Flash Back: By The Post
Sun 09 May 2010, 04:00 CAT
KUNDA: ANGRY AND SICK (STILL?)
THERE’S no doubt George Kunda is not in good health. There’s also no doubt that there are people who for one reason or
another don’t like him and would be happy to wake up one morning and learn that he died last night.
There’s no doubt that equally there are people George detests, hates and has never hesitated to accuse them of this and that, of being homosexuals and all sorts of things, including of things he cannot in anyway prove. And his only motivation for saying what he says about them is nothing other than hatred, malice and calumny.
But this is not the best way to live. We should learn to value the lives and dignity of every human being. Life is sacred, a gift from God to be valued from the moment of conception until death.
For those who have issues with George, and probably legitimately so because of his own attitude towards others, it is not humane to wish him dead. Whatever problems they have with him should be resolved while he is here with them on earth.
But also George’s reaction to those who were enquiring about the rumours of his death is also not proper. There’s a better way George can respond to that. Moreover, even if George had died, who is not going to die? It’s just a matter of time, every one of us is going to die; we are all terminally ill as human beings, albeit in different ways. Yes life itself is a terminal illness, we will all go, to borrow from Joe Slovo.
The venom with which George is responding to those that he thinks hate him is not healthy. A man who like George has not always enjoyed the best of health cannot afford to carry such bitterness and arrogance and expect to be fine. The anger that George shows and the sometimes inextricable hatred is a poison to his own system.
The sooner George learns this, the better it would be for him. To achieve this, he will need a certain level of humility and sincerity.
He needs to ask himself why would anyone hate him so much that they wished him dead, if at all anybody wished him dead. We say this because George seems to believe that somebody wants him dead.
The question is, why does he believe this? The truth is George is not well and his illness has nothing to do with the people he is venting his anger on; it has to do with the way he has lived his own life and what food he has eaten. There’s no one bewitching him. The political hatred against him has nothing to do with his failing health. His failing health is a matter of his own practices.
But George’s illness will certainly be a matter of public interest because of the political position he occupies. George is Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia, and there is nowhere in the world where the health or lack of it of such a highly placed state and government official cannot be a matter of public discourse.
It is for this reason why in certain societies where people don’t have the culture of clinging to public office, people retire on health grounds to avoid public pressure so that they can take care of themselves in privacy and in peace. By saying this, we are not in any way asking George to step down on health grounds. We won’t make that mistake because we know very well that here people don’t retire on health grounds, not even from the humblest of jobs.
All we are trying to say is that as long as George stays in public life and is in a position to be scrutinised by the public eye, people will see that their vice-president is not well, his jackets have started to hang and his trousers are almost falling, he is a walking stick. If they see all that, they have the right to talk about it.
This may sound cruel but it is their right to do so. Even the most loved leaders, their health if it starts failing has always been the subject of public discourse. Fidel Castro, one of the world’s leaders most loved by its people, has been subjected to all sorts of speculation arising from his poor health. Fidel, being Fidel, withdrew from public life and limelight to take care of his health in privacy.
Thanks to his wisdom, Fidel is still today with us sharing his ideas, the fruits of his intelligence with the whole world in his weekly columns and other writings. George is one of the longest-serving cabinet members, if not the longest serving.
It cannot be denied that he has had a big impact on the politics of our country. But we must ask what sort of impact. From his education and background George should have been one of the leading progressive
voices in government and in our politics generally.
It should not be forgotten that at a critical time in the politics of our country, George served as Law Association of Zambia president and he was a good columnist of our newspaper.
He championed progressive causes, including the opposition to Frederick Chiluba’s imposition of the 1996 Constitution which was calculated to bar Dr Kenneth Kaunda from participating in that year’s elections. But since joining politics, George has consistently defended and championed very selfish things and interests. It is very difficult to find anything positive that he has championed.
Probably Nelson Mandela was very right when he said, “Of course you cannot know a man completely, his character, his principles, sense of judgement, not till he’s shown his colours, ruling the people, making laws. Experience, there’s the test.” It seems George has failed the test. He has become an enemy of the people.
He’s at the helm of some of the most despicable schemes in Rupiah’s government as he was in Levy Mwanawasa’s government. One thing is very clear; good governance does not matter to George, the only thing that matters is keeping his job and the privileges that go with it. This is why George has become a master bootlicker.
We saw this yesterday. As soon as he arrived from hospital, George was busy licking Rupiah Banda’s boots as if he doesn’t have his own to lick – what a life!
There’s no difference between George and William Banda.
They are both Rupiah’s bootlickers who will do anything to remain close to Rupiah. For George, this means even compromising his own health.
Instead of being bitter with those concerned with or trying to know what is going on with his health, George should concentrate on taking the medicines the doctors have given him in a consistent and disciplined manner.
Lapses, due to pressure of work to keep his job, will just cause him more problems and may have undesirable consequences. Insulting people is not a cure for his illness.
What George needs is to concentrate all his efforts on looking after his health. That is more important than his job, unless he has given up on life itself and does not care what happens or how long he lives.