Recycled politicians

By Given Mutinta

In a society with selfless and sober politicians, recycled and old politicians are of immense value and are regarded as political assets.

In Zambia, this is far from being true. Instead, recycled and old politicians are like ghosts haunting, and parasites sucking governments.

For many years we have been governed by greedy politicians recycled from one ruling party to the other.

Most of the active politicians are those who started with the United National Independence Party (UNIP). Then they joined the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) and they are now with the Patriotic Front (PF) waiting to join any party that will form the next government.

Recycled politicians are a menace to the nation. They are suffocating good governance and the growth of democracy.

Take as an example the many times President Michael Sata has been recycled. He first worked with the colonial masters. Then he joined UNIP and later MMD and eventually formed his own party.

The problem with old and tired politicians is that they perceive reality from a mid-twentieth century lens resulting in old-fashioned solutions to twenty first century challenges.

How can a person for instance, explain the current suppression of divergent voices as in the days of the one party state dictatorship of Kaunda?

Currently, the police are shamelessly harassing opposition leaders and arresting them with no due procedure. The obsolete and draconian law, the Public Order Act is being employed with so much force such that level-headed citizens are now baffled as to why in the first place we rejected Kaunda’s one part state dictatorship.

This is a mind opener that we need to start rejecting recycled politicians. For how long are we going to allow nomadic politicians to lead us?

Recycled politicians’ wicked old habits refuse to die even when they are recycled to other parties. They are like a destructive baboon that jumps from one mango tree to the other. It remains the same destructive baboon and the only difference is that this baboon is destructively feeding from a different mango tree.

Most of the recycled and nomadic politicians are there only to satisfy their needs and not representing their constituents. That is the reason politicians like Stephen Masumba, Gabriel Namulambe and Howard Sikwela find it easy to dump their electorate to join the ruling party.

As a society we seem to have an erroneous understanding of politics coupled with unprincipled politicians. We think that to be a politician one has to be in the ruling party. This is nonsense!

Principled politicians even when their government has been voted out of power remain with their party.  It is not involvement through the ruling party or being a recycled minister or deputy minister that defines active politics. It is rather the activities one engages in as a politician.

Opposition politicians can still be active by questioning government and holding it accountable to the public. They can actively serve people by representing an alternative government and challenging government policies.

Therefore, politicians who want to serve the public only through the ruling party are misguided with self-seeking agendas.

They are politicians faking their political ideologies or with no political belief systems altogether. How can a person who genuinely subscribes to democratic sets of basic beliefs about the political, economic and social affairs cross to a party that believes in autocratic political ideologies and be at home?

In countries like America it is unheard of conservatives or liberals crossing floors. Why? It is because the conservative political ideology represented by the Republican party and the liberal political ideology represented by the Democratic party are two different political philosophies or ways of life. Therefore, one cannot assent to both unless he or she is a counterfeit politician with a selfish agenda!

We need constitutional changes to end this phenomenon of nomadic and recycled politicians.

By allowing politicians to be recycled from one party to the other we are hindering new faces and young people with bouncy intellectual vigour and vision from playing important roles in the nation’s politics and development.

This will leave young people ill prepared for the task of leading the country when, inescapably, the recycled politicians are no more.

Today we find ourselves stuck with leaders who have been recycled since independence because of the failure of the same nomadic politicians to prepare younger faces for civic duties.

We cannot continue with the tendency of recycling political figures at the exclusion of new, younger faces. Zambia cannot continue on this path of ageism in politics.

It is sad that the young, polished and vibrant who supposed to be active in sharing their expertise on development and politics end up sharing their ideas on blog posts, university corridors, and bars between sips of mosi or castle lager.

This is because recycled politicians are holding on to positions that can enable young people to share their proficiency to benefit the nation.

We need planned steps to include new and younger faces in the empowering politics of determining Zambia’s future. This can be a reality if young people consciously get fed up with recycled politicians.

For how long shall we remain victims of recycled politicians and their sucking parasites?

It is these same recycled politicians who make presidents and their governments unpopular. They are selfish and corrupt.

If today some Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) young professionals are fired without any substantial reason, just know that behind the scenes, there is recycled politician calling the shots.

If people are being arrested on trumped up charges for issuing statements with the potential to cause the breach of peace or alarm the nation, just know that recycled politicians are at work.

It is unarguable that politics in Zambia pivot on the recycled politicians and prostitute politics because there are a few political virgins.

As a result, recycled politicians will continue to haunt the political scene as long as there are no new and young faces in active politics.

There is also no way recycled politicians can retire or decline office appointments if political virgins do not come to the political scene.

Should government come to a halt because there are only recycled politicians available? The answer is No!

Therefore, new and young politicians should rise up and diligently and sedulously pursue political leadership if recycled politicians are to be sent to ret


  • comment-avatar
    Boyd Chilembo 5 years

    Very good article indeed! We certainly cannot develop when we keep having the same people in ministerial positions all the time. Certainly, people like Masebo, Namulambe, Munkombwe etc who have been ministers before should pave way for younger politicians with new ideas. If you look at countries like the UK and USA, their leaders are young with new ideas; David Cameroon was born in 1966 and Obama was born in 1962 but most of our leaders have been in politics since the colonial era and they still want to hang on to power.

  • comment-avatar
    Limnothrissa 5 years

    politicians that recycle themselves prove only one thing ——


    100% dishonesty is the result.

    Is this what we are supposed to call “leaders” ??

    Criminals is a better name, and they belong in jail.

  • comment-avatar
    James Coolidge 5 years

    Change the scene and you will change the direction of your country. Recycled, recycled, recycled, recycled and recycled every year. When are you going to change ?

    • comment-avatar
      KOLWE MUNTU SANA 5 years

      But this is the message HH has repeatedly put across except we don’t hear him because he is Tonga and we probably want to give him a chance when his brain is tired. What injustice to ourselves.We keep making the same mistake..heard the expression that madness is doing the same thing and expecting a different result?This is what HH has been propagating ever since!

      • comment-avatar
        suggestor 5 years

        pipo are used to recycled dinosaurs and continue voting for them even wen they turn into political zombies, wat can u say u can only vote yo kind for sure!

    • comment-avatar
      food 5 years

      HH the real change come 2016.

  • comment-avatar
    Bobby Digital 5 years

    Very sober article indeed. Our country is in serious trouble indeed.

  • comment-avatar
    vice versa 5 years

    which party is Daniel Munkombwe now?

    • comment-avatar
      mbolo yotentha 5 years

      that rabid dog is a cancer to zambia just like kaunda,iam desperate to know how many years god has in store for them.

    • comment-avatar
      food 5 years

      he has joined narep

  • comment-avatar
    Wanzelu 5 years

    Finally it is interesting to read this article about the incompetence that recycled leaders bring to our political system in Zambia. I have on many occasions raised the issue of recycling politicians in Zambia on this site and also on Dear Mr president forum. To my surprise no one seemed to agree with me at the time.

    These recycled leaders bring nothing new on the table except the same corrupt business as usual. For Zambia to really change,we need a radical change that will ensure that new leaders with out any tainted political past or association with past regimes are chosen to lead the nation and renew our politics so that the majority of the voters(the poor) can benefit.

    By the way just watch the space. Sata is in the process of creating UNIP-PF party in which Panji will be prominent,not Kabimba. Kabimba is being used to do the all the dirt work for Sata(Chola boy). Once all is done and set Kabimba will then be dealt with because Sata has already calculated that Kabimba is increasingly becoming a liability to the party – he is becoming more unpopular with PF members .

    Just my prognosis!

  • comment-avatar

    Very good and aducative article.

  • comment-avatar
    Chamanga 5 years

    The character of a leader mirrors the nature of his society. Demanding more than that we have now is focusing on the ideal.

    • comment-avatar

      Ouch!I am hurt by your comment. Remeber not every voted for Sata. It is hoped that educated apathetic voters have learned a valuable lesson; an effective democracy requires a critical electorate.

      • comment-avatar
        suggestor 5 years

        I fully agree, its an insult to education to be ruled by one so low academically, where are the graduates I ask?

  • comment-avatar
    The Observer 5 years

    Michael Chilufya Sata is the worst kind of serpent to ever live on earth. During colonialism, he worked as a house servant for a white family. He used his closeness to the white imperialists to betray freedom fighters. To know what the freedom fighters were planning, Sata would pretend to be working with them while getting information on the plans and activities of the freedom fighters which he provided to the colonialists. He was what was referred to in those days as a ‘kapilikoni’ translated as ‘double-dealer’. It is for this reason that the colonialists conscripted Sata into the colonial police force. While serving as a constable, many black Zambians suffered at his hands as Sata exhibited cruelty, irrationality and greed!!! It is his greed that saw his downfall. He stole an exhibit. This led to his arrest and subsequent dismissal.
    How on earth can such a rotten and shameless person ever claim to be clean? Who has forgotten his numerous scandalous dealings? What about the many unpalatable things he did to his colleagues when he was in MMD? How many lies did he tell against KK, Levy and RB when he was campaigning? Why should he be sensitive to criticism to a point of paranoia when the opposition leaders are copying his act? How many illegitimate children has he fathered? To add salt to an injury, this rotten and uncouth person has the audacity to say he is allergic to corruption!!! His bed-friendship with Mugabe has shocked the entire civilized world. Probably this is why he has a soft spot for ‘homosexuals’! The world dismissed him as a joker when he told George Bush that the former US president was paying back to Africa!
    I think we have worse than a joker in statehouse. We have a LUNATIC!

    • comment-avatar
      Sara 5 years

      For the next four years we shall be stuck with this ‘kapilikoni’. How do you send such a ‘kapilikoni’ to state house. This is a joke of the century!

      • comment-avatar
        suggestor 5 years

        I tell you its the biggest con of human civilisation!

  • comment-avatar
    London 5 years

    We do not want commanders who sleep on duty!

  • comment-avatar
    CNP-4U 5 years

    we need to bury most of these old men like Munkombwe..and ukwa

  • comment-avatar

    Given, we hv three types of voters in zambia and are : professional voters like yourself, cadreship voters like thug Hamiyanzi and impoverished voters like my grandmother in Petauke, what do yu say about this sitation where by the scrap politicians hv taken advantage of thru big lies without sheepishness! Plz say something.

  • comment-avatar

    Spot on.

  • comment-avatar
    Kayombo 5 years

    Whatever happens, HH is the next Zambian president. The Pathetic Faillures have failled. Let us try the true son of our Zambian soils.

  • comment-avatar
    Zambian 5 years

    Recycled, old and ROTTEN political experience.

  • comment-avatar
    Patriotic Zambian 5 years

    Good article. Voters need education on this by civic bodies which have failed us. Lets try new people in 2016 and aim for meritocracy and not mediocracy by old and recyled people.

  • comment-avatar
    Chulu 5 years

    Crossing floors has never been a problem in the past but with the coming of PF it has become a norm. This is a litmus test for politicians as we now know who are in politics for service and those in politics to fill in their bellies.

    I agree with those advocating for a clause in the constitution to bar members of parliament from contesting any by election after they have crossed floor.

    Shameful Zambian politics of self-aggrandisement at all costs. No wonder we have these stupid terminilogies like ‘sebana wikute’ foregoing good morals just to please you belly. Shame!

    • comment-avatar
      Suggestor 5 years

      What is needed is a law that disadvantages those who cross over, cause its criminal to spend so much on useless bye-elections at the expense of critical developmental areas

  • comment-avatar

    We think that to be a politician one has to be in the ruling party…..thyz z very true.i dont understand becoz u cant say its poverty thats making thyz baboons jump from one tree to the other,thy ar living comfotably.

  • comment-avatar
    Observer 5 years

    Please do not blame these politicians for doing what they know best!! Who voted for these people?? What do you expeect when you put a monkey in a maize field?

  • comment-avatar
    zambia twanaka 5 years

    In fact he should bear the cost for the Bye election he is causing.

  • comment-avatar
    LPM 5 years




  • comment-avatar

    Given Mutinta, I can’t add anything more to what you have atticulated in this truthful report.
    Fanstastic article, I am sure the recycled are scratching their heads with shame.
    Great piece, and remain blessed Mutinta.

  • comment-avatar
    Suggestor 5 years

    We keep on voting for recycled dinosaurs and expect them to tackle 21st century challenges, dream on!

  • comment-avatar
    Steven 5 years

    We should strongly condemn the mass exodus of MPs moving from opposition to PF, it’s like being led by the same people. We see the same people who were in MMD now enjoying in PF and so we have the same people but only the name has changed. This means we’ll still go through the same things we have been going through. If an MP resigns from a party, he or she should not be allowed to recontest but instead another eligible man or woman must contest, then we shall see which MPs will resign and those will defiantly do so through integrity.

    • comment-avatar
      susan nambao 5 years

      I totally agree with you. The constitution should bar such an MP from contesting any by election for 5 years. This will save the tax payers money. We are tired of the same old ideas, and same personalities. Poor mother Zambia you have suffered.

      • comment-avatar
        Lyelela Lyambai 5 years

        Yes changing the constitution would be very good but pf will not allow that just like they wont allow the 51% clause to elect a president because it will be disadvantageous to them. That is why some of us like RB, cried when Ukwa was declared the winner in 2011. Judging by the current behaviour of pf does one really believe that the elections in 2016 (if they take place at all) will be free and fair or should pf loose, they will concede power peacefully?

    • comment-avatar
      Suggestor 5 years

      I think its also very foolish of us to vote for the same people, surely cant we use the very least of our common sense sure