What is left to say about our Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa that we haven’t said already? Nothing! But yet, it is still so hard to ignore his continued controversy. Today we find ourselves still asking the same question about this young, enterprising Zambian politician who seems to be on a free fall from stardom. How did an upcoming star political leader, with so much going for him, get to this level, where people begin to question his sanity?
In our interview with this Lusaka Mayor, two months ago, we explicitly asked him if he was running mad. Some readers felt that we were deliberately being malicious with the aim of putting the civic leader’s name into disrepute. That is not true at all. News Diggers enjoys a cordial relationship with the Lusaka Mayor who has a long-standing history with its editors; but it is also the responsibility of this newspaper to put this personal relationship aside and interrogate this elected leader’s performance on behalf of the electorate.
In our previous opinion, we recalled that in 2014, Miles Sampa was the closest contender to the PF presidency. Either him or Mr Edgar Lungu was going to take over from Michael Sata. They both seemed to be equal competitors as they battled to the extent of dividing the ruling party – Inonge Wina leading the Edgar Lungu faction and Guy Scott pushing the Miles Sampa agenda.
Several people within and outside PF felt sad after the much younger, less controversial and more sober presidential aspirant lost the bid to be on the ballot paper. Miles Sampa was widely perceived as the new generation leader, and because he demonstrated that he had his eyes affixed on future prospects of leading the country, his departure from PF attracted a lot of followers.
We also recalled how when he succeeded to form the United Democratic Front Party, which propelled him to the leadership of the Orange Alliance, he commanded so much respect for Eric Chanda and Elias Chipimo (whose political parties were older) to pave way for him. Miles Sampa was the new generation hero.
But they say everything happens for a reason. Against all odds, God has allowed Miles Sampa to bounce back into political leadership, so that the people of Zambia can experience a snippet of what it would be like to live under his Presidency.
We wonder if those in the Patriotic Front knew that this is what they were sponsoring to the office of Mayor, or they are also as shocked as the rest of the Lusaka residents. One morning you see the Mayor posturing with a gun to shoot his political enemies, then you hear the party leadership counseling him. The other morning you hear that the Mayor of Lusaka has appointed his own acting Mayor against the law, quickly we see the Attorney General and the Ministry of Local government sitting him down.
If we were to be frank, we would liken this situation to that family that decides to, in the spirit of promoting equal opportunities, appoint a retarded son to manage a very sensitive business, while keeping their eyes on him, lest they find he has burnt down the whole place.
We woke up to some hilarious pictures just the other morning, showing the Mayor of Lusaka distributing toffee sweets to prisoners. From eating lunch worth K700 to distributing retro sweets worth K20 to hundreds of prisoners. Well, we don’t want to call this insanity, but let’s look at it this way; this is the thinking capacity of the overall boss of Zambia’s capital city. This guy really loves controversy, for whatever reason. Can someone out there imagine a Zambia under Miles Sampa’s presidency.
We have no option but to join those who are asking these questions: Is there a curse in the office of Lusaka Mayor? Could it be that some aggrieved PF member who wanted the position has bewitched His Worship the Mayor? Or is this a case of clinical depression caused by divorce for a man who was so deeply in love with his wife? There has to be an answer somewhere. We shouldn’t just watch and create joke about him when we can clearly see that something is wrong.
Yes, we do not think that President Edgar Lungu is the best that Zambia can offer, but if there is nothing wrong that has happened to Miles Sampa. If this is whom he has always been; then indeed it was a better curse to have the so-called drunkard in State House than entrusting this sober guy with the responsibility of making presidential decisions. Sadly the Mayoral position is sinking Mr Miles Sampa further instead of restoring him back to his glory days in politics.