. Since Nevers’ ambition knew no boundaries, Rupiah Banda did well to keep Nevers as far as possible. But even from the far flung areas of Canada, there were still whispers in the corridors of power, that Nevers’ political ambition had not ended. His time in Ottawa was going to be but a preparation time for something bigger.

What else could be bigger than being Ambassador or being vice-president?

Nevers’ sights for State House were never altered. Being Ambassadors was just one of those steps to take to help him reach the goal. However, MMD members and indeed many MMD insiders were still watching Nevers from afar and given the right circumstances they could give him another chance.

And that chance came in 2012. It came very fast and shockingly brutal.

In the 2011 elections, Rupiah Banda had lost the election to Michael Sata. Ambassador Nevers Mumba in Ottawa got the shocking news and knew there will be changes soon in Ottawa. Hours after Sata was sworn in, Nevers sent his congratulations but knew that his time as Ambassador had come to an end. He started gathering his goods and putting his house in order. Zambia had called. Foreign Affairs Minister Chishimba Kabwili recalled Nevers Mumba with immediate effect. To this recall, Nevers responded:

“I will come back to Zambia after the 3 months expires in accordance with my contract.”

This three months would give Nevers the necessary time to bid farewell to the contacts he had gathered in Ottawa. It would also give him the time to reflect on his next move. The opinion within the MMD NEC had been quite categorical – they needed him back to head the MMD.

Rupiah Banda tried to hold on to the MMD presidency for a few more months. But in December 2011 – he resigned as MMD president giving chance to the MMD NEC to find a new president.

In a convention, the MMD electoral college comprising branch, district, provincial and national delegates cast their votes. The first ballot had no convincing winner. It was the second ballot that assured Nevers Mumba of victory.

That morning, Nevers Mumba had been elected president of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy. President Michael Sata was not too happy with this outcome. From State House, President Sata castigated Nevers Mumba as a bogus and fake pastor who had stolen money in Canada and could not be trusted for leadership. “Nevers Mumba”, President Sata said, “abandoned his flock to join politics.” These words left no doubt that Nevers Mumba was going to face more temptations and trials under the leadership of President Sata.

The Temptation of Nevers Sekwila Mumba (Part I): Politics of Personal Sacrifice

By E. Munshya wa Munshya

It is Frank Talk time on prime time television in the early 1990s. One evening, the whole nation is listening in as journalist Frank Mutubila introduces his guest on ZNBC TV. Pastor Nevers Mumba sits confidently in his chair. Next to him is his wife. They are appearing on a program that follows and features news personalities. In the middle of the interview, smart Frank Mutubila probes Nevers about whether he would consider running for public office.“I am a preacher”, Nevers exclaims. And continues, “any involvement in politics would be a demotion.” Those words would become the most memorable lines of that Frank Talk interview.

When NeverNevers Sekwila Mumbas is saying that politics would be demotion. It really means just that. His name had become a household name in Zambia. He was an international preacher attracting the very best of international charismatic preachers. In a Christian nation, Nevers had access to State House at any time. Among his closest friends were President Frederick Chiluba and his Vice-President Godfrey Miyanda. Nevers Mumba was for all reasons a man with a lot of influence, the influence that came as a result of his faith commitment and leadership within the charismatic Pentecostal movement. His yearly Victory conferences became pilgrimages for Zambian Pentecostals.

Nevers’ influence did not just involve the MMD regime, however. President Kenneth Kaunda counted among many admirers of Nevers. In the dwindling days of his presidency, Kenneth Kaunda, a Chinsali native had turned to Nevers, another Chinsali native for counsel. The meeting at State House that Nevers had with Kaunda occupied several pages in Nevers’ book Integrity With Fire. According to Nevers and using Pentecostal language – President Kenneth Kaunda had given his life to the Lord after meeting Nevers at State House around 1990.

After winning the 1991 elections, President Frederick Chiluba’s government policy was to recognise and respect church leaders. Ignored for a long time under the leadership of Kaunda, Chiluba was going to give more visibility to Pentecostal leaders. He lavished them with recognition and Nevers Mumba was among those Chiluba honored with Zambian diplomatic passports. The reason for this honor was simple: “Christian preachers were envoys of the Christian nation of Zambia.”

On television, The Zambia Shall be Saved program was featured weekly, and sometimes appeared twice a week. In that program, Pastor Nevers Mumba became a firebrand of what it meant for Zambia to be a Christian nation. He would preach about faith, about prosperity, about international exposure. He would also preach about black consciousness. In those programs Nevers would testify about his wealth, his vision and the plans for his church and consequently for Zambia. Things were going well it seems. Zambia was going to be saved, and indeed it was getting saved.

Nevers was an alumnus of Hillcrest Technical School in Livingstone. After completing high school he interned for a few months in the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines. But this was not going to last long. He was to meet Evangelist Reinhard Bonkke in the early 1980s. When Bonkke met Nevers it was like at first sight. Nevers was going to be Bonkke’s Bemba interpreter and before long a scholarship had been arranged for him to study in the USA.

Upon return from the USA around 1983, Nevers registered a ministry under the Companies Act. In those days, Kenneth Kaunda had banned registration of new religious movements. The only recourse for beginners like Nevers was to use the Companies Act. Victory Ministries Inc. was born and with it came the influence, the splendor and the pomp. The poor boy from Chinsali had finally broken into the big league. For Nevers, what Kaunda had said about Zambia being free in 1962, he was going to tweak it and call rebrand it as “Zambia shall be saved.” This was going to be his mantra for life.

That splendor characterized Nevers’ life is an understatement. Ministry supporters of his had given him a mansion in Riverside, Kitwe. Victory Ministries was a staple all over the country. Crusades were held across the nation. Nevers Mumba was that embodiment of those rich American preachers. If any one could say there is money in Christian ministry, Nevers had broken that ceiling. He was swimming in money, in power and in influence. Given that influence, it is true; becoming a politician would truly be a demotion.

And then something happened.

It was in 1997, in Kabwe. Nevers had somewhat a change of heart or mind. We may never know. Or may be he had another born again experience. He announced that he had formed an organization to push for political reforms in Zambia. The National Christian Coalition was going to take on President Chiluba’s government.

When Nevers is making the decision to challenge Chiluba in this manner. He knew that this move would come at great personal and ministry risk. Indeed, if Nevers had cared about his own welfare he knew that challenging the Chiluba government would be a risky move. And it is this move that many analysts of Nevers never pay attention to. By breaking with the Chiluba government, Nevers had demonstrated tremendous courage. He knew he was going to lose all the honor, splendor and respect the Chiluba government had accorded him. In fact, he knew that the words he had spoken to Frank Mutubila earlier would come back to bite him.

But for Nevers, the nation was at stake. Chiluba had become corrupt. The promise of a Christian nation was not leading to a more moral nation. In that context, Nevers felt he could do something about it. He risked it all. And indeed the response from those in power was swift fierce.

After the NCC announcement, Vice-President Miyanda went to ZNBC. He berated Nevers Mumba. The war of words had now become the war between two of the countries’ foremost Pentecostal firebrands: Nevers in one corner and General Miyanda in another. Clearly, Nevers had fallen out of the league. With those words from General Miyanda, Nevers’ world started to shrink. And it shrunk faster than Nevers had expected. The sacrifice he had envisioned for his people was going to demand more than he could handle. If he had been tested and tried many times while preaching, the new political frontier was a temptation on steroids.

Nevers’ fellow preachers were next to call him out. He was a traitor, some of them screamed. He was challenging his fellow brother in Christ, some exclaimed. Some of his detractors accused him of leaving the “calling”, a treasonous crime within the Pentecostal fraternity. The words he had used to Frank Mutubila were replayed over and over again. Some even suggested that he was selfish just wanting to get into politics for more power, splendor and influence. Any one who has watched Nevers knows that he has far given more to politics than he had taken out. And if there was any doubt about that – challenging Chiluba’s corruption was the first step.

Chiluba’s machinery continued to respond swiftly. The NCC’s status as a society was threatened. Nevers had to quickly transform it into a political party and rename it the National Citizens Coalition. Chiluba summoned the Zambia Revenue Authority to audit the Victory Ministries Inc., which had for all these years operated as a non-profit company. Nevers was going to pay back back-taxes in millions of Kwachas. All the privileges Nevers had were to be withdrawn. The diplomatic passport was withdrawn too. Nevers might have bargained for too much. And he had bitten a bigger chunk he could not swallow.

But when he started speaking about his journey towards politics, Nevers was loved by the opposition and by civil society. As a close preacher to Chiluba he had noticed the abuse and corruption going on with Chiluba. Nevers had noticed how the government was working against the Zambians instead of working for the Zambians. Chiluba’s closest confidante, Michael Sata, was also on hand to berate the “disgraced preacher”. It was Nevers against Chiluba, Miyanda and Sata. It was Nevers against the machines of power and the testing and trails were only going to get fiercer.

That mansion in Kitwe was going to be subject of litigation. Victory Ministries faced closure. The Zambia Shall be Saved program on TV was only saved by court intervention. The temptation of Nevers Mumba had only started to intensify.

Pentecostal political theology is still in its infancy as an academic subject. Many observers of Pentecostal political theology especially in Africa do characterize it as one that attempts to maintain the status quo. At best, most analysts see Pentecostals as perpetrators of the status quo. As such, Nevers Mumba’s decision to challenge the status quo was a bit unusual and a departure from what is expected of a Pentecostal preacher. In this regard then, Nevers becomes an embodiment of that spirit of resistance against corruption and abuse of power. After noticing that Zambia was going the wrong direction, Nevers bucked his own Pentecostal movement to challenge the excesses of his brother in Christ, Frederick Chiluba. This Nevers did at great cost to his own life and in fact, to his own integrity.

Pentecostalism is for many reasons predicated on an understanding of God who can do anything. As a faith that lacks a central authority, it is by nature quite chaotic and dynamic. In Pentecostalism God speaks directly, but more than that, God continues to speak daily to his people. As such, when Nevers says he could not join politics that is what God could have told him in 1992, but by progressive revelation may be God told Nevers something else by 1997. He had to abandon the church in order to challenge the corruption he saw in the Chiluba government.

This contrasts Nevers and President Michael Sata. Both of them were close to the Chiluba axis of power. But when he noticed corruption, Nevers broke with Chiluba at great personal and family cost. Sata on the other hand stayed with Chiluba in the middle of the worst corruption Zambia has ever seen. In fact, Michael Sata only left Chiluba after it was apparent that Chiluba had dribbled him on succession. Nevers’ decision to leave Chiluba’s MMD was a decision for others, for Zambia. Sata’s decision to leave, however, was based on personal ambition – the desire to be President and only leave corruption when he gets disappointed from being adopted as MMD candidate.

By the time Nevers was campaigning to be president of Zambia for the 2001 elections, he had been reduced to a pauper. The levers of power had worked their way into Nevers’ life. He had lost everything. The only thing he was left with was that Pentecostal confidence in the God who can “do anything.” Nevers had lost his house, his reputation stained, and his friends had run away from him. He had not committed any crimes, or may be the only crime was to cry out against the shoes, the designers Bombasa, and theft he saw in the Chiluba administration. And for doing that, he suffered for it. Politics for Nevers had been a demotion, but a demotion he fully believed was for the good of the nation.

By the end of the 1990s, Nevers’ children had just become teenagers. They needed a father who would provide for them. Having lost the income, the influence, the power, Nevers had paid a huge price for politics. His passion for the ordinary Zambia led him to make these sacrifices. He had some solace in a few friends outside of Zambia who would invite him to preach. Having lost the Kitwe home – Nevers had become a destitute. Politics and a passion for his people and his nation had not made him richer but poorer. And daily, he had to agonize about what happens to his children, and to his family. The days of splendor and glory are over. With a simple stroke of a microphone he could have returned to preaching full time. And as usual, there was going to be more people to welcome back the prodigal preacher.

The temptation of Nevers was too great to bear. The man who could advice presidents was now living in a guest wing at his in-laws. Cruel life. But for a good cause. The cause of his nation.

And then the call came.

Nevers Mumba’s one of his eleven challengers in the 2001 elections had now been president for almost a year. Levy Mwanawasa had been handpicked by President Frederick Chiluba to succeed him. When Levy won the elections, he adopted the fight against corruption as the motto of his presidency. Levy Mwanawasa started proceedings to have Chiluba prosecuted for corruption and theft. Nevers Mumba’s fight against Chiluba’s corruption had now been confirmed that Chiluba was no longer in power. President Chiluba, a man of the people had by the end of his second term faced serious accusation of theft and corruption.

When Mwanawasa made the moves to prosecute Chiluba, Nevers Mumba was among the first to support the decision. The Post Newspapers carried Nevers Mumba’s reaction to President Mwanawasa’s efforts. “It was an answer to God’s justice”, Pastor Nevers Mumba had said. May be, as he is saying this, he has in mind the injustice he had suffered at the hand of President Frederick Chiluba. For now, it was just early 2002 and President Mwanawasa had noticed, a Chinsali born Bemba, and former preacher who shared his ideals against corruption.

Levy Mwanawasa’s crack at the presidency proved difficult. Chiluba’s influence within the levers of power was so endemic. If he had to prosecute Chiluba, Mwanawasa needed partners. But partners within the MMD government proved difficult to keep. And so he had to look elsewhere.

Within the MMD, almost all of the senior leaders had been soiled by the Chiluba corruption. Vice-President Kavindele himself had won the MMD vice-presidency under very controversial circumstances at the 2001 convention. By 2003, the Bemba speaking faction in the MMD had been dissatisfied with Mwanawasa. President Mwanawasa was going to find a perfect fit to help him win the Bemba hearts and to fortify his fight against corruption.

It was early 2003. In an evening broadcast, President Mwanawasa had made a choice of a new Vice-President. Nevers Sekwila Mumba from the living room of his in-laws went through the formalities of appointment. He had become Zambia’s Vice-President. Becoming the first preacher to become Vice-President and the second Chinsalian to become Vice-President after Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe in 1967.

President Mwanawasa had found a partner in the fight. President Mwanawasa had also found a well-spoken preacher to help him deal with the public relations issues facing his government. Nevers was swift, flamboyant and hard working. His personality made him likeable. The image of a clean, handsome man coming into office enthralled many.

But this honeymoon was never to last long.

In 2004, Nevers’ crack at executive privilege had been curtailed. President Mwanawasa had fired him. And with his firing – Nevers’ trials and temptations continued.

Is Stella Shooting at Shadows?: Hichilema, Police IG Libongani & “Amayendele”

 E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), M.Div.

Munshya wa Munshya

Munshya wa Munshya

In our democracy, there should be no reason why the police command should be wasting taxpayers’ bullets and teargas to chase Hakainde Hichilema (HH) out of the Eastern Province. Bullets and teargas should be for criminals and not ordinary citizens. Reports that Inspector-General (IG) Stella Libongani had sent a battalion of police and soldiers to hound HH out of Chipata are very disturbing. What is even more worrying is the fact that the honorable Inspector General issued a statement in which she proudly detailed this fact. This is regrettable. However, we must not be tired to remind each other frequently, of the sacrosanct liberties we have decided to enjoy as a people. Power corrupts. And I see the reason why Bo Stella could be using her position and her power to persecute citizens of our country. It is certainly tempting to be in Lusaka and with the click of a finger be able to mobilize paramilitaries to frighten villagers in Mungwi or Malambo. We must be clear from the outset that eroding our constitutional liberties as citizens of our beloved country is a serious issue that we as a people should condemn with the contempt it deserves.

This nation was formed with a clear goal in mind: to be a free people united under the banner of One Zambia One Nation. The slogan of “amayendele muno Zambia” was the battle cry at independence. What this means is that any citizen of our country does have the liberty to travel anywhere across the length and breadth of our homeland. Amayendele means HH can go where he wishes to go. He cannot get lost. It is his country. Amayendele means Chipata is Hakainde’s Zambia just like Mazabuka is his. Amayendele means a native of Milenge can freely roam in Mwinilunga. Amayendele means we do not need police permits and passes to go and pay homage to Mpezeni, Chitimukulu or Gawa-Undi. Unless HH is restricted by a court of law, there is no way that Bo Stella should be sending armed police to tear gas a citizen away from Chipata. Hakainde is not a mouse that needs to be smoked out of a hole. He is certainly not a rabid dog that needs to be quarantined to his Kabulonga home. It makes absolute no sense that the Zambia Police should take pride in restricting the constitutional liberties enjoyed by a free people.

The United Party for National Development (UPND) is one of the leading political players in our country. In a democratic nation, political participants should have the liberty to compete for political ideas in the electoral marketplace. It does not matter that HH is politically annoying to President Sata. In fact, I find some of HH’s statements against Sata to be self-indulgent and occasionally silly. But that is, within reason, a lawful liberty that is and should be constitutionally protected. Anyway, State House itself does return HH’s fire for fire. And HH’s political candor has been met squarely by the greater vulgarity pasted on State House letterheads.

Stella Libongani

Stella Libongani

Nevertheless, political silliness is not one of the reasons why citizens should be denied their “Amayendele liberties.” Subsequently, as a citizen of this country HH has the freedom to hold and promote his political opinions. He should be free to air those opinions. It is up to the people of Chipata to decide whether they will believe HH or not. It is not up to Libongani to decide for us what the people of Mutenguleni want. Certainly, it is not up to the Police High Command to determine for the people of Malambo which candidate is to be believed. That being the case, it is concerning that the Police would so imprudently decide to interfere in what should be left for the people to determine. Zambians decided to vote for Michael Sata in 2011. They needed no help from bullets or teargas. And Zambians certainly need no bullets to determine for them the person they will vote for in 2016. We are Zambians and bullets have never been our way of resolving our political differences. And I hope Bo Stella will keep it that way by exercising restraint in the way she uses teargas to deal with unarmed political players. Indeed if she is trigger happy, she could exercise her shooting skills on ducks, chickens and cockroaches, but not on the Zambian human like HH.

Ordinary folks are the primary defenders of democracy. Regardless of how strong or weak institutions of democracy are, it takes the will and resolve of a people to strengthen their stake in democracy. Zambians fought for democracy in 1964. Zambians fought for democracy in 1991. When faced with the prospect of a Third Term, Zambians hooped together again and fought for democracy in 2001. President Sata should never make the mistake of assuming that Zambians will give up on democracy in 2014. We have stated in this column, and we do restate it: Zambians have tasted the beautiful fruit begotten by the tree of democracy. Having found it to be so sweet, Zambians are unwilling to revert back to the ruthlessness and senselessness of the rotten shrub of dictatorship.

Hakainde Hichilema

Hakainde Hichilema

Libongani is indeed in a very precarious situation. She could be thinking that by being cruel to HH she is somehow winning some favour from her boss. But what she might need reminding is the fact that, her boss also has some bosses: the people of Zambia. The people of Zambia elected President Sata and it is the people of Zambia that will decide his fate come 2016. That being the case, Libongani should hold allegiance to the government of the day, only as the custodians of the administrative state delegated to them by the people. It is true that politicians supervise Libongani. Our system of government is such that elected officials supervise, within the confines of the law, both the civil service and the security apparatus. This is done so that there may be law and order in our country. This is also done so that these security officials may at the command of politicians protect Zambia from internal and external enemies. It is ridiculous to stop HH as if he were an enemy of the State. We need soldiers and armies not to harass citizens but to protect citizens. Libongani should be sending police to facilitate HH’s safety in Chipata instead of sending armed paramilitaries to smoke him out of Chipata.

Trigger happy?

Trigger happy?

The Inspector General does have a choice in the matter. She has the choice to do right when democratic liberties are at stake. She should be impartial in the discharge of her functions. We like it that she is presiding over a sophisticated security apparatus. But she must know that she is doing it to protect our people and enhance democratic liberties. It is not worth it for her to erode liberties. Instead of focusing so much on HH, President Sata should concentrate on putting measures in place to control inflation and strengthen the value of the Zambian Kwacha, which could reach K7, 000 to a dollar in a few days. However, if President Sata fails to resolve these problems, Zambians will have no choice but to smoke HH out of his Kabulonga home and make him president in 2016. But until then “mayendele muno Zambia”. And as the people of Milenge would put it: umukashana wa mabele talangwa nshila!

In The Name of God: Should The Zambian Government Ban Randy Clergy?

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

Registrar of Societies Kakoma Kanganja has proscribed a Lusaka pastor from ministry. This pastor, as widely reported in the media, was accused of among other things, practicing Satanism, sexual misconduct and several doctrinal hullabaloos. Kanganja appears to be more deliberative in his decision making process. In this article, I wish to explore at least two points. I will highlight the rise of the prophetism phenomenon. After this, I will then explore the role, if any, that government can play in controlling some controversial practices.

There are so many people claiming to be prophets that it is difficult to tell one from the other. Some are performing bizarre practices. For the prophet in question, his practices allegedly involved asking members to shave all the hair on their bodies and taking pilgrimage into the bush. Others have alleged sexual misconduct on the part of the prophet.

The prophetism phenomenon calls for serious discernment. It is the duty of all citizens to be able to question and reassess what these prophets are teaching. It should not be difficult for anyone to figure out that any prophet who demands huge sums of cash, as a prerequisite for a miracle, should be doubted. Additionally, it should be clear that any prophet who asks for sex as a way to exorcise spirits is most probably a charlatan. There is no wonder working power in any pastor’s penis. In so saying, I am not in any way suggesting that any form of sexual indiscretion by clergy is a sign that they are false prophets. Indeed, it would be ridiculous for me to claim that. What I am suggesting is that any one who uses religion, as a way to habitually manipulate followers into immoral behaviour is most probably a false prophet. And the people of Zambia should be the best judge of such behaviors.

"Nine Pastor Changwe njiswila ko" - PK Chishala

“Nine Pastor Changwe njiswila ko” – PK Chishala

If we are to learn from PK Chishala’s hit song Pastor Changwe, we see that some controversial pastors can use scripture to justify transgressions. In PK’s song, Pastor Changwe even goes to misquote the Bible as a way to justify his desire to sleep with his deacon’s wife. “Ati wakana ine ninshi wakana Paulo”. Pastor Changwe went on to claim, “Yesu alikwete Maria Magdalena, Paulo nao ali na Phoebe, Petelo alikwete Dorcas”. Clearly, this is twist of scripture. Having supposed that, PK Chishala is not in any way suggesting that Pastor Changwe is committing a crime or an offence. We must create a distinction between conduct that is morally reprehensible and that which is illegal. We should not impute illegality on conduct that might be immoral but not necessarily illegal. I will come back to this later.

Should government ban randy pastors?

Should government ban randy pastors?

Having regard to the reality of deceitful prophets among us, the next question should be, how could we control them? Some members of the said pastor’s church went to the Registrar of Societies and after investigations and to his credit Kanganja decided to ban this pastor. I am alive to the fact that Kanganja did his due diligence. However, even if he had done his due diligence, the decision to ban this pastor does seem to have been an overreach of his powers. It would be a terrible Zambia where we allow a government officer to chose for us who should and who should not be worthy to lead a religious organization. The government should have no role in determining for its citizen the ritual, moral or spiritual fitness of its religious leaders. Even if that pastor were alleged to have been involved in all those activities, the Registrar of Societies does not have the powers and neither should he have the powers to proscribe any citizen from leading a religious organization. Just as government has no powers to determine ritual fitness of Sosala to be Chitimukulu so doesn’t government have powers to determine the ritual fitness of any pastor.

The problem with allowing Kanganja’s conduct to continue is the chilling effect it will have on religious liberty. Today, he might be justified in stopping this rowdy pastor, but tomorrow who knows what Kanganja might be up to? It should be left to the members of a religious organization to determine how they will handle the affairs of their churches. Indeed, a government officer should be blind to internal squabbles that border on religious doctrine. If we allowed government to interfere then there is nothing that would stop Kanganja from entering any independent church and “discipline” randy pastors. In fact, Kanganja’s predecessor, wanted to overzealously ban the bus station pastors. This guy seemed to have had no clue that having the power to register societies in Zambia did not necessarily give him the duty to regulate religious expression, regardless of how annoying it gets.

I take notice of the seriousness of the allegations leveled against the banned Lusaka pastor. But even if these practices are morally questionable and in fact could be unbiblical, they are not in themselves illegal. If a group of citizens decide to shave their hair as a way of their religious ritual, it should be within their right to do so. If a pastor commits sexual immorality, it is immoral obviously but that should not, by itself, make government to disqualify such a pastor. Again, it is not government’s job to do so.

The sexual immorality thing does seem to be quite a petulant subject at the moment. If a religious leader rapes women, then he must be arrested and the law should take its course. If there is no rape, and the leader has consensual sex with consenting adults, while such conduct falls below expected moral standards, it should not by itself lead to government interference in religious matters. If indeed, we allowed government to do so, then even the Mother Church herself would have long closed its doors. Contrary to some perceptions, the problems of sexual immorality are not unique to one social institution or one church. They are prevalent in mainline churches as well as newer religious movements. If Kanganja has to defrock immoral clergy, we might have to suggest that he starts with the Mother Church herself – Ekklesia Katolika. And so, if he has no guts to defrock Catholic clergy, where on earth does he get the authority to defrock an independent church?

It is quite telling that rumors of Satanism have been circulated against even more orthodox Christian organizations. I know a church situated near John Laing and Misisi compounds. This church has the reputation of being “satanic” simply by the many cars that park there each Sunday. Rumors of Satanism have unjustifiably been circulated against organizations such as the Mormon Church and other organizations in Zambia. In fact, on at least two occasions, the Zambian government banned the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) alleging that the church was practicing Satanism. In both of these instances, the Zambian courts took exception to government of overreach and made it clear that religious freedom is sacrosanct. You cannot proscribe a religion simply because of rumors.

This brings me to the consultation Kanganja did with the chairman of ICOMZ – David Masupa. There is this mistaken and irritating belief by some of our people that the mother church bodies are the de-facto regulators of religious expression in Zambia. This idea is neither biblical and neither is it legal. Citizens have the right and freedom to express their religious liberties without recourse to a “church mother body”.

The best adjudicators of any religion are the ordinary people. Government should only interfere if a church or a pastor is committing crimes or corrupting public morals. It should not be the duty of government to intercede on a matter of how some pastor decides to shave his pubic hair as a way of his own religious ritual. Reprehensive as it may seem, it is within the confines of human liberty. Government should stay out of the Church, including the most reprehensive of the churches.

Speaking in Tongues: The Absurdity of President Sata’s “Local Languages” Policy

 E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), MA, MDiv.

English and Pan-Africanism

When a president has no agenda, she finds solace in promoting myopic nationalisms devoid of real sense. When a government has no tangible plan for development, it begins to couch useless pan-Africanist ideals that have no practical value.  Nothing demonstrates this recklessness better than the recent decision of the Michael Sata government to introduce vernacular languages as the sole media of instruction in lower primary school. According to the Hon. Kabimba, government introduced this policy so that Zambia can truly be free from the foreign language of English. The Permanent Secretary in the ministry responsible for education is couching this new policy as “the necessary revision to the educational curriculum.” At close inspection, however, we find this new policy is nothing other than a noisome invention that lacks any proper objectives. It is a “cimbwi no plan” initiative. In fact, it defies logic so much that it should not even be implemented further. It is a white elephant. Using Father Bwalya’s mother tongue– it is a cumbu munshololwa policy.

If it aint broken, don’t fix it

Why fix what is not broken?

“The idea that Zambia has seven local languages is perhaps the greatest fabrication to have ever come from the Kenneth Kaunda dictatorship” – E. Munshya

By introducing this policy, the PF government is labouring under a very mistaken assumption that teachers in Grade 1 to Grade 4 do not currently use local languages to teach. There is a saying that, “if it aint broken, don’t fix it.” Teachers in Zambia do, in fact, use local languages to teach. They combine both English and a local language. And herein lies the difference. The local languages that teachers use to communicate to Grade 1 pupils are the local language spoken in the respective areas. As such, teachers in Milenge do use Ushi and local Ushi expressions to illuminate addition, subtraction and multiplication. Teachers in Mongu also do use the local language to supplement English as the medium of instruction. However, all of this will change, if Lusaka imposes upon the teachers a policy to teach in one of the seven languages, which would be mostly foreign to the children. The key is not to impose languages from Lusaka. This PF government should leave teachers alone to teach in English as well as the local languages and systems of thought applicable within a particular context. Indeed, it would be absurd to teach Grade Ones in Chiwempala using a form of Bemba, which is not used by the children of Chiwempala. The Bemba spoken in Chinsali is different from the Bemba spoken in Chiwempala. Imposing Chinsali Bemba language on Chabanyama Primary School would not achieve any practical educational objective for children.

Deconstructing “Local Languages”

English is a Zambian language. It is senseless to fight it - E. Munshya

English is a Zambian language. It is senseless to fight it – E. Munshya

The government is saying that they have revised the curriculum in such a way that the pupils will now be taught in the “local languages”. This is absurd. In order for this reasoning to stand, we must first deconstruct what is meant by “local language”. The idea that Zambia has seven local languages is perhaps the greatest fabrication to have ever come from the Kenneth Kaunda dictatorship. Zambia does not have seven local languages. In fact, the seven local languages are not in any logical way expressive of the language status of the Zambian majority. Kaunda picked on the seven languages in an arbitrary manner and imposed them on us. Could Kaunda explain the reason why he chose to include Luvale among the languages of broadcast when in fact we have more Mambwe/Namwanga speakers in Zambia than the Luvale speakers? Additionally, how did KK make the decision to impose the Bemba language upon some people in the north whose heart language is in fact, not Bemba? This is why the decision by the PF government to recognise these seven languages as the de-facto representation of the Zambian languages is very problematic. It is not based on reality. It is a fantasy.

Is English a Foreign Language?

This then should bring us to an important issue, the idea that English is a foreign language. This reasoning is basically nonsense. Some of our citizens have spoken English more than they have spoken any of the so-called local languages. This then means that English is not foreign to them any more than a so-called local language is foreign. Some children in Mongu know English far much better than they can ever know the Bemba spoken in Mansa or Mpika. As such, to rant that English is more foreign than Bemba is just ridiculous. Africa needs to be delivered from the idea that to develop like a Whiteman we must reject everything that came with a Whiteman. The fact that English came with the British conquest should not in any way mean that for Zambia to be truly free it must reject English. If that were the case, then we would all be asking Mwata Kazembe to reject the Bemba language he adopted when he conquered the Luapula Valley. Or should the Chikunda reject Nguni languages because they were imposed on them after the Ngoni conquest? English is now an African language. It has become a Zambian language. We are not achieving anything by demonizing it. Africa needs to embrace this language and use it for development and ease of communication. It is too expensive and unnecessary to fight the English language. What good is it to try and invent an Ushi term for electrons and atoms when English terms are readily available?

Mobutuism & its futility

I must digress here a little bit. It is amazing how oblivious African leaders go into irrational Africanisms when they have no clear path for local development. When Zaire’s lunatic President Mobutu banned “foreign” names, he changed his name from the foreign name of “Joseph” to the African name of “Seseseko Ku kungbendu wa zabanga.” All Zaireans were banned from using English or French names. They had to adopt African names. Not even Bible names were allowed. Mobutu’s new African name could be translated as “the ever powerful warrior who wins battles while leaving fire in his wake”. This is the name Mobutu claimed was more “African” than the biblical name “Joseph”. It did not matter to Mobutu that in fact, Joseph was an African Prime Minister according to the Bible. It did not matter to Mobutu that “kuku ngbendu wa zabanga” was just a cover for corruption, patronage and theft. And in keeping with his so-called African name, Wa Zabanga became one of the most corrupt leaders of Zaire, “leaving fire in his wake”. The idea that African leaders should destroy all symbols of colonialism sounds very good and attractive, but deeply in it is buried hypocrisy and irrationality. It is this overarching philosophy I see in the don’t kubeba cumbu munshololwa government’s justification of using so called “local languages” in Grades 1 to 4.

Local languages are still relevant, but…

By saying what I have stated above, I do not in any way mean that local languages are irrelevant. Local languages are important and they are still relevant. I would pay any price to have my three children learn to speak and communicate in both Ushi and Lozi. My children are both Ushi and Lozi. They symbolize the true Zambian spirit, a multi-cultural and multi-tribal Zambia. But in doing so, I need no help from Kabimba or Sata whose objective is not to value African tradition, but to perpetuate language expansionism based on the superiority of the manufactured seven languages. If the PF truly wanted to value traditions, why don’t they let the traditional authorities choose their own Chitimukulu? You cannot claim to value tradition in one breath and in the next send armies to shoot at Sosala who has been selected by his own traditionalists. Before the PF even begins to trouble young children with a confused language policy, why don’t they begin a true language revolution by passing a law in parliament making Bemba or Tonga official language of record?

Bashing English in English?

What is even more absurd out of all this is that Kabimba and Phiri announced the language policy, not in their local language, but in English. So they were bashing the use of the English by using the English language. The Education permanent secretary was also talking about this change of the curriculum not in any local language, but in English. This is not surprising though. Ngungi Wa Thiongo is one of those great African scholars who also bash the English language while using the very English language.

Teachers already use local languages to teach children. It is not necessary to restrict them by imposing upon them Kaunda’s seven languages: One Zambia, many languages. And English is one of them.

(c) E. Munshya 2014. A copy of this article was published in the Friday edition of Zambia’s leading independent newspaper, The Zambia Daily Nation (17 January 2014). I have a column every friday called “Munshya wa Munshya on Friday.”

People and Events That Will Shape Zambia’s 2014

By E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), MA, MDiv.

The New Year is finally here. We should all be relieved that the year 2013 has come to an end. Each New Year brings to us a fresh perspective on life. And for Zambia, we all should expect a renewed look at what would make our nation better and greater. The shape of any nation is continually fashioned by people and events. In this New Year 2014 there are several events and people I see shaping the way the fabric of our nation shall unfold.

The Year of GBM 

Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) is likely to affect the political field more than any other person this year. GBM’s high profile end-of-year resignation from President Sata’s cabinet has created some perception that he is a courageous politician. In this fresh perception, it does not matter that GBM’s resignation might have been caused by his loss of influence within the PF (Team A v Team B). All that seem to matter to his supporters is that he has shown some courage by quitting and standing up to his former boss. GBM will do well to leverage this momentum. It therefore matters how he will handle himself especially in the coming few weeks.

GBM will shape Zambia's political landscape in 2014

GBM will shape Zambia’s political landscape in 2014

To benefit from this momentum, GBM could choose to launch a political party of his own. But that would be a serious mistake. Launching a new party would only go to crowd an already over-bloated opposition scene. What he needs to do is to be more calculating. The two choices that come to mind are either the MMD or the UPND. Going to MMD has some risk involved. The MMD is a compromised brand. Having another powerful Bemba in MMD, after Nevers Mumba, would prove problematic for GBM. The most formidable step GBM can take is to collaborate with the UPND. This choice would almost certainly be mutually beneficial for both GBM and Hakainde Hichilema. Such a move would make the UPND strong enough to be a serious contender to power in 2016. If GBM were to join the UPND, he could become its Vice-President. In this arrangement, the goal is not to get the Bemba vote to UPND, but to bring the urban vote gravitas to the UPND. As it stands now, GBM cannot dislodge the PF’s stronghold in Bemba-speaking areas in the Luapula-Muchinga corridor. But most certainly, GBM does have the aura in the urban areas to dissuade Lusaka and Copperbelt from continuing with the PF.

In 2014, the political front is not likely to bring any surprises. In the seats that have been nullified, we expect the PF to win in its traditional areas and the opposition to win in their respective areas. It is quite unlikely that the PF will perform well in these by-elections. The MMD is likely to lose some seats to the UPND especially in areas such as Northwestern Province and Barotseland. As far as the Eastern Province is concerned, Nevers Mumba’s MMD is likely to win all the by-elections held there.

The Year of Justice Chibesakunda & Chikopa

Munshya wa Munshya

“2014 – Will be a significant year for Zambia” – Elias Munshya

The Supreme Court will be determining important cases this year. One case that is likely to return to the bench is the Mutuna case, which is being handled by Ndola High Court Judge Siavwapa. I have named this case Mutuna II to differentiate it from the first Mutuna case, which the Supreme Court has already dealt with. What is unusual with Mutuna II is that Judge Siavwapa has maintained that what Mutuna and others are looking for in Mutuna II is quite different from what they wanted in Mutuna I. By distinguishing issues, Siavwapa does seem to have rejected the idea that he is bound by the stare decisis in Mutuna I. We should all closely watch this court case. It will be one of the most significant cases of the year. The fact that this Mutuna II case has stayed the Chikopa Tribunal is also significant. It is quite interesting that 2 years after Chikopa, this tribunal is yet to begin sitting.

The Supreme Court is also likely to hear the case against Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda. In this case, the Law Association of Zambia is challenging Chibesakunda’s occupation of office of Chief Justice. This case is likely to divide the court and in turn is likely to divide the members of the Zambian bar themselves. With about thirty lawyers involved in this court case, it will be one of the greatest cases in the nation’s history. In view of this, Justice Chibesakunda could decide to resign before the hearing. She could also decide to stay and fight it out. If she stays to fight it out, the fights might themselves create a perception among citizens that the judiciary is alienated. For an already mistrusted court, this is the last thing they would want associated with them.

Year of Nullifications

Nullifications of parliamentary seats are likely to continue this year. I do not think that the Supreme Court is nullifying these seats due to some ulterior motive. But I think there is fundamental misinterpretation of the law on the judges’ part. It seems like all the judges do seem to be following a clear pattern. They find an irregularity and this irregularity leads to automatic nullification. This has been the case in almost each of the cases heard by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court does seem to misunderstand the real purpose behind electoral laws. And this is a common misconception that any court can make. In my opinion, for a seat to be nullified at least three questions should be answered in the affirmative.

First, was there a malpractice or electoral irregularity? The second question should be; “was the malpractice or the irregularity so grave as to affect the electoral outcome”? The third question should be, taking into account public policy and interest should the election be nullified? Answering all these in the affirmative should lead to nullification.

It would be a serious mistake if any malpractice or irregularity will automatically lead to nullification, as is the case now. Again, I think the Supreme Court judges have done a great disservice to the nation in the way they continue to interpret and implement the Electoral Act. That being the case, I do not think that they are nullifying seats due to some hidden conspiracy.

The Year of More Kaloba

In terms of economics, things are not looking very bright. If the don’t kubeba government continues along this path, Zambia is likely to continue on its path of accumulating kaloba at unprecedented levels. This year is likely to be the year of more kaloba. Finance Minister Chikwanda’s last act of the last year was to sign a 20-year kaloba in millions of dollars with the Chinese. It is not good for our country to accumulate pre-HIPC debt loads. It is unacceptable. The thing is, Chikwanda’s coffers are dry and in order for him to deliver the so many extreme promises the PF have made he has to resort to borrowing.

50 Years Jubilee

Zambia will be 50 years old this year. This calls for celebration. However, the true celebration should be with the way President Sata decides to rule the nation. He must backtrack on debts. He must also improve his human rights record. At 50, the police should not be detaining people simply for possessing Vermox. Several journalists will be in court in a few days time. They are facing charges connected to their work. In this year, we should all apply the necessary pressure upon government to desist from abrogating press freedom.

Kenneth Kaunda Will be 90!

On a good note, this year Kenneth David Kaunda will be turning 90. And at this age, Kenneth Kaunda will be one of those that will shape Zambia in 2014. It will matter how Kaunda celebrates his 90 years. I just hope that he will not spend it as a partisan demagogue, but as a true compatriot of the people of Zambia. Kaunda belongs to all Zambians. He does not belong to the PF alone and the sooner he realizes that, the better.

Happy New Year Zambia.

Beyond Africanism: A Critique of Joshua Ngoma’s Book “The Rise of the Africans”

 Munshya wa Munshya

“Unless the lions learn how to write”, asserts author Joshua Ngoma, “the hunters will always write their stories.” With this Kenyan proverb, Ngoma begins his 138-page book The Rise of the Africans (2012, Seaburn Publishing). This book, among other things, explains the four principles that Africans should coalesce around to ensure the inevitable and imminent rise of their continent. These pillars are not new. Ghanaian Kwame Nkrumah was among the first to espouse them. These ideals formed the basis for what would later become the rallying cry of Pan-Africanism. Other African leaders and academicians parroted these ideals as well. It is, therefore, quite interesting that half a century later, Ngoma would still find these ideas relevant.

Author Joshua Ngoma

Author Joshua Ngoma

Ngoma is telling a story from his own perspective and the perspective of many Africans. We must all find this positively praiseworthy as a way to begin a conversation on important issues affecting our continent. The author explains African history in a clear and concise manner. He also attempts to explain difficulties Africa faces. Ngoma also deals with the hopes and dreams of Africa’s one billion people. In this book, we see the important imprint of his father, his friends and his brief involved in Zambian politics. He has also done well to do some comparative analysis of both Africa and Asia. His research is impeccable. Certainly, Ngoma’s passion for Africa is unquestionably sizzling.

However, we must join a conversation he has started. For the most part, the four pillars he is espousing as the foundation to direct Africa’s rise have now been discredited. Nkrumahism is no longer defensible. The basic foundation of Pan-Africanism, the perspective from which Ngoma writes, is no longer relevant to 21st century Africa. Africa does not need ideals predicated by futile Pan-Africanist doctrines. Africa needs newer and fresher outlook on its role in the global village. Having been frustrated with pan-Africanism, we must go beyond it and perhaps coalesce around post-Africanism (see Denis Ekpo). Post-Africanism seeks to redeem the African from the illusion of comparison. It interrogates the cracks in the shaky foundations of pan-Africanism. It sees no reason why Africa’s development should be predicated upon definitions imposed by the very people she claims to be free from.

Cecil Rhodes is the patron saint of Pan-Africanism

Cecil Rhodes is the patron saint of Pan-Africanism

The fear of Imperialism?

The first of the four pillars is predicated on the idea that there should be a new Africa, independent and absolutely free from imperialism, organized on a continental scale”. This does sound very good and attractive. However, it is rhetoric loaded with no practical value. As an ideological pillar it flops very miserably. In modern Africa, the Africanists and the Pan-Africanists would like us to believe that European imperialism is Africa’s number one enemy. This might have been the case in 1960 but it is certainly no longer the case. Africa must bury an incessant obsession with the fear of imperialists. Modern Africa cannot claim to be free while at the same time being possessed by an irrational paranoia of the motives of the White skin. I see no connection, whatsoever, between Mugabe’s fear of Europe with his desire to assault his political enemy Tsvangarai using state police. I just do not see the connection between imperialism and the senseless killing going on in Juba, South Sudan today. It would be ridiculous to claim that all the problems in Africa are as a result of the imperialists. Is it the imperialists spending on Zuma’s Nkandla estate? What about the arbitrary arrests of Zambians for possessing Vermox? Is it an imperialist move too?

A modern African is not going to tolerate the nonsense of the fear of imperialism as a way for African leaders to deny basic liberties to the people of Africa. The blame game should end, and Africa should take responsibility.

The idea that Africa must be one and united is perhaps the greatest falsehood Africa has inherited from the colonialist. - Munshya wa Munshya

The idea that Africa must be one and united is perhaps the greatest falsehood Africa has inherited from the colonialist. – Munshya wa Munshya

One and United Africa?

This then should bring me to my next objection to Ngoma’s Africanism: the idea that Africa must be organized on a continental scale, founded upon the “conception of a One and United Africa”. The idea that Africa must be one and united is perhaps the greatest falsehood Africa has inherited from the colonialist. The Africans, themselves, never conceived a united Africa and they never needed to. It was a zygote of European imperialism. It is Cecil Rhodes and King Leopold II who hallucinated of a united Africa “from Cape to Cairo.” For one thing, a united Africa was and still is, far easier to exploit than independent states. Africa as discovered by the colonialist was too volatile to colonize. It had to take some form of “unity” to easily exploit African resources and the Africans themselves. Before Africa jumps on this united Africa bandwagon, we need to ask ourselves how we came to believe that we must be one and united. Africa is not a country and should never be one. We were never meant to be a country. As stated by Ngoma himself, Africa is a complex continent with different cultures and countries. How then did he come to conclude that a united Africa is in Africans’ best interest?

An African science and technology?

The third, pillar is indeed powerful. Africa must draw its strength from modern science and technology. It is quite interesting though that the first casualty of African independence was science and technology. Ngoma highlights the importance of science to the development of Africa. But what he needed to stress even more is the fact that personal apprenticeship is the only way we can actualize the strength of science and technology. To have this strength, Africans do not need to reinvent the wheels of science. Africans must learn from those with strengths in science and technology. This is what Africa needed. But instead of keeping the European innovators in Africa, most of these so called founding fathers of Africa, hounded away Europeans and claimed that they would instead grow their own indigenous “science and technology”. This was disaster, and it showed. Within the decade of independence Kaunda “Zambianized” and “Africanized” by giving crucial science and technology positions to our people who had no clue about science and technology. That is not the way to grow innovation. In a globalized world, innovation in science and technology belongs to everybody. No one country should regard themselves as inferior simply because they have borrowed or stolen technology from others. As noted by Ngoma himself, South Korea is what it is today due to its liberal use of Western technology and patents. Africans must admit that the 1970s and 1980s folly of chasing Whites out of Africa was unreasonable and was a direct attack on Africa’s own opportunity for innovation. Africa needs to be freed from this belief that in order for us to have value, we must make better and newer discoveries than Westerners. Borrowing from Denis Ekpo (2005), there is no need for an African formula for making cement if a Germany has already discovered one. And copying this cement formula from Germany is not a sign that Africa is weak!

The individual and the Community

The fourth pillar should be challenged as well. How did Africa come to believe the idea that “the free development of each individual is conditioned by the free development of all”? What does this even mean? Post-Africanism challenges the misunderstood idea that to the African the individual is not as important as the community. Africans must come to an understanding that they are a “person” first before they become a community of “persons”.

The Rise of The Africans by Joshua Ngoma

The Rise of The Africans by Joshua Ngoma

Africa has been misunderstood as loving community so much as to obliterate the personal value of an individual. The idea that a human being, as a single African being, is important and has personal value should be the bedrock of African development. It is individuals that form a community and not a community the individual. People should not be used as sacrifices at the altar of an abstract nation-state or community; rather it is the individuals whose value should predicate community vision and value. A Post-African society takes the view that Africa must respect the person in order to sustain the community.

Ngoma has started a worthy conversation. I have joined in it. And I hope that many Zambians and other Africans will buy his book and read for themselves why Africa should rise. For me, however, Post-Africanism is newer and fresher to help Africa’s rise. The era of pan-Africanism is over.