Four years ago about, Zambia lost her fourth President. I always thought that voting for Michael Sata as President would lead the country to a dark place. I thought he would introduce into our psyche unprecedented political violence and dictatorial practices because those always underpinned his politics. He knew I thought that and tried to convince me I was wrong. What I didn’t know was how nepotistic he would be.
*Sata – The President We Never Had*Eh Sata was unashamed about appointing relatives and friends into office. Oh by the way, it is on that count that Edgar Lungu has been refreshingly different. All that said, I always wonder where Zambia would have ended up had Mr Sata ascended to office fully healthy. I remain of the view that we never had a Sata presidency. The Sata we elected into office was a shell of a man, who spent the next 3 years fighting for his life.
So, I am convinced that as a healthy President, the violent character Sata mainstreamed into PF would have been there and that he would have ruled with the self-preservatory hand we saw in the immediate curtailing of the opposition’s ability to operate freely. The latitude granted him by previous presidents had facilitated his own rise to power and he was closing that door behind him. What I am curious about is how a fully healthy Sata would have managed the country in other ways. How would he have overseen the economy and services like health and education?
Somehow, I think that we would not have degenerated quite as badly as we have under President Lungu. Sata certainly would not have been as absent when desperately required to direct the nation, as the current President is. He would not have been absent full stop. Michael Sata, like him or not, was, when healthy, in control of the ship he captained. He did not shirk responsbility, passing on major decision-making and pronouncements to all manner of proxies, like President Lungu tends to.
So I guess we can say that a healthy Sata would have been responsible for flying or crashing Zambia, via well owned decisions. This time it feels like we are, most of the time, wandering around directionless and leaderless, except of course on one matter. This President is largely absent but clear headed and resolute about this one thing – he wants another term. Oh another question I wonder about is whether a fully in-control Sata would have fired Wynter Kabimba.
Not sure what the answer is but my sense is we dodged a bullet there. If Wynter had been in office when Sata died, he would almost certainly be our President now. Me thinks he would have been way worse than EL. Not absent, but quite to the contrary, very presently tyrannical.
Ah Sata – the President we never quite had! If they think back about this earth where ever we go after we leave these parts, I wonder what Michael Chilufya Sata thinks about where his PF has taken Zambia.