Saturday, June 30, 2007

PF's unwavering support for impunity

PF's unwavering support for impunity
By Laura Miti-Banda
Saturday June 30, 2007 [04:00]

There is something causing so much fatigue about the discussion that Zambia has embroiled herself in over former President Chiluba. It seems though, that it is a discussion we are going to have for sometime. Now we have members of parliament standing up and declaring that Chiluba has been unfairly treated.

Well at least now we know, from the MPs’ statements, that the Patriotic Front is as ever convinced of its president’s declaration during last year’s election campaign that former President Chiluba really has nothing to answer for to the country.

The Patriotic Front for some reason feels that the fact that President Chiluba may have used his office to misappropriate millions of dollars in public funds is, in the scheme of things, a very small matter indeed. It is to them quite clearly a case of “these things happen.” Nothing to fuss about too much. After all, the Patriotic Front senior leadership keeps saying to us, Chiluba did a lot of good for this country. He made some small mistakes yes but we all make mistakes.

It has to be noted that, what good the former President did exactly, the good that is supposed to weigh in heavier than his crimes when put on the balance, is never properly set out for us by the PF. It is a good I suppose, known only by those who were very close to Mr Chiluba to benefit in ways we the ordinary people could not.

Now, it is no secret what my personal sentiments as regards Chiluba and his presidency are. I have stated many times before that it is my considered opinion that Zambia is still an intact nation, all its problems considered, only because FTJ’s third term bid was stopped in its tracks by the Zambian people. I most certainly believe that there would be no Zambia as we know it, to talk about, had FTJ stayed in State House even six months longer than he did.

The very fabric of the nation was in deep trouble under Chiluba and, as I have again stated so often, Mwanawasa with all the particular mode of nonsense has wrought on the nation instigated changes that saved Zambia from complete lunacy.

And yet a party with a considerable representation in parliament can take the unwaveringly supporting stance that the PF repeatedly has on Chiluba. It’s members of Parliament can publicly declare that Zambia is wrong in hating the guts of the former president and wanting recompense from him. It is so disturbing.

But then we should not really be surprised. In Zambia after all, party members, members of Parliament included, are not allowed to have positions on any issue, no matter how frivolous, that go against the party leader’s. As we saw with the MMD under Chiluba, men who had won safari suits for nearly 3 decades (because safari suits were the great leader’s attire of choice) suddenly decked themselves in three piece suits with ties and ridiculous little matching handkerchiefs in the pocket, simply because the new leader dressed that way.

Adult men failed to find it in themselves to say ‘the new culture handkerchief is really not for me.” They had to conform.

If cabinet ministers have felt compelled to change what they wear in order to keep the President happy, what chance, pray, is there that any MP will stand up to a party president and say - your personal vendetta against another man will not determine how I play my politics.

Simply, I am saying that it would seem that the Patriotic Front, in the matter of one FTJ Chiluba, is taking a stance determined by the fact that one Michael Chilufya Sata, president of the said PF, hates anything the smells even mildly of Patrick Levy Mwanawasa -the man who entered State House (twice over) when he (Sata) was sure that the presidency was a done deal.

Sata for a while was incensed with Chiluba for passing him over in selecting who to place in State House after his plans to overstay were mercilessly derailed by a mass of citizens wearing green ribbons. However, the resentment Sata carries against FTJ’s chosen replacement is (inexplicably) stronger than that which he ever had against the man who made the decision.

Sata therefore, made up with FTJ as soon as Levy fell out with the former president. I guess it was more fulfilling for him to hate Levy for being in State House than to keep up the quarrel with Chiluba for putting him there. (Bizarre psyche, I know, but anyhow.)
Of course beyond that simple explanation for Sata’s support for Chiluba’s crimes is the fact that Sata himself was very much in the mix when the said crimes were committed.
The result of all this is that Sata has never enjoyed the “fight against corruption” not because it is the farce of a fight we all know it is.

He does not like it because it is a part of history he would love to have the public forget because there is much he himself has to explain about it.
And so the PF leader is going to cause a whole political party to stand up and insist that a former president who treated the country’s resources with such impunity as Chiluba did, should not be vilified. In fact, the country should find good in that theft. And then Sata will continue to insist that the people of Zambia should consider the PF as an alternative party in power to the MMD. That voters should consider putting him into State House one day.

My question simply is, what do Zambian politicians take the Zambian people for? What does Sata (and his PF) think Zambia is? I guess to him, it is a stage on which to play out his personal games. He wants us to agree to be the supporting cast as politicians do whatever they like with us. Sata, it seems, wants us to cheer on as MPs with no fear of recrimination stand up and say the former President stole, messed up the country but so what? Put us in power so that we can make sure no questions are ever asked about it.
lauramiti AT yahoo_co_uk

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