Sata is not a modest man & he avoids foreign trips for other reasons

Sata is not a modest man & he avoids foreign trips for other reasons

By Tobias Hatembo

Too much of anything is bad, so the saying goes, meaning everything we do, see, eat, listen to, etc can be either a little too much or too much too little, worse still when it is completely zero.  Yes it can be the tasty food or drink we take, the volume of the music we play or the speed we drive our cars at; they all can be too much too high or too much to low and either extreme can be bad, but what about the zero travel abroad of Michael Sata since he assumed office on September 20 2011? Could it be too much too low or could it be ok? Why the zero travel altogether? Should it attract attention at all? Does it deserve appraise? If so how?

On 28 November 2011 the Post Newspaper produced an opinion in praise of Michael Sata the president of Zambia for none-travel abroad since assuming office saying it shows commitment to saving national resources. Yes if all of us could find something to do however small to help save national resources from wastefulness that would be good for our country especially if we could also safeguard the same from hidden abuse in government expenditure.

Since the PF formed government after the September 20 2011 elections Michael Sata has not travelled out of the country.  The question we ask is could this truly be because MCS wants to save national resources or could there be just another reason why? Could the zero-travel by our head of state be too much too little for the country or is it ok?

Under the last three previous administrations we witnessed substantial travel abroad by the then heads of state. Many times we complained but at the same time we seemed to submit to the reasons advanced by government for such trips – government business abroad. They were plausible although that did not stop us from complaining probably because it had began to look too much and too bad for the nation.

So if there was government business in all those trips which needed the attendance of a head of state with perhaps only a varying degree of necessity, then we may be prompted to ask a few questions regarding Michael’s zero-travel so far: Could there have been no government business abroad requiring the attendance of our head of state since September 20 2011? If so why then is the Post praising Michael?  For what? What special thing does it make for Michael to stay within the country when there is no government business to attend to abroad? Are we saying that such travels are prompted by the president himself out of whatever powers he may have as opposed to necessity within the government system? Well if so then Michael truly deserves the praise. We would say the praise to Michael was duly given.

However the praise itself seems to suggest something: that there has been government business abroad which required the attendance of the head of state to which Michael did not travel with the only reason that he wanted to save national resources; only then can the praise be deserved but even then, does it mean there was nothing at stake for Zambia out there? How can we tell that Michael’s non-travel abroad cost the country nothing in any other terms other than financial?  Someone somewhere must provide answers to these questions otherwise Michael may be deliberately avoiding important government business out there just to solicit for some appraise from someone.

No nation in this world today can exist as an island; International Corporation is the norm today but it involves travel. It is incomprehensible that presidential travels abroad can suddenly become zero in the PF government. It would be too much too little, worse now that it is completely zero.  While public resources need to be protected from waste, it must not go to the extent of avoiding spending even where it is necessary.

In view of the above it is also worth noting that president Sata has not been exposed to international government assignments abroad before. I stand to be corrected if I am wrong but I do not remember of any government mission in which Michael Sata represented government at any level abroad in all his many years in government. One wonders why and answers to the above questions become even more necessary in view of such a background and worse still, in view of the president’s humble education which can be a serious factor in the president’s performance at Plot 1.

The praise from the Post could have been duly given but it is possible it could have been given too much too early, worse still it could have been un-deserved. For his part the president must carefully balance his desire to save national resources by such a method with the likely speculation the method can trigger to the effect that the president’s educational level could be the big factor behind his zero travel abroad so far.  It is also possible that the Post knows that in fact this is actually the problem with the president and it is simply trying to run a Cover Up Campaign. There seems to be just so much room in this matter for logical speculation.

And so we come to the apparent cover up on Michael Sata; the Cover Up Campaign is a theory, if you like, which any mind of political acumen, any keen observer would find difficult not to coin to what we see, read and hear – what we have been seeing from way back before the elections of 20 September to date. Our giant private media house The Post is a highly analytical newspaper. To try and emphasize that the paper knows more about the character of our current president than any other single institution in Zambia apart perhaps from our Intelligence would be to misuse space.  Accordingly it cannot be denied that the giant media house knows better than anyone else in Zambia, Michael Sata included, that our president was in fact not the best presidential candidate for purposes of governance; they supported him probably for different reasons. If anyone wanted to find truth in this the Post Newspaper Archives are there for all to see.

I have raised a question above and I wish to repeat it here for ease of reference: could there have been no government business abroad requiring the attendance of our head of state so far since September 20 2011? If so why then is the Post praising Michael (for having not travelled out)?

It is incomprehensible that the media house could not have foreseen such questions before raising the appraise to Michael knowing its analytical prowess. It is incomprehensible too that the praise could have come as an oversight. However the moment one begins to coin this appraise to the apparent Cover Up Campaign mentioned above, likely answers to the above questions begin to show from the horizon. Thoughts begin to roll out unfolding the most plausible picture, this kind of thought line:

well the newspaper new Michael was not the best candidate for governance, they knew he didn’t have the merit but they decided to support him anyway. He could have dangled some bait to them whatever, but maybe they just saw him a better partner in hammering out the MMD from power. So their problem must have been how to move around the problem of supporting ‘’the wrong’’ candidate but keep things right in governance if he wins; he might end up embarrassing them in future somehow. It seems then that some agreement with him was necessary, but what could be the form of this agreement?’

At this stage your thoughts tend to jam, but soon they stream out – the thought line opens again.

‘…the form of agreement could be that Michael must agree that should he win he should rule by his personality and not by his character! Apparently the media house sees a difference between character and personality suggesting that Michael’s character is to a dictator, a bad governor, but his personality is to love, deep Christian love. And so to ensure the agreement stood it seems Michael had to further agree that he would let the media house work closely with him  in governance in some way, somehow to keep a close eye on him to try and minimize possible chances that Michael’s character would dominate instead of his personality’.

‘So the agreement must have been struckthe media house had to support Michael win the elections, and Michael for his part had to promise to deliver good governance the ‘post way’. But again could the media house really think and trust that things would be alright with Michael just because he had promised, just because the media house would be allowed to be close to him in governance? No, it doesn’t look so. With their large foresight the media house could not have ended things just there; they must have considered that Michael could easily stray, what with his extensive presidential powers once at plot 1. The alternative then must have been to give him ‘’additional support’’ after he wins; give him more positive editorial commentary, if he strays don’t comment, be silent as if you haven’t seen or heard anything but if the negative comment is un-avoidable, criticize but very, very mildly not harshly. Further the media house must have planned that if they were lucky enough to foresee Michael hatching a bad decision they would have to pre-empty it through an expose’ to stop him in his tracks, to scare him off it’.

‘Overall giving Michael space by Lighting up the Rights but Covering up the Wrongs seems to be the make of the plan, of the agreement. Apparently the strategy to achieve that was to give Michael praises every opportunity that would arise to encourage him and to skew public opinion, making the majority think Michael is doing very fine – it all looks a Cover up Campaign’.

What a theory, what a correlation with what we see, read and hear of: …of very positive editorial comments on Michael’s performance; …of very mild criticisms against Michael; …of appointments to high government positions of several post personnel; …of Michael’s having a good personality though he might have a bad character; …of fast tracked state functions to appoint Xavier Chungu to a government position apparently to make someone miss the event; …of the associated expose’ on the same day of the appointment apparently meant to stop Michael in his tracks etc, etc, but add to this examples list a latest one – praising Michael for the zero travel abroad!

When viewed in the context of the above theory – the Cover Up Campaign – the praise to Michael by the media house appears to fit in so well, too well to be considered mere coincidence. Otherwise the questions will remain: why did the media house give praise to Michael if there has been no government business abroad requiring the attendance of a head of state? Why didn’t the paper inform us what government business there was out there which Michael didn’t attend to, from which national resources were saved? Why didn’t they tell us how the saving was achieved by staying back against the possibility of the country losing in some other way other than financial through non-attendance to government business out there, and how the two accounts – profit (financially) and loss (what you don’t get when you don’t attend) – could be compared such that Michael’s decisions not to go out could be seen to deserve the praise.

The praise to Michael looks largely un-deserved. Rather it looks more of a deliberate plot by the media house to posture him as a capable and delivering president to justify their support for him for Plot 1 against the reality that he was in fact not the best candidate for governance. It all fits in as a Cover up Campaign. His non-travel so far is also in line with his background; apparently he has never represented government at any level before in an international assignment abroad.

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