“Ba Lungu Bweleni Pamupando”


By Kapya Kaoma

Can President HH Listen to a Toddler’s Call to Lungu on the Cost of Ubunga?

If KK came from the grave and had some words for President HH, it would be, “Ubunga! Ubunga! Ubunga! Waikatako, wafwa!”

In the late 1980s, President Kaunda survived a coup because of the price of ubunga–the culprits were the same players embraced by President Hichilema, the World Bank and IMF. They forced him to remove subsidies and increase the price of ubunga. The results were catastrophic–riots and an attempted military coup that almost cost him his Presidency. He reduced the price, and saved his neck, but not his Presidency!

A beautiful toddler’s classical call to former President Edgar Lungu on social media highlights this point. “Ba Lungu bweleni pamupando,” the adorable girl says with angelic eyes rolling, “ubunga nabudula. Tubwesesheniko ubunga. Tatulilepo ifilifyonse. BaDad tabalafola.”
( Mr. Lungu, please come back to the Chair.
The cost of mealie meal is too unbearable,
Come and reduce it for us.
We haven’t eaten anything.
My dad has not been paid).

When I reposted the video on my Facebook, two UPND members saw it differently. One argued that Lungu is responsible for the high cost of ubunga while the other contended that such an argument is parroted by HH’s cadres.

Regardless, the girl’s call is a classical political messaging that would pose a big challenge to President HH. The girl’s natural setting is a common neighborhood and she is definitely not from a well to do family. She represents the common starving child on the streets stating the undeniable fact–“we haven’t eaten anything.” Her voice is authentic, and she is not scripted in her plea to President Lungu to consider returning to active politics so that he can reduce the cost of ubunga!

Unlike other African nations, ubunga is central to Zambian politics–no wonder President HH campaigned on reducing the price of ubunga to K50. The centrality of ubunga in Zambian politics is something we don’t see in other African nations–ubunga is Zambia and Zambia is ubunga. In fact, ubunga played a role in our return to multi-party politics. P.K. Chishala’s “Common Man” spoke to this aspect–you can increase the price of anything, Zambians will forgive. But not ubunga! The prosperity of Zambia is linked to the price of ubunga–something one expects President HH to know. Unfortunately, the man is robbed of memory.

President HH made countless lies, but the lie about reducing the price of ubunga is unforgivable and is likely to sink his Presidency. His minions insult those pointing to this issue as lazy people used to PF handouts. This is bizarre. The majority of Zambians work long hours–they wake up early in the morning to go to the markets and return home very late. They don’t have the luxury to spend a day without work–every single Kwacha counts. Many of them can’t afford bread but only nshima once, or twice a day if really blessed. Some of them need at least two 25kg bags of ubunga a month. Hence spending over K600 on ubunga alone on top of other basic needs is torturous.

But there’s something more.The little girl is speaking for the nation–the majority is eating less while HH lives in two State houses and globe trots at will. Moreover, ubunga has made Lungu a darling to many Zambians. People don’t eat “Lungu this and that no matter how many time Mr. Hichilema says it,” they want food on the table. This is the fact that the girl brings out–Mr. Lungu provided ubunga to Zambians. Under HH, our children are starving. The song of “Free Education” does not feed children–our children need to eat too. By making ubunga too expensive, the HH administration is abusing them. Worse still, parents are spending more on a bag of ubunga than they spent on School fees during the Lungu administration. What a shame!

As for UPND cronies, ubunga is the spark that may end HH’s Presidency. Arrogance blinds one into thinking that he is a god–both Kaunda and Chiluba were humbled when some military officers attempted to overthrow them. One day, such attempts may be successful–for when people are hungry, they are willing to risk it all. Mark my words: it won’t be long before HH arrests opposition leaders and military officers for treason. Ambitious military officers read the mood of the nation. What is happening in other African nations can happen in Zambia also.

Mr. President time is of essence–save yourself. REDUCE the price of ubunga. The IMF and World Bank won’t save you from the wrath that awaits you!

By Kapya Kaoma


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