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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Is KK the Role Model of a Zambian President or is it a Curse of Afroamnersia?

Columns Is KK the Role Model of a Zambian President or is it...

By Kapya Kaoma

When politicians, pastors and scholars term KK as the role model for a Zambian President, I wonder whether they are under the curse of Afroamnersia. I have grand respect for KK for his post-presidential ubuntu and humility and I join the nation in mourning this son of the Soil. But when people blindly characterize his 27 year reign as exemplary and inspirational, it explains their lack of respect for human rights, the rule of law, the cult of the big man, the politicization of the law enforcement agencies, and the employment of cadres in politics of intimidation–all these characterized the UNIP era during the KK regime. Under the curse of Afroamnersia, politicians’, pastors’, scholars’, and civic leaders’ memories are erased and Dr. Kaunda’s 27 year reign no longer exists.

The historical truth speaks for itself–KK was a deadly dictator and his death should not force us to rewrite history. We ought to mourn and honor KK with the truth–our children must know the facts about our founding President. He was not a Mother Teresa or a Nelson Mandela, but a dictator, whom we called Mankangala, and whose Party UNIP we called “mulilo, uwaikatako apya ( fire, whoever touches it burns). The violence that characterizes our politics today, the empowering of cadres, the misuse of the police, and unaccountability of the president are some of the blessings of the KK regime. We may be ashamed to say it aloud, but we should not shower false praises on our founding President, whose Party UNIP those born after the mid 1980s will never know.

The formation of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) was due to Dr. Kaunda’s dictatorial decision to outlaw opposition parties in February 1972, which was later made Constitutional in July 1973–something he personally opposed in his 1964 article entitled, “The Future of Democracy in Africa.” He justified his actions on the premise of ensuring rapid development and protecting Zambia from South African and Rhodesian forces. Many people are still repeating this fallacy without questioning. The only problem is, the South African and Rhodesian governments used exactly the same rationale to arrest and torture blacks in their territories. They feared that allowing freedom of speech against the government would destabilize their nations by allowing opposition political views that would have led to regime change in their territories. So why did we oppose them for taking political prisoners like Mandela and Biko, but turn a blind eye to KK for doing the same thing to Kapwepwe and Nkumbula?

The Post-1991 KK was a great man. This is not the arrogant Kaunda, who ruled Zambia for 27 years, but the former president who dedicated his life to serve humanity. We must make this distinction if we are to remain faithful to history. Our children need to know why we celebrated his 1991 downfall and why UNIP, the once acclaimed Party, became irrelevant in Zambian politics to this day. It is because of KK’s dictatorship–people rejected him and went for the unqualified person in Chiluba. As bad and corrupt as Chiluba was, he brought about freedom of expression and democratization that enabled Zambians to speak out against their leaders–something that was impossible during the KK years.

As a Pan-Africanist, KK was extremely heroic–something reflected in speeches during his funeral from fellow African presidents. Yet as a Zambian freedom fighter, KK forgot those who fought colonialism along with him. He used military force against his opponents and silenced opposing voices with torture and public humiliation. He was the only one who spoke, the rest were expected to listen or else face his wrath. Sadly the use of force on political opponents is something all Zambian Presidents have inherited from the KK regime. Chiluba, Mwanawasa, Banda, Sata, and now Lungu are prototypes of KK–if you worship the big man, you live. If you don’t, you rot in jail or die. If you repent, your charges are immediately dropped. If you resign, charges are brought against you–it is our founding father’s tradition.

It is saddening that we suffer from Afroamnesia whenever Presidents die. Some Zambians may owe free education, and even development to KK, but so would many South African Africans and Zimbabweans do to Botha, Smith and Mugabe. But that does not erase history–their leaderships were brutal. I understand the need to honor KK, but I am tired of lying to our children. When Mugabe died, he became an African role model. The same with Gaddafi, Magufuli, Chiluba, and our own Sata. Is it death or simply the curse of Afroamnersia that makes a African President a role model?

Kaya.

40 COMMENTS

  1. Well written.
    Kaunda mistreated his best childhood friend Kapwepwe that he died a bitter man simply for wanting to stand as president.
    To his credit Kaunda returned to childhood faith after straying to Eastern religion.
    I believe he died as a Christian.

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  2. Very true. In the last years of KK’s tenure KK had lost so much popularity that he was being insulted everywhere. People simple wanted change.

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  3. This write up is very true and people forget what happened between 1970 and 1991, its now repeating itself and are we any better, look at Zambia and Singapore both got independence at the same time, Singapore is the most modern and banking capitol in Asia and look at us , we went backwards, the only thing we have is freedom to live and travel any where in the country and vote for substandard Politian’s which was prohibited by the Rhodesian govt, and now our masters are the Chinese not the Whiteman.

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  4. I only read the first 3 paragraphs and stopped there because I realised the author is a punk. The problem with amateur political analysts is that they judge leaders based on the status quo. You need to realise that during kks rule that was a different time with very unique factors and influences..so how do you expect the same adherence to imperialistic norms like human rights during that time? Who is to say that the way hh did things was wrong? Because the whlte man tells you to follow human rights which they don’t follow by killing black men in America? The author is a upnd diasporan. A f00I

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  5. Here KZ, iam with you thank this Kapya Kaoma is punk and does not know what he is talking about , also how old he is himself , as some of us know KK from age 5 and 53 , also worked with KK at age 12 , so grew to fully appreciated KK and his leadership

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  6. KK’s 27 year reign is misunderstood because he shielded us from outside oppression. KK understood the destabilising forces very well. He did so by speaking to many great people on this earth. Imagine the conversation between him and Martin Luther King? He was way ahead of his time because of this knowledge and understanding of the real enemies. How do you question an era of struggle for freedom but completely forget the oppression of indigenous people by the same people you idolise as champions of democracy? This author has some work to do in terms of research. The UK today has the longest serving head of state and yet in Eswatini we hear of the same democratic noises. The only amnesia we should concern ourselves with is that of ignorance, naivety and deceit.

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  7. This write up is very superficial and lacking in all manner of historical analysis. For once I agree with Mr Kaiser Zulu, we grew up in the cold war era most of whose scenario is very different from today ‘s. Two or three opposing ideological forces placed high demands on most third world countries leading to the creation of inadvertent ‘dictators’

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  8. The author of this article is mad to say the least. I don’t think we need such write ups during this mourning period. Kapya you need to go to your elders for wisdom. In our culture it’s unAfrican for someone to virify the dead in this manner, worst before even someone is put to rest. Very stupid article

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  9. I held similar sentiments that KK’s 27 year reign was of mixed emotions due to the sacrifices. Zambia paid a very high price just like what we are seeing in Zimbabwe today. It’s only when you see the full picture of what the struggle was about then you began to realise how these 27 years made us better human beings. Zambians tend to settle well in other countries because we don’t carry scares of hate and torment. In fact we are so pre occupied with catching up to create the wealth we lost during the struggle. We are in danger of going back to square one if we choose to ignore lessons learned from our past. Just like in a marriage, you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone.

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  10. LUNGU LEADS IN OPINION POLL: HE’S LIKELY TO WIN BY OVER 44%, AND HH BY OVER 30%

    Lusaka ~ Sun, 4 Jul 2021

    By Brightwell Chabusha

    Political Science Association of Zambia in collaboration Faraline of the United Kingdom and Media Theory of USA have released an Opinion Poll which shows that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu will likely win the 2021 General Elections by over 44% followed by UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema with around 30% of the vote.

    The Poll attracted experts such as Prof. Richard Elson from the United Kingdom, and Dr. Masauso Chirwa of Zambia.

    The Opinion Poll was conducted in five provinces comprising Copperbelt, Luapula, Eastern, Southern, and Western provinces.

    The public polling was done to ascertain which candidate will likely win elections and was conducted by…

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  11. To the author best for you to move on. If you look at your own life, you will notice that you have made numerous mistakes, because you are human. KK was human too. It appears KK is living in your head rent free. That anger, resentment and pretence will derail and destroy you. Try and find some peace & harmony and use your energies wisely.

    You wrote a similar article not too long ago. Therefore, you seem be looking for attention & publicity. There is no manual for leadership because to be a leader you face unprecedented situations every time. KK did his best uniting, developing and defending a young independent nation from external enemies.

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  12. This is quite a bit of vacuous writing form Kapya Kaoma who seems intent to demonise the legacy of KK. He totally ingores the geo-political context of the bulk of KK;s rule but also fails to provide solid evidence of KK human rights transgressions. How many political prisoners died Zambia have during KK’s reign? How many political dissidents disappeared without a trace? One should apply relativity and context to such articles and Im surprised the LT Editor can publish this half baked and anecdotal “analysis” without insisting that it be backed up with facts. Terrible write up from Mr. Kapya Kaoma. I hope he will research his topics a little more in his next posting. And for those whose only recollection is of queing for commodities at the time, they should remember that Zambia’s…

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  13. Is it not because of KK’s kindness that we Zambians are well respected by countries all over the world? We saw for ourselves how Zambia hosted those who needed shelter from oppressors, many of us are beneficiaries of free education from primary to university. It is sad that the author of this article would want to erase history and replace it with a version of bitterness against our founding leader. Sad indeed.

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  14. The general amnesia about kk is baffling. The man was a dictator who ruled with a tight fist for 27 years under an emergency statute that gave him absolute power.
    His own childhood friend died a miserable man.
    Time truly erases

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  15. KK ruled in his time when there were a lot of cross border and continental global issues. The political and some of the economic decisions he made where suitable for that time. This is a new error with new and mostly different challenges, therefore, with different political and economic challenges. Eg, probably having to embark on construction building of new roads, bridges, power generation plants, hospital, schools, etc, wouldn’t have been very sensible. This is because the apartheid regime of South Africa and Ian Smith’s UDI government of Northern Rhodesia would have definitely with help and support from the USA and Britain, would have bombed the infrastructure.
    I haven’t read the full article. Only the title aand my comment is within the confines of the title.

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  16. Doesn’t instill confidence in the article if the author is not able to spell the major word in his title! ‘amnersia’ instead of ‘amnesia’ indeed!

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  17. I may be wrong but ba Kapya Kaoma I sense too much bitterness in you for KK. Namisula even Kaiser Zulu mbuya wandi is more analytical and factual than you. I give up on you, you just have something against KK.

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  18. Kaunda as a human being and a citizen was a kind man who eschewed evil, but Kaunda as a politician was ruthless indeed. It is not unusual for these two seemingly opposing qualities to exist in the same person. In fact ALL leaders possess these. Mandela may have bee a great statesman but he was a flop in marriage. He had an affair with Winnie while he was married to his first wife. There are great geniuses like Albert Einstein who could understand the mysteries of science but could not understand a woman, hence a failed husband. This is the nature of things. Kaunda was betrayed by his closest friends, friends who knew his parent’s background and they tried to use it against him. He led the independence struggle but once that was won, they wanted him out. KK preserved himself, just like…

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  19. This author is consistent in trying to bring up what others try to burry below the carpet. Kaunda had some good, but there is no denying he was brutal and took the country thirty years back. The only explanation why people forget that tyranny is akin to why we have consistently been bought by gifts of fitenges at every election

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  20. Ati ECL wins opinion polls where?
    Because even his tenants at state house don’t like him they want him out of state house then who will vote for him?
    Ba Lungu tapali or takuli eko Baleya full stop.

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  21. I would do to you Kaoma what KK could have done to you 20 times over.
    You Kaoma I am sure are aware of the phrase “the end justifies the means”.
    This means actions people in this case KK took were justified regardless of how he went about achieving the desired end result, the Zambian Dream.
    You must have been collateral damage. In this I mean – any death, injury, or other damage inflicted to you that was an incidental result of an activity. After FTJ and HH messed up our mines, we then understood what KK was shielding by going after you. You were weak links the whites were exploiting to jostle our mines and other valuable resources from our grip. KK did everything right under the circumstances.

  22. Before we demonise the author those of us who voted in 1991 should think back and reflect why more than 80% of us rejected KK.
    Those reasons are what we should highlight to current leaders to learn from and not repeat.

  23. “I have grand respect for KK for his post-presidential ubuntu and humility…”
    I THOUGHT , “UBUNTU” MEANS HUMANITY. IF SO WHY DOES THE SENTENCE HAVE , “…ubuntu and humanity…”?

  24. Those that remember which some people are ignoring or choose to.
    Tim pot dictator KK called us STUPID *****S and on the ballot was a FROG. In the end he ended up both, a stupid ***** n frog

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  25. A Bemba saying “Tondolo musuma” aptly applies here.
    Kapya if you listened to your parents, you would know not to say the things you are saying in your article. At least not at this time. The best you could do was wait until after KK has been put to rest.
    You may have your points, but a “taught” people knows when to say their mind. Otherwise we call you “icinkuula”. How do you think the bereaved family, who are truly mourning their father, grandfather, will feel when you speak ill of the hero.
    Apa pena naunyela ku mako. May you live a miserable life and die a miserable death.

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  26. @Patriot. Do you have to lie simply because one is dead? The family knows you lying since they were there when you insulted him and called him names. Don’t rewrite history–the truth must be said.

  27. I honestly Agree with you Ba KAPYA Kaoma ,with great respect keep on updating us about the history of our Country so that we may know the exact things which Happened.. surely ,how can we know the truth about History if the truth is buried simply because someone is dead¿?? Yes we do respect the people who are morning but that should never hide the fact. .we must learn what we have to so that no one will deceived us.. as young children (MYSELF) who are just learning through history must be tought the truth so we can learn from the mistakes our fathers did and never repeat them.. that’s why the country is really dull because we don’t know the truth about the history of our Mother Zambia and what caused alot of deaths between the other heros which is very Relevant for us.

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