By Linda Kasonde

Wakanda is a fictional East African paradise made famous by the 2018 blockbuster film ‘Black Panther’. It is a well-developed, high-tech, highly functional country inhabited by warriors who possess mystical powers through a special substance only found in Wakanda called vibranium. Wakanda is a powerful and well-governed country. It is a proud nation which has its own official African language. As a result, it has garnered the respect of countries far outside of its borders.

Back on the real African continent, one struggles to find a country that matches the description of Wakanda in all respects. If anything, there is a growing instability around the continent that is unsettling. What we see is the spread of populism and authoritarianism and what appears to be contempt for democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Unfortunately, the East African nation of Tanzania, a country which like Wakanda has a proud political, cultural and linguistic heritage, typifies this.

Like Zambia, neighbouring Tanzania has long been seen to be a peaceful and stable nation. It has a proud history of having liberated many other nations on the African continent under the great “Mwalimu”, Julius Nyerere. Just as in Zambia, this narrative is under threat. The current government of President John Magufuli, once hailed as the “bulldozer” for his apparent efficiency in dealing with corruption, is fast becoming a dictatorship where fear reigns. It is becoming an inhospitable environment for those who wish to speak truth to power. A recent example of the changing character of Tanzania’s democracy is the victimisation of the Tanzanian organisation ‘Twaweza’ whose name means ‘we can make it happen’ in Swahili. Twaweza did the unthinkable by publishing the results of a local poll on 5th July 2018 showing that President Magufuli’s popularity was falling. Twaweza’s Executive Director, Aidan Eyakuze, has subsequently had his nationality questioned and his passport confiscated. Twaweza recently joined a coalition of civil society groups to campaign against the enactment of a Political Parties Bill which will have the effect of giving the Registrar of Political Parties sweeping discretionary powers to control political parties’ activities and statements with little or no recourse. Such legislation might lead the country once more down the path of a one party “democracy”. There is trouble in “Wakanda”.

Even more worrying are reports by opposition leader and former Law Society of Tanganyika President, Tundu Lissu, of enforced disappearances and unexplained killings. Lissu himself survived an attack in which unknown assailants shot at his vehicle 38 times hitting his body 16 times. At the time of the attack, Lissu was facing several criminal charges which he says are politically motivated. The office of the lawyers defending him was also mysteriously bombed. Lissu is alive but has had to endure several corrective surgeries.

Zambia is surrounded by eight neighbours including Botswana, Congo DRC, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. It is fair to say that Zambia, experiencing an apparent wave of populism, corruption and impunity, fits into its neighbourhood quite nicely – albeit as the smiley, friendly, neighbour. Looking around this neighbourhood, there are no credible champions of democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law. So, when the citizens of any of the countries are under siege by their governments, there is nowhere to turn. Regional bodies made up of the Continent’s political leaders appear to be toothless and are plagued by cronyism. We citizens have no choice but to save ourselves. That is what makes the work of Twaweza so admirable; it is made up of citizens standing up for their country. We must all do our part to make sure that our countries are places that we want to live in: peaceful, democratic, prosperous and liberating. “Twaweza”, we can make it happen.

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27 COMMENTS

  1. Wakanda certainly isn’t Tanzania and that high tech city isn’t our dirty Lusaka either.Having said that, Magufuli is surely becoming a dictator.

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    • We used to read comics about Wakanda way way back…
      1. Its me Nostra who started calling Zambia as Wakanda.
      2. Wakanda is not based on Tanzania.
      3. Tanzanians don’t like Mangufuli, he is slow, no charisma.
      4. Your article could have been good if only focused on Zambia, the GREAT country, than start comparing amatoole of men.
      Therefore Linda this this you opened your legs in direction of me, amaaso ya nkashi tayemya mutima.

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  2. Tanzania has been ruled by the Chama Chama Pinduzi party since independence. The Rwandans in a referendum voted overwhelmingly to have Paul Kagame run for an extended presidency and rejected democracy as a foreign concept. These western backed CSOs are being seen as breaching the African values of respect as they seek to ridicule African leaders and mash them on foreign foras. Now all supporters of Magufuli are surprised at his iron hand while they freely insult the PF and ECL here and nothing happens. DEMOCRACY IS WORKING IN ZAMBIA!!

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    • Wakanda sh#t are you talking about? A lawyer who does not the definition of TREASON, ba Zambian citizen wakanda nonsense are you yapping about?

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    • Ba kolwe. Magufuli or Kagame would have finished you 1.d.i.ot.s. Kuno Lungu amileka fye mule pelauka no kunya ama sushi.

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    • This is the reason you are pf , you can’t have a one on one intelligent chat, you have already resorted to insults next thing you will clenching you fists for unsolicited physical fight.

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    • What intelligent chat can anyone have with you people who believe lies and fake news like its the gospel truth?? Linda has put it clearly above people are being killed for writing about Magufuli. Do such things happen in Zambia?? Zambia is a functional democracy that allows even skunks like you to unleash your foul stench whenever you feel like it. If one tonga twit had caused a “traffic offence” against Magufuli or Kagame like he did Lungu in Mongu-he would be a dead tonga twit!!!!!!

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    • It’s amazing how (parochial) narrow-minded we can be when we become highly partisan. How can you insist on being praised for not doing the wrong thing (Killing your critics through extra-judicial means)? A simple analogy would be “Demanding to be praised for not unjustifiably beating your children, while failing to provide for their basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing even when you are able to!” That’s a totally unreasonable expectation, bordering on insane impunity of the worst kind! This is the level of impunity brought about by arrogance of the worst kind, when Might is assumed to be right when your are in control of all instruments of power, and the forces that back your control (Police, Army, Internal Security Intelligence, etc.).

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    • The democracy you are condemning is the only way an inept character like Edgar even had a chance to become president of this country ….only from that sense can I agree with you that democracy is indeed flawed.

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    • @ Zambian citizen , just eat while you can, nothing lasts forever on wakanda continent. You don’t need to go xenophobic over this little conversation.

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  3. Is this the same former LAZ president and UPND member trying to raise her compromised head above lake Tanganyika. I would advise her to stick to local politics and don’t go chasing water fall just listen to the rivers and the lakes that you are used to. This is beyond you

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  4. Linda Kasonde? Who is that? You mean that LAZ reject? Totally lost outside LAZ and seeking the limelight, sorry we have no time for trib.als, get lost!

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  5. Why are senior lawyers quiet about topical national issues? Luduig Sondashi, Patrick Mvunga, Bonaventure Mutale, Julius Sakala, Eric Silwamba, John Sangwa, Chifumu Banda, etc. We have enough issues here, we don’t need to go to other countries. KK already wasted enough time trying to solve foreign problems, give us a break!

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  6. @ Zambian Citizen. Yes, Paul Kagame is dictator loathed in Rwanda and internationally. However, he has scored a level of development in Rwanda unmatched in Zambia. John Magufuli has exhibited a rare brand of leadership and governance hailed by all progressive thinkers – only corrupt people hate him. The current most popular African scholar Professor Patrice Lumumba says, “We need Magulification of Africa. Professor Lumumba was barred by Zambian government to deliver a lecture en route from South Africa where he did one.
    President Edigar Lungu of Zambia comes no where near to the two good qualities of governance. Lungu is known as a most corrupt Zambian leader the nation has ever experienced. Recent international corruption index has confirmed Lungu’s failed leadership.

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    • Magufuli and Kagame have done what their countroes needs. ECL has delivered the amended constitution 2016 his predecessors failed to do in 50 years. ECL is the first president in our history to run a govt. without deputy ministers. He is the first president who can’t hand pick Judges or fire them. It is under ECL that Zambia has abolished VAT refunds for mines and stood up to them. Where Mwamawasa tried to personalize the anti-corruption system, ECL-with the amended constitution setting up the independence of the judiciary-is focused on institutionalisimg it-it is under ECL that the FIC act was passed and an institution created.

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    • @Zambian Citizen. Isn’t it ECL who appointed the concourt judges who were his course mates even though none of them constitutionally qualifies? ECL didn’t deliver a people’s driven constitution, but a political driven one. Mwanawasa could have done that if only Sata had stood out of his way.

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    • @Dokowe:Listen to yourself, bubblehead!! Judicial Services Committee picks judges, Parliament ratifies, President appoints. What is “constitutionally qualifies”?? The judiciary approved of the same judges. This constitution is a result of the Mungomba Commission started by FTJ, Mwanawasa picked up from there and set up the CRC to finalise the work of the Mungomba Commission but fell short when it was rejected in parliament by upnd amd PF for omitting clauses like 50+1. Then Sata polished it with the Technical Committee but Kabimba as Justice Minister took advantage of his illness and blocked its release. ECL as Justice Minister took only 3 months to release it. Read the history of our country not filling your small brain with cow dumg from watchdog and upnd!!

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    • @Zambian Citizen. Judges are appointed by the President under Article 140 of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) 2016.

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    • Zambian Citizen…are you Lungu’s propaganda machine? Are you one of his minions? Stop the lies please. Can you explain how Lungu increased his assets from K3 million in 2015 to K23 million a year later? Currently, Lungu is, perhaps, the richest Zambian who has no formal business, except flying around in his jet using taxpayers’ money. How has he become so wealthy in just a few years? If he loses in 2021, we’ll have to audit him. If he can’t account for his sudden increase in wealth, he’ll forfeit it to the State, and prison time follows. We’ll send Lungu and his corrupt gang to prison for a hundred years.

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  7. It’s amazing that some folks here have failed to see Linda Kasonde’s point. And I’m not surprised; please blame the dead educational system we have maintained in Zambia. YOU FOLKS what Kasonde is saying in short is that African citizens are under siege from strongman politicians are riding roughshod. If you got screwed in one country you can’t run to the next for refugee (ask Tendai Biti of Zimbabwe and Mmusi Maimane and how they were bundled out’a here) because all the bleeders (called leaders) who rule (sorry misrule) us are hailed by sycophants as liberators, “humble leaders” and their “Excellencies” when in fact they are hemorrhaging their citizens to death with suffocating mental and physical brutality. Does that help?

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  8. One really wonders what’s difficult for Africans to govern themselves in a civilised manner. The levels of greedy are just so extraordinary in Africa.

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  9. The author confuses the reader with too many points: Wakanda, Twaweza, Magufuli dictatorship in Tanzania and the problem of refugees around Zambia. These are all major topics that require individual attention but have all been compressed into one article diluting the essence of the whole article.

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