By Gregory Gondwe
There are times when I have failed to understand what goes on some people’s heads. Indeed when good people go wrong, they completely go wrong. I read with dismay yesterday’s Post newspaper article about ‘a group’ planning to erect President Micheal Sata’s statues in some parts of Zambia. I can’t just comprehend Frederick Chinsala and the so called Consortium of Good governance supporters’ idea. I don’t think somebody needs to have rocket science knowledge to understand that there is a motive or hidden agenda behind this gesture. My quick interpretation could be that somebody is highly in need of a statue, but disguises themselves in a group, or that the group suffers from ‘boot-leaking’ syndrome with a desire to impress the President. We saw this in our previous regimes as in Presidents Frederick Chiluba and Levy Mwanawasa (in happy memories), who disguised a group as being passionate for him to contest for a third term, and ministers literary leaking boots respectively.
In all honesty, why should anybody think of mounting President Sata’s statue after only a year of service, with challenges facing him, when we have icons that deserve that praise? We all know our history that Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, in his weaknesses, fought tirelessly for the betterment of our country. He served for 27 years, and in a time when Zambia was flourishing economically, but left the state house with only his Kaunda suits made at Mulungushi textile. This was a common feature for many fathers of the nation.
The other thing I fail to understand is why we Zambians hardly pay attention or utilize our father of the nation. Countries like Tanzania have highly valued their fathers of the nations, and have fostered a lot of virtues that has led to scholarship opportunities, and having their names renowned worldwide to an extent of being declared saints. The respect the hold for them has led to a lot of scholarly researches by the other world, hence bringing forth income to their countries. Their places have been turned into tourist attractions and researcher centers.
Dr. Kaunda has similar values. We all know how the Western world has utilized him to teach in various renowned universities like the Havard, yet Zambia sees him as an ordinary citizen. I remember how long it took the Zambia to build him a house when he left office, and how much long it has taken for a simple gesture of recognition, of naming the airport in his name. Just imagine having somebody with first hand information, and yet going out looking for the same information elsewhere. This is what we are going through.
This said, I would sadly say that it will be so unwise for President Sata to accept the offer of having his statue of erected for his ‘impressive performance’ as reported in the post newspaper when ‘nothing’ has been down to honor Dr. Kaunda for the many sacrifices he has made. Whatever this group is, I feel that they should not be driven by their passion, but wisdom. I doubt the fact that they are touched by the ‘impressive performance’ of president Sata that they have to decide on this. I also hope that the statues will not be erected on tax payer’s money.
If an individual wants to erect a statue at their homes, that is fine, but not when they want to erect them for the public. It is not a group that has to decide, but the public through consensual feelings. I know and remain convinced that there won’t be any objections if President Kaunda’s statue was first erected. Even Mama Betty’s statue may be more accepted than President Sata’s statues. Let us be wise.