Open letter to President Hichilema
Warm and fraternal greetings!
The results coming out of Luangwa are obviously painful and disappointing. However, this doesn’t come as a surprise to some of us; firstly, this is a PF stronghold and secondly, we seem to have taken a ‘white collar’ approach to this game (politics) which is essentially a contact sport. We aren’t shy to confess we saw it coming. Our sixth sense told us we were going to lose this mayoral seat, just as we are likely to lose Kabushi and Kwacha constituencies.
Why do we say so? During the last seven years of PF in power, our leaders became accustomed to showing off money in public and handing it out to ‘desperate and starving’ citizens like Santa Claus would handout sweets to excitable children. In this case, we are referring to vulnerable people in society who would endure the scorching heat in winding queues to cast their votes in diverse places as Chibolya, Marapodi, Chipulukusu, Ipusukilo, Maiteneke…like that old woman who rejected a chitenge from Vice-President Mutale Nalumango in Kabushi recently.
If you consider the two constituencies which are up for grabs – Kabushi and Kwacha respectively, there’s no semblance of development to write home about. Acute shortage of water is the order of the day, the roads remain impassable, social amenities are non-existent whereas crime is equally rife. Going by the level of support the immediate MPs command in the constituencies, it seems the duo put tantameni (line up for alms) to greater effect!
Make no mistake, the brilliant policy of free education hasn’t yet taken effect in such areas. It seems the language they best understand is tantameni – accruing direct benefits from the politicians such as three pieces of silver to buy Shake Shake or pamela and indeed covering their funeral expenses such costs of a hearse, coffin, transport and food among others. At the end of the day, this would have guaranteed unshakable loyalty…no amount of persuasion would sway them away, no matter what. Recent events demonstrate that providing services to our citizens in a structured way isn’t appreciated by many. Do you know the reason why opposition party leaders have now taken to echoing the mind-numbing “UPND government yakaso” mantra?
Last night we had chance to watch, a video clip of controversial Nigerian cleric Seer 1. He wasn’t the excitable and loud person that we know. He was rather sad and downcast. He warned that if PF bounces back in power, they would first begin by imprisoning President Hichilema, whether he has a case or not, before extending the dragnet to others. Edgar Lungu himself revealed this evil ploy a few weeks before elections. What happened in Luangwa must serve a case study to better understand why the people of Luangwa didn’t vote for UPND.
When you talk about the Black Mountain, for instance, it’s only a privileged few benefitting from the proceeds; leaving out the poor. By the way, there are a lot of youths trekking from Kwacha daily in search of opportunities at the Black Mountain. Alas, it’s only a few selfish leaders in a hurry to catch up with PF thugs in terms of accumulating wealth; enjoying the spoils!
Within the blink of an eye you see them driving impressive SUVs straight from the showroom and acquiring mansions in upmarket suburbs as the youth from vulnerable households watch from the sidelines. Sadly, most citizens are equally fast losing confidence in the idea of forming cooperatives as a panacea to their economic woes as the money is taking long to reach them or some senior party and government officials have formed cartels to exclusively access this money for their own selfish benefit.
One may argue that the loss of Luangwa is a minor setback; it isn’t, Mr President. You may be keen to learn that most Cabinet ministers, MPs and DCs have totally insulated themselves from the very people that gave them power – they no longer pick phone calls and move around in tinted vehicles at high speed. Not everyone may appreciate that the new dawn administration has gone out of the way to deploy thousands of civil servants countrywide as they are used to tantameni. This is the basic language they seem to easily understand in the shortest term. It is common knowledge that PF leaders wasted no time dipping their hands into the treasury. They went away with huge chunks of cash which is now stashed in their homes and farms. They are now eager to use this ‘loot’ to reclaim power buoyed by generous contributions from mafias and criminals hibernating under the shield of the corporate world. As late veteran politician Daniel Munkombwe once confessed, most people are into politics to eat, including our very own party officials. In the recently suspended Kwacha parliamentary by-election, for instance, I recall reports of how some party officials were pocketing money meant for campaigns, or the incessant complaints from the foot soldiers about poor diets at command centers and paltry allowances whenever they go out engaging would be electorates. They saw their colleagues in PF eating and they also want to eat. It’s not too late, Sir, try to work on some of the issues highlighted above
Prince B M Kaping’a.