Deconstructing Munir Zulu and his politics?


By Chimwemwe Mwanza

As an aftermath of a rigorous effort to comprehend reasons for ill-behaviour, Socrates – a foremost known philosopher reportedly gave Plato his student, a damning premonition on the rising dangers of juvenile delinquency and its causes.

‘Children now love luxury, they have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to elders and love chatter in place of exercise,’ bemoaned Socrates. In a familiar attempt to understand America’s reaction to a rising scourge in juvenile delinquencies in the 1950s, Author, James Gilbert, in his book titled ‘A cycle of outrage’ offers a similar conclusion to Socrates – except he validates his reasoning with interesting observations. Gilbert cites the breakdown in generational communication and lack of parental behavioral control as some of the factors responsible for rising insolence among youth.

Consequently, parents could no longer impress their value systems on children who were influenced as much by a new peer culture spread by comics, radio movies and television as by their elders, he lamented. While true that our era is a far cry to Socrates medieval times, it is impossible to escape a common denominator in Socrates and Gilbert’s conclusions. Absence in parenting and accumulation of material were as much a factor in influencing juvenile delinquency. Could there be a correlation to these conclusions and the wayward behaviour of a modern Zambian youth?

We do not know Munir Zulu from a bar of soap and neither do we wish to meet him – we prefer to remain a lowly paid newsman – suffice to add that those in his inner circle speak of a well-heeled individual with bucket loads of cash. He is reputed to have a propensity to flaunting his wealth. Name your price or place, be it at the famed Radisson hotel or Polo Grill, Munir will rock up as the proverbial ‘big buyer’ with a bevy of hangers on in tow. And so goes a legend, profanities from his tongue are rich enough to match his wallet.

Why is he often a victim of injustice?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with one flaunting their wealth, so why should society crucify or alienate him for this? It is arguable though that someone holding a position of public representation requires to moderate their conduct. Fact remains, Munir is not your ordinary John Solyobwali but is an elected parliamentarian representing interests of Lumezi constituency and its people. Granted he lives in a country in which more than 60% of the population wallow in abject poverty, his behaviour typifies a crassness that is widely despised by majority of Zambians.

Petulancies aside, what does he really stand for? Hate him or love him, truth is that he did not nominate or parachute himself to parliament but was elected. That he defied all odds as an independent candidate to defeat well-funded opponents is proof of his astuteness. And few would dispute that a sober Munir can indeed be a marvel to watch. He often raises genuine issues affecting the ordinary Zambian. Take the case of his widely reported tiff with Anthony Mumba? He accused the Kantanshi MP of supplying fake ventilators to UTH – a factor that resulted in deaths of several patients afflicted by Covid-19.

While difficult to ignore the vulgarity of Munir’s language in the duo’s quarrel, Mumba’s silence to Munir’s charges is deafening. But the fact that the Kantanshi parliamentarian has since opted to ingratiate himself with the ruling party in an attempt to evade possible arrest for corruption and theft of public funds has in effect lent credence to claims of selective prosecution by state agencies. Without a doubt, Munir has become a symbol of resistance to our deep-seated patriarchal structure that seeks to trample on the rights of the young and marginalised section of our society.
And the fact that the commentariat seem to hold him to a different moral standard is upsetting to his ego. Take the example of Cornhill Mwale, the UPND youth leader that unleashed the ‘Imbwa zapa Unza,’ epithet? Despite the vulgarity of his remark, Mwale escaped the public’s ire with a mere slap on his wrist. Let us turn the roles and for a second assume that it was Munir that uttered these remarks, one cannot even begin to imagine the rancor this would have caused.

The great pubic hair debate

Agreed that the sanctity of parliament needs to be preserved at all times but can the speaker or any presiding officer explain as to what constitutes acceptable parliamentary language? That said, what was offending about use of an idiom intended to illustrate the point that all parliamentarians were adult enough to make sensible decisions? Aren’t all our parliamentarians old enough to shave their pubics? It is only hygienic to shave unless one opts out of the practice due to traditional, religious or other personal circumstances.

Is it therefore justifiable that his use of this idiom in parliament warranted a 30-day suspension from the August house? Only the speaker knows yet one can argue that but there is a perception that Munir is being persecuted for his independent mindedness. And do not forget, it is not him but the people of Lumezi that are being deprived of representation while their MP sits out on proceedings.

That he has a genuine desire to serve his country is evident in his passion yet one can argue – and reasonably so that his public conduct and documented weaknesses seem to outweigh his strengths. But who doesn’t have weaknesses?

About the Author: Mwanza enjoys reading Political History and Philosophy. For feedback, email [email protected]


  1. He is causing upnd and that failure hh sleepless nights. We have just been informed that today upnd cadres went amok on the streets fighting battles. This govt is based on lies. Zambians need to come together and impeach the fraud hh

  2. A Muvi TV reporter asked him to say what other vulgarity he has heard in Parliament in recent times, he retorted: “fondlng”. When the reporter pressed him to mention who used that word, he said he just heard someone say it in parley.
    To me Munir does not only know how, where and when to shave, but knows what to avoid. Like mentioning the Speaker’s name and avoiding ” disrespecting elders” outside Parliament.

  3. The tradegy of Zambian journalism…….

    Never do these authors ask questions about the performance for the job these MPs were elected for, instead…….

    We have an obscene focus on behaviour or public spats…………as if we are talking about TV personalities……..

    Never are we told what they have done since been elected…………..

    These are people elected to do a job……tell the readers how they are performing in their constituencies………….

  4. A bit of a maverick isn’t he? But, you need people like him in Parliament! You can’t have everyone being chummy chummy with each other; chums won’t rebuke one another’s wrong doing will they?

  5. What about munir Zulu ???

    For all we know he could have abandoned his Constituency and just making noise in parliament………..

    We are more intrested to know what his archivments are for the people who voted for him………..

    You are doing him and zambians atlearge a disservice by not atleast part addressing his work for the people who voted for him…………

  6. “How can I reprimand juvenile delinquency if I can’t discipline my own son? I’m not fit to be your Chief, therefore I resign!”. These were the words of a chief faced with a similar challenge in Gideon Phiri’s 1973 book The Ticklish Sensation. In a Parliament where the Speaker curtailed debate and defended the naked obscenity from Mary Chirwa one Munir Zulu would get suspended for telling members that they were all adults that shaved their pubic hair. Wasn’t it more insulting to be told that they all fondled themselves like Mary? This is the UPND hypocrisy. It’s not corruption if it involves Jangulo or Kakubo but let Chitotela or Findlay do the same and see how they react

  7. First you admit that Munir Zulu is a delinquent,then you flamboyantly wriite and want us to accept deliquecy as standard behavior.Very crass

  8. There was definately nothing wrong in what he said. Firstly what he said was correct and not an insult . Secondly , he was just telling them that when they go to parliament , all members are on equal footing and have same rights despite the differences in age. It was purely and expression of an idiom. But knowing the level of understanding of the english language by some of our honorables, it was not surprising that they took this as an insult.
    The punishment OF 30 days is unfair and not justifiable.

  9. I followed that day’s debate and observed as follows:
    1. Garry should by now realise that he is not in opposition and should therefore debate as a minister and a leader in government. His kind of debate is still with anger( Anger against who?) . He is a minister and should dwell on policy guide. But on that day (and many other days) he debates with anger like he is still in opposition. It is his level of debate that sent parliament in confusion.
    2. The young Mr. Speaker( What ever his name is) on that day ….is a serious misplacement . He has no capacity to guide debates in parliament. The earlier he is removed from parliament the better. I was not surprised the opposition MPs walked out on that day. If I was an MP I would push for a vote of no confidence in that young man…

  10. He is a spoiled man child and since PF supporters are attracted to anything that’s not intelligent they will always support this twit.

  11. That boy must have been banned from parliament for life. Nobody from Lumezi sent him to parliament to go and perform his antics.

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