May 11, 2020
There is a Tonga adage that says “muyanda ngowajisi nguwali sulwe”, laterally interpreted as what you thought was a mere root as you were digging a hare from a hole was actually the leg of the hare. Ever heard about it? My discourse on Vantage Point this week focuses on the stone that the builders rejected, which now has proven to be the headstone of the corner.
Electronic media has its own way of disseminating, promoting, augmenting and propagating issues perceived to be of public interest. Of late, the social side of the electronic media has been awash with BALLY hashtags from the cross section of the Zambian users. Knowing the multifaceted applicability of the term BALLY, it took me a bit of time to understand the precise context in which it was being used this time around.
He has been ridiculed for all people would like, he has been called a thief without a single court conviction, he has been called a Mason despite confessing his faith, he has been called stingy for being a camera-shy philanthropist, he has been called a cow despite being more human than most of his accusers, he has been called a villager by those who found him already living in the city when they came, he has been called tribal by those whose daily bread is spewing regional hatred, even when he himself has been preaching national unity at every opportunity.
If there are politicians who have been abused in Zambia, there is one who dwarfs them all in every sense of the vice. Very interesting to note though, is the way he has reacted to all this inhumane treatment he has suffered at the hands of those that do not even qualify to be his house helps. Save for a few like Chilufya Tayali, who wept like a toddler at the sight of a doctor with a syringe, begging for forgiveness, he has seldom responded to personal attacks.
Dead to all manoeuvres by different regimes to discourage him from realising his dream to deliver his country from the jaws of poverty, HH has proven to be the epitome of consistency and determination. From the time he appeared on the Zambian political scene in 2001, this is the politician who has not departed an inch from his message for Zambians. His political doctrine looks to be cast in stone.
For those who care to follow the political path through which this country has moved since the dawn of this millennium, can someone mention the political parties and their presidents, that have since come and gone? Plenty, aren’t they? How about those whose existence at the barest minimum hardly goes beyond their ability to renew their registration with the Registrar of Societies and at most play surrogacy to the ruling party of the day?
It is not by sheer chance that the UPND has been able to survive the challenges of being in opposition for this long. With all the political turbulences that the UPND has been able to survive over the years and the leadership of one man, it would absolutely be in order for one to suppose that this is all down to a combination of the patience and resilience of the man at the helm.
Seeing how HH has been able to gel the official opposition party in this country against the increasingly hostile odds, has he not been vindicated from the assertion by his haters that his ascension to the party presidency was not based on merit but tribe? There is a Bemba adage that says, “icikwanka bacimwena kumpalanya”, interpreted as you shall know them by their fruits. Where are all those that left the UPND on account of tribal business?
Fair enough! Unpalatable words could have been used by some individuals in regard to the filling of the void left by the party founder, Mr Anderson Mazoka, after his demise. But how long shall we as a country deny ourselves the services of this son of the soil on account of the careless talk of some individuals, some of whom could even be dead by now? How long shall we hold ourselves ransom to the careless talk of some people?
Realising how unbeatable and unstoppable he has been in issue-based political campaigns, his political opponents have, for the longest time, sought to drown his voice of reason in the pool of their tribal smear campaign. They have successfully managed to hoodwink some gullible citizens to buy into their hate speeches, convincing many to believe that they would suffer if HH became Republican president, dog, my cat!
Most recently to be seen propagating this mundane tribal sermon in front of his own grandchildren somewhere was someone as grown up and educated as Christopher Yaluma. Seeing a man of his social standing shamelessly engage in such decisive talk in public made me imagine how safe this country is with men of his calibre as leaders. He is such an insult not only to his appointing authorities but also to both parenthood and education, isn’t he?
Unfortunately, enough for those that have been clinging to tribalism as their political trump card, Zambians have moved on. With all the economic variables yo-yoing in instability due to poor management and the entire economy teetering at the verge of total collapse, Zambians have in retrospect found the prime enemy responsible for their suffering; themselves.
For reasons that should be obvious, one of the most dangerous of foes is the one within. Had we not allowed politicians to play on our minds and alienate us at almost every level of possible unity, our situation would not have been this shameful. As if blinded by a spell, it has taken the people of Zambia a really long time to realise that the potential solution to our almost collapsing economic building is actually the brick that the builders have been ignoring.
In his usual unrelenting style, HH has for the past 14 years been trying to explain to us Zambians the right way government is supposed to handle national affairs. Regardless of the insults he has received for saying sensible things, he has not been discouraged. Has he not been justified to those that have been vilifying him as speaking out of bitterness, seeing that his message is not only in conformity with that of civil society, but is also nothing but the truth.
In his individual capacity, HH has, for as long as many have known him, been their a role model in many aspects of his life. To the business world, he has been one of the reference point of excellence. To the corporate world, the hope of life outside formal employment and to families, a testimony of the possibility of uprightness in riches. What personal issues do you then have with him?
For the sake of our country, won’t we for once give way to reason and stop attaching personal feelings in matters that merely require our logical thinking? I have heard someone say, “ I cannot vote for so and so because I hate him naturally”. What does love and hate have to do with national governance? I have also heard someone reducing the choice of a president to such things as personal looks and how someone dresses. What is wrong with us?
My message to the UPND leader is that the political cataract has fallen from the eyes of the majority of Zambians. They have seen your consistency and persistence in matters that have been affecting this country. They have also seen the precision with which things that you have predicted have come to pass.
As things stand, you are the cornerstone that we have rejected all these years, that through your consistency and by your hard-to-crash personality, has proven to be the headstone that will save this building called the Zambian economy from tumbling into ruins. Your political clout has festered throughout the country and people are yearning to hear your voice of hope.
The crucial thing to do between now and 2021 is to find ways to make the bonfire around which your supporters are gathered even bigger, and sustain its flames till election time. Many people are willing to come and warm their hope around your fire of hope but there are a lot of barriers that are hindering them.
Please open all the gangways to your fireplace and allow all those who have been left in the cold by the regime, whose hearts are heavy laden with economic maladies to come and re-energise their hope for the help that you have been saying is coming sooner than later.
To achieve this, please charge your ranks to be more accommodative to new comers. Let them be the stepping stones, and not the stumbling blocks to those who may want to join your family, which had been growing at the speed of knots of late.
Even as an away team, you are on the front foot and because the home team is defending from their eighteen yard box, they are already down by two own goals. All that is needed is to “faka pressure”, continue putting pressure because even as chances of more own goals from your panicking opponents are get extremely higher.
If you think l am speaking from without, just look at how your Bally1 name has taken the entire country by storm. Within days of its coining, it was running riot across all the social media platforms. Such ripple effects can only be a sure feedback of how ripe the harvest is.
Though your opponents may seek to downplay its impact, trust me it keeps them awake at night. The game is entirely yours to lose, you can trust the signal. Hoping you will heed my advice and win, I can’t wait for my I-told-you-so moment with you Bally1.