IT is taking frustratingly long for Dr Christine Kaseba to realise she is no longer at Omelo Mumba road managing her husband’s seven guns and a Toyota Cressida.
Does President Sata’s wife need a reminder that it is only her husband, and not her, managing national affairs and that Zambia should not be taken for a personal property or some small agency at Central Park?
Dr Kaseba is so overly excited at being the country’s first lady and, if not checked now, might just turn out to be another Emelda Marcos.
The other week, Dr Kaseba was in South Africa addressing embassy staff in Pretoria and urging them to acquaint themselves with the Patriotic Front (PF) manifesto.
She further went on to say past embassy staff at Zambian missions abroad never used to welcome members of other political parties at their offices.
Her husband’s political party, the PF, she said, had now sent professional staff to all Zambians missions and it was, therefore, expected that the new employees would be professional in performing their functions.
Why do people forget so easily when they assume power? Has Kaseba forgotten that when she fell ill in 2010 and the Rupiah Banda administration evacuated her to South Africa while her husband in opposition, it was the then embassy staff who took care of the Sata family in that country?
Well, it is either, as already stated, Christine is merely excited at the reality that her husband, who began his working life as a police constable for the brutal colonial slave drivers, is finally Zambian president, or she just doesn’t understand the magnitude of the job losses that have hit Zambian missions abroad.
This is not the first time Christine is breaking protocol to address civil servants or a public function.
It is not long ago when Sata delegated his wife, instead of de facto vice-president Alexander Chikwanda, PF vice-president Guy Scott or a Cabinet minister to officiate at an official function of the Indian High Commission in Lusaka.
Yes, Christine even read an official State House speech on behalf of the President of the Republic of Zambia and Commander-in-Chief of the Zambian armed offices!
Also present at that function, but obviously in a subordinate role was Guy Scott in what was a government protocol faux pas. But for the PF government, anything goes.
Strange things happen when power gets to people’s heads. But are these strange things not happening too early?
For starters, esteemed readers, who does Christine think she is to assume that Zambians are so dull as to allow her continue masquerading as a constitutional office holder?
It should be stated that the role of first lady is nowhere in the supreme law of the land– the Constitution. Ours is not like the American governance system where the first lady has some recognition and entitlements for her office.
Zambia’s disregard of the first lady’s office is not a mistake as her former colonial master Britain has the same system. The wife or husband of the President, in case of Zambia, is a full-time home maker.
That having been established, can Secretary to the Cabinet Evans Chibiliti avail the Zambian people the necessary legislation which empowers Christine to address civil servants, government officials or merit a statutory instrument from the President instructing that his wife should always be recognised as second in protocol matters?
I feel sorry for Chibiliti, a man of high professional integrity who has not being spared the verbal abuse that Sata has continued hurling at top civil servants in full view of junior civil servants in front of cameras at State House.
After the departure of Chibiliti’s predecessor Joshua Kanganja who began enduring Sata’s venom from the first day he entered State House, I had thought the President would treat the new number-one civil servant with a little more respect.
We were mistaken. Chibiliti has suffered abuse even at the time he was in acting capacity when Sata wrote a letter berating him for taken permanent secretaries for an induction workshop in Livingstone. And, as if to confirm that old habits indeed die hard, Sata even leaked the highly-charged letter to his cadres at a daily broadsheet.
With that experience, I don’t see how Chibiliti is going to advise Sata against going ahead with his instructions to lift Christine to second in the hierarchy of State protocol.
But, Christine being far too advanced than her husband in terms of education—a medical doctor is far too superior in comparison to a colonial police constable, we expect her to be conducting herself more rationally and avoid engaging in activities that only expose the first couple’s constitutional excesses.
The sooner Christine learns to zip her mouth, the better for her and her husband whose mouth only she can help zip.
How I wish Christine could quickly settle down and accept the reality of her no longer being a wife of an opposition leader on Omelo Mumba road but a first lady on Independence Avenue.
This being the case, Christine should again accept the harsh reality that whatever she or her husband do is of national interest, including flying to India for urgent medical treatment.
Upon her husband’s return from the medical trip to India, Christine disappointed me when she told some journalists what, in effect, implied that Zambians had no right to know their president’s medical condition.
In her opinion, by worrying about their President’s state of health, Zambians, who gave Sata an opportunity to lead them, had a lot of idol time. What an insult! But what do you expect from Michael Sata’s wife?
Sata must have had a lot of idle time in his life when he consistently questioned the late President Levy Mwanawasa’s condition at the time he suffered a stroke and was evacuated to England in 2006.
Does Christine remember that?
And when she talks about the PF having appointed “professionals” to the Foreign Service, is she being sincere?
If I were her, I would just behave and avoid talking about issues that simply irritate the majority of the Zambian people who make up the nearly 55 percent of the electorate who did not vote for her husband last year.