By Mapanza H Nkwilimba
Disheartening political narrative in our country, Zambia seems to have taken a center stage. For some time, I have seen and viewed video clips attributed to Tutwa Ngulube’s and other Patriotic Front (PF) leaders’ divisive and dangerous utterances. Two examples: I saw and listened to a video where Tutwa is seen advocating for police brutality when he directed the police to break bones of citizens opposed to the views of the PF. The most recent video shows Tutwa threatening members of the PF in Kabwe with death by “panga”. Speaking in ichibemba, Tutwa is clearly heard telling PF members “destroying” the party from within that they would be followed into their homes, beaten up, and handed over to the police.
Tutwa is a lawyer. He is not only member of Parliament for Kabwe Central but also deputy chief whip for the PF. Such an educated young man cannot be a mere useful idiot. Useful idiots are persons perceived to be propagandists for a cause whose goals they do not understand. They are cynically used by the leaders of the cause.
Tutwa comes out as one of the architects of a mission to destroy democracy in Zambia. He is on a mission not only to instill fear in the minds of citizens but also to have them brutalized, maimed, or even killed so that citizens do not exercise their freedoms of assembly, association and expression. He could be a key cog in the path of destruction. The confidence with which he enthuses what could be his useful idiots leaves his fellow leaders in the PF exposed for what they are; little women and men scared of their own shadows.
I am usually hesitant to write on political happenings in Zambia. However, the current trajectory of Zambia’s political landscape calls for many voices of reason. I think that my voice must be heard. Young men and women in Tutwa’s age group must be reminded of where Zambia has come from. I say “reminded” because I am sure they know. When I decided to reject lucrative job offers by international organizations in 1991 in order to play a role in developing a culture of democracy in Zambia Tutwa was only 12 years old. The other young politicians like Bowman Lusambo, Stephen Kampyongo, and Dora Siliiya were 14, 19, and 21 years old, respectively. These represent the young people whose future leadership we fought for. We desired visionary, selfless, and entrepreneurial leadership out of our youth. I am disappointed today to be witnessing greedy, selfish, visionless, divisive, and dangerous leadership from our young men and women.
In the early 90’s we were fed up and tired of voting between animals and Dr. Kenneth Kaunda. In one election Dr. Kaunda “competed” with a hyena. In another he “competed” with a frog. Obviously, our supreme leader garnered more than 80 percent of the votes. Out of frustration I offered my votes to the animals in the middle of threats that the authorities would know how I voted and would be dealt with. The Zambian people wanted change of government and a return to multiparty democracy. Brutality, divisiveness, intolerance to divergent views were some of the vices Zambians fought against. After 29 years we seem to have gone a full circle. This is not good for unity and development of Zambia.
My advise to young people like Tutwa Ngulube is that they should not be misguided by narrow selfish interests. They must learn from history. We expect much more from the young generation in leading our country in unit of purpose within the culture of plural politics. Threatening citizens with brutality with impunity is shooting yourselves in the foot. It will take you nowhere. The people of Zambia will rise again, and fight for their freedom.
My advise to Zambians is that we must not relent from doing what is right regardless of dictatorial tendencies in our leaders. Citizens have the right to freedom of assembly and association. The Tutwas of this world must not be allowed to brutalize or kill us. You (including the Police) must refuse to be useful idiots in the hands of selfish politicians.