By Dr C Ngoma
This is a quote from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (Act III, Scene II). Hamlet and his mother, Queen Gertrude are watching a play. In the play, the character of queen is trying very hard to convince that if her husband died she would never marry again because she loves him too much. While watching this, Hamlet asks his mother what he thinks of the play. The mother replies, ‘The lady doth protest too much, me thinks.’
We can easily misunderstand what she means because we do not use the word ‘protest’ today in the same way they did in Wm Shakespeare’s day. What she is talking about is that the character in the play is making too much effort to try to be convincing so that she is coming out as being insincere. In our day, it would be like a person who is trying too hard to convince someone saying ‘Napali a mama ku Chingwere!’ (I swear upon my dead mother buried in Chingwere cemetery!).
This is what I feel is happening in this election campaign period when it comes to the Patriotic Front message. They have gone out all guns blazing to try and convince the Zambian people that all is not so bad but hunky-dory. The pain that the Zambian people may be feeling is not real, it is a phantom pain. Let me explain what a phantom pain is. People whose limbs have been amputated can feel pain in the absent foot. It is a most extraordinary and distressing condition. Sometimes, they even feel an itch but cannot scratch because there is no limb to scratch!
The PF party politicians are telling Zambians that prices are not higher than they have ever been, they are lower if you look with prescription glasses. If the prices are higher, well, it is because they are higher everywhere else in the world. It is Covid 19 ‘stupid.’ What Zambians should be doing is to look at the roads, the fly-over bridges, the roundabouts, the all singing and all dancing ‘state-of-the art hospitals, the schools, the universities, the spanking new houses for service personnel. If bread is expensive, switch to kandolo. What about expensive toilet paper? What do you switch to?
The infrastructure is visible and not invisible. Even visiting former heads of state who had not been to Zambia for ages were impressed. The change of the urban built environment is palpable! But, why isn’t this infrastructure campaigning for them? Is there is something that is drowning the voice so that it cannot be heard? Could it be the sound of grumbling of empty stomachs? Could it be the din of screams from hospital beds where there is no medicines? Could it be the wailing of mourners burying their prematurely dead relatives?
The tired combatants that we heard in 2016 have re-oiled their rusty armour and have been re-conscripted into the Home Guard. Suddenly, the people who were ready to jump on throats and even go to prison for saying what they said for many years are now saying that they were lying to Zambians. It is only now that they are telling the truth when there is no prison for them but just amanone to come.
The message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ was credible because people were ready to and did, die for it. If there was a promise of good things in the Roman empire such as a seat in the Senate of Rome if they spread the resurrection news, who would have believed the apostles? A witness who will benefit from his testimony in a court of law cannot be taken seriously. Are the Zambian people going to stomach more apologies in 2026?
The ruling party campaigners are trying too hard to be convincing. They come out as being insincere. Is anyone listening?
The PF party doth protest too much, me thinks.