M’embe’s latest sickening editorial on Sata

It cannot be disputed that Michael Sata is a great visionary and revolutionary who deserves the support of all progressives, all true democrats and all revolutionaries – all who want the best for our people and who cherish the noblest of sentiments.
We think that Michael is defending certain principles thatare of tremendous value at a time of confusion and opportunism in our country and in the world we live in, a time when many politicians are busy feathering their own nests.
We think that what Michael is doing is of great importance to the future of our country and our region. But of course in saying this, we are not in any way trying to imply that the future of our country is entirely dependent on Michael. However, what Michael is doing gives us great encouragement and pride that our very own brother, friend and comrade is providing such a clear, visionary, selfless and revolutionary leadership in a country filled with people who are hungry, exploited and suffering.
Michael has a clear, precise idea of his role, and all those factors stimulate and encourage us to support him and the struggle he is wedging to create a more just, fair and humane society in our homeland. And this link between what Michael is doing and what he is ready to do, on the one hand, and the future, on the other, is what makes us believe that more years of his visionary and revolutionary leadership will be good and necessary for our country. We think Michael’s leadership will always be of great value.
And when we say “revolutionary”, we are referring to goals and purposes, not to the form in which those ideas are propagated.
Left to him, Michael will have a lot of difficulties asking his comrades in the Patriotic Front to go for a second term of office. Michael is an unassuming leader who limits himself to doing his duty to the best of his extremely limited possibilities. Having created a political party virtually all by himself, Michael has not taken the Patriotic Front as personal property. In a very short time, Michael has managed to create some collective leadership for the party with people who are far below his political experience. Leaders of this quality are rare. And when you have one like Michael, you make full use of them.
We therefore agree with the observations made by Wynter Kabimba, urging for Michael’s continued leadership of the Patriotic Front and its government. Being in leadership, as Dr Kenneth Kaunda once remarked, is not like being “pambale” where you can be moved out at any time.
Leading a big transformation of a country is not an easy undertaking. And Michael is the vision holder of the current transformations and revolutionary changes that are taking place in our country today. These transformations cannot be completed in 90 days, in five years. More time is required. It would be a gigantic mistake for the Patriotic Front and for the Zambian people to allow Michael to terminate his visionary and revolutionary leadership after one term of office. Michael will not be able to lay an irreversible process of social, economic and political transformation of our country in five years no matter how hard he works and no matter how correct his policies and programmes are. Therefore, Wynter, as secretary general of the Patriotic Front and as a son and disciple of Michael, needs to persuade him to stay on and consolidate the transformations they have started. If they don’t, their efforts, their sacrifices may in the end amount to naught because a revolution belongs to its creators. And as Saint Just once observed, “He who makes a revolution by half digs his own grave.” Any serious revolutionary process needs a consistent leadership and must be arduously organised and in the early stages the character and commitment of its leaders is absolutely decisive – organisation and consistent leadership decides everything. There is also need for patience. In kiSwahali they say, “Subira huvuta heri”, meaning, “Patience brings happiness”.
We are also reminded by a Mongo proverb which says: “Ifulu akunjwa bonkesa, eimbwelo efa bolo”, translated as: “A bird who leaves early has a troublesome nest.” It would certainly not be good for Michael to leave early. His leadership will be needed beyond the two constitutional five-year terms. But of course, all are bound to operate within the constitutional framework. However, the Patriotic Front can retain Michael’s leadership for a much longer period and as they deem fit.
We know that Nelson Mandela has been praised for leaving the presidency after only a few years. But Zambia is not South Africa and the African National Congress is not the Patriotic Front. They are very different. Mandela became leader of an organisation he did not create and he did not lead for a long time. Mandela was away in prison for 27 years. In that period, new leaders of the African National Congress were created. The African National Congress was formed in 1912. And in 1994, when the African National Congress got into government, it was 82 years old. It was a well established political organisation, the oldest political party on the continent with well established systems of leadership succession and a well entrenched political outlook and revolutionary culture. It was a political organisation that was no longer more dependent on the subjective factors, on one individual, on the founder leadership. This cannot be said to be the same with the Patriotic Front.
And it shouldn’t be questions of simple imitations. We have our own peculiar conditions. We have to seek out our own formulas, basing ourselves, naturally, on historical experience, laying hold of all available historical experiences and applying these dialectically to the solution of our own problems. This is the way to look at things, because this is the way things stand.
And for those in the leadership and membership of the Patriotic Front, they should realise that the greater the responsibility one holds, the greater the obligation; the greater the responsibility, the greater the duty; and the greater the responsibility, the greater the sacrifice.
The leadership we are talking about is one which has nothing to do with satisfying any personal desires. It is one which is carried out as a matter of duty. And as long as Michael’s leadership is useful, is needed, he has a duty to give it. Michael, like everyone else, may not have the energy that he had when he was 30, 40 or 50, but he has enough strength to keep on struggling, to keep on giving a visionary and revolutionary leadership, and, as long as his comrades believe that he is needed in that struggle, that’s all he should do. He is not satisfying a personal ambition by accepting to stay on, but he will simply be doing his duty.
And on the issue of age, the matter of age is relative. It depends to a great extent on the person, on their state of health. Some people have to retire while they are still very young because their health doesn’t allow them to work; others continue to carry out public functions at 70, 75, 80 and even 89, because their health is good enough for them to do so. It also depends on the tasks and a person’s motivation.
The modern world has seen a large number of statesmen in their late 80s. The problem here isn’t so much of age. Summing up, we think that old people shouldn’t be denied the right to engage in political affairs and lead. And for Michael, it is very clear that he is in very, very good health and his mental faculties are very alert. We therefore see no reason whatsoever for him not to continue providing the leadership that his secretary general feels he should continue to provide. For these reasons, we feel Michael should be given a directive, an order to continue to lead up to the limit of his constitutional mandate. And given all that has been said or insinuated about Wynter wanting to challenge Michael for the leadership of the party, we think there is no better person to sit down with Michael and persuade him, encourage him to extend his leadership to the constitutional limit than Wynter himself. In fact, it is stupid for anyone to think Wynter can challenge Michael for the leadership of the party or government. As Wynter has correctly put it himself, Michael is his father – he cannot be Michael. Wynter is simply a son, a disciple of Michael. Michael is the leader and he should be allowed, encouraged, supported to lead to the limit that the Constitution allows him to lead. Let Michael continue to lead.

Share this post