Authors Posts by Field Ruwe

Field Ruwe

Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner and author. He is a PhD candidate with a B.A. in Mass Communication and Journalism, and an M.A. in History.


By Field Ruwe

Field Ruwe
Field Ruwe
Excuse me! Let me speak. If you let me I shall speak calmly and rationally. When I am done let come on me what may for I have staked my life in order to fulfill nothing less than a dream for my country. The dream is nothing too big than to see a place in the world that changed the thinking of its people; a place that changed Africa. It is an impossible dream, I know, but so was the one about landing on the moon.

In speaking to you I am driven by the following words: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world.” The source of these inspiring words is Harriet Tubman, a courageous woman who led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom along the route of the Underground Railroad.

I know you too are a dreamer. You dream in the magic of the night. Together we are 14 million dreamers. But like Yoko Ono said: “A dream you dream alone is only a dream, a dream you dream together is reality.” When you dream alone, you fantasize only to wake up and realize it was only a dream. Some of you by dint of your perseverance and remarkable acumen are able to realize some of your dreams. Many of you have failed, and when you have, you have failed yourself, and your family.

One of the most tragic things about Zambians is our failure to dream together; to advance passionately in the direction of our dream, and endeavor to live a life that befits all. The poorly educated, many who are illiterate and often blockheaded, and the few learned, many who are proud, selfish, narcissistic, and inept, make it impossible for us to create a Zambian Dream. This is our anathema; it is what has made it impossible to propel ourselves onward to new and heretofore incredible heights.

It is the lack of a Zambian Dream that has rendered our politics crappy and a huge disaster. Indeed, it is this lack of a Zambian Dream that attracts people of low morality to our politics. As currently evidenced our political arena is thronging with an incredibly large passel of ignorant, visionless, corrupt, re-circled, and get-rich-quick politicians whom we have little choice but to deal with as best as we can.

Take Edgar Lungu for instance, it is clear he is visionless, and has no steering current. He is so myopic he is wallowing in Sata’s turbulent legacy. Who says Sata’s legacy is exemplary? As president, Sata, to his fault, failed to share his dream with the people of Zambia. He wanted to run the country all by himself. Everything was about him. For more than three years his dreams were laid on a foundation of sand on which he built his own Government and created his own rules.

Sata lacked the desire to tap on the talent and intelligence of Zambians and use them to build a modern nation. He hated good performers because he feared they might take the limelight away from him, and he publicly lambasted the incompetent because they made him look bad. He failed to understand that his success as a president hinged on producing good leaders. Instead, he focused on attempting to produce more followers. He willed his own transformation and enthralled members of his party in an awe of what was in reality a mirage. In the end his style proved disastrous, generating as it has greater hostility in the PF, and leaving the party and the country at the precipice.

Sata’s legacy is not exemplary leadership, and yet, it is what Lungu intends to propagate. Lungu and many in the PF can’t see that Sata foundered. It is irrational of Lungu to become Sata’s copycat and replicate a chaotic reign. Also, it is iniquitous of him to enter a presidential race without a vision. He who leads on the vision of others lacks passion and therefore fails to provide direction or the drive to advance. He is like a fireman who rushes to the burning scene without water.

Unless Edgar Lungu defines his own vision, he will take us nowhere. I like Lungu as a person, but sadly he is not daring and different. He is uncharismatic, uncreative, and impractical. He is buried in Sata’s thoughts. He does not understand that visionlessness is failure; that one’s vision is a valuable asset. Given a choice between him and Miles Sampa, I would go for the latter. Sampa is a young dreamer.

I like Rupiah Banda as well. He and his likes are the reason I launched “Hunt for Successor” in 2011. I had hoped that Banda and the late Michael Sata would be the last of the septuagenarians (70 to 79) to rule the country. During their terms in office, Frederick Chiluba, Rupiah Banda, and Michael Sata were bereft of a true egalitarian vision. They lamentably failed to advance change; to raise a wakeup call and turn a dreamless and visionless country into a nation of collective practical dreamers responsible for their country’s destiny.

These three presidents, concealed behind a pretense of commitment, projected an ambiguous image of hope which in reality produced a false sense of expectation. Under them we continued to witness mining and industrial mortgaging and outright obliteration. Instead of glooming and flowering talented and educated Zambians, among them, engineers, metallurgists, geologists, innovators, and inventors, they groveled to bribes and sold our mines and other industries, completely breaking the spine of our nation. Corruption, and deception, continued to be the country’s modus-operandi.

It therefore breaks my heart to see Rupiah Banda trying to make a comeback. First, I did not think Banda, a man the world holds in high esteem for handing over power peacefully in 2011, would be overly self-centered and so desperate as to turn into a brute, and in typical hyena style, snatch the presidential candidacy from Nevers Mumba. Banda is a good example of avarice and greed being alive and well in Zambian politics. It is these two words, “avarice” and “greed” that have been the driving force behind our failure as Zambians. “Avarice” is defined as one’s insatiable desire to gain and hoard wealth. This is what is at play as Banda begrudges personal wealth.

By conducting a coup de grace on Mumba and the MMD, Banda has showed us that he is a run of the mill heartless and rapacious politician who does not care whether we advance as a people or not. One thing for certain is he will not win because he will not be able to string the MMD together in time for the elections. Between now and then, we shall see massive cross-carpeting and defections. Come January 21, 2015, the MMD will be as dead as UNIP, maybe worse, and Rupiah Banda will grapple with irredeemable dishonor.

As the ruling PF party is hounded by manipulators and schemers, and tragicomic power squabbles continue to consume it, and as fatal battles brew in the MMD, the presidency is for Hakainde Hichilema of UNPD to lose. Before I proceed, let me make it categorically clear that at no time has Hichilema paid for my articles. I do not know him. I may have been less critical of him over the years not because I am a member or support his party, which I am neither, but because my main target was president Michael Sata whom I had seen depart from his campaign promises and plan his own divisive and destructive political game. He created for himself uncontrollable and arbitrary power which if remained unchecked would have led to a one-party state.

The demise of president Sata and the brittleness of the PF party have left Hichilema within striking distance. Unlike Lungu and Banda, Hichilema has made appreciable strides and his vision is well articulated. From the speeches he has given this far, it is clear he is inspired by hope and a better tomorrow. Born in 1962, he is what this country needs; a young intelligent and healthy president who can bring greatness to Zambia; one who represents idealism and a “Zambia shall succeed” spirit; one who will not hesitate to designate duties or offer opportunities to some of Zambia’s most intelligent driven young minds.

By virtue of his age, passion, and vision, he is the Holy Grail I set to seek back in September 2011 when I wrote my first “Hunt for Successor” article. I was looking for someone who would symbolize an end to stagnation and a beginning to prosperity; one who would change Zambia’s history and the culture of ineptness. I was looking for a youthful politician who would tackle the extremely high inflation, as well as the high unemployment rate, and show Zambians in rural and urban areas how to make a decent living.

Most of all, I was looking for a youthful leader who would surround himself with a coterie of people that would bring forth talent that has been untapped; one who would tolerate and work with those whose ideas were radically different from his; and lastly, one who would slay the ugly head of corruption, tribalism, and nepotism. Since Hakainde Hichilema has crossed the Rubicon, we should all give him a chance. If he wins, the period between January 20 and the 2016 election will serve as a litmus test. This, countrymen, is a golden opportunity.

Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, author, and a doctoral candidate. Learn more about him on his website On it you shall access his autobiography, articles, and books. Contact him, blog, or join in the debate. ©Ruwe2012.


By Field Ruwe


On the day President Michael Chilufya Sata died Reuters carried the headline “Zambia’s President ‘King Cobra’ Sata dies.” The New York Times of October 30, 2014 described him as an “acerbic leader.” This is a word frequently used to portray him as biting, sarcastic, mordant, sardonic, and disdainful. Almost all the papers I read implied that it was Sata’s “sharp tongue” and “abrasive manner” that earned him the presidency. Such is how the world knew him and it is the way he shall be remembered.

Who was this man some people found devious, stubborn, even cruel, and others found realistic, loving, and inspiring? Let me also ask a question in the third rail: who is this man who was stooped in so much mystery the country hardly knew how he lived and died? There are other questions like how will history judge him. All these questions lead to a fundamental whole: who was Michael Chilufya Sata?

The moment of truth occurred on November 2, 2014. The booming sound of the jets alerted Lusaka residents of the arrival of the remains of President Michael Sata. As the chartered plane banked toward the airport, it provided a somber motif for the people below. Thousands could not help but to shed a tear. When the plane finally touched down at the Kenneth Kaunda International airport, hundreds of grief-stricken people broke into wailing.

Here was a man with humble origins and limited schooling born as he was at Chitulika village in Mpika District given a sendoff worth a king. Growing up in rural Zambia, not in his wildest dreams did he think one day he would become a president and determine the fate of 14 million people. Attending Catholic Catechists seminary schools, Katibunga, Kantensha, and Lubushi his eyes were set on becoming a priest. Of course this was not to be. God had other plans for him.

On the day president Sata was put to rest he left a glowing lesson to all Zambians that no matter your humble beginnings, through hard work and perseverance, you can succeed. It is this that won him the hearts of many. It is true that as president he bettered the lives of many people, some who became cabinet ministers, ambassadors, diplomats, successful businessmen, and employed party cadres. It is also true that he rescued and elevated countless pauper men and women to bourgeois status.

From the day he expired eulogists praised him unconditionally and gave him the many great human values he deserves. President Kenneth Kaunda who should be credited for Sata’s rise to political fame described him as a “down to earth person” and an “organizer and mobilizer of the grass roots.” Other eulogists praised his courage and absolute devotion to the country. They said he was personally responsible for almost all the developmental projects around the country—road network, bridge construction, structural building etc.

How then will Sata be historically remembered? Did those who eulogized him come too late to change the annals of history? Can the positive things he did continue to hold his buoyancy? Does this mean that he was upright, without spot and blemish? These are questions no one is asking. Zambians would rather not discuss them. The problem with this is that because we as a people fail to provide a true discourse of the past, we do not learn any lessons from those departed who became heroes and made a difference in our lives.

We are now in an era where events have to be remembered and preserved in some authentic form so our children can learn from them. Their meaningful connection to the past demands nothing is left unturned. In the case of Michael Sata, as in the case of his four predecessors, his pros and cons, and weaknesses and strengths must be laid on the table for our children, and indeed, the entire world to see.

Our children must, for instance, understand why the world chose to emphasize his “King Cobra” sobriquet than quote Kaunda and other eulogists. They must understand why the media equated him to the unpredictable and highly venomous king cobra, a snake with a fearsome reputation. They must know that he earned the tag because of his episodic ambushes on his political opponents and his aggressive disposition.

Those of us with vivid memories of the early Sata days recall how he treated his opponent Maxwell Sibongo in his quest to become Member of Parliament for Kabwata. He bought all the goods in his shop, distributed them to children then walked in with the press to portray Sibongo as a struggling businessman. It was here that the nickname began to bloom. It flourished in 1991 when he candidly called President Kaunda a dictator, and threatened to expose him, something no one dared in those days. Hereafter, the nickname would be used to describe him as fork-tongued, unpredictable, erratic, mysterious, and intractable.

Someone wrote about Sata: “mysteriously he came, mysteriously he ruled, and mysteriously he left.” During my research that culminated in the “Biography of Michael Sata President of Zambia,” I discovered that when Sata become governor of Lusaka in 1985, he did not want his past to blanket his newly acquired status.

In his effort to maintain his elitist personality he fought hard to conceal his past life, that of bullying, an inferior education, job as constable, serving jail time, and working as a sweeper and porter at Victoria Station and other train platforms in London. It was this insecurity that made him overly sensitive to criticism, and led to his erratic and confrontational behavior and often times, vulgar and boorish disposition.

Up until he became president, no one knew who he really was. Those who did like Kaunda, Guy Scott, children from his first marriage, childhood friends and former schoolmates chose to keep quiet. It is this that prompted me to spend two months at the African Studies Library of the Boston University on 771 Commonwealth Avenue, and other libraries, to try and document his life, which I did with resounding success.

It was during my research I discovered that throughout Sata’s political life which began in 1963 when he became UNIP Chimwemwe branch treasurer up until he became president, he successfully concealed his past and created his own mode of life, to which everyone was to adhere. In my notes I wrote: “There is one undisputable fact about Sata that stands out of the book [“African Proletarians and Colonial Capitalism: The origins, growth, and struggles of the labour movement to 1964” by Dr. Henry Meebelo (1986)]: his tenacious and ‘militancy and rancorous’ intransigent behavior dates back to his youth days.” As a worker with Roberts Construction in the 1960s, and as a unionist, he was known as a rubble-rouser, a label he would keep up to his final day.

But as has been proved, in his personal ambition he was not only razor sharp, but also tactical and strategic, or how else could a person with a defective education convince some of Zambia’s intelligentsia like Dr. Guy Scott, Dr. Waza Kaunda, Professor Nkandu Luo, Dr. Joseph Katema and other cognoscenti to rally behind him in his quest to become president. Realizing he was a talented political operator, they succumbed to his cynical, discourteous, uncouth and intemperate behavior.

Zambians watched him as he turned his amoral characteristics into a symbol of fearlessness and showed off his pro-poor political skills. When he began to rip cabbages to depict the disintegration of Mwanawasa’s brain, he became a hero for the vulnerable grassroots—the compound communities, uneducated, unemployed and self-employed individuals, street peddlers and vendors, women marketeers, mobsters, and criminals. He knew what they desperately wanted; combatant behavior, empty promises, lies, and fantasies. It was this dark art of political mendacity [falsehoods] that would have him elected as president on September 23, 2011.

As president, he knew false promises would come back to haunt him. From day one, he engaged in his usual protective, manipulative, and illusory activities. When the media reared its supposedly ugly head and threatened to expose him, he reached for the PF panga and beheaded it. He sent surviving reporters into Foreign Service and took some undomesticated ones to court. At international level he substituted arrogance for diplomacy and found himself isolated in places like the African Unity.

Eager for power, Sata sought protection from his party cadres. Right under his nose, cadres, some armed with pangas, chains, and machetes disrupted meetings of the opposing parties, and intimidated citizens. By mid-2013, the PF was headed for the most violent party in our nation’s history. Many feared Sata was on his ruinous path and was turning Zambia into a dictatorial police state.

While all this was happening, what we did not know was that the president was terminally ill. Let’s all pause for a while and share a freeze-frame: May 21, 2014 the late president outside the Lusaka High Court, being led into court by his son Mulenga and Wynter Kabimba. It was on this day that it became clear to the nation that the president was not enjoying good health.

What followed can only be termed as forbidding and cold-blooded deception. For fear of his illness becoming an obstacle to his presidency, Sata himself concealed his medical afflictions. Like he had secreted his life, so he did with his health. Aided by his physician wife, and abetted by Guy Scott, government spokesman Joseph Katema, and one-time moralist Mwansa Kapeya, they staged one of the most disheartening political stunts.

The afore-mentioned people failed to provide true basic information about his illness and his absences from the public. It is because of them that the nation hopelessly watched the president wilt and helix downward towards his death. On October 28, 2014, he died of undisclosed illness. The concealment of his illness augmented who Sata had been all these years; a strong-headed, hard-hearted, egotistical, narcissistic, and sadistic individual who allowed his poor decisions to dictate his life. He was a love-or-hate hero to some, and villain to others. One thing for sure is he failed to rise above his ego. It is this in him that eroded the sanctity of the presidency.

Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, author, and a doctoral candidate. Learn more about him on his website On it you shall access his autobiography, articles, and books. Contact him, blog, or join in the debate. ©Ruwe2012.


By Field Ruwe

I was about to press the “send” button for my latest article bearing the above title when my son Dalitso called to inform me of the president’s passing. I may have been the president’s harshest critic, but my heart is burdened with sorrow. It is with profound sadness that I join the people of my beloved country Zambia in mourning the death of President Michael Chilufya Sata MHSRP.

Please don’t stop here. Keep reading. This article addresses, in particular, those born after independence. You are on your own now. Those who made independence possible are on their way out. They may have faltered, but they have made it possible for you to have a country of your own; one with abundant wealth.

With the passing of president Sata, you face an uncertain future, a future that will test you in ways that you cannot fathom. You are alone in an ever-changing world, one for which you will need to expend all your effort, energy, and intellect for survival; indeed, one for which you will have to make the right decisions. As you search for a leader the next 90 days, bear in mind you have learned enough from presidents Kaunda, Chiluba, Mwanawasa, Banda, and Sata. Their wisdom and that of their peers has come to pass. It is orthodox and antediluvian. You will emulate them at your own peril.

Pause here. Take a moment to look through your window of life. Do you see how you are surrounded by the worst killers on earth? Some are knocking at your door—Ebola, AIDS, Cholera, Malaria, Meningitis, TB, cancer, poverty, corruption, disunity, illiteracy, ignorance, exploitation, oppression, and racism. A good number of these calamities have already found their way inside. Some have just claimed the president’s life three years in his reign.

Just imagine, while life expectancy of developed countries is soaring above 80 years, yours is hobbling between 30 and 40 years. If you don’t do anything about it, it will soon go down to 20 and 0. To think some of you and your children will not live beyond fifty should worry you indeed.

I know I am writing to a people that hate to face realities and have a problem to accept the painful truth. But I dare say if for the next fifty years you do not pluck out the courage to face realities and in your usual inertia inclination continue to make wrong decisions, you will be wiped out from the face of the planet. It is no joke when scientists say it is during this period that you shall face extinction.

As you reflect on the life of President Michael Sata, use the occasion to take your own personal inventory. Ask yourself bold questions like: “What is the purpose of my being on earth?” “What can I do to save my countrymen?” “How much am I worth on this planet?” Also, add supplementary questions like “Why me, why am I portrayed to be at the bottom of humanity?” “Why do I have to work so hard to impress others?” “Why do foreigners take advantage of me?” Why am I so dependent on others?” “What am I doing wrong?” And then ask yourself this question: “Am I cursed?”

Of course you are not cursed! Contrary to what colonialists told your parents and grandparents, you, black-skinned, flat-nosed, with woolly hair reading this article are not cursed. You are loved by God. You are equal to all. Always remember, it is not God who divided the human species into races and selfishly created different traits, abilities, qualities, morality, and other cultural behavioral characteristics, it is a fellow human. It is him who portrayed your parents as natural inferiors and subjected them to racial prejudice. It is him who denied them a better education because he was afraid they might exceed his expectations.

In the past fifty years you have seen what lack of education has done to some of our leaders. Not even populists could fill the gap created by moderate or poor academic credentials. It is this handicap that has made it difficult to drive modernization and democratization to its logical extreme.

Fortunately, Zambia now has a good crop of young and energetic academics, thinkers, and graduates from the University of Zambia and other institutions of higher learning at home and abroad. There is an urgent need for you the learned to come to the rescue of the Zambian people. You need to appoint yourself an AGENT OF CHANGE, increase your political awareness and take control of how and who should govern the country. Do not leave this beautiful country to party cadres and manipulators, never!

Here is my advice. As an Agent of Change you first must tackle the most important question of your inventory: “Why me, why am I portrayed to be at the bottom of humanity?” The reason is because you are mentally indoctrinated. Even with your academic achievement, you see yourself as a person with the lowest intelligence on earth. It is this that has created low-esteem in you. It is this that has caused you to lose your scholastic motivation. It is this that has resulted in your lack of invention and innovation. Had you acquired self-confidence of the highest order, you would have found a cure for the president’s illness, and treated him in your own environs.

Your lack of motivation has subjected you to economic stratification, social segregation, and exploitation. Yet you can’t do anything about it because you have surrendered your self-worth and lost your sense of survival. You have absolutely nothing of your own on which you can depend. In the next fifty years, you the Agent of Change must become strong-willed, most intelligent, audacious, cunning, and remove all cultural and traditional barriers.

You, the Agent of Change, must discard the present Zambian culture of dependency and replace it with the culture of self-reliance. You must replace old leaders with new young ones. With immediate effect you must cleverly and intellectually identify and expose psychological manipulative campaigns aimed at leaving you controlled and dominated by foreigners. Self-empowerment is the only way you will build your self-worth.

You do not have much time. You, the Agent of Change, need to start NOW to create a theory of development as experienced by the West and the Chinese—one of technological achievement and capital buildup. This will require rapid behavioral transformation. First, shade off the rotten attitude of failure; of “it’s too difficult I can’t do it.” Here is a quote by Yamamoto Tsunetomo to help you: “Nothing is impossible in this world. Firm determination, it is said, can move heaven and earth. Things appear far beyond one’s power, because one cannot set his heart on any arduous project due to want of strong will.”

Second, you possess the most important drive of your existence—survival instinct. You have not used it the past fifty years because foreigners have done everything for you. This has affected how you think, how you make decisions, how you apply your time and energy, what emotions you experience, and the way you interact with others. These experiences have reduced your pressing need for survival. You simply cannot survive without help from others. When faced with a challenge, you apply your usual “flight” reaction and take off.

As the nation prepares to give President Sata a sendoff, you should lock horns with the future. You should pluck enough courage and change your reaction to that of “fight.” Declare war on every situation you perceive as a threat to your existence. You can only do that by choosing the right leaders. Most of all, you should take keen interest in studying innovators and inventors around the world and copying their ideas. Strip the radio, computer, cellphone, plasma television, car, and try to make your own.

Pause here. Take a deep breath. Are you mentally strong for the fateful future? Are you ready for the fight of your life? Are you ready to fight the dependency syndrome? Are you able to change your attitude and think in depth and with foresight? Are you prepared to put your brilliant mind to good use? Do you refuse to be cowed or intimidated? Are you, as an Agent of Change, prepared to lead the Zambian people to a long-term destiny? Look at your motherland in the face and say “Yes I am!”

Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, author, and a doctoral candidate. Learn more about him on his website On it you shall access his autobiography, articles, and books. Contact him, blog, or join in the debate. ©Ruwe2012.


By Field Ruwe

Field Ruwe
Field Ruwe

Not once did I picture the president in the presence of Shimon Peres seeping kosher wine and laughing in chivalry. Nor did I envision him and his wife enjoying the serenity and basking in the ambience of Tel Aviv by the Mediterranean. I tried to visualize him touring Jerusalem, but not in the state he was before he left. The only thoughts that made a closer approach to truth were thought dumped on the base of my mind by speculators. They showed a critical president, intubated to a ventilator, with his doctor and family by his bedside. Yes, I had believed in them because I had not heard from him.

So, each time I retired to bed I feared for the worst. As soon as I awoke, I dashed to the stand to buy a newspaper or nervously accessed my computer for any hint of his condition. I didn’t believe a word Guy Scott and Mwansa Kapeya said. These two men were the reason a plague of speculation blanketed the entire nation. Incredibly, they swore by the Holy Bible to tell the truth “nothing but the truth, so help me God” and yet they turned out to be straight-faced fabricators and virulent propagandists who had made it impossible for the nation to send him roses and get well cards. They made it difficult for the clergy to conduct national prayers for him as he received treatment at Sheba Medical Center. Given a grain of power, I would charge them with the worst type of perjury in the land.

But of course the fault falls squarely on the president. It should mortify him greatly for not coming to our rescue; for not correcting the wrong impression created by his own cronies. For the two weeks he was gone, he left us gloomy and emotionally spent. Not once did he bother to taper our emotions, anxieties, fears, suspicions, and distress. He showed not an iota of love—not a word, not a picture. Like a heartless, insensible, selfish, and unloving father he forsook his subjects and cared less how we felt. This is his deadly weakness—lack of love. Another is lack of honesty. It is possible he is the one who ordered his confidants to give the impression all was well and his vacation was well deserved.

How can the president conceal his life from us? This is the same man who more than once rose from the ashes of defeat, persevered to the bitter end and won. He so badly wanted to become president he took the oath of office and vowed to rule with honor and dignity. The words “honor” and “dignity” are synonymous with love. It is on the pedestal of love and not power that presidents thrive. A president who loves his people will keep them well informed at every stage. When his health fails, he will release a press statement and let his people know the cause even if it is cancer or a heart defect. When he takes a vacation he will inform his people as to the exact location and when he would be returning.

Not surprising, Sata has lived up to his PF slogan “Donchi Kubeba (Don’t tell them),” instituted by his vice president Guy Scott. The slogan is built on the principle similar to that of a pitiless father who does not tell his children what is going on around him. Sata treats us like kids who are yet to come of age and who cannot distinguish between right and wrong, truth and lie. He camouflages in the PF slogan to torture us mentally. Without our knowledge he can leave us with men skilled in lies, cover-ups, manipulation, and the machinations of power. When we indulge in gossip and rumor mongering due to lack of credible information, he and his men employ threats and intimidation to suppress our right to speculate. He and his men punish us for their diabolical talk, dirty tactics, and blatant lies.

It is close to three years and this is how Sata has ruled us, with foul play and little honor. He has deteriorated in character and gained only contempt on account of his lack of love and respect for us. With stubbornness and concealment incomparable, he has impaired the veneration which is necessary to preserve our love for him, and instead, driven our country to where it is now—in a precarious state of uncertainty. It is his recklessness that in the past two weeks has made people become fearful of possible divisions and bloody battles within his PF party. Some have feared a revolution. And many others have, during this period, visualized a very dark future for Zambia ruled by unruly men.

Even when he has returned, he has not showed us love. Why? It is because insensate power has got the best of him. He does not care. He has mellowed in imprudence and dropped the little love left in him. It has become imperative for him to acquire as much power as will satisfy his life-time ambition. It is this unlimited power and not love that gives him prestige. That’s why he got into politics in the first place. It is in the presence of power that he breaks the laws of the land with no regard to the feelings of his people. He can capitulate on his responsibilities and sacred oath, abuse the instruments of power, and entrust our souls unreservedly to the demerits of other people. In as far as he is concerned, we are obligated to follow his orders, ask no questions, and love him even when he does not.

But President Sata must know that in the state he is, power is not, now, so important; love is. He needs our love more than before. The past two weeks of his absence have been a litmus test; a clear indication of where he is as a leader. He must now know that the power he is brandishing cannot open the gates to our hearts. During the period of his absence, millions of people, including some members of his family and close friends, showed little remorse. Some diverted their attention to succession while others didn’t care whether he lived or not. Now the underbelly of his party PF has been exposed and a possible rift is in the offing. Some of his own members fear he is preparing his son to succeed him and revile him for that. As I write, numerous ripples of negativity are floating through the heads of too-many-a-soul.

Now that he is back, the fiend Sata should sit on the balcony of State House and seriously reflect on his life. He must understand that the power from which he draws weakens with each passing day. It is therefore not the time to reflect on how to siphon as much money out of our poor souls. What will this matter when he is old and gone? He must instead reflect on the worst of the worst of himself; his most vulnerable self and ask himself several questions, among them: Am I being fair to the Zambia people? Do they really deserve this? What is wrong with telling them the truth? What is wrong with loving and respecting them? How do I serve as a role model for future leaders? What legacy do I want to leave?

Just like the King Cobra sheds its skin, he too must shed his unethicality. He must publicly proclaim his love for us. If he does, he will see how we shall open our hearts and love him with our inner-selves. That’s who we are as a people. We are naturally meek, loving, and peaceful. Our ancestors ran away from the jingoistic rulers and found solace on the land that is our beloved country. Our parents taught us love. We love easily. If president Sata confronts his demons, goes on television and addresses us his people truthfully and with love, we will love him back, as simple as that. If, on the other hand, he fails to lift himself up and continues to bring us down—to lie, and keep us in perpetual distress, we shall not send him best wishes, but shall leave him to molder in solitude. It is with these words I pay homage to a president who has robbed our love for him. The past two weeks have been a tumultuous horrible ordeal, a deliberate one caused by one man. For that he gains no honor.
Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, author, and a doctoral candidate. Learn more about him on his website On it you shall access his autobiography, articles, and books. Contact him, blog, or join in the debate. ©Ruwe2012


By Field Ruwe

Phew that was close
ruwe-106x1201On May 21 when they saw the president he never looked better. He had lost a large amount of weight and appeared very sick all of a sudden—sicker than the previous months. Word had gone round that it was a matter of time. Some speculated he had collapsed and was evacuated abroad while others said the evacuation had failed for fear of him not making it. They were preparing solemn vigils when a voice was heard on the phone.
“I’m fit.”
It was him, the president. He was talking to the editor of The Post newspaper.
“They are saying I have been evacuated, evacuated to where?” he asked. “I’m fit, very fit. I’m well.”
“Show him to us!” Zambian souls demanded upon hearing the president was fine and at his desk working. They wanted to cast their eyes on him. A couple of days back his sight had broken their hearts; their joys and hopes were dampened. To some the thought of riches to rags rustled their grief. Since that glorious September 2011, the years had flown all too soon. Frightening images of paucity lingered and rendered nightmares. To others, those he had fired, sued, persecuted, ridiculed, frustrated, and shamed, a sigh of relief was difficult to conceal. There was no pity in their eyes.
The phone rang. It was from my diplomat friend. “Phew that was close…”

Why Sata called The Post and not the state media
I was in another world. Something else was bothering me. Why did Sata choose to deliver such an important message through a privately-owned medium run by his one-time nemeses Fred Mmembe? Why did he not call ZNBC and have his voice recorded so we could hear him verbatim—gauge vocal vigor, and state of mind? Why did he not call the editors of the state media Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail?
I know why; it is because Fred Mmembe is holding a bazooka to Sata’s head ready to pull the trigger should he break their covenant. The two are locked in an unconsecrated top-heavy cartel in which Sata, by virtue of being the head of state, is the chief mover (the benefactor) and Mmembe is the benefiter. It is this cynical arrangement that caused a feeble Sata to jump out of bed and, like a mad man, dash to court on that morning of May 21, 2014. I will elaborate.

Let me first qualify Sata’s role as a benefactor. When Sata called The Post on May 29, 2014 to inform the nation that he was fine, he was presenting Mmembe with a scoop. In journalism a “scoop” is a sudden news story of great appeal to a large audience. It is more or less a clincher or a diamond for it provides the requisite importance of news and is likely to increase readership and revenue.

Sata choosing to enrich Mmembe than pay state media staff on time
On the day Mmembe published Sata’s assurance his paper’s readership skyrocketed and so did its revenue. As has been the case since the Sata-Mmembe alliance, The Post, a paper that peddles sensational tabloid journalism has become the primary source of the news everyone is dying for. Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail are left with no choice but to scavenge on The Post scoops. By the time their headline is hitting the street, Mmembe is on his way to the bank.
This has become a trend. Remember the assassination hoax doctored by Mmembe? It was announced through The Post. On that day The Post cashed in tons of money even when it was an inside job. How about the military coup exposé that turned to be false? Again it was a dollar raking day for Mmembe. It should perhaps explain why Times of Zambia is failing to pay its workers. The dysfunctional relationship between the state media and the president has left government news outlets dry and overburdened by financial shoestrings. Today, government-owned newspapers are teetering on the brink of collapse while The Post is enjoying monopolistic capital.
This is what I mean by the Sata-Mmembe conspiracy. It goes beyond this. It is a wider scheme that uses the office of the president to manipulate, and safeguard from outside intrusion any illegal arrangements. It is the reason we are seeing a mere newspaper owner make a fortune right before our eyes. Mmembe has made millions of dollars outside his actual business and is now richer than ever thought possible. His extent of wealth remains hidden from view, and it is getting bigger with Sata as an ally.

Mmembe has vowed to go down with Sata
Sata has no choice but to succumb. He is afraid of Mmembe and deeply distrusts him. It is possible that Mmembe knows where Sata’s “secret assets” are buried. This was brought to Sata’s attention back in September 2011, when he [Sata] attempted to demolish The Post with his “carrot and stick” stratagem. When he poached the bulk of the Post staff and left Mmembe with an unpaid DBZ debt, countless enemies, and numerous libel cases, he [Mmembe] vowed to go down with him.
There is enough dirt to excavate—Sata’s hidden wealth, the missing $8.5million from the Zamtrop account, corruption, money laundering, nepotism, favoritism, and suspicious deaths in Sata’s MMD [Sata was the Secretary General and FTJ’s confidant]. And of course Ilunda Chalo Investments Limited, a company owned by Sata and Wynter Kabimba which has earned the pair millions of dollars through unscrupulous lucrative roads contracts.
Had Mmembe fallen, he would have gone after Sata’s involvement in Ilunda Chalo the way he did with the Mezarf project. Back in early 1990s, Mmembe accused Sata of stealing and pocketing ZK1billion of the MERZAF money. Sata sued for defamation and was granted judgment. This marked the beginning of their acrimonious rivalry. A bitter Mmembe embarked on a witch-hunt of untold proportion and uncovered a chunk of Sata’s dark past and put it in his database. Sata knows about this and it worries him deeply.

Sata, Kabimba, and Mmembe running an insulated cartel
It is with this in mind that he has cut a deal with Mmembe. It is common knowledge that he has pledged to shield Mmembe from prosecution of any past crimes including the Zambian Airways saga. And by virtue of being Sata’s business partner, Wynter Kabimba has also embraced Mmembe. These three men, two posing as politicians and one as a businessman, have profusely hugged and created what is undeniably the most insulated cartel in the country.
Mmembe now uses his newspaper as a little more than a cover for far more lucrative business. Last year the Daily Nation reported that two Post Newspaper Courier trucks carrying multi-million kwacha of copper believed to have been stolen were impounded in Solwezi. The case went under water. But one case that is not going away is the “DBZ vs. Mmembe and Nchito” ZK14million loan recovery. It is Sata’s biggest nightmare because it rattles his pledge to Mmembe.
Many pundits have speculated that it was in an effort to deflect Mmembe’s guilt of wrongdoing that Sata suspended Justices Philip Musonda, Charles Kajimanga and Nigel Mutuna, and appointed a tribunal. Sata obviously did not like the course the trio was taking. Using his authority and power, he appointed a foreign judge as head of the tribunal so he could have a firm grip on the case and ensure Mmembe and his associates walked away without paying a penny.

Sata caught between Mmembe and Sakala
Aware of Sata’s motive, Zambians have continued to express their sentiments over the matter. In the face of a foundering tribunal, UNZA lecturer Choolwe Beyani wrote an article in the Daily Nation intimating that Sata had ordered DBZ to abrogate the contract of its lawyer Vincent Malambo in an attempt to prevent DBZ from suing Mmembe and Mutembo Nchito. Sata sued the paper for defamation and as of May 21, 2014, the defamation suit and not the Mmembe-Nchito case has taken center stage. By suing the Daily Nation Sata has opened the Pandora’s Box. He is caught between two newspaper proprietors who know him best—Mmembe and Richard Sakala, owner of the Daily Nation.
Sata and Sakala are ex-conspirators. Both are creatures of the worst corruption in the history of Zambia in which millions of dollars disappeared from government coffers. Sakala, who served as Chiluba’s press aide was, in 2006, arrested, indicted and served prison for corruption and abuse of authority. At the height of his state house stint he was in constant touch with MMD Secretary General Michael Sata. It is obvious the two got to know each other better and shared a frequent cordial tete-a-tete.

Time to chop off the ugly head
Since Sakala came out of prison he has been on the hunt. After what he endured, it pains to see Sata and Mmembe become lucrative and absolute at the expense of poor Zambians. It hurts even more to see them walk scot-free for a similar crime. It is on this basis he started his own newspaper. It is serves as a lure. When Sata filed his defamation suit he fell into the trapping pit and Sakala immediately sunk his unyielding teeth into his flesh.
Those who underrate Sakala must be cautioned. He has in his possession a much wider and deeper database than can be imagined and intends to put it to good use. Sata knows this and it this that is causing him to act irrationally. His hasty appearance in court on that May 21st was an attempt to pre-empty Sakala’s testimony. But being the man he is with characteristic paranoia and reckless abandon, he shot himself in the foot and kissed his own immunity goodbye.
Now Sakala and his legal team have an opportunity to chop off the ugly head of the Sata-Mmembe cartel before it spreads its tentacles and reproduces itself on an uncontrollable scale. If they succeed, they will be saving the country millions of dollars, and not only that, they will provide great relief to Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail.
If, on the other hand, they fail, we should not ignore or shunt the Sata-Mmembe cartel to the side-track of disregard, but must confront it head on because it is a form of corruption that is the destruction of our country.
Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, and author. He is a doctoral candidate at George Fox University. ©Ruwe2012

Please Note: I have created a website on which you can access all my articles, essays, books, and my autobiography. On it you can also learn more about the books I have written and read snippets of chapters. Contact me, blog, or join in the debate.


By Field Ruwe

ruwe-106x1201Where are the people that love him?

With tear-bleared eyes I looked at the picture of the president. I know I am his critic, but I felt a touch of pity and choked, distraught at the sight of him. What heart could not bleed? I imagined tears welling from the faces of those who genuinely love him. How many? I thought. None—so it seems. Not his beloved. Not his vice. Not his confederates. If they were any, they would not have allowed it to happen. They would have done their best to stop him, even if it meant tying him to his bed.

Winter Kabimba- What kind of man is he?

I saw them, the pitiless PF, swarming a president so emaciated and frail, chanting their slogans in senseless ecstasy. My anger surged not at them, but at Wynter. What kind of man is he? Because picture evidence often conveys more than words can tell, I took another closer look at him. His demeanor externalized the cruel and heartless nature of him. He was undisturbed. His action bespoke no shame. He had no desire to conceal from us the mental state of the man we call our leader. He cared less for Sata and for the world around him. It did not matter to him whether he was dangling a wilted “cabbage” or not. I saw it in him; his foredoomed act; an act that mounted to false loyalty and the cunning want for power. I called it an inherent evil.
“How could he let this happen?”

The picture spoke a thousand words. It illustrated a lawyer’s grand-strategic misjudgment; one that should be displayed in the annals of constitutional law. It showed a Minister of Justice entirely comfortable with absurdity, idiocy, senselessness, and futility. It showed a Wynter, an advocate, a politician, a minister’s disregard for dignity. While I believe his motive will become known to us in future when he is prodded to greater depth, it can be unequivocally stated that Wynter is not the lawyer worth the vocation. I pray that the moral court finds Wynter Kabimba guilty, and de-robes and debars him for eternity.

My eyes shifted from Wynter to Mulenga—Sata’s golden son who is the mayor of Lusaka. Calm and calculating, all Mulenga craves is chivalry and propriety. It was him who should have stopped his father. There is always an implicit bondage between father and son, a downright relationship. Although he may not know if his father’s behavior is the outgrowth of a sick mind, he is at least cognizant of his irrational actions. All he should have said is: “Father please, you are above this. Leave it to Wynter. There are more pressing issues than you going to court. You’ll be making a fool of yourself. Besides, you are not well. You need all the rest you can get.”
Of course Mulenga did not. If he did he failed. It is possible his vain, sadistic, paranoid and vengeful father over rode him: “I’m tired of people defaming me, telling lies about me. I need to go and tell Sakala that he’s a liar. I’ll see to it that the court finds him guilty so he can pay a dear price that will serve as a warning to others.”

For years Mulenga has endured the cannon’s mouth and drunk from the fountain of parental authoritarianism. We all have. We treat our father as superman. We see no flaws or vulnerabilities in him. Ironically, the more vocal and insolent a father is, the more we idealize him. Mulenga sees absolutely nothing wrong with his father. He is as fit as a fiddle and as sharp as a knife. He despises those who call his father ailing dictator, lunatic, buffoon, or a spectacle. In actual fact he sees him as a political genius, dearly loved by countless souls.

Dipped in olive oil, and clad in a princely suit, I could see that the golden son, a man of average capacity, and unknown acumen, is trying very hard to become the second most-widely recognized person in Zambia. There has been speculation that his step-mother carries with her ambitions beyond her present chores. It is perhaps the reason why he sought the mayoral position, so he could become a part of his father’s inner circle and feel like the acolyte of the emperor—the real “de facto” president. It has dawned on him that we Zambians are laid-back, meek, submissive, modest, timid, easily swayed and ready to be led by any fraud, trickster, or blockhead.

My eyes moved. I stole another glance at the president’s wrinkled brow and felt sorry for him. I could see that he was ready to do battle. Yes, the president has intense and unstable emotions; he is hyper-sensitive. For three months I researched his life and discovered that he has an abnormal love for self, an exaggerated sense for control, and an obsession for power. Some stuff I read pointed to his rough childhood, that as a young man he was in the habit of deliberately harming and humiliating others, and often engaged in fist fights. His bullying habit was meant to scare others and be admired by his schoolmates. In the picture I saw that his brute and thuggery instinct had kicked in—the past had infiltrated the present.

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