A wise Bemba saying “wilaikala pacipuna nowamatako ayakulu” warns against sharing a seat with a person with big buttocks because that person is likely to unseat you in the long run. This is true in principle and in reality.
In reality, if you decide to share your seat with someone who is blessed with an enormous behind, you must be ready to give up your chair eventually. The same applies in principle; if you incompetently embark on a project, and you decide to incorporate smarter brains on your idea, those intelligent people are capable of taking over the innovation. They can take all the credit for the positive achievements and leave you to deal with the negative fallout.
This is what is happening to the PF as they create room for more MMD members. What has happened to Chishimba Kambwili, the Roan member of parliament, was very expected. It may be seen as good or bad, depending on which political divide you are observing from, but it was just a matter of time. We have also noted that very few people have expressed sympathy for Mr Kambwili. In fact, some are mocking him, saying “the expulsion is global”; that “he made his bed and it is his time to lie in it”. Others are telling him to go and use ZNBC, Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail to complain about injustice, since he rubbished the role of private media when he was information minister. But at News Diggers! we welcome the former minister. We will cover him professionally, without prejudice or malice, because he remains a Zambian citizen with the right to freedom of expression. The only thing we can hope for is that honourable Kambwili will now show those who were being oppressed by the PF how he expected them to deal with the ruling party’s iron fist when he was the dispenser of injustice.
Anyway, we will now leave posterity to judge Mr Kambwili. Instead, we would like to express our opinion on the rise of MMD in green PF colours. On July 6, President Edgar Lungu said he was not ready to form a government of national unity. Yes, maybe not with the UPND, but we feel he is actually presiding over a PF-MMD coalition government already. This is a government that is being run by two presidents of two political parties – Edgar Lungu of PF in charge of politics and MMD’s Felix Mutati responsible for the economy. President Lungu and his ministers Stephen Kampyongo, Davies Chama, David Mabumba, Jean Kapata and others are running national politics. They are the militant bunch in control of the much-needed military power, source of money from the energy sector and land – a valuable political commodity. On the other hand, president Mutati and his ministers Margaret Mwanakatwe, Siliya, Mulusa, Mwale and others are running the economy. They are in control of the Treasury, Agriculture, National Development and Local Government. These ‘MMD ministers’ are responsible for Zambia’s economic outlook and micro-economic stability. How is this not a coalition government? A negligible one or two opposition MPs in government is a different issue, this an alliance government.
On May 3, 2015, Kambwili said “I would rather sell my soul to the devil than accept Dora Siliya who was insulting Michael Sata, as a member of PF”; Siliya is now full Cabinet minister and Kambwili is out. In fact, not only is Siliya a PF member of parliament and Cabinet minister, she is also a Member of the Central Committee that sat to expel Kambwili.
Emmanuel Chenda, Bob Sichinga, Dr Ngosa Simbyakula and several other Michael Sata’s Cabinet appointees are out of government; somehow replaced by Siliya, Lucky Mulusa, Victoria Kalima, Vincent Mwale and others. The same day Mr Kambwili was expelled from the ruling party, Mr Mwale was appointed to replace him as Member of the Central Committee. Clearly, the gigantic MMD buttocks are gaining steady grip of the PF’s seat.
It may not occur to President Edgar Lungu at this stage that these ‘MMD ministers’ he picked from Rupiah Banda’s school are much more skilled than those from the PF wing whom he is presiding over. They have political experience, they are careful with their statements, they don’t easily anger the public; they are cunning. This is not to say they are clean, far from it. They are as dirty as some PF ministers, if not dirtier. However, they are skilled at telling the public what it needs to hear.
For example, Zambians think finance minister Felix Mutati is honest about high indebted the country is becoming, yet somehow he is able to continue borrowing. People still think highly of him and hold his views in high esteem. Margaret Mwanakatwe might be mocked as a Muzungu in black skin, but she is definitely not a scatterbrain. She is exposed enough to know when to play politics and when to prey on politics. Even Dora Siliya, apart from her ridiculed private life, people respect her intelligence and political resilience. This is a woman whose 2011 election as Petauke MP was petitioned by the PF and she lost the seat. We don’t need to repeat how fast she is today rising to the top of the party that detested her. We understand that Ms Siliya even had the privilege of refusing a proposed appointment as information minister and government spokesperson under President Lungu, saying she did not want to start defending the proclamations left behind by Michael Sata.
We would not be surprised if one or two of these ‘MMD ministers’ have already started conceiving the idea of leading the PF in future; after all, they are Members of the Central Committee and Guy Scott, who is former vice-president, has no say on the party he brought to power.
Meanwhile, those who are annoying the people with careless statements are Cabinet ministers of PF pedigree. Ministers like Stephen Kampyongo and David Mabumba who were suggesting extrajudicial killing on the floor of the National Assembly, encouraging police to shoot on site. This is not pleasing conduct to those who voted for Kampyongo and Mabumba, it is definitely not a pleasing state of affairs for those who voted to get rid of the MMD and its corruption.
We understand that those who wanted Mr Rupiah Banda to continue in power find this MMD encroachment very progressive. However, we feel President Lungu must prove that he is a leader worth his salt by making PF more popular as a stand-alone party than he found it. President Lungu must show that he has the political clout to kick the MMD away and win an election alone like Michael Sata did to the UPND before winning the 2011 polls. That’s is how people will respect him.
We don’t think it is wise for him to recall the ‘fallen’ MMD heroes to come and hold the PF together, and claim that the party is becoming more popular.
We would like to warn President Lungu that the Camel’s nose is getting too far deep into his tent, and soon its buttocks will push him off the seat. This may not happen by ‘MMD ministers’ overthrowing him, but he is risking his presidency to the Zambian people. Those who voted against Mr Rupiah Banda and his ministers still have their voters’ cards; and if they decide to vote the MMD out again, President Lungu will be the greatest casualty.