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?