Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Leadership Problem is beyond “The Abridged Speech”

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L-R: Northen province minister Gerry Chanda, Northern province permanent secretary Hlobotha Nkunika, Chief Munkonge, Finance minister Alexander Chikwanda and President Sata at State House after a closed door meeting with Chiefs from Muchinga Province -Picture by THOMAS NSAMA
File:L-R: Northen province minister Gerry Chanda, Northern province permanent secretary Hlobotha Nkunika, Chief Munkonge, Finance minister Alexander Chikwanda and President Sata at State House after a closed door meeting with Chiefs from Muchinga Province -Picture by THOMAS NSAMA

By Economic.Governance

I refer to Mr. Alexander Chikwanda’s article of 7 January 2018 entitled, “A compelling need to put Zambia politics and the economy into context” which highlighted many important issues of both politics and economy, some of which make a lot of sense, and others compellingly questionable. His point, “We should prevail on law enforcement agencies not to deny the opposition their legitimate rights of assembly on all kinds of flimsy grounds” implies respect for, and practicing inclusiveness is an extremely important one. Yet, by his highly complicated and tumid article, which excludes many of the Zambian readership, he not only exhibits hypocrisy and showboating but puts himself at risk of his important messages not being heard by many. You cannot jubilantly preach cohesion, a central matter to the country due to the many unethical acts taking place, and I largely agree with you, but with little end-product because you decide to invest in use of big words. Use of big words play an important role in certain cases, but for the majority of Zambian readership of this newspaper, they will find not value placed on the meaning of bombastic words.

But my substantive point is that I am extremely worried (and I doubt if I am alone) about the Zambian leadership in many ways and, it reminds me of the wise words of Christ, “Do not cry for me. Cry for yourselves and for your children.”

First, on several occasions, Mr. Chikwanda acted as President of the country when Mr. Sata was out of the country, and I would have thought that perhaps he was the closest although things may have changed at a later stage. But the fact that he acted and was a strong contender to even takeover from Mr. Sata cannot simply be dismissed as “a culture of blending slogans, myths and aspirations,” to use his own words. I m worried that when former leaders like him speak as if they did not effectively make national decisions with Mr. Sata on politics and the economy, that he was the money man, the man who made decisions and not only announced the budget but implemented it, it makes me wonder what leadership in Zambia is all about. He has been at the helm and apex of Zambia’s leadership in his entire political life, from President Kaunda to Chiluba and Sata. Then he leaves and bemoans and even blames others, it surely makes me wonder what leadership is all about.

Kaunda’s political leadership had its unique governance traits including bad ones. He too did not respect rights of other political parties or dissent and Mr. Chikwanda should not pretend that it was any different from today. But it can also largely be credited with high ethics or prudence management or “phronesis”, as Aristotle called it. This is a very important virtue of leadership. One stain that no Zambian has ever found on Kaunda’s white handkerchief was corruption. Surely, as Zambians grieve over the eve rising culture of corruption, some of us remember and wish Kaunda’s extraordinary trait had lived longer. But Kaunda’s leadership can also be remembered by its sharpness and decisiveness.

My uncle heard only from a car radio that he had been fired for abusing Government petrol on his official car. Another man was relived of his duties as head of ZIMCO for employing his relatives. Ambassadors were fired for not working hard. Kaunda never tolerated his ministers who were abusing their wives or not feeding their families well. And Mr. Chikwanda was an integral part of this wonderful leadership. Why he did not replicate it into successive leaderships is something I will never understand. Instead, he picks on the blame game.

Second, I am worried that the same bad things that Mr. Chikwanda saya against those who were closest with Mr. Sata seem to be the same things others think about him and they are ready to testify. In other words, preacher men and women should not only ensure they practice what they preach but must worry about the log in their own eye. Although the Zambian people may never ever have an opportunity to hear what all this potential mudslinging between people of the same party, they will guess it looks dirty. After saying, “Let us change the politics of our country from mudslinging to issues and addressing the efficacy of systems,” it seems like other people have some important message for Mr. Chikwanda and his hypocrisy. As a devout Christian, Mr. Chikwanda will remember what our Lord warned against when He said, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Third, and more importantly, and this refers to Mr. Chellah, former press secretary for Mr. Sata, and to other leaders. For me, the issue is not the abridged speech. If a President is as sick as we all know Mr. Sata was, it is not the size of the speech that matters. If Zambians had been adequately briefed about their President’s sickness, they are likely to understand the hiccups in the flow of the speech when he speaks. But when they are presented with a long veil or mask between them and their leader, by deceitful, unscrupulous, pitiless, remorseless, dishonest and selfish people who prefer to hide reality for “slogans, myths and aspirations” as Mr. Chikwanda says (if he was not part of it), why should Zambians today believe Mr. Chellah’s honest-sounding yet untruth stories? The first thing is to accept and not cover ourselves in denial that deceit, lies and selfishness are a cancer we have developed and is slowly but surely taking us into the spiral abyss where the devil lives. You pretended and disgustfully showed that everything was ok with the President, and even forced him to smile publicly when he should have been resting. He did not force his way to smile and speak as if everything was alright, did he?

You, who preferred to be closer to him than the Zambians that he stood for, you who erected a piece of dark and opaque material between he and Zambians, and only invested in the smiling mask, hiding the dark reality behind are the ones that history will judge harshly. Mr. Chikwanda may have his own weaknesses in both his article and as a person who was closer to Mr. Sata. But we cannot deny that he brings perhaps one of the most two important problems that this country and leadership must address sooner rather than later. This is the problem of unveiling the dark mask that is embedded in almost every leader, children and households in Zambia. Zambians are no longer real. Again, to use Aristotle’s ideas, leaders no longer have the rational part of the soul. Instead, it is emotions, desires, and impulses and moral virtues that we see.

Finally, you, the elite, the few privileged ones who are always closer to our leaders, constantly repelling us, and consigning us to the farthest point away from them, so that only you, the “clever and wise” ones must speak with and advise them, please keep it up, for one day, as has been before, “The Emperor’s’ new clothes” will come to pass. But, if we don’t change our ways, our cheating ways, our smiling ways when behind the mask the reality is different, this country is headed for disaster.

25 COMMENTS

    • The Problem is Jonathan period. His thieving has now reached dangerous proportions to the extent that Zambian are dying of cholera. Like I said before the National disaster are Lungu and Cholera. Zambia will be wiped out as we know it!

  1. Chikwanda is a worst hypocrite in our modern day politics. Sata even threatened to fire him and set the ACC on his own uncle due to corruption with FQM. This moron is a snake who harbored a lot of resentment against Sata for castigating him after removing taxes on our copper so that FQM could be hauling soil with little taxes. Need we say that he knows what happened to his nephew and now he has sleepless nights?Political and economic jargon with use of bombastic lingual will not make us forget the political and economical quagmire that he has put this country into.The ballooning debt is as a result of having such unpatriotic leaders who only thinks about their pockets. Meanwhile enjoy your loot but the time of reckoning is near.

  2. Unfortunately you cannot change even a single thing. By the way big words or bombastics is the Zambian way of showing how highly educated one is.

  3. You can’t compare KK ‘s times to today’s. KK had full control of his party and country. There were very few enlightened Zambians at the time. People believed that he had paranormal powers such that he knew exactly what your thoughts were (from my own mother a Unip stewart). The population was small and manageable will plenty of money and jobs available. But time caught up with him as the population grew, jobs and money started to run out. Today politics are very liberated resulting in a dog eat dog situation. Everything wants to be president. If he can’t make it in his own party, he’ll quit say a few things about corruption and form his own party.

    • @Abena Ng’umbo…You’re wrong, I am not campaigning for anyone all I am saying truthfully is that the time Dr Kaunda was president to today. It’s only a newly born baby doesn’t the sort leverage Kaunda had at the beginning. Maybe you’re vexed on my alluding to resignations and formation of parties by the designees…probably young Harry Kalaba. No he’s not the first…Mr Mazoka formed Upnd after Mr Sata blocked him from standing as MMD chairman for Bauleni in case you were too young when this happened. I speak from experience not what you read in books.

  4. @Ndanje khakis
    Ba wesu you are a very angry person. I just hope you are not partaking in the PF corruption.
    Don’t refer to people who are created in the image of God as “Everything wants”.
    If you were here to campaign for PF you are walking away with zero. This kind of arrogance in the wake of corruption is what we detest.

    • …so anyone who agrees with the current govt. is partaking in corruption??? I would really be happy if you could point to a single conviction, not speculation, from the “corruption” you alwayas talk about. Please include Kambwili’s as well…

    • By the way @Abena gumbo, I’ve worked in the mines and not in politics for me to partake in your so called corruption. The Kalaba you’re backing was until his resignation labelled as one of corruption elements in government( not my words). Last time you alleged that the demonstration was sponsored which to me means you’re campaigning for Kalaba yet you accuse me of campaigning for PF when I am not even a member of that party. Why should I be angry when I don’t get paid by PF?

  5. Whilst I agree with the author’s argument in his headline, I am dissatisfied with his article as he has wasted a lot of time lamenting about how Mr. Chikwanda as former leader failed to live up to his role but has not gone deeper to point out the real problems that exist at leadership level.

    I think there are bigger problems with more significance on peoples’ lives than the swapping of a presidential speech. It is more important to understand why, for instance, after so many years of independence, certain things in the country still do not work out as they should. The focus should not always be on individuals in a party or the government alone. We are all in the game together.

  6. Please LET the Con court HEAR THE PETITION (who won in 2016), this is the time to iron out everything during CHOLERA times, because at BY election Southerners will vote enmass again as no cholera in that beautiful part of ZAMBIA

  7. By the way I don’t remember anyone being prosecuted for being being mentioned in the Auditor’s Report for misappropriation,misapplication etc even during Mr Mwanawasas time. Why is this so? Are these cases so complicated that there’s nothing you can do?

  8. ANYOKO U R A BIG FOOOL, WHICH PETITION? STOP BEING DUMB MAN, ZAMBIA DOESN’T HAVE ANY PETITION IN ITS COURT AS PER OUR VALID CONSTITUTION.
    BUPUBA IS A SERIOUS DISEASE MWEH

  9. During the era of UNIP, it took President Kaunda to stop Mr Alexander Chikwanda from posting, in National Newspapers, plagiarized articles about North Korea.

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