By Austin Mbozi
The Bemba Challenge Part 3: Suspend Sata’s tribal universities
The respected Daily Nation newspaper is right. The in-coming government ( MMD or UPND) must: (a) suspend funding to President Sata’s three tribal universities which are Mulakupikwa, Lubwa Mission-turned University and Mansa Trades turned University, (b) start constructing four universities of the same size as Sata’s tribal ones in four provinces simultaneously namely Eastern, Southern, Northwestern and Barotseland and (c) once these reach the construction level which Sata’s tribal ones will have reached by the time he leaves office , then resume funding Sata’s tribal ones.
At this stage the funding to all of them must be equal or proportionate to provincial populations. This will enable all regions move at the same pace and distribute an ethnically balanced share of educated Zambians.
If not, Sata’s vision of Bemba hegemony will become a permanent feature in Zambia. Education is the best weapon for dominance and will be almost impossible to undo. I am urging you to print and keep this article, so that if you ignore my advice, you will say ‘Austin, the son of Andrew Mbozi warned us but we did not listen’.
We will resume the language issues later after part 1 argued that Tongas and Bembas do not hate each other (click here) and part 2 showed that Tongas should not blame Bembas for the failure of their language in cities (click here).
Today, let us strategize to stop Sata’s tribal universities.
Sata’s university benefits to Bemba speaking Zambians.
Firstly, Bemba speakers will dominate Zambia’s formal sector jobs. If these universities start enrolling in, say 2014, then thousands more Bemba speaking graduates will join the job market in the civil service and private sector by 2020. This is in addition to the ones that are attending other state universities at Copperbelt University (CBU), University of Zambia (UNZA) and Mulungushi University. The employing formal sector may look at merit, but since the number of Bemba speaking applicants will be predominant, they will still be in larger numbers than applicants from other regions. The argument at this time, which Sata’s tribal followers will argue, will be that ‘we are employing the best’. ‘Yes’, you shall argue, ‘you are employing the best who happen to be Bemba speakers because in the first place Sata gave the most and best educational access to Bemba speakers’.
But what will you do? You see my friends; this problem has been the cause of insidious tensions in South Africa and the USA. White education was almost universally funded (like Sata wants of Bemba education) and better funded.
Now when blacks demand equal job opportunities they are told they are not well qualified,; which is true. To get round this, governments have introduced affirmative action for jobs, so that a less qualified black can get a job instead of a more qualified white applicant.
Yet, if you try this in future against the Bemba speakers they will resist it as tribal, just as whites resist affirmative action as ‘reverse racism’! Think, get angry and stop this now!
Secondly, once Bemba speakers dominate the formal employment sector they will also eventually dominate the formal business sector. This is because the formal job sector is the highest paying. This will make them save more than other tribes and since they will be more educated they will run businesses more efficiently. In Kenya tribe butcher each other. The Luo are arguing that the Kikuyu dominate business because the first President Jomo Kenyatta favored them. Have you noticed that Nigerian movies are dominated by Igbo names; Chinua Achebe’s tribe? In northern Nigeria Boko Haram are bombing. The Hausa-Fulani argue that the business and professional dominance of the Igbo and Yoruba is because the colonial government financed southern Nigerian education more.
Thirdly, other Bemba speakers who are not students in these tribal universities will get thousands of jobs associated with the universities, all paid by taxi papers and resources contributed by other regions. There will be security guards, sweepers, drivers, electricians, constructors (who are already working while in other regions no jobs have been created), secretaries, administrators etc.
Fourthly, unlike UNZA or CBU where such workers are recruited merely on merit, Sata’s tribal regions have made it clear that only locals (the Bemba/Namwanga speakers) will get jobs in Muchinga province.
In January 2012 (The Post) Muchinga Provincial Minister Malozo Sichone after having recruited over 400 brand new provincial workers, said only locals would be recruited for jobs.
Meanwhile, in other regions PF created no new jobs. Then Provincial Education Officer (The Post 3rd Sept 2012) announced that in Muchinga only teachers married locally (to Bemba/Namwanga men or women) would be recruited there. These measures will create a situation where Bemba speakers can stop other tribes from getting jobs there while they equally get jobs freely in other regions. Should other regions also chase Bembas from getting jobs?
Even in appointing Provincial Ministers, Sata appointed only local ones in Northern (Freedom Sikazwe), Luapula (Davies Mwila) Muchinga (Malozo Sichone) and Copperbelt (Yamfwa Mukanga).
But elsewhere he appoints non-local ones including, again, Bemba ones. If he can appoint a Bemba Gerry Chanda in Lusaka, why can’t he appoint a Lozi in Luapula? No! According to Sata. Bembaland jobs are for Bembas only while in the rest of the country the Bemba also have a share. And no Bembas are fired but transferred, not even national alarmist or corrupted alleged defence minister Geoffrey Mwamba.
Fifthly, the Bemba speaking people already enjoy a favorable academic accessibility. Although it was not a Bemba-driven tribal consideration that necessitated the construction of the Copperbelt University in Kitwe and Mulungushi in Kabwe, the fact that these two state Universities are located in these regions, where the Bemba dominate due to immigration (60% of Coppebelt residents come from Luapula and Northern Provinces), gives Bemba speakers at least some university proximity.
Mr. Fred Mmembe’s desperate arguments to support Sata’s tribal funding
I will refer to The Post Newspaper editorials as Mr. Mmembe’s arguments for various reasons. Firstly, it is just theory to say that The Post as an corporate entity, and not Mr Mmembe as a person, hold those opinions. The Post Newspaper institution is just a combination of buildings, papers, computers, cash etc. Such inanimate objects can’t have an opinion! Secondly, Mr. Mmembe, both as majority shareholder and managing editor, has the final say on every editorial. That’s why when any of his journalists is sued; he argues that ‘the buck stops at me. Thirdly, to attract his personal attention to read this article and reflect and mull over things (Sirach 4:33-34) because his attempts to build arguments to support President Sata’s irrational actions will be disastrous in the end. He is a Zambian; we want him to live in tranquility and equality with others because even on utilitarian grounds it is for his own good. He or Sata both face equal danger, like the all of us, in an ethically inclined war. And if he argues that he is a Spartan (Sirach 51:34) ready to place himself on the chopping board, then at least he should care for those beautiful children and grandchildren he will leave on earth with us (Sirach 3:10; The father’s blessings establisheth the houses of the children…). Some people attack children of those they dislike. Recall how some of us felt really bad when Chanda Chimba III published articles about Mr. Mmembe’s children’s private lives! Mr. Mmembe off course will fool the minority PF cadres who were only 42% at election time. Not us. They can’t even question why Mr. Mmembe , a late comer into Sata’s ‘support’ after insulting him, is praising when President Sata vomits a word and again praise him when he swallows the same word! What a bunch! To this end I request that Mr Mmembe writes an editorial to refute my arguments in his Post Newspaer. Since he never publishes my articles, I will respond to them here.
Here are his arguments.
1. When we argued that that Sata was creating Muchinga in order to divert resources to his Bemba region Mr. Mmembe supported him. Now answer this Mr Mmembe. Why did Sata not also divide Northwestern and Western provinces which are almost equally large? Before creating Muchinga, Northern Province was 147,826 square kilometers. Now after spitting it, the two provinces (Northern and Muchinga) now average 73, 913 square km. Yet, Western Province which remains at 126, 386 square km and Northwestern at 125,827 square kms are denied subdivision. Even Chief Mumena’s call for creation of Kafue province is refused. Why did Sate not just cut a small part of Northern Province and attached it to either Eastern Province of better still Luapula which are smaller?
2. Mr Mmembe also argued that Muchinga deserves attention because some of Zambia’s great sons and daughters came from there. Why then not equally give special attention to Eastern Province where equally great sons like Reuben Kamanga (Zambia first Republican Vice President (1966-1967), Grey Zulu, Dingiswayo Banda or Rupiah Banda come from? On Kaunda one may agree. But Kaunda is already named after several institutions countrywide. In any case, if these where national leaders then why can’t a Kapwepwe University be created even in Northwestern Province? And why did the same Sata name a Kapwepwe Airport in Ndola where Kapwepwe did not hail from instead of naming him after a project in Chinsali? And what is the fuss about Kapwepwe? Kapwepwe was never a leader of any anti-colonial movement. It was Goodwin Mbukusita Lewanika, a Lozi who headed the African National Congress from 1948 to 1953. Then Harry Nkumbula took over till his 1962 coalition Government with UNIP. Even in UNIP, it is Mainza Chona, not Kapwepwe who created UNIP (initially created as ZANC). If Kapwepwe’s preference lies in his opposition to Kaunda, then again he falls far below Nkumbula and Nalumino Mundia. Kapwepwe’s opposition to Kaunda won him only one seat, the Mufulira one which he himself won in December 1971. Nkumbula won seats in the National Assembly in the 1968 elections. Nalumino Mundia’s UP swept Barotseland. But after UP was banned bo ‘Yesu’ Mundia, a firebrand intellectual armed with a Masters degree in Business Administration from Atlanta University, USA… ( Uhhh, e he he he. Those were men among men) supported ANC into winning 8 of the 10 seats in Barotseland. Even the UNZA idea, was coined by Nkumbula when he was Minister of African Education in the UNIP-ANC coalition. Yes, Kapwepwe merits as an independence struggle hero, but It is only Sata tribal mind that can place him above his colleagues.
And since when did origins of freedom fighters become an argument for channeling resources to those regions. Which has more weight; getting funding to regions because leaders come from there or giving resources to regions because they generate more national resources? If we have discouraged the Lamba tribe of the Kaonde tribes from demanding a greater share or state funding because mineral resources come from there regions, why should we give more resources to regions where some leaders, whom we imagine contributed to struggles?
Nigerian writer, Ken Saro-Wiwa, was executed by the Sanny Abacha regime for demanding that since his Ogoni Delta region homeland produces the oil, it should not be channeled to feed the Yoruba in Lagos! Yet, in Zambia we want to get resources from the Lamba, Kaondes etc and give it to the Bemba on flimsy grounds that they fought for independence? If anything, Northern Province actually contributes the least to the national coffers. Eastern and Central Provinces are leaders on agriculture, Southern (agriculture, tourism and power generation), Western province (cattle), Northwestern (mining) and copperbelt ( mining). So should all these generate resources just so that Sata takes these resources to his region?
Mr. Mmembe. Can you refute these facts!
3.The argument that Mr Mmembe might give, as he gave when Southerners protested against the realignment of Itezhi tezhi and Chirundu districts, is that the location of these Universities will not matter because Zambians are not restricted in movements and therefore all tribes can apply and go there. Well, why then not build them at Sefula mission in Barotseland or where the Barotse National School which was opened in 1902 was built so that we owner King Lewanika for opening the first school in Zambia? .
Since Zambians are not restricted, then residents of Chisali must apply to go there! The fact is that because it is costly to travel, many tribes from far way regions will not apply to Sata’s tribal universities, thereby leaving them Bemba dominated. And besides, taking a University to Northwestern Province would even be less tribal, since this region is now becoming a area of inter-ethnic migration like Lusaka, Copperbelt and to some extent Southern Province. Northern Province is not a region of inter-ethnic migration, so resources channeled there will be Bemba dominated.
The next government must support promotion of Bemba regions and university education. But never at the expense of other regions as Sata is trying to do. These tribal universities must be funded equal amounts as the other universities that should be created in Southern, Northwestern, Barotseland and Eastern provinces.