Friday, 7 December 2007


By Gershom Ndhlovu

Following PF president, Michael Sata’s initial e-mail to me accusing me of supporting the Chinese “invasion” of Zambia, he wrote another one (reproduced below) after I sent him copies of my past articles on China.
“Thank you for your e-mail. When I wrote to you as an emerging writer, I was drawing your attention to your misplacement of facts and confusing Chinese issue with my perceived wrong doing.
“Every organisation has its rules which must be obeyed by the people who subscribe to those rules. Your attribution to the 22 who were expelled for offending the (MMD) party constitution has nothing to do with our current focus on the Chinese saga.
“The point which you missed (in the article entitled Sata’s Political Swansong a few weeks ago) Michael Sata was not MMD, Michael Sata was not the NEC. You picked on the 22 ignoring other people who were disciplined before them, for example, when B.Y. Mwila was disciplined or expelled your 22 were very much in the NEC, when Princess Nakatindi Wina was expelled your 22 were very much in the NEC and contributed to the expulsion of B.Y. Mwila, Princess Nakatindi and others.
“When Emmanuel Kasonde, Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika, (and) Baldwin Nkumbula were disciplined, your 22 were much, much intact in the NEC and contributed to their expulsion.
“Yourself as a writer and sometimes the Post Newspaper have brought the Chawama saga [sic] I left government 7 years ago. If what you have been projecting had some truth why has the law never visited me?
“As a writer, do not digress unless you have to, but if you are digressing to divert the attention from the subject on the floor you are bound to be misunderstood. I am not afraid of being criticised but there must be some truth in the criticism.
“As poverty has hit the country so badly you cannot blame people if they accuse you of making talk time divert your thinking, your intellect and your professional capacity. Once again thank you for your response. M. C. Sata.”

I think this is the first time the PF leader has spoken with some candidness about the expulsions in the MMD before Mwanawasa took over as president. One would have loved it though if he spoke more about how the MMD was run at the time and what really transpired when Mwila was forced out and later how Generals Tembo, Miyanda and others were expelled at a crucial point when a new party president was to be elected.
What the people who were in the MMD at the time now aspiring for the republican presidency need to do is to speak out in the manner of the South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
By remaining silent, they will all be painted with the same tainted brush with which former President Chiluba has been painted with as a “political engineer”. If anything, they were complicit to the “engineering” by not speaking out against Chiluba’s anti-democratic manoeuvres before they were squeezed out themselves.
The only ones that can be absolved are those that saw through Chiluba from the beginning and broke away from the MMD such as the late Nkumbula, Mulemba, Arthur Wina and others who went on to form the short-lived National Party. Unfortunately then as now, Zambians could not discern genuine leadership from a leadership driven by chicanery and selfishness.
What can be deduced from Sata’s response above is that what the nation needs is a crop of new leaders who are not tainted with past political misdeeds that have left the country in a political and economic meltdown.
If these people including Sata as then MMD national secretary, and others who served at the highest level of both the party and government, could not defend the basic tenets of democracy looking at the expulsion of Mwila for declaring interest in the MMD presidency as an example, how can they be trusted once elected, to uphold the same tenets they assaulted not too long ago?


Innocent chimba said...

Sata was acting under the rule of collective responsibility. Unfortunately collective responsibility was defined by FTJ.

The PANEL said...

While I do not support some of Sata's past actions, I fully support his stance on the Chinese investors. I read the speech he gave a Harvard and found myself agreeing with most of it.

I have also spoken to a number of people who worked in the Ministry of Health when Sata was Minister and they all speak highly of the man. His dislike for red tape and crap won him many hearts.
Sata is no angel but I wish people realise the we're storing up problems for the future by ignoring some of the points he has been making as far as the Chinese are concerned.


Unknown said...

Innocent, The Panel,
I, as a junior reporter back in the day, had an opportunity of covering sata first hand. I remember particularly two trips I undertook with the man when he was health minister, the first was a tour of Eastern Province and the second was to Chanyanya in Kafue. I was struck with the down-to-earth manner with which he interacted with the people wherever we went. I am the first one to admire his grassroots organisation which sets him apart from all other political players on the scene now. I actually mentioned this in one of my articles before the elections.
What Sata and the 22 and those currently serving under Mwanawasa is not to "challenge" the president. I do agree with innocent about "collective responsibility" being defined by one man. Obviously, the appointees just nod to whatever the president for fear of falling foul of the man and losing their three Bs, bread, butter and beer. You know the concept of "teti chimoneke bwino kuli bakateka"!

Zedian said...

If Sata were a food type, I guess he would be "Marmite"; you either love it, or hate it type of stuff. While some of his past deeds and utterances make him a repulsive figure, it's clear that there are those that adore his style of leadership (grab them by the neck style).

Certainly the people of the urban areas of Zambia have seen something in this man that they think is worth their vote. And for those that find the pace of day to day business is snail's pace in Zambia, you will love it when Sata is grabbing people by the neck and cutting red tape. However, it's that very rugged behaviour that other people find unbecoming.

“Yourself as a writer and sometimes the Post Newspaper have brought the Chawama saga [sic] I left government 7 years ago. If what you have been projecting had some truth why has the law never visited me?"

Well, Mr Sata, that does not necessarily mean you're innocent. You and many others like Castro Chiluba, maimed people at the time when it was very clear you were untouchable. For so long as you're alive, it's not over and I would encourage the Post and others calling for you to face the law over that.

As regards Sata shedding more light on the 22 expelled MMD members, that is a welcome revelation worthy of archiving, though I personally do not accept collective responsibility as one's defence. However, the assertions highlighted in Sata's letter is enough to rub off the lustre of some of those 22 people still masquerading as angels.