Those of you who wish can go and join the pwando for Kenneth Kaunda ‘s 90th birthday.
At Watchdog, though we wish Kaunda well, we know who he is and will not therefore join in the lies and good deeds wrongfully attributed to him.
What we know is that Kaunda was a dictator. Kaunda did not unite Zambia; he found it united but impoverished it.
Like we have said before, the most accurate statement ever made about Kaunda was by Wynter Kabimba that Kaunda is a ‘divisive’ failure. And indeed Kaunda is a divisive figure.
Even at 90, Kaunda has continued being a divisive failure by taking up partisan politics. That is why even people who are celebrating his 90th birthday are all PF cadres or their business partners.
Kaunda is a senior PF cadre and that does not qualify him to be the father of the nation. He is the father of PF, though we wonder where that leaves Sata.
We know when people are challenged with facts, especially PF, members; they would resort to rhetoric like shouting ‘respect elders’.
Let us look at one big lie and fallacy that has been attributed to Kaunda all these years.
It is said that Kaunda united Zambia by his slogan ‘One Zambia, One Nation.’
This is just hogwash. In the first place, this slogan has been deliberately amputated to remove its full meaning and negative objective.
For younger people who may not have had the opportunity to see Kaunda in action, the way this slogan is being presented can seem noble. With the poor writing culture in Zambia where no literature is available to document Kaunda’s dictatorship, young people can easily be misled to believe that Kaunda was a good man.
Anyway, the full slogan as we know it was ‘One Zambia, One Nation. One Nation, One leader; and that leader; Dr Keneth Kaunda wamuyaya.’
But the last words which were meant to create Kaunda as a god for Zambia has been removed and only those that suit the agenda of cleansing him are being repeated.
And in keeping with this slogan, Kaunda ruled Zambia for close to 30 years until Fredrick Chiluba called his bluff. For almost those 30 years, Kaunda ruled the country under a state of emergency.
A state of emergency is a situation of national danger in which a government suspends normal constitutional procedures and rights of citizens.
Can Kaunda tell us what danger Zambia was in during this period?
Kaunda kept the state of emergency to maintain power by intimidating and arresting people who opposed his communist government. At this time, political parties where banned, by UNIP laws. There was no independent media.
And indeed many were detained and others died at the hands of Kaunda.
Now this idea that the slogan one Zambia, one nation kept the 72 tribes of Zambia united is a fallacy and has no basis in reality.
Before Kaunda’s family came from Malawi, there was peace in this land. Tribes were not killing each other. We may have been called by a different name not Zambia but we were living in harmony and we knew that we were one people. In fact, at the time Kaunda joined politics, there were already nationalistic movements led by local freedom fighters such as Lawrence Katilungu, Sir Mwanawina, Nkumbula and others.
These people were in and from different parts of the land now called Zambia. Kaunda did not form a political party. He joined an exiting one.
So before Kaunda’s father came to Lubwa mission, who had united the 72 tribes of Zambia?
The truth is that we Zambians are peaceful by nature. We live in peace like we have lived all along. Our living in peace is not attributable to one individual. If that were the case, Zambia would have gone up in flames the moment Kaunda left, 23 years ago.
Other tribes would have picked arms to fight Sata’s one tribe government.
Kaunda did not unite the Zambian tribes; he played them against each other. In fact there exists evidence that Kaunda deliberately impoverished some tribes while giving economic power to others.
How can someone claim that because of this same slogan, Kaunda maintained peace in an otherwise turbulent region? Which region? Has there been war in Botswana, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe or Namibia?
In fact, of all our nine neighbours, only three have had civil strife, Mozambique, Congo and Angola. But there is something common to these three countries. They were the only ones that were not under British rule. So it can be argued that the British managed the handover of independence in their colonies very well? In fact this observation can be extended to most of Africa. But that is not the issue here. The point is that Kaunda’s one Zambia, one nation slogan is a fallacy. It achieved nothing except to entrench Kaunda’s rule.
There has been no civil war in Kenya, Tanzania or Uganda, only coups in Uganda. So the peace we are enjoying in Zambia is not unique and cannot be attributed to Kaunda’s slogan. We are all peaceful.
The only truth is as stated by Kabimba that Kaunda is a divisive failure. Of all the founding presidents in the region, it is only he and his brother Kamuzu Banda of Malawi who was humiliatingly kicked out of power and did not leave a successor of his choice.
Even Sam Nujoma of Namibia who only became president in 1990 has left a successor of his choice. Even in war-like Angola, Augustine Neto left a successor.
But because Kaunda wanted to be a god-king, he never thought of succession until he was flushed out. That is why up to now he is still lingering in politics hoping he can salvage his lost heritage.
Kaunda should have handed over power to a more progressive person in the early 1970s if he wanted to be respected. Instead, he jailed or alternatively killed those he should have groomed for leadership.
That is what we think of Kaunda at his 90th birthday.