By 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 www.aruwebooks.com. On it you shall access his autobiography, articles, and books. Contact him, blog, or join in the debate. ©Ruwe2012.