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Saturday, September 25, 2021

GBM’s Involvement of Chieftains in Politics

Columns GBM’s Involvement of Chieftains in Politics


By Henry Kyambalesa

The headline “Explain PF Achievements to Your Subjects, GBM Tells Chiefs” in Lusaka Times at first sight looked like it contained a fundamental error.

My brother Geoffrey B. Mwamba is a respected and seasoned politician who would be the last person to involve chieftains in partisan politics by using them as PF surrogates, operatives or political cadres.

And how does he expect chieftains to perform such a duty, anyway? Does he expect them to hold political rallies at which they can explain PF’s so-called achievements to their “subjects”?

By the way, Zambians are not “subjects” of chieftains; they are “citizens” of the Republic of Zambia. “Subjects” are people who live in undemocratic nations like Eswatini and Saudi Arabia—people who do not have the right to question how they are governed, for example, and people who do not have the rights and freedoms exercised by citizens of democratic countries like Zambia, such as the freedom I have to openly express my political opinions, and the freedom all citizens have to actively participate in shaping the destiny of our beloved country either directly or through elected representatives.

Since independence in October 1964, there have been complaints and sentiments from some segments of Zambian society about the use of traditional leaders by ruling political parties to gain political advantage, particularly during political campaigns.

There is a need to put an end to the use of chieftains in this manner, because all political parties and their leaders should be received by each and every one of our country’s 283 chieftains as guests in a non-political atmosphere. And, in this regard, political players must refrain from designating any chiefdoms as their “strongholds.”

In 2015, I was impressed by Chief Mumena of the Kaonde people in Solwezi District, North Western Province, who received presidential candidates as guests on their way to districts beyond Solwezi District. That is exactly the kind of posture we should expect from all our country’s chieftains.

If we continue to use chieftains in political campaigns, we could be paving the way for anarchy in our 283 chiefdoms by pushing chieftains into the political arena. We could be planting the seeds of destruction for chiefdoms, the Zambian nation, and for our nascent democracy.

Specifically, chieftains are likely to abuse the absolute traditional authority they wield by imposing their political views and choices on their subjects if government officials and political leaders induce them to participate in partisan politics.

Besides, traditional leaders’ participation in partisan politics does not only have the potential to lead to tribal politics, it can actually lead to bickering and disunity in their chiefdoms.

To digress somewhat, Mr. Mwamba seems to think that the perks, vehicles, bicycles, mealie meal, and other articles of value accorded to chieftains constitute development. Unfortunately, the common people in all the 283 chieftains across the country have continued to experience extraordinary hardships due to PF’s failure to address the fundamental problems facing the country.

A critical shortage of decent public housing, for example, has compelled so many of our fellow citizens to live in shanty townships nationwide; so many of our fellow citizens have no access to electricity and clean water; education and training are not adequately catered for; and the healthcare system cannot meet the basic needs of the majority of citizens mainly due to inadequate medicines, healthcare facilities and healthcare personnel.

Moreover, public infrastructure and services are still deficient, and are mainly dependent on donor-funding; civil servants are still not adequately compensated for their services, and a lot of civil service retirees cannot get their hard-earned benefits on time; and, among many other socioeconomic ills, our country is still experiencing high levels of unemployment.

So, the astonishing poverty which the common people have continued to endure constitutes “development” in brother Mwamba’s mind—it is “Paradise,” to exaggerate a bit.

Unfortunately, Mr. Mwamba and a few other wealthy Zambians, who apparently love their country and its people dearly, live in what the late Joshua Nkomo referred to as “comfort in discomfort” in his speech at the University of Zambia, Great East Road Campus, in 1978.

By “comfort in discomfort,” Mr. Nkomo meant a situation whereby a few citizens who live in luxury in an economically beleaguered country like Zambia are disgruntled and miserable due to the pitiful conditions haunting the majority of their fellow citizens—a situation that, in his view, was confronted by some of his affluent and indigenous political opponents in Zimbabwe who were then part of his country’s oppressive regime.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Mwamba is a fat good for nothing fool! He is half Zulu, no wonder he has that kwashiorkor like stomach saturated with looted wealth. So for Kyambalesa to claim such a dunderhead is respectable, it says a lot about these janjaweeds from the Northern Caucasus.

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  2. In modern politics, tradition leaders are part of central government. You think government can be paying them for free…? If you don’t know traditional leadership is working hand in hand with the government. They even have Ministry running to chiefs affairs. No government can run it affaires without traditional leaders.

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  3. There is nothing wrong in chiefs explaining and praising govt for the projects that have happened in their areas . If a clinic has been built and serving the people from travelling long distances talk about it, If a school has been brought close to the village for children talk about it, There is nothing wrong. Its the development people have been looking for . Why keep quiet about it?

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  4. Zambia used to transport cows it was importing from mainly Botswana by rail. An audit revealed that tribesmen used to open wagons and release the animals into Southern province. Over 2 million couldn’t be accounted for. When he founded the UPND, KK accused the former GM at ZRL of having stolen 2M cows. They were not at his farm in Kabwe because they were in Southern province. The chap deceived many people that he meant well for Zambia but when he died the tribal scheme was exposed. It’s in national interest the ECL must release these reports. They’re not classified documents so it’s the duty of media houses to look for them and make people aware about the evil UPND schemes. Kambwili hasn’t done anything wrong. Alebwelelapo

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  5. Jesus said, ‘So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.”‘ (Luke 17 v 10, Bible NIV). Governments are there to serve the people and when they build schools or hospitals, they are only doing their DUTY. The PF politicians think that they do this so that they may be voted into power again. No. The question is, ‘Have they done well?’ A housemaid may be fired because on one particular day she steals a chicken from the kitchen. Should she point to the clothes she washed and the living room she swept or the nshima she cooked? Not so. That was her duty and she was paid for it. The PF politicians are thieves and that is why they are being sacked.

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  6. @8 Ayatollah. What a discombobulated mind you have got! How do the ALLEGED and unproven misdeeds of a man who died long time ago and is not here to defend himself be an issue with the UPND? I recommend that you study LOGIC so that you can learn how to put ideas together in a reasoned way. By the way, do you not know that all animals are fattened before they are slaughtered? What do you think cows from Botswana, one week on the train could have been eating on their way to Lusaka? They would have arrived at Cold Storage Board abattoirs very thin. There are no feeding fields in Lusaka!

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  7. Good one Henry. There are two news items that have been published today on Lsk times concerning two sets if chiefs that have endorsed PF and I am wondering why chiefs have to be bribed, they have no influence (at least they ought not to have any) over what happens in the voting booth.

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  8. @10 THE SAINT, The Joshua Mumpanshya Commission of Inquiry investigated 3 allegations. 1. Tribalism; 2. Rampant Corruption; 3. Widespread Theft of ZRL Property. I dealt with corruption in my first post that’s awaiting moderation or possible blockade. We can’t shy away from the truth. The UPND makes allegations of corruption and theft everyday. What would you call the loss of over 2 million cows?

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  9. Edgar China Lungu made a big mistake by inviting the obese brothers GBM and CK into the party: every Zambian knows those two are CHIEF LIARS and consequently they only bring down the chances of PF for re-election on August 12. And UPND should just let those fat guys do their thing: they only increase HH chances of winning!

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  10. I am not sure why non factors like GBM should be in the news, this is the Kambwili type where integrity does not exist. Why is this man who clearly has no influence what so ever being overated. Why is that in Zambia we praise failed politicians, look at the total failure by the PF going by the collapsed economy after inheriting a decent one from the MMD, there are still some people praising PF, un belivable

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  11. Just say GBM is being felt on the ground heavy anso.
    This article belongs to the dust bin or kumarabo.
    Who writes such inconsistent and treacherous.
    Alebwelelapo pamupando.

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  12. WELL ARTICULATED ARTICLE MWISHO BUT THE LIKES OF GBM AND CK ARE SHAMELESS WHO HAVE SOLD THEIR SOULS AFTER LOSING RELEVANCY TO OUR POLITICAL LANDSCAPE. THEY HAVE LOST IT AND FOR THEM TO BE HEARD THEY CAN SING LOUDER EVEN WHERE THERE IS NO ARE NO PEOPLE LISTENING. THESE TWO AND MANY OTHERS ARE REGRETING HAVING DITCHED THE UPND ALLIANCE. LATE MCS ONCE SAID THAT SOME PEOPLE WILL NOT SEE THAT THE ANIMAL THEY WERE SUCKING BLLOD FROM FOR THEIR SURVIVAL HAS DIED BUT WOULD RATHER STICK TO IT LIKE TICKS AND DIE TOGETHER.THEY HAVE DON’T READ BETWEEN THE LINES. THE CHIEFS HAVE BEEN PART OF GOVERNANCE SINCE BRITISH COLONIAL RULE WHICH THEY USED TO CALL INDIRECT RULE. THESE DAYS PEOPLE ARE FREE WHO CAN NOT BE INFLUENCED BY CHIEFS WHO TO VOTE FOR.

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  13. @TheSaint…in 1977, the Joshua Mumpanshya Commission was indeed appointed as you correctly point. The findings were controversial though and it 2 years for GRZ to release them

  14. The likes of GBM, CK, EZN make me think twice in voting for ECL. I really want to vote for the man, but I don’t share the political sentiments of these political wolves campaigning for him.
    Obviously, at some point should ECL win he’s gonna need to pay back, how is he gonna pay back if not through the award of various contracts to the companies these individuals own? The companies these individuals own have done zero to grow our economy other than enrich the owners whom with their Chinese friends are now saying we lack ambition.

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  15. A storm in a tea cup and an opportunity to play to the gallary. Henry, chiefs except a few, are annexed to government irrespective of the political weather. NRG gave them sufficient powers to run rural affairs irrespective of who was the Governor. So it be in future administrations.
    Argue for your party along these lines. Ad hominem argument is too crass for a man of your academic status.

  16. Ba GBM and fellow PF ‘ Ostriches’ . Please read the Electoral Code of Conduct. It does not allow Royal Highnesses to muddle in politics nor Campign. ECZ please study your Electoral Code of Ethics too.

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