By Alfred A. K. Ndhlovu
“Then I will raise up a faithful priest who will serve me and do what I desire. I will establish his family, and they will be priests to my annointed kings forever. Then all of your surviving family will bow before him, begging for money and food. ‘Please’, they will say, “give us jobs among the priests so we will have enough to eat’. 1 Samuel 2: 35-36.”
Some Zambians have suggested and proposed that former president, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda, should come back to active politics in order for him to reign again as president of Zambia. They foresee a vacancy in that position any time soon following what is happening at State House. The incumbent appears to have problems with health issues.
I know that all of us get sick at one time or another, but the difference is that we are not president of Zambia, thus we cope with illness as free people. The sickness of a president, however, is a special case. The country needs a president who is as fit as a fiddle, and carries state functions and duties diligently and without fear of collapsing any time. S/he must enjoy what medical personnel refer to as “ordinary good health”.
Former president Rupiah Bwezani Banda, who I will henceforth refer to as RB in the rest of this article, lost elections in September 2011 after being in office for nearly three years. Thereafter, he relinquished his position as president of the MMD in 2012. He qualifies for a state pension for the rest of his life.. RB, like several others in the region, is now a statesman. He has grown beyond and above petty politics of fulfilling an ambition. He knows and understands what being president of Zambia is all about.
I know that he has heard the calls by those who want him to come back. As a statesman, he can neither blame nor deter them from expressing their minds out in that manner. RB left his own legacy and it is this which has persuaded those people to suggest and propose that he should go back to active politics.
Have the advocates of the idea pondered how it can be done?
The procedure of RB’s going, or coming, back to active politics is not an easy exercise. He cannot do it the old Kaunda way of unilaterally seeking to re-contest presidential elections. Not at all! That can create political confusion which a statesman should not do. RB knows all the three major political parties in Zambia very well indeed. He knows the PF, MMD and UPND as vibrant political entities with very ambitious leaders who want to be president of the Republic at any cost. He also knows the economic problems which the people of Zambia are going through. These challenges need to be balanced for a statesman to find room to stand and win again. A statesman cannot just jump into any political party. He needs an invitation to serve by no other person than the leader/president of that political party. This is a fundamental rule which RB will have to follow regardless of the pressure from advocates of the idea.
Can you imagine Dr Nevers Mumba inviting RB to the presidency of the MMD or Mr Hakainde Hichilema of UPND doing so? Can HE Mr Michael C. Sata such an invitation to RB? Your answers, dear readers, are as good as mine. I should stress that there is no credible mechanism which one would devise to facilitate RB’s debut into Zambian politics again. RB is not a type of former president who would like to create troubles and confusion for his successors. Like I have stated elsewhere before, RB holds no grudge against those who succeeded him even as they may appear to be useful idiots to some people. They have his goodwill.
Let me state, however, that as a statesman, RB is available to all Zambians of goodwill who want this country to develop. He has not blamed anybody for being dis-elected in 2011. He wants to enjoy a productive and useful retirement befitting the status of a former head of state.
RB knows why his traditional enemies have ganged up to persecute him through trumped up charges before the courts of law. However, it is important to realize that no civilized Local Court Justice, or no civilized Magistrate, or no civilized Judge, or no civilized Supreme Court Judge can convict an innocent person like he is! Ask yourself why some of the cases against RB are still being investigated? The answer is that they were trumped up, so false evidence disappears into thin air! Compare this to a PF senior official who pocketed US $200 million oil money and refuses to be probed! The PF senior official is already guilty of financial impropriety (theft) which is why his conviction will be swift, short, easy and at once. He must remember that there is succession , change of government ahead even if the PF survives more than five years in office.
Finally, I want to state a small issue about a vibrant youth in the MMD, Mr Bowman Lusambo who through a parallel and unofficial structure pledged to Die Hard for RB’s re-election in 2011. Mr Lusambo knew that RB was old and supported and campaigned for him to go up to 2016. It is most unfortunate that he can turn and disparage him on account of age which has annoyed even other old people in Zambia as a whole. I implore all youths in Zambia, which was declared a Christian nation to read Scriptures in Exodus 20: 12 and 2 Kings 2: 23-24.
The Sixth Commandment is conditional to children and the story of Elisha demonstrates what should happen to children who disrespect older people.
Losing an election was painful and rendered Mr Lusambo a political spent force. It is a duty for him to look at prospects of success ahead.