Hunt for Successor 37:From Cabbages to Kadansa

President Michael Sata
President Michael Sata

By Field Ruwe

What if Siakalima is right?

Douglas Siakalima did not mince his words: “As a trained psychologist, I can tell you that President Sata has been showing signs that warrant a mental check up by an independent medical board as enshrined in our republican constitution.

Good grief,” I said. “What if he’s right?
For a moment I was bothered. To be honest, the thought has crossed my mind many times. It may have crossed yours too. Often there have been whispers and tittle-tattles in homes, on the street, in bars, and in workplaces, about the president’s impetuous behavior. Even his predecessors, KK, Chiluba, Mwanawasa, and Banda, have at some time or another, questioned his ability to run the top-most executive office.I wanted to make sure I understood what Siakalima meant. I pulled out the existing Zambian Constitution and reviewed Article 36: Removal of President on Grounds of Incapacity. Clause (1) states in part that a board of medical practitioners can “inquire into the matter and report to the Chief Justice on whether or not the President is, by reason of any infirmity of body or mind, incapable of discharging the functions of his office.”

In this age of democratic vigilance there is nothing wrong with questioning the psychological state of the president, more so when he at times appears erratic, volatile, unpredictable, and undiplomatic.We know that where ever president Sata goes he is almost certain to do or say something outrageous, or embarrass someone publicly. He enjoys it, but it could indeed be an aberration worth checking.For instance, last year in July, he humiliated his own deputy, Guy Scott, in full view of appointees at State House.

You cannot even be a chief or leader in your own country England because the people there don’t know you,” he told a dumbfounded Scott. “You must consider yourself lucky to be vice president here.”

We know that where ever president Sata goes he is almost certain to do or say something outrageous, or embarrass someone publicly. He enjoys it, but it could indeed be an aberration worth checking.

Earlier that year, at the same venue, he shamed the then Justice Minister Sebastian Zulu when the minister presented the report on radar contracts.

This report is useless, very complicated. We wasted our money…I don’t know whether he is trying to protect Ms. Dora Siliya…”
He even took a jab at George W. Bush during his visit to Zambia.
As far as you are concerned Africa doesn’t exist. And when we have a former colonialist like you coming back to pay back what you took out of this country we are grateful.”

I was thinking about the numerous people Sata has demeaned and disgraced, and the despicable things he has said and done when cabbages popped up.
I could hear them, hoards of people holding cabbages impaled on sticks chanting “no more cabbages!”
Standing in the midst with a cabbage in hand was PF leader Sata.
This is your president,” he said. “This is president Mwanawasa!”
No more cabbages!” The crowd chanted.
Sata spoke: “Levy Mwanawasa is a cabbage. I demand that Chief Justice Ernest Sakala appoints a team of three doctors to investigate his mental health.”
Some people began to kick cabbages like footballs.
No more cabbages!” They continued to chant.The cabbages splintered.

President Sata receiving the commissioner of inquiry report into the cancellation of radar contracts
FILE: President Sata receiving the commissioner of inquiry report into the cancellation of radar contracts

The year was 2006. Opposition leader Michael Sata had just evoked Article 36 of the Constitution on Levy Mwanawasa.Seven years later, in 2013, Douglas Siakalima would demand the same of Sata and urge acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda to appoint an independent medical board to investigate the mental health of the president.

We believe President Sata’s recent behavior and statements raise questions about his current state of mind.”

Psychologist Siakalima is convinced our president is losing it; he’s going bananas, therefore he must be removed. PF cadres are mad with Siakalima. They are calling for his blood. “How dare he?” “How can this chap insult the president?” And like they often do, they have vowed to “deal with him!”
PF intelligentsia and spin doctors are treating the demand as “garbage.” Soon they will question Siakalima’s qualifications and throw them in the toilet. They will label him a quack psychologist, squeeze him out of his profession like a lemon, and leave him for the dead. Not, so fast.

In June 2005, responding to Sata calling him a cabbage, president Mwanawasa said the following: “I have already stated that insults are like Vaseline. I have developed a thick skin to insults. I will just listen to the people of Zambia.” The president blamed PF opposition leader Sata for condoning a culture of insults that had “crept into the nation.”

Can Sata handle criticism?

Today, Sata is president. How much of thick skin does he have? In the wake of some people in the opposition thinking he is losing his mind, how would he react if he were nicknamed, say “Kadansa” or something worse and people at opposition rallies chanted “no more Kadansa!” and ripped his effigies like the PF cadres did to cabbages. No disrespect to the president and no offense meant to those who bear the same name. Please treat this as a mere analogy.
For those who do not know Kadansa. He was a street preacher who engaged the public in various social and political debates. His favorite spot was the front of the Post Office on Cairo Road.

Does the president have enough skin to fend off such stigmatization? I doubt it very much. He has a fragile self-esteem, susceptible to the slightest provocation. He can’t stand mockery and criticism. Many who have dealt with him say he is contemptuous to those who choose to disagree with him and he often applies aggressive and intimidating reciprocal tactics.

Opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema is accompanied by opposition his MMD counterpart Nevers Mumba as he left Woodlands police station
Opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema is accompanied by opposition
his MMD counterpart Nevers Mumba as he left Woodlands police station

Let’s for a moment look at why Siakalima is calling for a medical examination. When the president heard that Nevers Mumba, Hakainde Hichilema, and Sakwiba Sikota had travelled to South Africa, he felt mortally threatened. We all know the president. He reacts to threats with defiance, rage and contempt, and resorts to attacking others so they appear at fault.

In this case, when he heard that the trio had used the occasion to accuse him of committing rights abuses and called for the temporary suspension of Zambia from the Commonwealth, his “I will expose you,” defense mechanism kicked in.

The president must allow power to flow from the people to him. People must criticize him when he is wrong. He should be respectful of human rights and allow opposition leaders to campaign freely. Most of all, he should be the pedestal of our advancement.

Instead of addressing the issues at hand by challenging the three opposition leaders to produce proof, and open the State House doors to the Commonwealth team for them to conduct the investigation, he went into a defensive stance and cultivated a rebuttal based on belittling and disparaging his critics. First, he portrayed HH as a thief.
Let him explain to the Commonwealth the source of his wealth,” he told State House attendants.
Then he accused two of the three opposition leaders of attempting to seek “criminal” asylum in South Africa to escape charges at home.
The president of South Africa is not even ready to grant asylum to [Mr. Banda], or Mr. Hichilema, or Dr. Mumba. So the only person who is clean out of those who went to South Africa is Sakwiba Sikota.”

Cheap shots such as these make one doubt the president’s ability to think rationally. They show him in a panic and expose how fragile his sense of security is. The president must know that his tactics to deflate, devalue and derogate accusations against him have been long known. They may have worked when he was campaigning as candidate Sata. They will not work now that he is head of state. The world is watching. We are watching him.
It is time to act more like a president than a PF leader. For ten years we watched a combatant King Cobra, expose, confront, accuse, path-cross, mudsling, eye-poke, back-stab, shamelessly-cajole, hood-wink, and life-stake. Often times he was insensitive, heartless, uncaring, cold-blooded, merciless, manipulative, and pitiless. That King Cobra should have been left outside the State House gates.

A president Michael Chilufya Sata should be honorable, honest, truthful, scrupulous, conscientious, industrious, accepting, comprehensible, accommodating, accessible, democratic, and respectful of others. He should uphold the constitution. He must allow power to flow from the people to him. People must criticize him when he is wrong. He should be respectful of human rights and allow opposition leaders to campaign freely. Most of all, he should be the pedestal of our advancement. Anything other than this is of no benefit to the people of Zambia.

Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, and author. He is a PhD candidate at George Fox University and serves as an adjunct professor (lecturer) in Boston. ©Ruwe2012


  1. Malabishi a trained psychologist could not read in 2011 that HH was not popular as he was claiming and that he needed PF to win the support of the zambian.

    • Gee has the IQ of Zambians gone down or are you an aberrant statistic? What has Psychology got to with election result prediction?Please just comment on the issues raised and stop displaying your ignorance.

    • Eureka! I have cracked the code. People claiming that HE President Michael Chilfya Sata is going bananas are mistaken. He has only been wishing aloud. He offcourse wishes aloud in the middle of something else. For instance he was talking about Mainza Chona signing the Choma declaration and wished HH could also sign one so that UPND, NAREP and MMD and all others could be disbanded (Edgar Lungu is thinking in this line too. Then he mentioned this in the same sentence with Mainza Chona. During mwanawasa’s rule, Sata was arrested for being in possession of a “stolen car” from Government, which was actually given to him as a gift by Xavior Chungu.

    • HH this week was arrested for political reasons. When swearing Siamunene Sata wished that it was actually himself who was arrested for political reasons and that HH shopuld have been the one arrested for accepting a stolen gift and mentioned that he himself was arrested for political reasons and but not others who are arrested for stealing. So you can see that it is merely wishing aloud by his excellency.

  2. people show your ability to reason and make civil contributions, surely how in hell would you waste such precious time writting trush like this? A psychlogist does not behave like this unless he is a psychophant!

    UPND you are finished now, and if in Zambia there are useful fools then please do not misquote me here, all UPND supporters are useful fools. You luck analysis even your foolish so called psychologists cant even read for your tyrant HH, start talking about you constitution within UPND and tell us if your perpetual loser HH will stand in 2016 period!

  3. Well written.Obviously the Late Levy Mwanawasa was way more tolerant that Sata.If tables were reversed and Sata was being called a Cabbage at a rally am sure I.G Libongani would have been unleashed and arrests being made for ‘inciting violence’ or ‘tearing a vegetable with the intention to bring chaos in the country’

  4. Can the little minds blogging here please address the issues raised and lets have us a good debate.Does our president exhibit irrational behavior and does he have a fragile sense of security?

    • We of little minds, voted rightfully or wrongly for the sitting Presido, who has mandate to 2016 and deserves respect as much as we will respect the next president after him. Presido Sata has always been from the sixties to date the same humorous person and often speaks the way he feels, not the way it is written for him,( off-the cuff). That is what ordinary voters wanted of a presido at least for four years. Give the man a chance, it is only three years remaining. His generation are not educated leaders but talented/ born leaders who manage to out-wit even the most educated. At least we are learning to be more serious and responsible whenever we vote for a presido next time. Hate him or like for him for the remain period he still has a mandate to remain at Plot One.

  5. I’ll debate with my little mind Liam. I think the Prez has comic timing which the author of all people should know about. They also share a thin skin, get a thrill from speaking of ‘foes’ when criticised, both display selective historical amnesia that fits with their narrative, also share a nostalgic view for a better life based on the past. One has a job he uses to lecture us and only consider us relevant if we think like him and the other… Oh my sweet heaven… Have we ever seen them in the same room at the same time!!! Could it be we have a comedian in state house or a politician writing from the distance? Coffe time. A virtual cup for you too Mister Michael Ruwe. This could be a long day.

    • Coffeeeeeee… Too shocked at the possible revelation of Field Sata to type correctly. And um…. Don’t take me too seriously. Not good for your mental health. Hahahaha!

    • By the way. Slightly off topic but could you do something about your so called stalkers who have slipped on to this site in recent weeks like some indecipherable ad campaign? If you need help. Say the word. You may not be my choice writer but I defend your right to peaceful expression. What do you need? Cyber forensics? Virtual protection? Digital bodyguards? Online bs detectors? Name it. In reality all it takes is LT to press delete for you. Fancy getting even more power? All your critics (imaginary foes) could soon look like this:

      DELETED 🙂

  6. Well Said, and all you PF cadres, can to stick to the issue at hand instead of being defensive just like your president…….PAMA FI (PF)

  7. No matter how much you may know about President Obama and his Kenyan kith and kin, positive or negative you cannot write the way do about Obama from where you are hiding now(USA) the citadel of democracy. Neither can you write the trash you write about our President the way you do disrespectfully within the peaceful confines of Zambia. Neither can you ever speak evil freely against HH in Southern Province in the name freedom of speak they you do. You are simply uncivilized trying to incite Zambians to hate whoever has been and will ever be president. Psychologist like your Siakalima should examine the motive of your hate messages you send from the safe haven of blessed USA. I doubt if you ever intend to return to Zambia or Africa. By the way do you write for CIA,KGB,M16 for stipend?

    • No one can arrest you in America even as a foreigner for having a less than flattering opinion of Obama or any American President. Freedom of Speech is enshrined in their constitution. Ever head of the First Amendment? Dont compare the Ukwa’s banana Republic to the USA. Sata does not own Zambia. Neither does HH own Southern province. Seems PF cadres have really cornered the market for dumbness!

    • I can call OBAMA an ***** as many times as I like on public radio here in the USA. We enjoy true Democracy here. Trust me I have done it many times. Bush was a Monkey.

  8. the article is is spot on. it seems people are still in that euphoric state of the 2011 pf victory that they cant sieve between leadership and dictatorship.

  9. There is no doubt we put the wrong guy in statehouse.He lacks leadership qualities.However,it may have been his destiny to be president of Zambia this time not only because of his persistence but our archaic colonial laws and constitution.Its a lesson to future Zambian generations to be careful who they vote for and what laws they allow to govern the land.Before things get better they have to get worse.

  10. am not a UPND supporter but looking at mpongwe results and the way PF is behaving UPND will rule this country its just a matter of time

  11. U must b joking u *****s. lf he was a dictator as u want 2 cheat de world without even being conscience can u have dis freedom of expression in 0 forms of media? Ruwe ,u are an educated embacile. U lack wisdom like many africans. Can pf harmer dem.

  12. Mass Media was used effectively to sow the seeds of hatred that led to the Rwanda Genocide. I’m not sure what your aim is Mr Ruwe. it seems you want the masses to join you in what seems like a personal battle with the President of Zambia.

  13. Leave our country alone and continue kneeling down b 4 a whiteman u refuge. What have u done in you life? Sata has done alot 4 this country without any bad record as u want to lie to the world. U’ll die like a cocroach and thrown away the same way.

  14. PF AND UPND AND ZAMBIA, i swear to God everyone need to start grade 1., U have no president , u have no opposition and have dull citizens, Anyway , carry on its a gd combination, sorry .


  16. The truth hurts. You can take a kaponya from a bus stop but you will never take the kaponyaism from him.

  17. Field Ruwe its not only embarassing to the eductated with wide experience in research and critical analysis of any piece of research. If Universities in America can pass the a research student like Field Ruwe, I shudder to say Field Ruwe come to UK and your doctorate is a bacholar degree. Ruwe you are full of hate and envy.


  19. It is the writer who actually needs mental assessment.This Ruwe guy is no doubt a moron.

  20. After you are through with writing this litany of crap about President Michael Sata some third-rate institution in USA will finally grant you the phd?

  21. Is this the same Field Ruwe comedian who left Zambia more than 25 years ago?I dont know what banned substances he has subjected himself to smoking.The man can really hallucinate.Instead of dreaming he has movies for dreams in his head.

  22. Leave the President alone. Lets give him support to govern peacefully. After all its for own good. Why politics all the time?

  23. Ruwe has become a TV arm-chair critic, who is writing about things which he has got no facts but tries to hide his hatred and ignorance with sentences from old newspaper articles, which are taken out of context to just his beliefs. Sata is more tolerate to insults than most leaders and in democratic society, the minority should respect the choice of the majority and you of all the people should know this fact instead of peddling this hatred garbage. Sata is the president elect and it is a fact, so get over your bitterness over the defeat of your preferred candidate. Be on the ground and get your views from real people not biased opinions from ZWD, who fail even to report facts about a well known person like Mike Tyson!

  24. All those who think Sata is normal should take their heads to Chainama for tasting. Muntu o funta ngango monga Sata anga kusobeni bwanji, ba mambala, mufisa nji? The count down is on, any foolish erratic, uncouth or whatever fimofimo behaviour will only stir up more need to invoke Article 36. One thing Ruwe forgot to list was the embarrassing behaviour in at the SADC president’s conference in Angola where he bizzarely kept on interjecting the Tanzanian premier with shouts of “Pamberi na Njongwe”. I nearly died with shame that day in Luanda!

  25. I beg to differ with the so called psychologists assessment. simple symptoms of a person going bananas is the incoherence in speech and action. there is usually no corelation in the person’s story and the prevailing situation later alone their body posture. coming to the issue at hand the president is a frank talker. He does not sugar coat wrong issues he says as he sees it. of course we expect him to rebuke his officials in the background but that is not his style. so you assessing his lunas by him stating wrongs openly is unfair. Am not a PF cadre and would not defend mediocrity psychologists. please there is more you can do as an opposition party. for example the Zambia sugar alleged tax evasion should have come from you up and down politicians.

  26. Mr Ruwe, in yo last article u claimed 2 have known king cobra very well.I’ve come 2 conclude that yo claims are false .Bcz the little i’ve known abt the cobra is that the man does’nt change.The only change he has exhibited of late is that he is not talkative has he was b4 he bcm presido.And one thing that has not changed abt him is that, he does not mean what he say sometimes.simply put the cobra is inconsitency on some issues. To claim that the cobra nids a shrink is an insult 2 the pipo that voted 4 him.

  27. Dear Mr. Ruwe, As a seasoned and experienced journalist, don’t you agree that these series have run their course? It must be tempting to be carried away with popularity of an idea……just iike the politicians get carried away. I hope you see this little advice.

  28. What do we call this elephant in our living room (state house) after calling his fellow former and late presidents all sorts of names?. Holding a cabbage in his hands before a crowd Sata told them “This is your cabbage” the crowd ‘chanted’ refering to late president Mwanwasa and demanded for a medical examination to prove his fitness. What should we call Sata today?

  29. Kadansa used to attract a lot of people at the post office on Cairo Road during lunch hour because what he used to say struck a common chord with most people. One of the things he said about KK has remained entrenched in my mind. He said that the UK govt left KK 2 billion pounds at independence which he misused. This was at a time when there was no freedom of speech. The foreign press was not spared either. KK ensured that articles critical of him in foreign newspapers were swept off the streets. I find the comparison therefore incompatible. The things Kadansa used to say were factually correct. He was accused of being mad because he dared to say them when a sane person like Ruwe who could only resort to comedy would have realized the consequences of saying things critical of KK.

    • Now Field Ruwe has found courage to say all manner of things in the comfort of his rocking chair in America. Come home and criticize here. We shall then be convinced of the genuineness of your criticism.

    • That’s a description of the living symbol of free expression I recognise and not the author’s selective historical amnesia. Kadansa deserved a statue in his honour not a cynical headline in the hunt for a new insult.

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