Sata is not to blame for our shameful silence

By: N. Mbolela
I do not blame President Sata at all. Sata like Kaunda, late Chiluba and Mwanawasa and recently former president RB Banda, is a politician and he does what politicians do which is ‘lie’. The problem is that it appears that the majority of Zambians continue to hold the belief that Zambia politicians are sacrosanct and that placing any demands or making any requests of them is somehow blasphemy. When president Sata came out inviting investors to invest in Zambia and bank their money anywhere no questions asked, this clearly demonstrated that the squeaky wheel gets noticed. Sata gave the foreign investors their wishes, but Sata can’t give Zambians duo-citizenship.

When Zambians like HH and Mumba exercises their right as citizens to make requests, place demands or lodge critique upon Sata, they face stern rebuke from the cadres and The Post. Individuals who have devoted their entire life’s work to the eradication of poverty and social injustice, when in the continuation of their missions they have dared to pose questions, make challenges and raise concerns, have become pariahs in the same Zambia they’ve spent decades uplifting. These reactions tend to be knee-jerk with little to no substance. They are often rage filled and irrational. HH and Mumba have the legitimate right to critique President Sata, largely because, among other things, they love Zambia the same way Sata love Zambia. Just like Sata today, HH and Mumba will one day be in also in the company of political men who have ruled and ruined Zambia. HH and Mumba are the target of tremendous criticism from those who would prefer that opposition simply go away.

Only a people who devalues themselves will hold the belief that their government owes them nothing and that they should remain silent on issues that are of grave concern to their survival as a people. There is nothing wrong with voting for Sata, but to give support to a politician and then ask him for nothing is just an inch short of maniacal buffoonery. It’s interesting that having voted for Sata is not enough; some feel that you must be in love with him. Protecting politicians like they are members of the family is simply bad politics, and makes you the laughing stock of those who understand how the game is really played. Would critics of HH and Mumba be happier if they simply remained silent and chose not to speak about poverty, unemployment, lack of developmental policies? Sata remains silent on these issues, but speaks to the concerns of other communities, like the Chinese investors.
Sata-ites, your decision to enforce silence in the face of meaningful critiques has caused you to be ridiculed, as your hero has been strong armed into appointing cadres to positions of powers without even considering educated economists to run the financial sectors of the country. It has led to Sata boldly speaking on behalf of foreign investors and Chinese communities, while your fathers, brothers and husbands remain products of the poverty and corrupt societal complex. Foreign investors are experiencing an economic recovery, while Zambia’s unemployment remains at levels that would never be acceptable to the rest of human kind. All the while, Saint Michael Sata simply tells us to remain patient, keep praying, and that “the rising tide will lift all boats,” while we smile and marvel at how Sata is such a shrewd cadre politician.

Rather than trying to get HH and Mumba to stop talking about poverty and non-existent economic policies, how about seeing if Sata is willing to do something about it? Rather than asking the duos not to mention “Chimbwi without economic plan”, why not review Sata’s economic policies? Killing the messenger doesn’t squash the validity of the message. When we are passive in addressing such critical matters under the pretext that to do so will somehow harm the Sata presidency, we are engaging in a harmful analysis that will result in perhaps irreparable damage to our progress as a people. Also, there are a lot Zambians who have been fighting poverty and creating jobs before Sata came on the scene, and they will be battling for the vulnerable long after Sata has left Plot 1 and retired with the other Plot 1 alums to the graveyard.

Self-esteem and awareness of self value within the Zambian community is challenged due to centuries of dependence on politicians to rescue us, but rather we should value ourselves enough to consider what will be our legacy. Instead of looking at Sata and any politician to rescue us, we should look within, look at the obstacles in our everyday lives, and use them as opportunities for success. Time has been wasted in Zambia because like ‘Chimbwi without economic plan’ we tend to think that tomorrow is promised and obstacles will take care of themselves. The change we desire in Zambia lies within each one of us. What kind of Zambia will we leave for those who come behind us? Will we be complicit in its potential demise or will we play a role in its greatness? The choice is yours.

Lastly, every man and woman has the right to form their own opinion, even if it is an inconvenient truth. HH didn’t coin the term ‘Chimbwi without economic plan’. Every responsible Bemba parent uses the analogy of Chimbwi to motivate the children to turn obstacles into opportunities of success. Thus, if Sata was a true realist he would be grateful for HH and Mumba for the reminder to ace his economic game.

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