How to know if you’re in love with a Zambian president and why this is a bad idea

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By George Orwell (of Zambia)

The era of Zambian Presidents is highly intriguing to me for at least a couple of reasons: First, at every point in Zambian history voters support candidates so readily and receive so little in return. The Kaunda, Chiluba, Mwanawasa, Banda and now Sata Administrations have imprisoned their own opposition political leaders, for laws that have been taken off the colonial books. Also, college unemployment has rarely enters any meaningful Sate House discussion (note how many college graduates feel misled after being promised jobs year after year).  I’m sure they’re rather just wasting away with drinking for lack of employment. Finally, tribal political appointments are apparently no longer worth fighting against, at least at the highest levels – we would demand no such thing from such “busy and lazy” presidents.

The second reason I find the age of Zambian Presidents to be intriguing is that I’ve never seen a time when voting for someone is not enough; people instead expect you to love the president as if he were a relative. Someone asked me why I don’t support Zambian Presidents. I simply replied: “I endorse them before you did, that’s all that any politician should ever get from me.  And that makes me a hater?” For some reason, questioning the policies of the administration is defined to be traitorous, which is a problematic violation of our most fundamental Zambian free men/women we stand under the flag, promise to each other.

I’ve stopped discussing the policies of the Zambian Presidents with people who’ve decided before the fact that they either love the president or hate him. In my view, these two groups balance each other out, like the French and the British, fighting for Africa’s territory without spending much time worrying about what’s right for Africans. Many of us read either The Zambian Post or Daily Mail or Times of Zambia, not looking for truth, but instead, seeking out whatever information serves to confirm our chosen obsession with our particular president.

Instead of speaking with cadres or attack dogs, I gain insights from those who can speak highly of the Zambian presidents one week and bash them the next. This is the kind of analysis we need in order to ensure that a) the politicians we support actually get into office, and b) they do their jobs once they get there. Love and hate are powerful emotions, almost like addictions to Kachasu. One thing I know is that the irrational Kachasu addict never has power over the bottle, which is why a politician who has convinced his constituents to value style (Donchi kubeba, The Hour has Come, UNIP mulilo) over substance has little incentive to do anything for the citizens who back him the most.

Here are a few ways to know if someone is in love with a Zambian President:

1) When a person critiques any of the State House’s policies, they are automatically defined to be a “hater” or jealous of the president: I’ve been accused of being jealous on many occasions when I point out problems with the Sate House’s lack of policies policies, even though I’d never want to live in the State House. When someone accuses me of being jealous, I then ask the attacker if they are criticizing me because they are jealous of me (since the logic appears to imply that any critique must be rooted in jealousy). Reducing every critic to a hater is an easy way to keep the subject from addressing the nature of the critique, which might be part of the plan in the first place: If I can convince Zambians that HH or Mumba are idiots who simply hates Sata for no good reason, then I never have to defend the president’s questionable record on poverty eradication.

2) When someone asks you about any of the president’s policy positions or whether he has fulfilled campaign promises, you have no evidence to support your point of view: If you can’t explain exactly why you support a candidate, then you probably shouldn’t be supporting him.

3) If you watch just about every Zambian president we have had, they all marvel in stylish suits. They look adorable and their first ladies tend to be beautiful, but when evaluating the commander-in-chief of Zambia the most stable nation in Southern Africa, we might want to actually pay attention to how they are doing the job.  Zambian presidents might have as much “swag” as their colonial counterparts, but Africa has never progressed historically by relying on how rhetoric or stylish the presidents look or sound like.

4) When someone mentions the detention of opposition leaders, you change the subject or don’t want to hear it: If you care for PF politicians but have no tears for MMD, UNDP politicians, then your sympathies are biased, elitist and effectively misguided. All Zambians are God’s children and they matter, even if your political party doesn’t think they do.

5) If you regularly use phrases like “I love my political party,” or blog with titles like “I love waking up in the morning knowing that UNIP and MMD are no longer in power, now PF is in power and may be UNDP will be in power:” presidential elections are a wonderful thing, but it’s not colonialism all over again. The president’s ability to gain the approval of his party may not be the best way to evaluate the achievements of any Zambian president. Runaway freedom fighters rarely met with colonial approval, yet they were the bravest among us; the same can be said about hated men like Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, who fought for self-sufficiency and the ability to speak freely and stand tall in the face of oppressive opposition. As much as some might love Kaunda, Chiluba, Mwanawasa, Banda and Sata, most of us would agree that their presidency had decided that speaking freely and honestly in favor of developing Zambia for all Zambians was and is still a burden they are not strong enough to bear.

6) If you have a picture of the Zambian President next to Jesus: The tradition of hanging the president’s pictures in public sometimes placed next to the picture of Jesus should come to an end. Jesus worked harder and loved all peoples, but I doubt that Zambian presidents love their own people. Jesus spoke about equality and poverty, two topics that Zambian Presidents almost never chose to address; that, my friends, is a fact.

7) If you’re getting angry while reading this list: One way to cure yourself of incurable political love is to stop getting angry at me for creating this list. If you’re upset with me right now, it’s because deep in your soul, you know that I might be right. Your other option is to write me off as either being jealous or a hater, which fits into the first item on this list. Instead, I suggest that you become familiar with the State House’s policies so that you can defend the president/s the next time someone criticizes them. You might also determine that perhaps it’s possible to support a political leader while still pushing him to do his best on your behalf. Political support should not be a one way street.

8) If you respected Kaunda, Chiluba, Mwanawasa, Banda and Sata in the past and hate their guts today: One huge price paid by Zambians for loving their presidents is that authentic One Zambia One Nation is murdered in exchange for the State House that barely cares for its people. Rather than realizing that we can respect both Kaunda, Banda, Sata, HH and Mumba at the same time, people are replacing one for the other. Let’s be clear: there are things that HH and Mumba would say on our behalf that Sata and Kaunda NEVER say. While Sata and Kaunda are busy enlarging their Bemba influence in the State House, Banda, HH and Mumba are speaking up on unemployment, poverty, corruption and mass political mediocrity, topics that Sata won’t ever make time to address.

When Zambian Presidents leave office, they go to grave yard 1 or retirement to enjoy lavish life styles that are bigger than those for ordinary Zambians. On the other hand, ordinary Zambians will continue fighting for and loving Zambia regardless of whether they end up at Plot1. Not knowing how to love Zambian Presidents is like a woman getting rid of her brother because she has a new boyfriend: One guy has been with you for life and the other could be gone in the blink of an eye. It’s a very risky and unnecessary exchange to say the least.

The point here is not to attack those who support Zambian Presidents. For the most part, I probably agree with you. Instead, it is to simply say that the political game is a negotiating process, not unlike buying a cow for your grandfather from the salesperson manipulators by trade, and the minute they realize you’re in love with the animal, they jack up the price. Don’t let politicians manipulate you, instead, in 2016 demand that they do their jobs.

Photo of the day: queues at new payment points for passports
Flashback: Spare me for now, begs randy MP Sikwela

43 Responses to "How to know if you’re in love with a Zambian president and why this is a bad idea"

  1. 2720  January 7, 2013 at 02:47

    George orwell,I salute you.I feel you,continue with the same spirit,one day your critics will open peoples minds and zambia shall have a president for all zambian people.

  2. lion rock  January 6, 2013 at 20:42

    who was Jesus?a Zambian?why dyu take it for granted that all people who read these articles are Hipochristians(aka christians)?

  3. pelekelo  January 6, 2013 at 08:22

    I know that Mr Sata is hated because of the perceived history. Everybody is right in accordance to the political comprehension but i believe Mr Sata that he’ll be liked after the end of his term. Giving him another term will be inevitable.

  4. eni  January 5, 2013 at 08:51

    What has gone wrong with former president act! One alive is queit, the oldest and most brutal is active: churches and ngos are silent. Kk is it loving another president! Western province on its knees! Where are you men and women in leadership! Again, is it loving another president!

  5. Changwe emmanuel  January 5, 2013 at 08:06

    Twalanda sana pali s a t a n a, kuli bayama aba ba guy scort,u zambians luk around de world where v u cn a zambian given a ministrial post? Bafikala mulefwa incito mwabula mwisa uwatutekele kukalili mwamusambasha! Eeeeh where is de spirit of simon mwansa kapwepwe n harry mwanga nkumbula? Pls come n save us from dis animal farm ba sata bashitisha icalo nakabili. Wuskili mafia

  6. Khila babe  January 4, 2013 at 19:08

    Wayowoya wapulika munthu.

  7. moses tembo  January 4, 2013 at 16:08

    THIS IS THE MOST SENSIBLE COMMENT ON THE ISSUE

  8. Tulandepo  January 4, 2013 at 15:14

    ba George mwalasa, ala kwena mulatota. epashili pakuleka.

  9. tripoli  January 4, 2013 at 13:58

    ITS RAINING OUTSIDE.

  10. The 3ye  January 4, 2013 at 13:12

    I miss mwanawasa…I really do mwandini

  11. fumbi  January 4, 2013 at 11:24

    I neither had any feeling of hate nor love for any of our presidents. I was ambivalent. The only President that I learned to hate in his first year of office was the President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa. This was due to a decision that he made. Later I realised that that decision he made was not peculiar to my situation. He for instance is on record informing the a former chairman of a particular Board; “I will not increase your salaries. Do you know that your CEO gets a higher salary than my Minister?” Later in the same year he told university students that he was not going to increase their allowances on grounds that some categories of government employees who were married and had children got a salary less than a university student allowance. The reserves were increased to unprecedented levels. Needless to say my hate turned to love for this man for he was fair in his dealings and focused on the wider picture and the benefits that would accrue to the majority of the citizens. May his soul rest in peace.

  12. SEKANI  January 4, 2013 at 11:22

    THOSE ARE POLITICS OF ZAMBIA. A LEADER IS WORSHIPED EVEN WHEN HE MAKE MISTAKES ONE NEED TO SMILE WHILE INSIDE BUT IMMEDIATELY ONE CRITICIZES ALL PEOPLE WILL TUNRN AGAINST HIM.

  13. AmosMalupenga/GrorgeChellah  January 4, 2013 at 11:14

    You are just bitter and choking with envy. We got an instruction manual from Uncle Robert Mugabe of how to overstay in power!

  14. Ku Masangalatoni -- Lekeni HH ateke  January 4, 2013 at 11:07

    Aya ma point yeka yeka. Good job mwanta Orwello.

  15. doutfire  January 4, 2013 at 11:02

    Is the AFCON going to be televised on ZNBC?

    • Headman Kagoli - Monze District  January 4, 2013 at 12:58

      Would the answer help you decide whether to hate or love Ukwa?

      Well, here is the answer:

      Ukwa has told his cadre Chibamba Kanyama that he can’t waste his money on making Kalusha Bwalya and his team more popular than himself (Ukwa). He would rather spend the money in buying Parliamentary players for aggressive qualifying games towards 2016!

  16. silu ni silu  January 4, 2013 at 10:49

    Chizungu baliskya. He is saying that love or hate must never obliterate objectivity in our performance perception of our presidents. He is preaching neutral objectivity like that of John the Baptist and Modecai. As for hate being confused with sin, please read Psalms 26:5
    5 I hate the mob of evil men, and do not associate with the wicked.
    Romans 12:9
    9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Hate what is evil, (SataN) cling to what is good. (Democracy) Mwapulika tsono?

  17. Bomba  January 4, 2013 at 10:30

    Hate him.But one day you will remember and love MCS.He is only one year in power and has just started implemeting his budget.Most of you just hate him on the basis of his personality than anything else.Time will tell and posterity will judge him right and thank him.But one thing you cant take away from him-He is progmatist not withstading afew mistakes here and there.He persveres and has a sense of forebearance.Many of you will never attain that feat.Above all he is a man standing against all odds.He has a heart of a lion with his eyes on the ball.He is my mentor and am his protege.

  18. Njangwamuloti  January 4, 2013 at 10:23

    Very pragmatic, articulate and analytical article. Enjoyed reading this.

    Could it be that power corrupts? Meaning perhaps once one is in State House they view of the World and how to treat people changes completely because of hero worshipers and bootlickers who surround them? Or could be too much power vested in the position, leaving the masses without much say.?

    I recall when FTJ became President, he uttered the words, “I didn’t know power could be so sweet!”

    Kamalondo believed KK would be life President. We also had hero worshipers for Mwanawasa and RB. RB admitted when conceding defeat that perhaps he did not listen,it was too late!

    I think a lot of the presidential powers need to be curtailed before the next General Elections, otherwise dunderheads will continue abusing our people. They dupe their way into State House then show their true colours once in possession of Presidential protection, privileges and immunity. Only humbling themselves again when out of State House, cos Zambia is a very forgiving and forgetting nation.

  19. silu ni silu  January 4, 2013 at 09:59

    I revered KK, adored FJT, sympathized with LPM, admired RB and now loath MCS CNP. And you?

  20. Industrial Giant  January 4, 2013 at 09:38

    This is a fantastic article. Absolutely fabulous.

    Please do one for my Bemba friends (aka Man U supporters).

    • Normal Zambian  January 4, 2013 at 12:40

      I we chi Industrial Giant ulishilu wa ishiba shani at ndimubemba kabili am Man U supporters (lol)?

      I totally agree with you. This is a fantastic and fabulous analytical piece. I like number 7) “If you’re getting angry while reading this list…”

  21. Fenwick  January 4, 2013 at 09:06

    I loved RB.. Very ‘umble bakamba!

  22. SAD  January 4, 2013 at 09:03

    WE SIMPLY DON’T UNDERSTAND DEMOCRACY.
    ONLY HERO WORSHIPING AND BEING EXPLOITED BY OUR SO-CALLED LEADERS AND CHIEFS.

  23. 2013  January 4, 2013 at 08:53

    Well thought out article, articulate and to the point. The main weakness with our citizens is lack of education, most especially the youth lack the necessary capacity to analyse issues from an informed point of view hence they cannopt make objective criticism to the government in power. ‘Ni kwalolo mwela eko twalola’

  24. Fili Okotuya  January 4, 2013 at 08:47

    I am trying to imagine a Zambia without online papers!!!….and the blind man answered them saying “whether He is a sinner or not I do not know…but what I know is that I was blind but now I see.

    Whether this site is worth obliterating I really do not know but one thing I know is it usually brings to light issues no other media is prepared to bring out.

  25. mpundu kapokola  January 4, 2013 at 08:46

    Bravo. Gracias

  26. JINX-CHINA  January 4, 2013 at 08:43

    Good articulated article. It really make sense.

  27. chileshe matekenya  January 4, 2013 at 08:31

    I love criticizing the government of the day. I feel this is the only way, the government would attend to our problems and find solutions. Without criticism then there is no need of democracy.

    • RB  January 4, 2013 at 09:53

      WHAT A BEAUTIFUL POINT DEAR, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YOUR LIFE, YOU HAVE SAID THE TRUTH. CRITICISM IS GUD SOME TIMES.

  28. zed analist  January 4, 2013 at 08:24

    Others are waving at pipo except one

  29. Terry  January 4, 2013 at 08:18

    School of thought

  30. Commander Zero  January 4, 2013 at 08:09

    I love HH and Mumba for one reason…they are both directionless and therefore do not pose any serious political threat to me.

    MCS

    • Zed@crossroad  January 4, 2013 at 08:27

      you are right, except that your PF is much more directionless and they are static with no ideas what to do next with power other than insulting.

  31. Nazili Pilinta  January 4, 2013 at 08:07

    George,Our people are hungry and so poor that they will do anything for anyone who promises bread and butter.Hence the show of love for who ever is in state house.This explain why some politicians are leaving thier parties to join the rulling party.Politics of the stomach.Even the current President knew that if he promised paradise then some might buy into his idea.Lo and be hold people did.Becasue we are so desperate to have a better life we`ll do anything to satisfy our desire.
    So in the end it`s not actually Love for the president,but survivle.The president is so powerful that he can actually make your life a paradise or the opposite.What Zambians must be fighting for.is to trim some of those powers.Let other functions be decided by Parliament and then we can ask politicians to do their JOBS.Which politician can claim to be doing their JOB if they are not kneeling to the president`s wishes at the same time?

    • twoo  January 4, 2013 at 08:50

      i AGREE WITH YOU ON THIS SCORE!

  32. Triangle  January 4, 2013 at 08:02

    Thesis mentality

  33. Mwanarob  January 4, 2013 at 08:01

    Yuk. Makes no proper reading.

  34. Triangle  January 4, 2013 at 08:01

    Boring

    • chileshe matekenya  January 4, 2013 at 08:19

      @Triangle i do not insult but i am getting to know why some people would end up insulting. Lets love each other like christians not haters.

      • Triangle  January 4, 2013 at 08:30

        @Chileshe am expressing my extremely summarised opinion.

  35. maguys  January 4, 2013 at 07:59

    A very good article which has made me feel ashamed ,we hope many zambians would get a leaf from what you have rightly articulated.But i wonder how many Zambians will read this article because we Zambians do not like reading ,hence we are gullible

    • suggestor  January 4, 2013 at 08:21

      reading culture pa zed is as rare as a bengel tiger

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