By Mingeli Palata

As per custom, every Tuesday I make it a point to visit the local convenient store, that way I get myself an extra pizza: one for the evening and one for my breakfast the following day. The buy is awesome but for the wait. So just as well I bump into an old friend of mine who for purposes of this article I will call Tim.

I met Tim about 7 years ago, together we were very active youth advocates committing ourselves to various activates such as school debates, model united nations and the youth parliament. Between ourselves we represented the Zambian youth to the fullest both at home and abroad on various forums a time during we both gained respect for each others ability to analyze and articulate issues.

After exchanging courtesies we naturally dived into a chit chat about what is happening on the political scene. I asked him what he thought of the events that were unfolding then in the Zambian political arena. To set him in context I cited the alleged tribal remarks, violent threats, daylight bribery and corruption attributed to certain leaders in society.

To my disappointment, my colleague told me that there was nothing wrong with politicians engaging themselves in the aforementioned vices, in his own words he told me that ‘it’s just the way the game is played’. He further asked me not to be easily swayed with reports in the papers and mere street hearsay after which he added an invitation for me join the youth wing of a popular political party to which the same allegations were attributed to.

Naturally I turned down his offer, citing my beliefs in honesty and fairness, the list is endless. I recall my colleague’s last words of advice in which he asked me to become ‘exposed’ and to stop being naïve. By then my pizza was ready and so I excused myself promising to make some time for the two of us to continue our discussion. Of course I wasn’t going to see him again, I was only being courteous.

Walking home that Tuesday, I began to think about what my friend told me.I thought of one of my mentors who has held public political office for over 20 years now.He often gives me the same advise, telling me that if I want to make in the ‘game’ I should stop being naive and come to terms with the reality on the ground and not my text book politics.

What is disappointing is that politics of today’s Zambia has been reduced to the something more of the usual procedure. For instance you know that after every election, all those who campaigned for the President will be given ministerial posts, not because they are capable of delivering but because they are loyal. As to what positive impact such appointments bring to society only the President knows. Now just imagine if Ministerial posts were given to those deserving and qualified- purely on merit, it will mean that the best brains in the field will be called for national duty. Ministers will cease to be political appointees meant to appease the faithful but will be serious civil servants set to impact real change on people’s lives.

If I go on to suggest that perhaps the President should have picked someone from the opposition let’s say Given Lubinda to be Minister of Local Government and Housing, someone will call me naïve. But at the end of the day, UPND, MMD, PF , ULP, HP are all Zambians who want to serve their country, the only difference among them is that they plan on different routes of getting to the same destination- development.

Every time I read the news on LT, I become angry. I become angry with the way my fathers, mothers and uncles and aunties are toying with the governance of this country. You know it was funny the other day to see Mumbi Phiri a PF member of Parliament claiming that she made a mistake on voting for that controversial salary bill. That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Now being a former African youth parliamentarian myself, I am aware that Parliamentary procedure can be complicated but the Zambian system is perhaps the easiest model in Africa.

If an urban member of parliament is lost then one wonders …perhaps she just has no idea what has been happening in Parliament since she took her oath. Driving to the point, UPND and PF voted for that bill and have no excuses. As I stated earlier and I will stick to my point; the constitutional office bearers don’t deserve a salary increment because the country’s economy is being affected negatively by the global economic crisis hence the people will be suffering. The salaries can only be justified if they will be increased across the board. But I know you may be thinking come on Mingeli, the reality is that the bill has already been passed.

But what reality is this? Perhaps they all mean to say that I should realize that politics is a dirty game in which one has to do what has to be done to gain political expediency regardless of whether it breaks the law or not and at the expense of the poor. Is it the reality of politics being a conveyer belt to personal gain and not public service- bringing about meaningful change in people’s lives? Comrades, I don’t think I can ever come to terms with politics being referred to as a game.

I don’t think it is a game, on the contrary it is an honorable course undertaken by those disposed to servitude and those motivated by sheer determination to improve the livelihood of the millions who look up to them. A game is a gamble; you can not gamble with people’s lives nor can you toy with the expectations people have from you once they cast that ballot in your favor.

Look, red is red, black is black. Difference should be appreciated and intimidation never a method to bring people to terms with your opinions. Rules of engagement should be followed by the letter and not meant to be broken. If that is not the reality, I would rather remain in my naivety.

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53 COMMENTS

  1. mr palata, your article is not so educative! try to revist it $ may be you can come up with something better…..

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  2. We cant be discussing biased opinions made by a youth lazing about in the streets and suppose that his ideas are necessarily public ipinion.

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  3. Iwe Palata. You mean all you do is eat pizza and you want us to disc uss an article which is neither here nor there? Am hust glad that you know yourself: NAIVE.

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  4. Mumbi can afford to say that she made a mistake in voting for those bills because whichever way you look at it, the bill would still have passed. She still stood to win as the MPs in favour far outnumbered the against and the abstainers. Everything else about the politicians where the stand to gain the most.

    Someone once defined POLITICS thus: POLI – many. TICS – blood sucking insects. And ours is the blood these insects will continue to feed on as long as our attitude remains that of which-side-of-bread-is-buttered

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  5. lets say what you say is sensible.then i would advise you to start using that thing between your eyes.

    this is politics and what you see or hear is film of he real thing.it’s an illusion game,only the best illusionist progress in this game.

    wake up makakaka.

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  6. Pingeli palata and LT. The notion that the urban centres are occupied by educated people and that somehow those that win in urban areas are favoured by the educated in not only naive but a misplaced falacy.The working in the whole Zambia which is mostly in urban is just 500,000 less than the registered voters on the CB. meaning that these are the ones who are educated and the rest are’nt.Mind you part of this 500,000 is in Rural areas.So Mumbi phiri and his party where voted by more kaponyas and Ego-egos that roam our streets than the educated.The number of kaponyas and ego-egos in any town is proportional to the number of bus stations in that town and they are infact more than the working

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  7. A pianist was hired to play background music for a movie. When it was completed he asked when and where he could see the picture. The producer sheepishly confessed that it was actually a porno film and it was due out in a month.
    A month later, the musician went to a porno theatre to see it. With his collar up and dark glasses on, he took a seat in the back row, next to a couple who also seemed to be in disguise.
    The movie was even raunchier than he had feared, featuring group sex, S/M and even a dog.
    After a while, the embarrassed pianist turned to the couple and said, “I’m only here to listen to the music.”
    “Yeah?” replied the man. “We’re only here to see our dog.”

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  8. Mumbi wasnt familiar with the electronic system which wsa used hence her mistake to vote for the bill. Please research and get your facts right.

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  9. Two 90 year olds had been dating for a while, when the man told the woman, “Well, tonight’s the night we have sex!”
    And so they did.
    As they are lying in bed afterward, the man thinks to himself, “My God, if I knew she was a virgin, I would have been much more gentle with her!”
    And the woman was thinking to herself, “My God, if I knew the old geezer could actually get it up, I would have taken off my panty hose!”

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  10. iwe palata,dnt u know that its all because of poverty that all these things happen in zambia.??for as long as we stil live in poverty,such things will never cum to an end.the same pipo who are suposed to mek sure that the country develops are the same ones stealing money from the poor.wealth is not evenly distributed.they are increasing their salaries meanwhile police officers get peanuts & u even expect coruption to cum to an end lyk that,NEVER!!!!

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  11. ha ha ha..twali vota for our own kind mdala! ni same! same!same olo difalenti mdala…ni zeeeeee

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  12. As for the topic, i don’t think I am one to discuss such a , predispositioned discussion,devised by a minor lacking activity for a day whilest priding in eating LAZYMAN’S food…

    Friendly advise, get a JOB son!

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  13. palata. I appoint ministers loyal to me, whether they are clever or dull. after all I have a PS and some directors there to do the real work.

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  14. Hey Mingeli Palata, I think you are a principled man. You better stick to your principles. I recall my late parents used to instil that in me quite often. Now that they are gone, I try to be principled as much as possible in my dealings. I do not play dirty. If the game is dirty, I walk out. When you are principled, that influences your actions. I am sorry to say this, but this why the black man & African to be specific is not trusted by his Caucasian counterpart. Racism aside, they have a point. Certain decisions we make can have devastating effects on our future not necessarily ourselves but our children & children’s children. But we go ahead and make those decisions anyway.

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  15. Hi #25 Cutey, long time no “see”. What’s for the weekend? Anyways, I agree with you, Palata’s story lost it’s sense of direction somewhere along the way. Just like MMD.

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  16. #26 nine Chale, I went pa zedi for 3 and half weeks just after elections, wasn’t connected to internet out of choice. Just arrived last night. Went to experience first hand life style for Zedians. Its really hard. Its nshima, nshima and nshima and more nshima. Could not take any more the second day we arrived. Enjoyed real sweet mangoes though,, very much in season. nice to hear from you and that you still remember me..still..

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  17. Palata must be very wealthy I remember when I used to live in Zambia PIzza was a luxury that we ate once a year. We used to eat cream donalds (cream donuts) not pizza. I think mr palata is trying to kombwiko with food . He mentions pizza as if it’s so important and tied to the story, kapena ni njala

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  18. So long Cutey, have a good rest…I’ll pounce on you later.
    And next time pliz tell me before you travel to Zed so that I can layisha you some caterpillars and sweet potatoes, my favorites!

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  19. # 9 Engines.That is what exactly i have been telling Sata die hard supporters,i cant agree with you more.
    That is a very interesting article that needs introspection from all Zambians

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  20. #30, it seems your country of residence is so lenient with bringing in foodstuffs, mine is more than the word strict and you can not dare bring in any. I enjoyed all the caterpillars, inswa, katapa chiwawa, impwa, kalembula, chiwawa, kajinya and more.
    No need to pounce on me, please be a reasonable human being and kindly just blog maturely.

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  21. I hear you Palata. It is about time we take responsibility for ourselves, pull up our socks and build this country.

    I look forward to a time when all aspects of governance and democracy will be mature and respectable.

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  22. As Koswe baba I was salivating when the story started with the munching of pizza. Baba I lost interest when it diverted to something else other than food. No comment mwe bantu.

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  23. It’s interesting how people who are gulty of the issues raised in the above article are ‘feasting’ over the pizza to discredit the author. They are playing politics or is it that they are incapable of grasping the gist. Perhaps we should have addressed this in a lighter fashion for the benefit of the shalow minded.

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  24. If at all RB appointed any of PF members to cabinet Sata would not waste time in crying foul and there would be demonstrations countrywide. Have you forgotten what he does?

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  25. All you guys critising this article are the ones that need getting jobs.The problem with this blog is that its filled with students abroad who spend the whole day on this blog before they start there Burger King or Macdonalds jobs in the evening.

    Palata is simply expressing his own views about the state of affairs regarding Zambian politics.Most of you muppets being negative can’t even write articles like this.
    You guys are typical zambian chimps dozzing instead of waking up and smelling the coffee…

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  26. #38. The answer to your Question is ‘that they are not capable of grasping the gist’. Its just playing politics day in and day out. Its just shocking.

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  27. No (38) and (40) Have you considered the problem of ‘reading’ which is attributed to Zedians and most blacks in general? Try looking at it from that point of view and you will understand why things are the way they are. some of these articles they write about us we quickly criticise and try to paint a good picture of us. However, deep down we know there is some bit of chishinka in what they say.

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  28. On a serious note that’s the problem, it’s not just about fighting corruption but changing the mind set of an entire generation starting from pre-school right through to varsity, also make the punishment much stiffer pepo should do time for corruption, if your palms are greasy whatever you touch will become greasy as well. it’s like a cancer. further more certain public offices should be held by people with the right qualifications not every jim and jack who comes along by way of patronage and boot licking. we should introduce live political debates on national television.

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  29. #44. How do you intend to do that if all what you do is play politics day in out on this site? Its just shocking!
    You say ‘We should introduce live political debates on National television’. Which ‘We’? Including yourself #44.

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  30. Your article would make alot of sense if it was directed at babies when they just born.Look here, u cant change peoples’ minds which r already infutriated.Start instlling those values in young ones whose mind can be changed otherwise u remain naive.

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  31. #33 Cutey, OK dear, I’ll try to be a good boy just for you…it’s just that sometimes we men tend to feel a bit doggish.
    #40 I like your name but your comments are not nice. LT would not be LT without all the bloggters, whatever their status so if you dis the bloggers, you dis LT and the entire country.
    And FYI we are not dozzing, in fact we are wide awake and what we smell is not coffee but the sweet Zambian soil sprinkled by raindrops.

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  32. Joke

    A tramp is in deep sleep before dawn on a park bench. A gay guy comes along from his night shift on his way home. he sits next to the tramp. He notices the guy is drunk and blackedout. He turns the trumpover and gives him a quick one.
    Next day the same thing but this time he slips a £10 into the tramps pocket. The tramp gets up around 10.00 and makes his way dizzely to the nearest bottle store, inside tells the indian, ” Hay mate can i have red wine today, that white wine you gave me the other day is hurting my arse”

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  33. #46 Zambian American u are in America my dear and if a simple man like Obama can change people’s minds what will stop Palata from changing yours or others?It’s that inferiority complex u have in which you believe that an ordinary Zambian cannot change yo mind unless ba Mwisa negativity is not good,ukuchenjela pa nsaka techisuma..Just give credit where it’s due..To Mingeli Palata all the best authors in the world started like you and its criticism that made them the best.Nice article though.

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  34. # 14, its a never ending cycle, for as long as we are poor, the status quo will remain. And, none of these politicians even want to change it, coz then, that wont really work in their favour. Lets face it, most people in zed go into politics to get rich, few do it because they truly want to serve the country. Mingeli Palata is dead on point,so true what he says.

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  35. Hey #38, couldnt agree with you more, its amazing how some people on here are stuck on the pizza and have failed to grasp what the article is actually about, and like it or not, that is the true state of affairs in zambian politics. And it such attitudes that will ensure that things dont change.

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  36. #47, Thanks a lot dear ‘Nine Chale’, thats a better tone. From past messages from you, It seems we can make a good blogger pair that people can turn green with envy,though you sound to be with a lot of idle chat sometimes like ‘ukutepelesha’..a bit older?.. no offence meant though…

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  37. Iwe Palata, take time to study the CVs of the ministers/deputies and you will discover most are learned pipo. that Given Lubinda you mention doesnt even hold a single degree, just full of rhetoric! Loud mouths doesnt necessarily mean brains!! RB has very learned ministers and they work quietly.

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