It is madness to appoint a district intelligence officer as Director General of the Intelligence, that is why the system has broken down irretrievably, says Wynter Kabimba.
And Kabimba says the autocracy of UNIP was better than the current democracy that Zambia is being governed under.
In an interview, Kabimba said he was so proud of himself that he did not vote for Frederick Chiluba in 1991.
“I would rather go back to the days of UNIP. What we have now is chaos. I think Kaunda run a system which was extremely predictable. I could predict my career prospects in UNIP. Yes, it was based on patronage but it also had an element of meritocracy. I joined the Lusaka City Council myself straight from the University, I didn’t have a fallback, I had no uncle who was in politics, there was nobody that I spoke to, it was purely that I just applied for a job and I was taken and I rose to become Town Clerk, purely on merit. It had an element of meritocracy which is lacking now. There is no meritocracy now, it is all purely patronage. For example, we knew that a Director General of ZNBC is a person from the Office of the President under Kaunda because it is a state security establishment. It is not just to disseminate TV with pictures, no! We knew for example that the Director General of Zamtel would be from the Office of the President, somebody with state security training and consciousness to protect the country. How can I not be envious of that system? Because I believe in order, that’s my character. Right now we don’t have order,” Kabimba said.
“I don’t know whether you monitored my programme on Joy Fm where I said ‘it is madness to appoint a district intelligence officer to become Director General of the Office of the President’, it is madness. That is when systems started breaking down irretrievably and they have continued. Under Kaunda we knew that after you are DIO, you must become PIO, after that, you must become a director at the Red Brick. You can’t come from nowhere and become a Director General of Intelligence and vested with state security. For me, I always say that I am proud of myself that in 1991, I voted for Kaunda, I didn’t vote for Chiluba and I have no regrets and with hindsight, I was right. Because I looked at most of the guys that were in MMD, they had been arrested by Kaunda for corruption, running Mandrax drugs and I said to myself ‘Wynter, how can these guys run a country?’ I was pretty young that time and I was right.”
Kabimba said African countries, including Zambia, were sliding downwards due to lack of strong political parties and civil society movements.
“If we don’t have strong political parties, if we don’t have a strong civil society movement, basically to demand for accountability from those that are in government and demand accountability purely on the basis of what is right and wrong, we are always going to slide downwards. What I have seen myself is that bad leadership produces worse leadership at election time because the people concentrate so much on the wrongs of the bad leadership and forget about who is coming in until they fellow puts his foot in the doorway. That’s what we saw with Kaunda. There’s nobody who can convince me that Chiluba was better than Kaunda even in my grave. Up to today, Kaunda is still better than Chiluba morally, ethically, the leadership style, in terms of personal discipline, leadership discipline, Kaunda is still better than Chiluba. But because people got so tired of Kaunda, they didn’t care who was coming in so we got a worse leadership. That is the problem with bad leadership,” Kabimba said.
“See what is happening in Sudan now? They have removed Al Bashir, and within the shortest period of time, they have killed as many people as Al Bashir killed in 30 years. The people were chanting for change and they thought what was wrong was just Al Bashir. Now they discover, he was not the only problem, now that he is out, they have worse problems. That is the problem with Africa and you can document this from country to country. We are sliding downwards unless we can have strong political parties that practice internal democracy, mutual respect for one another, where no one human being is glorified, where there is a collectivity of decision making and we have a civil society movement which is accountable to the Zambian people more than those that are financing it. That is my hope. We have multiple factors that have to be properly synchronised and configured for us to move forward.”
Meanwhile, Kabimba wondered how the Economic Association of Zambia could assure Zambians that the economy was growing amidst serious challenges.
“How is it possible that the Economic Association of Zambia every time come to tell us that the economy is growing? Every time, every year, how is that possible? Even in the United States of America which is the largest economy in the world, we hear them at times telling us that the economy has slowed down, it is not growing. But here, in a small country with a GDP of less than a thousand dollars, the economy is always growing because you want consultancy from the donors. How can you move forward? And those of us that are educated are the most dangerous people to this society, not even the fellows in Mandevu because we are the ones that want to please the donors; speak English with an accent, dine with them and you feel a sense of importance,” said Kabimba.