By Kapya Kaoma.
Once upon a time, “Chimbwi with No Plan” ruled Zambia until the ballyvirus spread like wildfire–erasing memories of yesteryears. In the sacred annals of Lusaka Times, it is recorded thus, on June 14, 2012, a Prophet before Zambian authorities, courageously stood, with an ancestral apocalyptic tone bellowed, “I hear the ancestors screaming from their graves! At your falsehoods, their bones rattle day and night! Didn’t you promise more money in our pockets, Mr. Chimbwi? Didn’t you promise more jobs? A people driven Constitution you promised, but only yesterday! Chimbwi with no plan. Wait until I am elected. It will be a New Dawn!” At those words, all his followers chanted, “Chimbwi with no plan. A new dawn we await!” With pride, he walked away.
Then came the New Dawn that the very Prophet once announced at the sunset that dwarfed the sunrise. Sages in silence stood as the Prophet wondered in darkness untold, while masses shouted, “Wake up, Zambia! It is the New Dawn. Kwacha!” In chaotic darkness untold, as in those days when Israel had no King, “every man did what was right in his own eyes.” Sadly the sunrise remained buried in clouds of uncertainty. Enraged, the Prophet announced, “Worry not my people, “Chimbwi with no plan” stole the sunrise. The New Dawn will come once the chosen one enters Plot 1.”
Alas, in white gloves and masked face, the Prophet marched into Plot 1, only to realize that like Chimbwi, he had no plan. But his followers believed he had one. So they faithfully waited for answers to their prayers as the Prophet dined and danced. And like Plato’s parable of the cave, anyone who told them otherwise, they insulted or killed. Only members of the Prophet’s cult were allowed to live in perpetual darkness.
And so is our time. The cult of the President is behind the difficulties and corruption that have haunted our nation. Day in and day out, everything is about the president–he is the only one who speaks. Standing up to him is like insulting God in the heavens. It shouldn’t be. In fact, we should all be concerned about President HH’s rule by decree. We are not ancient Egyptians who believed in the divine reign of Kings and Queens, but a democracy–a rule by the people for the people.
Does the New Dawn mean officially turning the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) President Hichilema’s personal kantemba? The President may go around the world singing Anti-Corruption songs! But he has not allowed independent auditors to tell Zambians the sources of his billions. In fact, his businesses are just as mysterious as Donald Trump’s. Another reason he should release his financial records to avoid the conflicts of interests when he is cutting deals on behalf of the nation–which is the likely reason for his decision to control the ACC that ought to operate independently. Kwacha indeed!
President HH is becoming dictatorial and tyrannical in the name of fighting corruption. Maybe he believes is a King. Since he took office, he has made one declaration after another. He declared no cadres in the markets and stations. Zambians celebrated. No implementation plan was in place–so cadres are making their own rules! He said no roadblocks! Zambians celebrated. But some security, road-safety, public safety, and tax issues were not addressed. Even the relationship between registered taxis and unregistered ones was not considered at all. One can add black mountain mining, dissolving Boards, and firing of Military Officers! Who is an adult in the baby HH administration to tell him that not everything previous administrations put in place need replacement? The civil service and the Military must be apolitical institutions. So far, it seems we are back to “chimbwi with no plan.” Is the creation of chaos is the Bally way of fixing it?
As a nation, we have a choice–to dedicate ourselves in pursuit of the public good, or pursue our ideological, and ethnic interests. The public good demands dedication to the truth. Ideological and ethnic interests hate truth tellers. Many are the PF cadres who insulted me and threatened me and my sister for calling out the Lungu administration. Some still call me an UPND cadre. I am sure there are many PF cadres who now say, if only we listened to Kapya Kaoma. Political arrogance is deceptive; no politician is indispensable–as my good UPND friend Kennedy Kazeza may think about HH. What makes him think HH will be reelected in 2026?I
I believe President Hichilema loves Zambia just like I do. I am holding him accountable because it is a right thing to do. This is the democratic standard we should be holding as a nation–it is not a PF or an UPND issue. It is a democratic ideal we should fight for, and when necessary die for. Until we start holding politicians accountable to their promises, we will be taken for a ride. Democracy is not about making politicians rich; it is about making public officials drive people’s agendas. How many MPs have been voted into offices and yet we have nothing to show for it. Each election season, promises are made, and after we vote for them, they amass wealth at our expense and only return to lie again after five years. This culture we must stop–it must start from the top. And why should it be a crime to ask the President to account for what he said he would do?
Back to Chimbwi, my people say “Chimbwi afwile intang’anana” – – the hyena died by splitting itself into two parts at the crossroad. Like his time in opposition, President HH’s judgment remains erratic and those who surround him are increasingly incapable of taming his ego. Is this the unfolding of his own 2012 prophecy of Chimbwi with no plan?
Insult me, but for the sake of Mother Zambia, I’m here to stay.