By Austin Mbozi
When being sworn in, in 2008, former President Banda suggested that we needed a national meeting to discuss tribal tensions. President Sata must call this meeting before things get out of hand.
President Sata, and not the 20 North-western province chiefs he is accusing, is the one frustrating the fight against corruption. As The Post Newspaper editorial ( 2nd October 2011) correctly pointed out, Sata’s appointing of a disproportionate number of his fellow Bemba tribesmen and women amounts to abuse of office, corruption. Why? Because non-northerners will pay taxes to feed Sata’s tribesmen and relatives. So he is lying, as usual, when he says the chiefs are undermining his corruption fight.
While in opposition, Sata fought against the fight against corruption, saying that Mwanawasa SHOULD STOP arresting suspected Bemba ‘plunderers’. But these chiefs did not say that Sata should stop arresting corrupt leaders from their region, as Sata was doing. They are fighting Sata’s corrupt appointments.
Furthermore, the chiefs’ ‘ethnic representation’ and regional development demands, whether one agrees with them or not, are not treason.
My humble advise to the President is that for the sake of this nation’s unity, do four things: (a) stop issuing threats, especially on matters involving ethnicity, (b) ethnically balance your appointments with more non-Bemba leaders like all your predecessors have done, (c) apologize for all the tribal statements you made in the past about other tribes and (d) take a back seat and let Guy Scott preside over national affairs while you simply enjoy the benefits of the presidency. You had political acumen to win an election. But you don’t have what it takes to administer national affairs. This is why you are the only president facing such hostilities within two months in office.
If the President tells us any actions of treason by these chiefs I for one would support him. I do oppose this Government to correct its deceptions, but as at now, violence against the regime is not yet justifiable. But from the Statement issued on his behalf by Special Assistant for Press, George Chellah, the President has not given any treasonable acts. The chiefs’ demands were openly given and in written directly to the President through his own minister (of the useless Ministry) of Chiefs Inonge Wina. No secrets!
Geoffrey Mwamba and Dr Malama on ‘assassination plot’
Let’s not ignore these PF threats. Only last month, Defense Minister Geoffrey Mwamba accused opposition leaders are trying to kill PF leaders. Opposition leaders like Charles Milupi asked for details. To date, nothing is given. Some of us avoided commenting because (a) we wanted the state to make arrests without our prejudices, (b) we thought since Mr Mwamba is a self-confessed wife-batterer and a Kasama seat anti-Mugala tribalist not only does he lack leadership qualities but was also not the Home Affairs Minister. But what do we get? Police boss Dr Martin Malama, warns those ‘plotting to assassinate PF leaders’ of several action. Shocking! Shocking! One should suppose that as police boss, he must be impartial, investigate the statements and afterwards either make arrests without making groundless threats or simply tell off Geoffrey Mwamba as taking nonsense, or even arrest him to alarming the nation.
Dr Malama. Don’t dance to the tunes of these politicians. You owe them nothing. You educated yourself without them paying a single ngwee, not even for your chitumbuwa at break. You joined the police force and obtained your PHD, which they themselves failed to get, without their input. They found you at the very top of the police force, heading an entire Copperbelt Province. They are there now but will leave you in the police force. Show them that if they thought by promoting you they will toss you around, pabepele fye. Show them that as a descendant of our great proud ancestors Chiti and Nkole you are an umwaume waba ume!.Uli inshimbi! You won’t show that you are an umwaume waba ume by dragging chiefs into cells. You will go to arrest them carrying AK 47 riffles, but you will find that their ‘weapon against enemies’ (this time the police) are impotent animal tails in hand and beads of fetishes around their ankles, their only head ‘helmets’ made of animal skin- hats inserted with birds’ feathers on top! Your heroic stature will come from defying political nonsense.
They may demote you or retire you, but you will be a hero, get your retirement package, live among us and then the next Government will bring you back. When you were appointed some people naturally concluded that President Sata appointed you on tribal lines, like many in this government, because you are from the north.
But personally, from your academic and ‘top cop’ professional CV, I thought well there is nothing wrong to have you as head of our police force since you have the credentials. I maintain this view for now and hope we, including all those opposition leaders and chiefs accused of treason, should come to you for protection should these PF tribalists come to us. Refuse to make arrests where you are not convinced there is anything tangible.
The world is more sophisticated, watchful and punitive. Look at it this way so that you see how politicians can mess your otherwise brilliant CV. The fact that you, Mr. Geoffrey Mwamba and the President are from the north will make those accused opposition leaders and chiefs who are from other regions to see it as if it’s a tribal ‘tensions’ matter when in fact you are merely doing your job. As seem in Nigeria (Biafra war 1967), Kenya (last elections), Congo (Katanga secession 1960) or Kosovo, no one can win any tension once it assumes an ethnic angle. It brings divisions even within security wings because individual officers tend to take sides, so that eventually no internal police or military order can be maintained. Recall that during the Mongu riots this January, a Lozi police officer sided with the secessionists and was arrested with them? It can happen to your police force. You cannot expect police officers from Northwestern Province or Barotseland to arrest their own chiefs for merely demanding development for the region! An abomination! If army chiefs in the US are resigning and questioning their president’s war mission or strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan, what more the police who will have to arrest their fellow citizens, relatives or neighbours? We live side by side with police offices, we suffer the same scares of poverty brought by politicians, and we are intermarried. No politicians should think that when he appoints me from his tribe then I will save only our tribe. Where is George Bush, Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Amin or Mubarak to protect the officers now facing charges for harassing their fellow citizens? Where are Chiluba? Where is Rupiah Banda to protect the officers he was sending to Mongu?
As FODEP chief Macdonald Chipenzi warned last Friday, be extremely, very extremely careful in dealing with ethnic grievances. On tribal matters listen to me. Why? Because I had been warning about these things for years when even the media were denying them.
Even here on the Zambian Watchdog, narrow-minded PF cadres are demanding that I should be arrested for treason for criticizing Sata’s foreign policy. I was ignoring them because I believed no sane government can call such a thing treason. Perhaps even these PF cadres know this, which is why they don’t disclose their names because they know that even their fellow cadres, girlfriends or wives cannot agree with them on this. So like little puppies barking at me, the elephant whom they can not bite, they pull their tails between their legs as they bark at me from inside their huts (i.e. withholding their names). Me, I put my name here because I can justify what I am talking anywhere, even to Jesus Christ. I don’t debate with anonymous frightened little characters. I deal with real men who when they throw a stone up in the air they wait to receive it, not PF cadres who scamper in directions drooping with prematuretumamina from the nose as the stone they threw up heads downwards. What is treasonable about showing the President’s past statements, made publicly at Harvard, and compare them with what he is doing now?
Sata and Bemba leaders said worse tribal things against Mwanawasa
On Friday April 5, 2002, Sata argued in the Post Newspapers column that Mwanawasa was not grateful to Bemba speaking peoples by not giving them jobs after they voted for him and that he was ‘making the people of Zambia realize that without the three provinces thus; Copperbelt, Luapula and Northern provinces, His Excellency, President Mwanawasa would not have occupied State House..’ He then argued that there was so much anti-Bemba sentiment that ‘when we had a false start that Anderson Mazoka was winning, Bemba speaking people in several government Ministries were threatened by their (UPND) colleagues that this is the end of them’. These are Mr. Sata’s own written words. If the Northwestern chief’s complaint is treason, should Sata also later face treason for these sentiments?
What of this one? On Tuesday, April 6, 2004, Sata’s Post Newspaper letter to the editor read; ‘Shansonga Drama’.Sata accused Mwanawasa of arresting only Bemba suspected plunderers while equally helping his fellow Bantu Botatwe (Tonga’s, Ilas and Lenjes) suspects to escape justice and that Mwanawasa even appointed a Tonga ‘who is not even a lawyer’ Mark Chona to head an ‘illegal task force’ (to fight Bembas). Watch this clip:
’ I further said it was within the same grand plan (of releasing Bantu Botatwe tribesmen) by Mr. Mwanawasa in which the state entered a nolle prosequi in the case of Mr David Diangamo (an Ila plunder accused at the time) and compensated him with the second highest civil service job as deputy secretary to the Cabinet’.
What of this one exposing what he thought was a secrete James Hardly Chase move by security forces? Take a look at Sata’s own words:
‘Mr Shansonga (a Bantu Botatwe plunderer suspect) did not flee the country or jump bail, he was facilitated by government on Mr Mwanawasa’s orders. The Office of the President (OP) escorted Mr Shansonga to Livingstone and Victoria Falls. He crossed the border with an OP pass making it difficult to find any entry in the immigration books at the Zambian and Zimbabwean borders’.
Was this treason? Did Northwestern chiefs come any closer to this? In fact in this same letter said Mwanawasa tried to get Shansongo to testify against his close friend, Xavier Chungu and that when this failed he ( Mwanawasa) helped him jump bail and flee the country.
Ben Mwila (The Post , 9th September 2002) said Mwanawasa’s Bemba marginalization could bring a Rwanda-style massacre. Was this treason of inciting violence? Dan Pule, (The Post, 21st January 2003) also complained. Chief Katuta Kapembwa on July 29th 2002 even said it was normal for steal while in office (The Post) The Today Newspaper headline for January 16-22 read, ‘Bemba MPs complain to FTJ, over marginalization. The People Newspaper of May 3-9 May 2002, reported that Moses Kaunda complained of Bemba ejections. The Luapula Province Royal Foundation ( LPRF) through its secretary chief Chisunka of the Aushi people and chairperson chief Puta , said chiefs there felt betrayed by Mwanawasa and that the K6 billion provincial allocation, part of what was needed in working on ZESCO power, the Chembe bridge and Kashikishi-Nchelenge road, was not disbursed ( The Post 25th December 2005). Were these chiefs committing treason? What of Professor Nkandu Luo, for saying that Mwanawasa’s Government has no Bemba speakers in the key ministries (home affairs, defense, health, education, justice, local government, foreign affairs and agriculture (Weekly Angel 25th -29th October 2006)?
BREAKING IN NEWS COMMENTS
President Sata ‘s paying a taxi Livingstone and personally paying cash for the food they ate are further signs that he knows nothing about creating efficient, cost-cutting financial systems. He saved no money in Livingstone since he still paid ‘cashing’ to the taxi. He then merely inconvenienced the state financial accounting system by getting money personally. Did he withdraw it from his personal account? If so, is this President going to keep paying his personal money? Did he withdraw state cash? If so from which account and what reason was given? Should the Auditor General Anne Chifungula, during accounting for state funds, go to the President and ask: ‘Ba President. Nanga inja siku pemene muna dya nyama pa Hotel, change ili kuti? Nanga ma security officers bana ndyela delele yazingati? Is this how the world’s most efficient governments operate? Why were all great leaders like Roosevelt, Clinton, Mandela, and Ghandi not doing these dramas? Did Kaunda or Mwanawasa, whom Sata is naming state property, work like that? Do Banks, companies, universities etc that save money do things that way? His populist dramas can only fool kaponyas. If he can’t trust anybody within systems, why should we trust him to personally dish cash around? We need systems in place which should check everybody, including the President himself.
Also the President should also just use the security motorcade with we legally gave to our presidency. Let’s not play with presidential security for petty populist gains! The Today Zambia newspaper ( 10th to 13th December) dared to warn that the President is exposing himself a possible assassination. With these insinuations from Geoffrey Mwamba of ‘plot to kill PF leaders’ this may possibly , just possibly, bring inter-partisan street fighting, especially if he is harmed while visiting southern province, which is the opposition’s strongest stronghold and with a perceived hostility towards the PF government. When Tutsi military officers of the Rwanda Patriotic Front ( RPF) killed Burundi President Menchoir Ndadaye in October 1993, Hutu tribesmen began plotting to kill every innocent Tutsi. When President Juvenal Habyarimana, together with his fellow Hutu, Burundi President Cypien Ntaryamira and his cabinet were murdered via shooting down their plane at 08 hours on 6th April 1994, his Hutu tribesmen massacred millions of ordinary Tutsis; women and children. When on 15th -16th January 1966, Major-General Aguiyi-Ironsi an Ibo officer overthrew and killed the Hausa Fulani leaders Sir Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Sir Alhaji Ahmadu Bello , their Hausa- Fulani citizens killed thousands ordinary Ibos, forcing a civil war when Ibos reacted by declaring their own breakaway Biafra Republic on 30th May 1967 led by General Chukwuemeka Ojukwu. Reason? ‘Your tribe killed our tribal leader!’ Oh! No! No! Please, Mr President use the security motorcade and Mr Mwamba stop careless talking for heaven’s sake!
Sata asked for ex-military support
Sata even made outright defiance of Government’s warning of treason by campaigning for the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement and/or secession (now he is calling it ‘fake Barotse Government’). He even asked retired military personnel to assist him in his political activities. This prompted the military commander to tell him to stay out of armed forces (the apology the military leader made to Sata after he become President does not count since it is out of cowardice. In Zambian military language this is called maligaling, whose minimum sentence is two weeks in the Guardroom).
This can be treason. But Sata got no arrest! Yet he wants chiefs arrested!
If Sata did not cause treason for demanding Bemba rights, why should the chiefs of Northwestern Province be charged for treason for demanding ethnic rights?
I have given you all these background you that we see the dangers we are blindly heading into. Let us call a national meeting dubbed ‘renewing our one Zambia one nation vision’.
For old articles, click on 1,2,3,4 etc numbers showing at the last page of ‘Editor’s Note’.