HH’s cherry-picking

of KK, FTJ legacies

Sam Harris once noted that, “People have been cherry-picking the Bible for millennia to justify their every impulse, moral and otherwise.”
And Bodie Thoene observed that, “What is right is often forgotten by what is convenient.”

Speaking at the first memorial service of Dr Kenneth Kaunda who died on June 17, 2021 held at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Friday, President Hakainde Hichilema said Dr Kaunda brought dignity into the presidency.
“I say to my wife every now and then, we never thought that we would sit in the offices KK sat,” he said.

He urged the Kaunda family to keep Dr Kaunda’s name and heritage clean and straight.
“And we make no apologies at all. We do it with pride. To deliver free education because that is what KK gave to us. So, we give to others. Everyone says ulupiya lunono sana, lwingi
(money is little. It’s enough). It’s about education priorities. Within our challenged treasury, we have to decide our priorities so we can do what our teacher taught us. That inheritance that no one can take way from the children. That was planted in our heads that every other child should benefit from. I think we should be proud as a country. Some of us went to school three, four, five years without shoes. But we went to school, [because of] KK,” he said.

“The CDF you are seeing today appearing as a policy position, it was KK. So that Man North, Man South, Man East, Man West, they can make their own decisions with the priorities; the challenges that they face in their locality. Too much money was put in Lusaka and misused in Lusaka. Does the man like that die? In body yes… Fellow citizens, we cerebrate Dr Kaunda for inspiring us all to work hard, to be honest. KK brought dignity in the presidency. We can’t argue about that. He brought dignity into the presidency, that office of the presidency. Representing millions of you. I say to my wife every now and then, we never thought that we would sit in the offices KK sat. It’s a rare privilege that we should not take for granted. That he brought to that office, to unite not to divide, to include not to exclude. KK the teacher, great indeed. To treat everyone in an equal manner, in this our Christian nation, our teacher taught us.”

Next day, on Saturday, during late president Frederick Chiluba’s 11th memorial service at Embassy Park, President Hichilema praised the second president and his courage for liberalising the economy.

“The new dawn government is proud of the vision that president Chiluba had for this country. One of the things Chiluba and his team did was to drive the liberalisation of this country’s economy. Remember one party state: Socialism, Communism, which failed. There is no question about that. Communism and socialism failed,” said President Hichilema. “It did not just fail here, it failed even in the heart of communism. So, when I see advancement of those issues, sometimes I say, ‘do we want to go back to shortages. We heard of the cooking oil, queuing for cooking oil’. When I got married to that lady seated (points at his wife Mutinta) there was no juice in the shops because we married in the late eighties. We couldn’t organise drinks. The Coca-Cola you take for granted today, was not there. So, I remember one of the parastatal leaders called Mantanyani tried to concoct Tip Top to try and take the space of Coca-Cola and Fanta; and even that Tip Top we had to queue to buy a crate or two. We should not lose those memories and start propagating things that can destroy the economy. Dr Chiluba was courageous to move the economy into a liberal sphere, an open economy and almost automatically things started happening. And Coca-Cola reappeared. You who love Coca-Cola, if you were born in the eighties, you wouldn’t have it because it was not there because of the economic policies. So, I think you must learn lessons. We must build one legacy to another and carry on.”

From the above, we don’t seem to understand Hakainde’s position or his political identity.
But we can understand one thing, he can’t let go the very fact that he couldn’t secure Coca-Cola for his wedding! Just as Zambians can’t forget how the privatisation process undertaken by the Frederick Chiluba’s MMD left them destitute. The country has not recovered from the liberalisation programme of the 1990s.

Clearly, as Suzy Kassem advised, “To know the good from the bad, study a man or woman’s history of actions, not their record of intentions.”

Now this strange U-turn from the man who was eulogising KK’s policies the day before! Within 24 hours, Hakainde’s tongue twisted. He embarked on an acidic condemnation of Dr Kaunda’s tenure and policies. So, was he playing to the gallery during KK’s memorial? Who was he fooling – hoodwinking? Why the shift? And for him to praise Frederick’s administration, is he being honest? Is it blackmail? Or is Hakainde under pressure from capital to conveniently praise neoliberalism? Is it that Hakainde has suddenly come under pressure from Socialists and he had to unleash salvo in that manner? What is motivating his shift to praise an administration he strongly condemned? In one breathe he wants Zambians to be innovative while in another he’s mocking past attempts to produce locally-founded products like Tip Top! Why is he distancing himself from the policy programmes of Dr Kaunda that moved him from poverty to where he is today?

We also remember that Hakainde’s first political assault was on Frederick just after taking over the UPND from its founding president Anderson Mazoka. At the height of Levy Mwanawasa’s anti-corruption fight, Hakainde compared Chiluba to a monkey in a maize field. So just because Chiluba is gone, today he has become a champion of liberalization – democracy? We did not expect Hakainde to be this hypocritical so early.
Marcus Aurelius guides that, “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.”
While Mahatma Gandhi stressed that, “Never has man reached his destination by persistence in deviation from the straight path.”


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