LUSAKA Mayor Miles Sampa says he is not daunted by criticism.
Speaking on Studio Ken when he showed off the glitzy side of his life, Sampa says those that say he is mad or question his mental permanency remind him of the time his late uncle and founder of the Patriotic Front Michael Sata was called a lunatic.
Sampa, who chose to have his interview in his bedroom, noted that statements about his mental stability were started even before he could locate the whereabouts of toilets at his office.
He insisted that he was not mad, stating that when he became mayor most people did not understand him.
“They say the Mayor is mad, he is mad then I started questioning myself but I remembered that I first heard this line on my uncle Michael Sata…even him thy said he was mad, especially the MMD. They are wrong, I don’t think I am mad. I came to a conclusion that my reasoning capacity is too much high, above certain people, they couldn’t understand me. When I took that Chibuku, people again talked, Chibuku became the best brand in Africa, so I was proud of them because they are in Lusaka and they employ people, so to promote them I took a picture. I wasn’t drinking but they said I am encouraging youths to take Chibuku instead of drinking Tujilijili which by the way they drink like water,” Sampa said.
He clarified that he would not stop youths drinking beer but would rather encourage them to drink Chibuku, which was cheaper and had nutritional value.
“I am not mad, I am perfectly fine, I just think above the average person, so before they realise what I am doing, they think I am mad. But when they see the results, they start clapping…no, I would like to believe I am highly exposed and these people may take it in a wrong way but I have been highly exposed, education wise, in all sorts of life. I have been to the University of Zambia, I have been to do my Master in South Africa, I have lived there, I have been to Harvard University, stayed at Harvard for two months, got panel beated (sic) mentally and got a certificate. I have been to Oxford University for a month, staying there, got panel ‘beated’ mentally and got a leadership certificate. I have met people around the world, I am exposed,” he said.
Sampa said he is just different from an ordinary and average person hence most people fail to understand him.
He said he seems different now because of the dissimilar roles that he had played in the country as a leader.
Sampa said he was an accomplished banker, who worked for Barclays, Finance and in South Africa as a senior officer.
“By the time I was leaving Barclays Bank, I was an executive director, one step…by now I would have been MD if I stayed in the bank. My peers are Mizinga Melu, we used to talk when she was in treasury at Stanchart, Mukwandi Chibesakunda, all these people are my peers in banking, so as banker I needed to behave professionally but then I went in politic as MP of Matero and then as deputy minister, I needed to behave differently…as deputy minister of finance, the behaviour was different, I was meeting IMF, World Bank so I needed to be executive. As Mayor it’s different; you have to be on the ground and deal with the grassroots…everybody,” He said. “I deal with the youths, marketeers at my house, they come from Bauleni every day and when I meet them, I reduce myself to their level, I don’t play like I am educated. Now I am working on my PhD, God willing one day I will be called Dr Sampa.”
He said he was accustomed to be the mayor he wants to be and not one who sits in the office enjoying the big screen television, aircon and coffee.
“So when you meet me with people from Matero, I act like I am not educated; I speak their language. Maybe to be a good mayor you have to act like you are mad, Michael Sata used to be called mad but now they remember that he was the best governor of Lusaka. If you go there at the council, that you are Mr Smart, people who come there are from all over the city and if you are going to be Mr Smart, ‘I am the mayor of Lusaka, a very important man’, you aren’t gonna talk to the people and they will not like you so I reduce myself to their level,” Sampa said.
He further said the mayor who is going to take over from him should behave mad to achieve results.
Sampa said if people say he had performed above average and were happy then the office needs a mad mayor like he had been.
Asked to rate his performance, Sampa declined to blow his own trumpet but insisted that he was putting in everything he could.
And Sampa said he decided to have his interview from his bedroom to show that he had nothing to hide.
Sampa said only a lazy mayor would be void of criticism.
He said he was not offended by what people say but that it helps him change.
“Any performing mayor will have drama, only a lazy mayor will not be talked about, so I am determined to perform,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sampa said his open plan bedroom and dressing was inspired by American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, record executive, and actor Sean Combs.
He said he had over 50 caps and hats, 20 different truck suits, jewelry and various designer clothes as reflected in Combs’ life as he grew up.
Showing off his bedroom set up, Sampa, 50, revealed that he had five children and none of them shares the same mother.
He said he regrets having married late at 37.
Sampa, however, stated that he had realised that there was no perfect woman or man.
He further revealed that although he has only been divorced once, he had engaged five times before finally settling down.