Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mwamba - tambala obvumbwa
By Editor
Fri 01 Nov. 2013, 14:00 CAT

Emmanuel Mwamba deserved to be fired. He is lucky he was retired in national interest. But anyway, it amounts to the same thing - he is out of government employment.

It is true that Mwamba used his position as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information to serve personal ends.

It was not difficult for one to reach the conclusion that Mwamba, abusing the faith placed in him by President Michael Sata, followed a path that departed from the norms of the appointing authority. Mwamba organised things in the Ministry of Information to pursue personal ends.

Mwamba forgot the fact that he was a civil servant and started to operate like he was a politician. We saw more of Mwamba on television than the Minister of Information, who is a politician. Mwamba was more in the state-owned newspapers than any permanent secretary, deputy minister, Cabinet minister in this government. He was more covered by the state-owned media than even the Vice-President of the Republic.

Mwamba had no respect for any senior government official other than those who belonged to the political camp that he had joined. It was very clear that Mwamba had joined the anti-Wynter Kabimba group and treated everyone who he thought was not in his group with no respect. Mwamba could even order journalists working for state-owned media institutions not to cover the Vice-President and other ministers he was opposed to.

What Mwamba forgot is that all these other people in government were also appointees of the same President that appointed him. And most of these people he was fighting were much closer politically to the President than Mwamba himself.

Clearly, Mwamba took on too much and pushed his luck too far. He thought Michael Sata was Frederick Chiluba or Rupiah Banda. Who doesn't know where Mwamba came from? He might have leaked a few things here and there to the Patriotic Front leadership in opposition to earn himself some appointment. But that's not a ticket for one to become insolent and disrespectful of others. Anyway, mercenaries are for hire and once the assignment is completed, they should be paid off and kept away until the next assignment. Mwamba is a mercenary with no loyalty to anyone. We all know that Mwamba got where he got because of not being loyal. If Mwamba was loyal to Rupiah and others he worked with, he wouldn't have gotten the job he got in the Patriotic Front government.

But mercenaries will always remain mercenaries. And Mwamba remains a mercenary and will always be a mercenary. To get their way around things, mercenaries have to be dishonest, have to lie. And Mwamba is such a big liar - he can lie about anything big and small. If you can lie, what else can you not do? If you can lie, you can steal. How can one explain Mwamba's behaviour? How can a person who not very long ago was very close to Rupiah and the MMD, and posted all sorts of things on the Watchdog against the Patriotic Front, try and be more Patriotic Front than anybody else?

The other thing is Mwamba was too excited with his new appointment. And as the President correctly observed, Mwamba started to feel he was more intelligent than anybody else when he was nothing but a simple liar, crook, mercenary. But everything has got a time. We hope Mwamba has learnt something and will behave himself wherever he may go to take up a new job, assignment. We will not be surprised to see all sorts of things about this government and Michael on the Watchdog posted by Mwamba. We shouldn't forget that Mwamba has a criminal case in the High Court pending judgment concerning his activities to malign people on the Watchdog. But as they say, ubuchenjeshi bwa nkoko pungwa tasakamana.

When you are given what you don't deserve, there is need to be grateful to those who may be more deserving than you who have not been given what you have been given. Don't try to belittle or undermine them. There are many deserving citizens much closer to the President, people who played a more valuable role politically and otherwise to enable the Patriotic Front to win the last elections than Mwamba. But they have not been that lucky to be given what Mwamba was given. They are not fools. Mwamba is not much cleverer than them.
In a very short time, Mwamba nearly turned the state-owned media to what it was under Rupiah. Yes, Mwamba was very close to the state media that Rupiah controlled, but we don't think that is the media this government wants for this country and for itself.

Mwamba turned the state-owned media into personal property for promoting and executing his personal political agendas and those of his friends. This is not the way civil servants work or should work. But Mwamba doesn't seem to learn. And because of this, he could not survive in the civil service. The things the President said about him were very strong; those were very strong words from a person who has appointed you, who has given you a job.

Mwamba did not push the state media forward; he actually destabilised it in a very short time. And the decision by the President to remove him from the civil service was timely. Anyway, that's what happens when one is given power he has not worked for and has no sense of gratitude, humility or modesty. Power one has not struggled for easily gets to one's head and can easily be abused. But also, power one has not struggled for can easily be lost, and Mwamba has lost it.

It is very easy for power to get to one's head. And it doesn't need to be a lot of power. Power does corrupt and it doesn't need to be political power. It could be simple posts, functions or responsibilities. We have seen people change immediately they are given some important posts, important functions, important responsibilities, which is usually what is called power. Some people begin to change, to be deformed, as soon as they have a little responsibility - a little, not much, power - and we think that, the more power people have, the greater the risk; that's a fact. We think it requires being aware of the danger and ever alert, ever vigilant against it. Power should never be viewed as something that is personal, that is yours, something that is to be enjoyed.

Rather, we should look at power - or authority, as some people like to call it, as the tool of a legitimate cause. Mwamba should look at the way the President uses the power he holds - the man has not changed in any way. He still speaks the same way he used to speak and still has the same friends he used to have.

He still wears the same old double-breasted suits he used to have before he became President. He has not tried to change himself by completely changing his wardrobe as many people do when their status changes. Power has not changed him. Instead of power changing him, he is actually changing it. He is still the Michael Sata one has known over the years and he still cracks the same old jokes of his - though recently he has added a new one that doesn't seem to be going well with many people, that of mocking people for shaving their heads. We know he has lived his life carrying an Afro hairstyle, but not everyone has his type of hair and of course times change, Afros are out of style and fashion. This is his only new joke - everything else about Michael is still the same.

Power has not gotten to his head, yet this is the man who has struggled so much in his life politically and otherwise to be where he is today. Nobody made Michael President. Michael made himself President. It is not the little assistance that many people extended to him that really count for his being where he is today. It is his own tireless effort, persistence, focus, sense of purpose, tenacity, full utilisation of his God-given talents, personal discipline that made Michael be where he is today. We can all claim credit for having done this or that to make him President. But how many other people have received such similar assistance or even more but never became presidents? And all he does is to give thanks to the Lord for giving him the responsibility He has given him and ensure that he uses it to fulfil His wishes and those of His people, especially the poor and disadvantaged. Instead of having a victory party, Michael had a thanksgiving Mass.

Everyone today is laughing at Mwamba. Those he brutalised are laughing at him. No one sees him as being clever. Anyway, that's how those who are pompous, those who lack humility are humbled. Mwamba today looks like a soaked chicken, tambala obvumbwa. And tambala obvumbwa alibe musika. Again, we should remind ourselves of the fact that the exercise of power must be a constant practice of self-limitation and modesty.

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