By Friday Kashiwa
During the whole period of almost one year of the unnecessary, unproductive and divisive debate on his unconstitutional third term bid, President Fredrick Titus Chiluba knew what he was doing, but he cleverly, conveniently and covertly kept the cards to his chest.
From the early 2000 up to May 2001, FTJ pretended not to be interested in the third term debate, not interested in the prospects of a successful third term bid in his favor, he was overly non-committal.
But deep down his heart and behind the scenes, he was a major player, financier and ultimate beneficiary.
Though he wasn’t even a lawyer, FTJ knew that according to the current constitution that time, he was not entitled and didn’t stand a chance to run for a third term, so he had to look and come up with some crooked and dictatorial scheme of manipulating the constitution so as to allow him to stand again.
So through his supporters and other surrogates, they came up and put into high gear motion a call for a referendum to change the Presidential term of office.
Not to be seen as an interested party, FTJ then left the whole dirty and donkey work of the third term campaign to be done and driven by his surrogates like;
– Some compromised Pentecostal men and women of god, the Pastors who started preaching to the whole nation the gospel of CHILUBA IS GOD CHOSEN.
– Some compromised one-man or two-man civic organizations which were hurriedly and secretly formed to push the third term agenda.
These empty tins but vocal civic organizations were heavily funded by the ruling party to mount the third term massive campaigns through campaign posters, Billboards, Newspaper adverts and several other media appearances.
– Some compromised and hungry cadres and some senior party members within the MMD.
Interestingly enough, these included even some seasoned politicians like Michael Chilufya Sata, who were used but later on dumped when third term bid failed to work out.
– For the first time in the history of Zambian politics, we started witnessing the parading of our traditional leaders, their Royal Highnesses to, out of ignorance, support the third term bid..
That was the beginning of the eventual decay and disrespect of the institution of Chiefs.
Notwithstanding the above efforts and all those rented groups and their ill intentions, political dribbling and engineering, they all failed to secure GOD GIVEN FTJ’s third term bid, a very good example of not using God’s name for personal and political expediency.
On 4th May 2001, amid a barrage of local and international pressure and condemnation, President Fredrick Titus CHILUBA backed down..
During his State House press conference Mr CHILUBA dropped the much awaited Political bombshell announcing that:-
” I’m not going to stand..
I want to make it clear, clear, clear, I’m not standing for a third term.
I also want to make it categorically clear that there will be no referendum..
There can never be a referendum if am not standing.”
Zambians wasted over one year of productive time fighting the unconstitutional third term bid and afterwards all hoping that FTJ lesson and episode would teach other subsequent republican Presidents a lesson: To not only respect the constitution of the land but also the will of the people, the Zambians.
Unfortunately, people don’t learn from history.
As Zambians, we are back again fighting the same unconstitutional third term bid and similar sponsored mobs that we vigorously fought in 2001.
They have regrouped again, same type of Men and Women of god now calling themselves Christians for Edgar Lungu.
They have regrouped again as briefcase Civic organizations mounting Bill 10 campaign billboards from unknown but definitely same political sponsors.
They have regrouped again as Shallow and Shameless leaders and cadres of the ruling party and unfortunately some of our Royal Highnesses, the Chiefs have been Incorporated.
They have ALL regrouped to again deceive the current Head of State, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, that he has the chances to run again.
They have regrouped again to push for constitutional changes, contained in BILL 10, which changes Zambians have overwhelmingly and roundly rejected.
But the goodness and consolation to the Zambians is that History Always Repeat ITSELF.
The constitution is PEOPLE DRIVEN.
Soon and very soon, all these illegal Third Term and Bill 10 Political gymnastics will come to pass and all those supporting this illegality will all run away from President Edgar Lungu.
Just as they did to FTJ, most of them will again scamper in all different directions, faster than the RATS they eat.
History Is About To Repeat ITSELF.