Umu Zambian: the only human species to make the same mistake thrice

By Michael B Munyimba

Yes, I believe when they say humans are the only ones in the animal kingdom that make the same mistake twice.

But then, I just realised that we actually have different species of human beings in the animal kingdom, and that Zambians are the only human species capable of actually making the same mistake – not just twice, but thrice! We are a kind that is so quick at forgetting past events. Just why we are naive, nobody knows.

For instance, why are we so easily brain-washed with bread that only lasts a day, with our memory easily erased with mere 30 pieces of silver? Why are we so much like Esau, that we easily trade our birthright for a mere morsel of food? Why is it that we, without effort, barter our dignity and integrity with a sheer bag of mealie meal and a bicycle? And in our stupid spell of delusional madness, we forget our terrifying past and bury the evils perpetrated by the same culprits who suddenly and conveniently turn into our ‘destiny angels’.

We refuse to remember or question the gassing saga which left hundreds of innocent souls dead, the fire engines scandal which saw millions of borrowed kwachas stolen by a few individuals beneath the false pretext of their urgent need. What of the ZAFFICO travesty which saw loads and loads of stolen timber secretly exported to neighbouring countries, or the infamous Malawi maize trafficking mafia kind of crime by the same group? What about the 50 luxury houses that surprisingly built themselves without any human ownership, or were culprits who were burning markets countrywide ever identified, just like the gassers and those who were killing people for their sets (private parts)?

Why is it that once we are given chickens and rabbits which, by the way only come toward election time, we forget to question all that? We drift into disgusting praise songs and forget that had those people who have been in power for a decade lived up to their promises, we wouldn’t be stampeding for their handouts. But due to hunger, we line up to receive genetically modified rabbits and chickens, which, unlike our givers’ claim of youth empowerment and rural development projects, these rabbits and chickens just ’empower’ our rumbling hungry bellies for a day and ‘develop’ our hunger even more.

Why do we forget that had these self-centred greedy lads been doing their job as adamantly as they claim, our retirees and seperatees who have not have missed their dues for three decades; they would have been sorted out by now. And our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who graduated six years ago as doctors and teachers would have been deployed in the 10 years they have been in power? Why is it that it’s only Zambians who go clapping vigorously at politicians in power for renovating a fly-over and sub-standard roads whose quack contractor friends and relatives crookedly over quote? They say so many literally solicited ‘thank yous’ to whom we feel are doing us a great favour, without realising that it is actually their duty to do so.

Yes, it is the duty of the party and its government to avail those amenities to the people of this country: roads, hospitals, bridges, industries and all and we the people do not owe anyone any misplaced ‘thank yous’. I come again, why do we easily forget? What of the unprecedented, forced and politically engineered closure of the mighty Post newspaper, the only truly independent publication then and the controversial, yet objective Prime TV and the unending threats upon other media institutions? Why do we forget the privatisatim of ZESCO, our Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, both of which were almost entirely overtaken by Chinese, just like many others, including the recruitment and appointment of Chinese nationals as police high ranking officers, posing a serious threat to our national security, something never heard of in any country under the sun? Come on, tell me why Zambians instantly forget the harassment they face at the hands of the ruling party cadres in markets and bus stations?

These cadres are on record storming government offices, pulling out civil servants they suspected belonged to the opposition and harassing them; even walking into a police station and ordering the release of their friends before beating the cops and nothing would be done about it! But once we receive a bag of mealie meal days before election, our memory is erased of all that footage and we begin chanting, ‘’dununa reverse, sonta apo wabombele!”

But perhaps it’s true, ‘dununa reverse’, look behind, sit down and ask yourself if you are being sincere enough to yourself; is that what you truly want? Let people sober up and ask themselves some defining questions such as, why there is a tendency in this regime of embracing those that are filthy in their deeds and dealings and guilty of atrocities that in other parts of the world they could attract the hangman’s noose!

Some unbelievably greedy former ex-minister of health got entangled in so many scandals during his period in office; ranging from the deliberate purchase and distribution of expired, rotten drugs and condoms to the public tendered for millions of dollars through unregistered companies of friends. The drugs were probably just salvaged from some dump site (pa muganda) in some overseas country. The chap was also caught up in some dubious construction of some multi-million kwacha motel plus dozens of luxury houses that by far exceeded his income in circular employment and even his business dividends. But all that court drama just turned out to be a mere facade.

While all this was taking place, the powers that be looked away and refused to take any disciplinary measures against the culprit. Why that was so remains for you to guess. And even when he was finally ‘relieved’ of his ministerial duties, of course after so much media and opposition outcry, he has still been adopted as a parliamentary candidate in his constituency. And trust me, if it were to happen that the ruling party retains power after August 12, this guy will definitely be reappointed into cabinet or be given another big government position to continue syphoning public funds. And the people of that constituency will vote for him.

And that’s where my problem is because I don’t seem to understand why his own people would send someone to go steal from them! It’s truly awesome how foolish we can be when hungry and how the powerful can take advantage of our weakness. I will repeat my question you must also ask yourself – just why are the dirty preferred to the clean and upright?

Good honest learned professionals are cast away, while filthy crooks ‘debris’ is what attracts presidential attention and favours. Some former Bank of Zambia governor was unceremoniously dismissed by the President without reason. But people with sensitive posts like that are not just dismissed overnight by a single person, just as they are not just put there without consultation and deliberation with other appointing bodies, structures and stakeholders; because that sort of action arouses suspicion and puts in question the legality of the wings of the President. Perhaps they are unnecessarily too huge and need to be clipped. That is why the whole episode evoked scathing attacks from South Africa’s Central Bank governor, Tito Mbongeni who criticised the powers that be for applying unorthodox means of governance.

Of course, that didn’t go down well with the government here, especially our very own number one president’s bookleacker they call government spokesperson Dora Siliya who reiterated badly. She told Mbongeni to shut up and stop interfering in our national affairs. But would you blame Mbongeni? No! Any good neighbour would do the same, he simply wanted to know what the governor had done, and whether proper protocol was followed in firing him. What about you, do you think the governor was guilty of any offence… or was he fired because he refused to do wrong and violet his professional ethics which would compromise his integrity?

And finally, there’s the current issue of our outgoing Vice-President Inonge Wina and one Nkandu Luo with which I am going to end this article before I pen my punchline. First, I wish to confess that I have never believed that academic education gives people wisdom perse. If it did, it would have certainly given people such as one Professor Luo King Solomon’s wisdom. No wonder some philosopher retorted that knowledge on its own was not power, as people erroneously want to believe, but APPLIED KNOWLEDGE is power!

There are so many educated imbeciles out there roaming the backstreets of town with their suitcases full of degrees from this and that university abroad, with not the slightest grain of wisdom which is supposed to accompany their academic portfolios. So, they talk and do trash, and can do great harm to society if not checked. Their so-called intelligence, knowledge or purported wisdom is only text-book based, created from years of memorising paragraphs they read in their school handbooks at college and university.

Unfortunately, life is not about mastering university lab formulae you memorised, it is about applying common sense when it is warranted. Nkandu Luo has several academic accolades to her name. Born 21 December 1951 (69 years old) in Chinsali, she studied Microbiology at some university in Moscow in 1977 and at University of Brunei Darussalam. She worked at St Mary’s Hospital in London and later became a professor in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Zambia in 1993. She worked as Head Of Pathology and Microbiology at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and has held numerous ministerial posts since the Chiluba era.

Yes, one would hold her in high esteem academically, but as I earlier indicated, there is a marginal difference between that and wisdom. In case you didn’t know, all the ministries she was assigned to run were a major flop under her. But that’s not what worries me now, she has been adopted as the President’s running mate. Luo is a foul, diarrhea and dangerous mouth that, if left unchecked, it could plunge this good nation into an unseen before bloodbath and catastrophe. Her tribal remarks against Tongas during the Chilubi Constituency parliamentary by-election campaigns sparked national outrage and was a clear testimony of how unwise she is. Looking at her academic credentials, one would have actually thought she studied national disunity in Moscow. She’s a ‘learned tribalist’ that the people of Zambia should be very careful with as she could divide us all.

And that’s the running mate the President chose. Looking at her age and credentials, one would have expected to see a national unifier in her, not the garbage she’s exhibiting. The question is, why would the President choose such a nation divider for a running mate? Ask yourself.

As for Inonge Wina, let me reserve my comments. She was once an intelligent, objective young lady who dropped out of school to get married to Arthur Wina at 18, went back to high school at Santa Monica and then went to Santa Monica College in California to study social work and later University of Zambia where she studied education. She has always been a nice person, but whoever convinced her to join this regime destroyed her life history.

A few months ago, Americans corrected the mistake they made four years ago. In a few months, Zambians are likely to make the same mistake they have been making for the third time! And, oh, congratulations PF. I am told you adopted Iris Kaingu as your parliamentary candidate somewhere!

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