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Fixing the fixers – why lynch KBF for his honesty?

By Chimwemwe Mwanza

The fact that lying is necessary to grow a political party and by extention strengthen political leader’s ambitions is a questionable but terrifying character of politics. In large measure, this explains why politicians seem to have an ingrained propensity to lying and manipulation. Begs the question, is it possible to trust a politician’s word?

It is astonishing just how accustomed we have grown to being lied to – the extent of which includes rebuffing politicians that care to share a modicum of truth on issues of national interest. In his own words, Kelvin Bwalya Fube (KBF) is in politics not for servitude but to advance a personal ambition, which he hopes to achieve through his new formation. Ghastly as his justification for launching his Zambia Must Prosper (ZMP) outfit were, the public’s responce to his party has been very lukewarm, downright dismissive to be precise. But there you have it, KBF is in politics to fix President Hakainde Hichilema – an honest confession from a scorned politician.

He is aggrieved that the President failed to reward him for helping the UPND and Alliance partners to dislodge the PF from power. Just like the other Ministers from the Alliance partners serving this government, all he wanted was a role – however miniscule. What did he get instead? Nada. That said, should we be chastising politicians for their honesty, especially in this environment where truth is in short supply? Shouldn’t we rather applaud those that chose to speak truth to the public?

That the ZMP leader has a chequered history is fact, yet we risk losing this opportune moment for inflection if we chose to focus on the slander now being thrown at KBF. It is surprisingly convenient that reasons for the President’s decision to exclude KBF from his government are only being brought to the fore after he served divorce papers on the UPND and its partners in the governing coalition. Put differently, would the ruling party have disclosed reasons for excluding him from government if the relations between the parties had been more than cordial?

It’s troubling that our discourse is contaminated with so many paragons of morality masquerading as puritans. Interestingly, the unintended consequence of KBF’s confession is that he has also served to remind political schizophrenics that all Zambian political formations were founded on nothing but grievance politics. In other words each of these opposition leaders had or still harbours a desire to fix their opponents in one way or the other. Therefore, the notion that servitude is a motivation to aspiring for political office is fallacious.
MMD, UPND, PF & SP are all products of grievance politics

Zambia’s return to plural politics was a seminal moment. It allowed for a convergence of multitudes of politicians – most of whom were aggrieved by Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s 27-year reign and stranglehold on political power. Led by Dr Mbita Chitala and Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika among others, the outcome of the famous Garden house gathering in 1990 culminated into launch of the MMD. Its objective was to fix then President Dr Kenneth Kaunda by dislodging UNIP from power. Fielding Frederick Chiluba – a fiery trade unionist then turned Kaunda’s foe – MMD executed its mission with aplomb sending UNIP – a party with strong struggle credentials into political oblivion.

Keen to exploit a potential leadership vacuum in MMD created by Chiluba’s inept leadership, Anderson Mazoka – who by then was a top-class business executive, quit the private sector to Join MMD. However, his political ambitions were too naked for the likes of Micheal Sata who by then had assumed control of the MMD secretariat. And Sata affectionately called King cobra stung Mazoka’s ambitions effectively hounding him out of MMD. Embittered and downtrodden, Mazoka retreated to his ‘Kumalende home’ to lick his wounds and from where he plotted his next political move – to fix the MMD collective.

It is a fact, Mazoka’s decision to form UPND was born out of a need to create for himself a secure base from where he would launch his Presidential ambitions, unhindered. And he came close to achieving this goal but for a systemic rigging of the 2011 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, he was beaten to the post by the thinnest of margins by the MMD’s Levy Mwanawasa. Conversely, it was Chiluba’s preference for Mwanawasa as the MMD candidate for the same polls that upset Sata, leading to the launch of the PF. By forming PF, Sata’s mission was to fix both Chiluba and the MMD. In 2011 Sata achieved his long-desired goal, with the PF ultimately dispatching the MMD from power.

His death however, resulted in a vicious power struggle in the PF prompting the resignation of party strongman, Wynter Kabimba. A bitter Kabimba working in partnership with Fred Mmembe launched the Rainbow party with the intention of using this as a springboard to removing PF from power. However their bromance failed the test of time and collapsed acrimoniously in the most inexplicable circumstances with Mmembe forming the Socialist Party. Kabimba has since disbanded Rainbow party to form the Economic Front.

Off significance, this political tapestry captures an underlying but important message. Zambian politicians that have played the grievance card so well have ultimately succeeded in forming government. And while it may seem a tall order for KBF, nothing should derail his attempts to replicate this formula. Give him a Bells please.

About the Author: Mwanza is nothing but a patriot. The only thing he supports is Kabwe Warriors and Liverpool. For feedback contact: [email protected]