14th April 2022

The Scrivener

A few months ago, Anthony Bwalya was a none descript jobless lad walking the streets of Lusaka wondering where his next meal would come from.

Bwalya had no clue how he would pay or raise K20 to top up electricity, nor did he know how he would raise K1500 to rent a shack in Chelstone where he lived.

But as in most cases, God shines on all of us at one point or another and we receive blessings and good fortune.

Bwalya’s fortune came not so long ago after President Hakainde Hichilema’s political UPND won the general election.

The Rise and fall of Anthony Bwalya?

By last September after all the protocols of handing over power were completed, President Hichilema appointed Bwalya as the all-powerful Special Assistant for Press at State House.

Due to infighting, the position has been diluted to just Spokesman, but still carries some weight because of his proximity to President Hichilema—location, location, location!

As the saying goes “the dog of the king is the king of the dogs” and so is Bwalya now. He now thinks he’s at the same level as President Hichilema.

In various recent public media appearances, Bwalya has made some outlandish, arrogant and even insulting statements onto Zambians that woke up at 2am to vote for his boss and make him President last August.

The litany of insulting and derogatory statements made in an arrogant fashion onto Zambians Bwalya has made in the recent past run deep and long.

But let me just start with the one trending now he recently made in his own voice caught on tape on Hot FM recently below:
“I (Bwalya) have been to Nkwazi House (the official residence of the President of Zambia),” Bwalya said arrogantly on live radio, “even if you asked me to live in it, I wouldn’t live in it because of the state it’s in…let alone the head of state.”

What Bwalya meant was that the state of the Presidential palace of Zambia is so low and base; he can’t even fathom how President Lungu and President Michael Sata lived in what President Donald Trump parlance would call a “shit-hole”.

For arguments sake let’s agree that the presidential palace of Zambia is in such a poor state of habitation, infested with rodents and cockroaches, is the manner of arrogance Bwalya used on live radio befitting of a person that speaks for President Hichilema of a poor country that promised to:

• Reduce the price of mealie meal

• Reduce the price of fuel

• Provide free education

• Reduce the price of sugar and cooking oil, the list is long but none of the above few has been fulfilled.

The reaction to this question is mixed, some say Bwalya speaks the way he speaks, others, however, say arrogance has crept into the young man from Chelstone after tasting a little power and having a little money—Zambians that put him and his boss on the top of the food chain are now nothing but trash.

I like to read about power and its effects on different individuals, how some individuals have used it to help others and how it has made others arrogant like Bwalya, who until a few months ago only had one shirt to slap on his back. I chose Greece, as an example from a study by renowned pundit Kenny Ringle.


The ancient Greeks called Bwalya’s boastful (arrogance exhibited by people like Bwalya) or “hubris—wanton insolence or just arrogance pure arrogance”.

It was often a consequence of “excessive pride or passion” of oneself.

This trait is common in Bwalya lately, and others in the UPND government such as Gary Nkhombo and Cornelius Mwetwa.

Some even argue that President Hakainde Hichilema himself shows similar characteristics especially since he refused to move into the house all his predecessors lived in because “it’s sub-standard” for a man who professes to have first worn his first pair of shoes aged 15 years.

The play book for men of arrogance or wanton hubris, like Bwalya is that they find find themselves “garbed in the unaccustomed robes of leadership or success, start imagining themselves as bullet-proofed against disaster.”


Bwalya has forgotten where he comes from near Kamanga compound in Chelstone next to the small market, council tavern and Kapwelyomba primary school.

That’s not exactly Suningdale.

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the sudden amnesia Bwalya has developed, “just don’t throw it in the faces of people that can’t afford a bus fare, a bag of mealie meal and sugar that voted for you.


When some men gain a little power, they start tempting fate, and we know the internal power struggle Bwalya is already facing keep his job in State House.

If I were him, I would not put myself self in harm’s way by embarrassing the President through arrogance.

What comes to mind when I see naïve excited guys like Bwalya are characters like Roman empire tragic heroes Mark Antony, Cleopatra of Egypt and the Furher himself, Hitler to mention but a few.

I could throw in Catherine the Great and her horse and maybe close to home Idi Amin Dada. It always ends in tears.

A study I read by Betty Glad a professor of Government and International Studies says about people like Bwalya and others like him such as arrogant tyrants states, “there are really three things operating once people have gained power.”


People like Bwalya and many in UPND, “start believing they’re smarter and cleverer than anyone.” They start to underestimate others (like Bwalya and corp are doing by ignoring Zambians).

In addition, the Professor states that, “the more power or success people gain, the “more they lose the sense of the limits of that power. And nobody reminds them of those limits. They think they can take big risks and win forever.” They have praise choirs.


That’s the gamble Bwalya and his bosses in UPND often take on Zambian people but what’ s sad is “the hubris and pride” has come early in the case of Bwalya of Chelstone.

It took much longer with the PF leadership to become arrogant perhaps because of the deep religious beliefs of both President Sata and President Lungu. They still got the stick.

The study adds that the “sudden accumulation of power” leads to “indulge fantasies of omnipotence and invulnerability — a “pathological narcissism” that leads them to “lose all touch with reality.” They look down on voters.

For instance, Bwalya who could not afford one square meal before last August, now can’t fathom living in State House because its dirty, sub-standard or perhaps rodent and roach ridden.

The thought of him living there makes him squirm. Bwalya has arrived in psychology studies.


Prof. Glad’s study observes that, “through out history, personalities like Bwalya drunk on their own illusions and success wander into situational cul-de-sacs where they meet one disaster or another.”

Is there a disaster around the corner for Bwalya, especially with the power struggle in the State House media team recently exposed by one of the “fallen angels” of the media team?

Zambia is a wonderful democracy and gives different parties separate opportunities to prove themselves wrong or right.

To fulfil promises or not.

Does Bwalya want to help shorten his boss President Hichilema’s stay in office before he even gets an IMF agreement on the table through hubris?

Bwalya should stop grand standing and start explaining how his boss will fulfil the promises he made to Zambians because 2026 is not far, Zambians can be quite unforgiving.

Especially onto arrogant people like Bwalya whose plate is already full of wars and woes with the wolf pack in his own media team that saw him demoted from Special Assistant to mere spokesman.

Bwalya could accelerate the downfall of his boss who boasts of growing in a grass thatched mud house but refuses to live in State House.


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