“KUKENA MUTU MWAMBA” A POLITICAL CAREER THAT REVOLVES AROUND AVARICE AND THE AXIS OF REGIONAL CLEAVAGE: HOW HICHILEMA’S GREED BETRAYED GBM
By Wilfred Sameta
“Kukena mutu mwamba” is another curt but profound Silozi saying. It literally means “To enter somebody’s stomach” as it also infers stinging a person and giving them a very small portion of what is being shared.
The phrase is by a person when complaining a small share they are being given, ostensibly by a greedy person.
It could be said Bo HH’s betrayal of GBM and the UPND leader’s greedy desire to feed off GBM’s hard work in Northern Province at the expense of GBM himself as something that elicits the saying “Kukena mutu mwamba”. (No pun intended, it’s got nothing to do with the GBM’s surname!)
Nevertheless, it is important to note using and abusing others seems to be a constant theme of Hakainde’s corporate and political life. Most of his engagements in this regard have been plagued with varying shades and hues of regionalism, nepotism and tribalism.
A POLITICAL CAREER BIRTHED IN A LABOUR WARD OF TRIBALISM
However it would be unfair to Bo HH to suggest that UPND only became tribal when he took over; far from it. HH only benefited from it and upgraded it.
Tribalism was entrenched in UPND foundation right from its inception in 1998, right through its early years, even though its founder tried to give it a cosmetic national appeal. The reality is that even during Mazoka’s time UPND was steeped to its core in permanent tribal ink.
In his book “Institutions and Ethnic Politics in Africa” Daniel N. Posner documented UPND tribal prejudices as he captured what transpired in the Mbabala Constituency by-election of February 2000:
“The UPND candidate Emmanuel Hachipuka faced two other Tonga candidates. The fact that they were all Tonga both by tribe and language did not stop Hachipuka from implying that he was the only “real” Tonga in the race.
“Tonganess” he suggested, derived not from a candidates own background but from a candidate’s party affiliation: he reckoned that since he was the only candidate running on the ticket of a Tonga party, he was the only true Tonga candidate”.
Hachipuka did this with the approval of the UPND hierarchy and this is only one of the many examples of the blatant tribalism that has been interwoven into the fabric of UPND from the very beginning.
From the inception of Mazoka’s party, there was an unfair and absurd expectation by its leaders for all Southerners to automatically rally behind the party because it was an organisation led by a tribes mate rather than “outsiders”.
That is why Vernon Mwaanga was beaten and brutalised by UPND cadres at Mazoka’s funeral home in 2006, when as Chief Government Spokesperson for the then ruling MMD Government he went to deliver a special message from Levy Mwanawasa who was at the time Head of State. Mwaanga though a Southerner belonged to another political party and was thus considered a “traitor” by UPND and Hichilema who was waiting in the wings to usurp UPND leadership from Bo Sakwiba Sikota the non-Tonga Vice President of UPND, “an outsider” from Western Province.
UPND with “heir apparent” HH were brutally swift in “dealing with” Southerners they considered were not “Real Tonga”. Even before the UPND founder’s body was interred, the first act of political violence of UPND with Hichilema in the wings was the battering and bruising of a Senior Tribesman and Presidential Emissary, simply for not being a “real” Tonga. Bo HH has never publicly apologised for this well publicised atrocity,
How Bo HH usurped power from Mazoka’s Vice President Bo Sakwiba after the demise of the UPND founding father in a tribally inspired putsch, is well documented and I will not belabour it.
However it is worth noting that was another classic case of “Kukena Mwamba”. Mr Sakwiba Sikota was denied his rightful share to take over from Mazoka, in line with the hierarchy of the time. HH was not a visible UPND member and he was nowhere in the UPND structures or the hierarchy.
Although Bo HH was a Business mentee and associate of Mr Mazoka, he was never a UPND card carrying member until it was convenient to do so towards Mazoka’s death when it was visibly evident his that health was failing.
HH only came to the fore after the demise of Mazoka. This was in order to fulfil the “Quota Doctrine” that Only Tonga could lead UPND as notoriously promulgated in 2006 by party stalwarts Ackson Sejani and Madyenkuku.
The fact that this particular Tonga wa relatively young and exceptionally wealthy was an added plus. His political inexperience did not matter; He was Tonga– that was all that mattered to hard core UPND tribalists.
It is this theme of “Real Tonganess” that has continued to stain UPND internal and national politics today.
Bo HH despises fellow tribes mates who support other political parties.
The UPND under his leadership would rather see Southern Province and other areas under UPND influence starve and suffer underdevelopment; rather than see UPND officials work with the government of the day to ameliorate povertt and enhance development. The likes of Greyford Mbulu and others from UPND who were appointed to serve in a ruling party government were victimised and disparaged.
If Bo HH can savagely turn against his own tribes mates for “not being Tonga enough”, what hope is there for “outsiders” like Bo Sakwiba, GBM, Canicius Banda etc.?
As far as HH is concerned, his latest show of gluttony for power through his sacrifice of GBM is just collateral damage like the way it was with Sakwiba Sikota, Tiens Kahenya, Major Chizyuka, Canicius Banda et al.
Pride Arrogance and have blinded him. He is definitely not in the mould of Mazoka.
Mazoka stood as a party treasurer at Ward level in Bauleni under MMD even though the results were nullified.
Mazoka was greater than Hichilema but he humbled himself to “sink” to Ward level. Would HH be humble enough to subject himself to elections in the structures or even at an elective convention? Definitely not! He has a sense of “entitlement” and that has been his undoing.
He has even doctored article 70 of the UPND constitution, and has consequently conferred upon himself “an indefinite tenure”.
You cannot lead effectively without the experience of having followed effectively; Unlike GBM, HH has never been elected, so how can he lead others into an election?
Bo HH is nothing more than a glorified power glutton and an elaborately adorned opportunist. Hakainde’s opportunistic tendencies are sharper than the goal poaching instincts of any professional footballer including Paolo Rossi that great Italian Goal Poacher of the Italia 1990 World cup or the great German Gerd Mueller the master opportunistic goal poacher of the 1974 World Cup.
On the other hand it may not be appropriate to mention these footballing legends in the same breath as Bo HH, because while these great soccer players were team players, Hakainde is not a team player; he wants the ball to himself all the time.
HH leads UPND and bleeds UPND by fear and intimidation. Various Insiders have in fact sworn that he frequently changes resolutions of minutes of meetings with his change of moods as he often reportedly says “that’s what I said but that’s not what I meant-ive changed my mind now…”
You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too. Leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned by following first.
Bo HH’s pride arises out of a sense of entitlement he has arising out of the fact that he has never followed. Inexperienced followers make terrible leaders.
Like some people have observed, it is sad that Bo HH hasn’t been man enough to face GBM and look him in the eye to dialogue. Bo HH through his cohorts and surrogates has tried to pin the blame on GBM.
Jean-Luc Schneider Chief Apostle of New Apostolic Church once observed:
“It does not make sense to put the blame on the neighbour in the hope of diminishing our own debt. The point is not the size of my debt. What counts are my remorse and my longing for grace? It depends on my repentance”.
Bo HH should take heed and introspect.
As we’ve just come out of commemorating Holy Week we are reminded that our Lord Jesus the Christ was humble when he walked this earth. He had all power, yet used all Humility and Meekness.
HH thinks he has all power; yet he has no Humility and Meekness.
All he knows is to live by avarice and the ways of “Ku kena Mwamba”.