Saturday, November 02, 2013

Do they truly love Michael?
By Editor
Sat 05 Oct. 2013, 14:00 CAT

Are all those who are today claiming to be the most loyal, the most loving, the most respecting of President Michael Sata really and truly so? Are all those who are today engaging in all sorts of schemes, including endorsing Michael as their presidential candidate for 2016 to show their loyalty, love, respect and support for him, really and truly loyal to him?

Yes, some of these people can really and truly be said to be loyal, loving and respecting of Michael. But not all who are proclaiming and declaring loyalty, love and respect for Michael can be said to be really and truly loyal, loving and respecting of him. Some of the people championing all these things, trying to show love and loyalty for Michael, have never really and truly been loyal and loving of him.

Some of the people behind these endorsements of Michael are people who in 2006 were campaigning for Levy Mwanawasa against Michael; they were MMD members and not members of the Patriotic Front, they were MMD parliamentary and council candidates. Some of the people who are today claiming to be very close and very loyal to Michael are among the people who tried to kill him a few years ago in Kitwe; they organised MMD cadres to stone Michael at Radio Ichengelo. Thanks to the forgivingness, humility and love of Michael, these people can today sit at the same table as Michael in his house to eat nshima!

Clearly, it is not Michael they are loyal to, they are respecting, they are in love with - it is the benefits of the power Michael holds that they are loyal to, that they are respecting, that they are in love with. At least old Daniel Munkombwe is very honest on this score when he talks about politics of benefits. Truly, this is what all this loyalty, all this respect, all this love, for Michael is really about on the part of some of the people who are shouting the loudest about how much they are loyal to him, they are respecting of him and they are in love with him.

We appreciate that sometimes it is possible to mix one's love for the benefits one can get from another person with the love for that particular person. This is not new in Zambian politics. We saw it with Dr Kenneth Kaunda. There were people who we thought were ready to die for Dr Kaunda, come what may. Some of them were very noisy about their support for Dr Kaunda. Some of them coined very beautiful slogans showing their commitment, loyalty and love for Dr Kaunda. But when he lost power in 1991, they were the first to disappear from him. The situation was not different for Frederick Chiluba. There were people who tried very hard to show Chiluba and the nation that they were really and truly loyal to him. But when Chiluba left power, they also disappeared and were never there for him in all his problems and challenges. Of course, there are a few exceptions. There are people like Dr Peter Machungwa, who maintained their loyalty and respect for Chiluba to the very end of his life.

We also saw the same thing with Levy. There were many people who really tried to show everyone how loyal, respecting and loving of Levy they were. But when Levy died, they were among the first ones to abandon everything Levy stood for and join the ranks of those who tried very hard to destroy, negate everything Levy stood for, including his personal family. And those who were seen to be far away from Levy, to be his enemies, are the ones today defending Levy's legacy. Levy's widow, Maureen, told us something very revealing of what we are talking about. She told us that most of the people who were close to her late husband, including those in the leadership of MMD, who had taken over power as a result of the goodwill of her late husband, abandoned her and the children. She says the only people who used to check on her and still check on her as their sister are Michael and his wife Dr Christine Kaseba. She says they were there for her even when they were still in the opposition and the MMD was in power. And she says they are still there for her when they are in power. This is not to say Maureen herself had always treated Michael well. No. Maureen was sometimes not that nice to Michael. But Michael has put all that aside and treats Maureen well, like a sister. This was not told to us by Michael or Dr Kaseba. It was told to us by Maureen herself.

Is what we are seeing today different from what we have seen over the years? The answer is a categorical no. Not all who are shouting endorsements, loyalty, respect and love for Michael really love him. What most of these people are interested in are the benefits of being near power; they are simply interested in eating. When the eating finishes, when Michael loses the ability to dispense favours to them through appointments and all other forms of patronage, their loyalty, their love, their respect for him,will also disappear. So, there is very little of value to all these demonstrations of loyalty, respect, love and support for Michael. These are simply acts of opportunists trying to run away from what they did to Michael in the past. These are simply acts of people trying to evade being called upon to account for their past attitude towards Michael. There is no true loyalty towards Michael from some of these elements. Some of them only started moving towards Michael when they saw that his chances of being president were increasing. And most of these elements took no risk whatsoever to try and put Michael in power.

Today, some of these elements can even threaten to remove from the party people like Dr Guy Scott, an unquestionably loyal disciple of Michael; a man who believed so much in Michael even before the MMD came to power in 1991 and who has been with him through thick and thin; a man who even welcomed to the Patriotic Front the same ungrateful elements who now want to get rid of him. And we are not joking when we say Dr Scott has been threatened with being sorted out after Wynter Kabimba has been sorted out. This was said to his face by a known PF member and minister of this government.

But there are lessons to be learnt from all this. Those in leadership need to open their eyes and ears to see and hear the truth about all these opportunists and extremists purporting to be ready to die for them. How many of these characters were ready before the 2011 elections to die for Michael? Maybe we can say there are some people like Judge Ngoma, who took so many risks trying to protect the then threatened life of their leader, Michael. But you do not hear Judge all the time parading himself trying to convince Michael and others of how loyal he is to him. Why? It is simply because it is a well-known fact; he proved his loyalty when it was very risky to do so. An act of genuine love and kindness is best repaid by the self-consciousness of having done it.

And moreover, Judge's loyalty to Michael is personal and not for exhibition. It is those who were far away from Michael at the time when he faced his greatest problems and challenges that are today battling to hide the past and rewrite history, who are every day struggling to justify their stay.

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