Dr. Henry Kanyanta Sosala
Many people who have been reading my articles in The Post newspaper since 2009 and subsequently in the Daily Nation have been advising me to stop submitting my articles to Lusaka Times because of insults from the so-called bloggers. This is I suppose means that a generation has been raised untutored in what was once called, ‘’practical wisdom,’’ which guided previous generations. And here was the preamble to one of my articles:
I have been prompted to write this article on Zambia’s political and economic history because of the following extract which a young ‘’blogger’’ had posted in Watchdog on 12th August 2014:
‘’I was surprised to find out that Zambia my country is topping the list of the poorest countries in Africa, whilst Seychelles is topping the richest countries in Africa with Botswana trailing behind. I cried the whole night and asked myself: where did we go wrong?’’
Anver Versi, the editor of ‘’New African’’ magazine wrote:
‘’One of the favourite conference topics over the past few years has been Africa’s ‘youth bulge. We are told that by 2030, Africa will have the largest youth workforce in the world. If projections go as expected, the question is what can we do with the knowledge of this fact? The optimists see this as a boon i.e., the so-called ‘youth dividend’; while the pessimists point out that a huge population of energetic young people, with frustrated dreams, may lead to social chaos unless they can be gainfully employed. Again, most people seem to accept this premise; so the issue now is, how can we set into motion measures that will ensure that this youthful energy will be harnessed into productive activity i.e., in short will there be enough employment for this demographic?’’
I then went on: I think the first thing we need to note from the above is how Anver Versi has put it: ‘’What can we do with the knowledge of this fact?’’ I repeat, what he is saying is: ‘’what can we do?’’ This simply means that he is inviting we Africans in general to begin to brainstorm on this important issue and I must therefore remind the so-called Lusaka Times bloggers to concentrate on trying to help our youths by exploring the various avenues to tackle this imminent catastrophe instead of their usual habit of concentrating on unreasonably attacking my contributions, i.e, ‘’that was why President Sata de-gazzeted you……..’’ We must not agree on the answers, but we must almost try to agree on the questions. I appreciate being shown another side of an issue and this to me means thinking is a dialogic process.
And here are some of the running commentaries from Lusaka Times’ bloggers:
1 Mr. Chitimukulu, Zambia ids poor because of people like you. Can you explain why went ahead and got land in forest 27? Greed.
RESPONSE: In fact he was the first to respond to my article. Anyway my fellow tribesmen felt that I should not stay in hotels whenever I travel to Lusaka and they acquired me a plot, which is described in the title deed as ‘’a piece of land in extent of 3062 square metres more or less being Stand No. Lusak/LN_52062/8 situated in the Lusaka Province of Zambia.’’ And I only learned of ‘’forest 27’’ from an article in Sunday Times of 22nd September 2019, where it was reported that ‘’Mr. William Harrington was calling on President Lungu to set up a tribunal regarding the de-gazetting of forest 27..’’
I do not know why the blogger picked just on me since there are some people there who have even started building houses. And I cannot just see where ‘’greed’’ comes in since I only have one plot measuring 3062 square metres! But something did catch my attention. Mr. Chitimukulu! Why, since all traditional leaders are addressed as ‘’Royal Highnesses’’? I suppose he just meant to demean my status since I was in May 2019 awarded a honourary doctorate degree by an American University in Philosophy and Letters because of my contributions to literature. However, here is a miserable creature whose simple mind is totally enslaved by inferiority complex and petty jealousy. In fact, jealousy is as strong as death and as poisonous as venom. The trouble with it is that it unleashes more harm to the person harbouring it than the person targeted. Eckhart Tolle wrote: ‘’Whatever you fight, you ignite and strengthen and whatever you resist persists.’’
1.4 Mulopwe, you are right on two things. 1. Our current situation is influenced by our past. And if you look at Africa, one of the great evils was having chiefs. They exploited their people and sold them as slaves to the white slavers. So you must be ashamed to be a chief. 2. The current political parties are not the solution. Yes I agree. But PF need to go. Of all the regimes we have had in Zambia this has been the laziest, most incompetent and most corrupt. I am quite sure even a frog would do better. I will vote for ANYTHING that is not PF. But you are wrong to blame capitalism. Why? Because your analysis of capitalism is based on propaganda that dominated the days of the cold war and not on facts.
RESPONSE: 1. Instead of trying to find the answer to what the youngster had posed, the blogger went on to discuss about dead history of slave trade. And the blogger in ignorance wrote about slavery and in fact he himself is not aware that his mental slavery to which the ‘’Bantu’’ education system which teachers ‘’what to think,’’ and not ‘’how to think,’’ has confined him is even worse than physical slavery he was talking about. And you can read for yourselves about what the now freed-slaves boast about themselves: Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), the first national spokesman for the Black Americans wrote in his book Up From Slavery: ‘’….notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the millions of Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful conditions, materially, intellectually, morally and religiously, than is true of an equal number of Black people in any other portion of the globe.’’
The blogger went on,’’ So you must be ashamed to be a chief.’’ The shortfall is that to him, ‘’there is a beginning and an end, but no middle.’’ Such a hiatus is common, since it arises mainly from individuals whose enthusiasm runs faster than common-sense. Any human society of whatever level requires organization and speaking of “organization,” I refer to the pattern of observable regularities of behaviour by reference to which people are seen to order their social relationships among themselves. And this was how traditional leadership was birthed. Traditional authority refers to power that are associated with and emanate from the institution of chieftaincy. Traditional leadership is inherently political. This is born out of history, custom and practice, because before the present mode of governments in Africa, traditional kingship was the sole government.
A tribe is a political, social and economic unit. It’s like a social class in Europe in which people find their polyglot neighbours in times of distress and helpers in times of need. A tribe offered sanctuary in the old days of tribal wars. Anthropologists, notably Messrs. R. Nontagene and G. Balandier have written about these societies: “Tribes were communities so stable, apparently stagnant, mixed up, superimposed upon another by history…” (The Sociology of Black Africa p.25).
It must also be borne in mind that any tribe is not an inert and static think as most people think, but it is an organism which changes with time and devoted works of anthropologists, sociologists and historians bear witness to this fact and only megalomaniacs would dismiss any tribal political system as primitive and chaotic. And so it is not only political nationalism (which was adapted in Zambia after World War II), which has the monopoly of intellectual development, but traditional as well and I must make it abundantly clear that to underestimate political enlightenment of one is to make a dangerous and grave mistake. In fact with longer history chieftaincy retains a powerful genius loci.
I believe it is the blogger himself who should be ashamed for belonging to a visionless generation as Professor Ferdinand Akuffo wrote: ‘’…..in 1964, Dr. Kaunda and other heroes fought hard for Zambia to be independent. They had visions and it’s unfortunate that a more subtle form of colonialism is taking place. Foreigners are slowly taking control of Zambia by taking what gives Zambians power. Most of the companies, shops etc., are being run by them. All this is being done while Zambians sit down and follow blindly.’’ (The Post 24th September 2007)
I looked at the commentaries from those who have dubbed themselves as ‘’bloggers’’ in Lusaka Times of 19th July 2014 from which I picked up the following:
- Honourable Guy Scott —— I qualify to act as President, parentage clause misunderstood by many people. There were 76 comments.
- Name universities or hospitals after President Chilufya Sata by Mrs Mary Nkhoma Chibesa a PF member of Chingola. There were 30 comments.
- PF under under pressure by UPND Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Kuchunga Simusamba. There were 33 comments.
- Honourable Guy Scott —- expected to arrive in Scotland to witness the official kick-off of the 2014 Commonwealth games. There were 21 comments.
- Ministry of Education begins piloting the use of e-learning facilities in five primary schools in Lusaka. The Parliamentary committee on education conducted a tour of some of the schools that use the facilities. There was only one (1) comment.
- The low academic performance in Luapula Province attributed to poor reading culture. There were 6 comments.
- President Sata visits his son Kazimu in a South African hospital. There were 30 comments.
- From the Watchdog: Ghana and Zambia irresponsible governments wasted benefits of Jubilee 2000, after which they were cleared of foreign debts worth about US$ 14 billion.
And these two countries are heavily borrowing again. There were only 2 comments.
In fact, most of the comments were totally unintelligible. I have always cherished to submit my articles to Lusaka Times because the editors stood with me during my most trying times, but I am now becoming discouraging due to unnecessary personal attacks.
The Post observed in the editorial: ‘’Our society has very few thinkers…..when our future generations ask themselves who the greatest thinkers were at this stage of our history, what will they find? We are afraid they may come up with none. If they should see an amorphous mass of mediocrity…….’’ (ibid. 29th June 2005).