By Sakwiba Sikota
Karmala Harris has just finished a historic visit back to Zambia.
She spent two days in Zambia and what was memorable and very visible was her motorcade and security detail. She also had a Zambia Police escort. The Zambian Police were truly just an escort following behind their American counterparts as evidenced by Kamala’s security detail even taking over security scrutiny and checks at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.
There was no missing that Kamala was back in town because her motorcade was nothing like we had seen in many years. The last I remember witnessing a grand and spectacular procession is when Haile Selassie paid a state visit to Zambia and we saw open carriage and horses.
I do not know if it was my imagination but I thought I heard blasting from the stereo of Kamala’s motorcade’s tail car Thin Lizzy’s 1976 hit song “The Boys Are Back in Town”.
The song opens,
“Guess who just got back today?
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven’t changed, had much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy
They were askin’ if you were around
How you was, where you could be found”
The chorus goes,
“The boys are back in town (the boys are back in town)
I said (the boys are back in town)
(The boys are back in town)
The boys are back in town
(The boys are back in town)”
I know some of you may say, “But Kamala is not a boy but a girl!”. That’s only because you do not support LGBTQ Rights like Kamala does. Gender neutrality and freedom is what she was bringing to Zambia. That’s why, like Thin Lizzy, I still think them cats are crazy.
You did not hear Kamala openly promote LGBTQ Rights whilst in Zambia because civil society, the opposition and churches had made it clear that such talk would drive them crazy.
Kamala had planned the trip to also show that China’s influence in Zambia is waning because, to use the words of Senate Foreign Relations Ranking Member Jim Risch who tweeted, “HH is working hard to curb China’s malign and predatory influence in Zambia and as well increase cooperation with the US.”
At the joint press conference last Friday with Kamala, HH in answer to a question about Zambia’s relationship with China run away from what Senator Jim Risch said about “curbing China’s malign and predatory influence”. This turn around came with the realization that if China sees us as a stooge of the west, China will have no reason to help us with the debt problem we have.
In fact on Monday when swearing in diplomats and judges, HH made it a point to state that he is not a stooge. He wanted to ensure that Kamala’s trip did not make the ‘stooge’ tag stick on him.
Many people were therefore left asking what was Kamala’s trip all about?
Fred M’membe the President of the Socialist Party wrote in a posting headed ‘BRIEF VISIT’ that, “…. United States Vice-President Kamala Harris is going to spend …….. 20 minutes in a [one on one] bilateral talks with President Hakainde Hichilema……
She will also spend 40 minutes at the National Assembly. In addition to this, she will spend 15 minutes at a State House press conference and 10 minutes taking photos, 5 minutes signing visitors’ book.
..[S]he will tour Panuka Farms in Chisamba for 10 minutes. Then she will have media briefing at Intercontinental Hotel at 13:00 hours. After that she leaves the country.
That’s almost all with Zambian state and government business.
The United States Vice-President has come in after the “Democracy Summit”. And her programme is very brief.
It’s difficult to ascertain what her whole visit is about.”
Fred M’membe seems to have missed some of the highlights of Kamala’s visit. For example, Kamala made a whistle stop visit to the residence her grandfather stayed at whilst he was serving as a diplomat in Zambia.
There was also the drive-by at the University Teaching Hospital where Kamala was driven round but did not stop.
These two engagements were very important and sensitive because on both occasions a huge black tinted closed van with antennas and small dishes was strategically stationed by the Americans to block out internet and cellphone communications in those areas. Soon after those whistle stop drive-bys the internet and cell phone signals were restored.
To answer and school Fred and others asking what Kamala’s visit was about, I would say that it is abundantly clear that Kamala’s trip was all about whistle stops and drive-bys.