By Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba
It’s okey for one to provide a critical opinion about his own country, but it’s totally unacceptable for one to scandalise it, sow a false narrative and deliberately cause unjustified international alarm and cause untold reputation damage to it.
This is what Dr. Sishuwa Sishuwa has done in a written and paid for Op-Ed published in the Mail and Guardian newspaper (22 March 2021) of South Africa.
Sishuwa is a Lecturer in modern history, with research and teaching interests in 19th and 20th century African History at the University of Zambia.
He has “predicted” that Zambia will explode after the 12th August 2021, because of its alleged collapsing instutions, purported deep polarization, and what he claims is the prevalence of mass poverty, high intolerable levels of unemployment, extreme inequalities, restless and violent party cadres and a desperate political elite.
Sishuwa neglects to state that Zambia has tested democratic institutions, an alert and active civil society and a diligent population that is determined to maintain the development, peace and security of its country.
He has also neglected to state that Zambia has seen democratic and peaceful transfer of power in 1991, 2001, and 2011 and the holding of elections is a normal activity in its life and democratic calendar.
It should be stated that Zambia has seen the Opposition win election and remarkably and peacefully given power in 1991 and 2011. I do not need to remind Sishuwa that Zambia’s electoral system is ranked highly in Africa as shown on so many indices because it is deemed open, transparent, and credible.
Elections in Zambia are conducted in the full glare of public scrutiny, with local and international observers present. The politcal parties are allowed accredited agents and observers inside all polling and totalling centres. Most importantly, results are counted, announced and published at the polling station in the presence of party agents and elections observers.
To show that Sishuwa’s opinion is extremely unfounded and careless, I refered Zambia to the Continental Early Warning System(CEWS). The CEWS is a conflict early warning operation within the African Peace and Security architecture (APSA) of the African Union. This is a tool we use at the African Union to predict potential conflicts and threats to peace and security in Africa and its member states, and if possible recommend the best courses of action.
Zambia is not a failed State and is not about to become one as asserted in the alarming write-up and prisms of Sishuwa. Zambia has a thriving and enviable democracy. It has a fiercely independent Judiciary as seen by the many cases won against government, a thriving legislature that can even collapse heavily invested government Constitutional bills.
This can be said about other institutions of democracy in the country. The country has over 130 radio stations, over 40 independent television stations, an active civil society and clearly practices the rule of law. If this is the state, then what’s driving Sishuwa’s paid for Opinion?
After serving for four years as High Commissioner to South Africa, I can even guess who paid for that Op-Ed article in the Mail & Guardian. My appeal is that despite one’s disdain for the PF, or deep contempt for its government and its leader, we should never be driven to desperate levels deliberately designed to injure the reputation and good standing of our country.
For Zambia is above all of us, Zambia will be there beyond the ruling Patriotic Front. Why burn Zambia because one is facing a possible and inevitable electoral loss of his party or one that he or she sympathizes with? Mulefwaya uku filila munsenga?
Zambia will remain peaceful and the predictions and false narratives and prophecies about her, will never take root or come to pass.
The Author is Zambia’s ?? Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union.