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


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.

By Field Ruwe

ruwe-106x1201 With pursed lips and cold eyes a bespectacled Geoffrey Chuumbwe spoke: “We’re being forced to act violently against opposition leaders due to continued insults of the republican president and the party leadership.”
“The Greenshirts are here!” I exclaimed as I watched him.
Draped as he was in a Sata deity cassava green shirt, with a blood-thirsty trigger-happy Stardy Mwale next to him, grinning lecherously like a ravenous vampire, I was reminded of the “Brownshirts,” a military wing of the Nazi Party. The Brownshirts’ preoccupation was to terrorize those who voiced dissenting views. They ambushed, beat up, and eliminated opposition leaders, journalists, human rights activists, and citizens.
I was not surprised it had come to this. Since February 2013 when PF and UPND cadres clashed in Livingstone, resulting in the loss of a life, an atmosphere of anarchy and violence has prevailed. In full view of a president known to vent his pent-up spleen on those who threaten his reign, attacks by machete wielding PF cadres on the opposition are on the rise.
As Chuumbwe’s press conference progressed I imagined what would become of any opposition leader who dared walk into the room and tell him and his Greenshirts that their leader, Michael Chilufya Sata is the worst defamer who ought to be in jail; that he is a liar and a dictator who is spreading chaos on the street while posing as a champion of law and order. They would skin him alive, literally.
“Let this be a lesson to you all,” a bloodied Chuumbwe would say. “Do not mess with the PF; anyone who defames President Michael Sata will do so at his own peril.”
As I watched Chuumbwe, I said to myself president Sata is clearly the most self-centered, self-seeking, and self-regarding political leader in Zambia. He is the most selfish human being. How can he be hunting for people who “defame” him when he is “the quintessence of defamation,” the Defamer-in-Chief? He should not be in State House but in jail for defamation, libel and slander. Had Levy Mwanawasa been a maligned narcissistic leader like him, he would have locked him up and thrown away the key.
Lest we forget, in the run-up to the 2006 presidential elections Sata committed one of the worst defamations of a president. Addressing a rally he referred to Mwanawasa as a vegetable.
“This is your president!” he said with cabbage in hand. “This is president Mwanawasa!”
“No more cabbages!” The crowd chanted.
Sata continued: “Levy Mwanawasa is a cabbage. I demand that Chief Justice Ernest Sakala appoints a team of three doctors to investigate his mental health.”
A rational and gracious Mwanawasa did not lose his head and send the police to arrest Sata. Instead, he made light of Sata’s heinous, mindless, and gruesome performance: “I regard ‘cabbage’ as Vaseline oil that I apply on my body,” Mwanawasa simply said.
Defaming the head of state is a criminal offense that carries a jail sentence of up to three years. Sata would have served countless years in each of his predecessors’ reign and would still be in jail today. Who has he not defamed? Kaunda, Chiluba, Mwanawasa, Banda, his vice president, members of parliament, cabinet ministers, George Bush and other presidents, Chitimukulu and other chiefs, the Chinese, the British, Americans, priests, citizens…the list goes on.
Remember, Sata defamed Kaunda when he publicly called him a dictator and other unwarranted insults. How can we forget June 24, 1991 when he falsely labelled Kaunda a plunderer?
“The old man behaves like Mobutu Sese Seko. Mobutu Sese Seko did not want anybody to be equated to that office of his,” Sata said.
When Chiluba refused to appoint him as his successor, he called him a “short” thief who “has lost his senses,” and is “married to a convict.” Like Emmanuel Mwamba once stated, Sata was “constantly” defaming Chiluba “by questioning his life style, spiritual, social and political life.” Rupiah Banda was not spared. He was accused of “enjoying pornography” among other invectives.
But the defamer hates to be defamed. In a fashion typical of people with narcissistic personality disorder, Sata is always running to court each time he is defamed. Here are but a few defamation, libel and slander suits: 1994: Sata vs Post Newspaper Ltd; 2006: Sata vs Zambia Daily Mail; 2009: Sata vs Benny Tetamashimba; 2009: Sata vs Edward Mumbi; 2010: Sata vs Times of Zambia. He has continued to sue even as head of state: 2011: Sata vs Chanda Chimba; 2011: Sata vs Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha; 2012: Sata vs Hakainde Hichilema; 2012: Sata vs Llyod Himambo, Richard Sakala, Robert Armsterdam, Dr. Choolwe Beyani. Now he has engaged his Greenshirts to hunt for more “defamers” so he can throw them in jail and watch them die. How heartless and senseless!
Let me get back to Chuumbwe for a moment. I was bothered not by his threats and intimidations, but by his utter disregard of the law. Who is this person who has the moral right and duty to spread terror with such clout? I was curious. I wanted to learn more about him because he has the potential to become part of Zambia’s tragic history. We have watched on television people like him, brainwashed by their leaders, commit heinous atrocities in Central Africa, South Sudan, Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.
I did a quick background check and tumbled on a disturbing story by the “Zambia Reports” dated October 16, 2013, which insinuates Chuumbwe may have been an armed robber. The story alludes to a 1994 “Zambia Daily Mail” police advertisement published in which he was wanted for a “robbery that occurred in Lusaka on August, 4, 1994.”
“Good grief,” I said. “Political parties could be harboring hardcore criminals. No wonder it has become impossible to pursue and prosecute the people behind the untimely deaths of Paul Tembo, Ronald Penza, Wezi Kaunda, and all.”
If indeed it is true Chuumbwe was an armed robber why did Sata appoint him Lusaka Province PF chairman? Before a head of state appoints anyone to any position his security department filters the individual to detail. Was Chuumbwe’s criminal record, if any, accessed? Did Sata consult with the Inspector General of Police? Could it be possible that Sata has known Chuumbwe from time immemorial? Perhaps the most serious question is; are the likes of Chuumbwe causing terror with Sata’s consent? Are these panga thugs and assailants Sata’s auxiliary police—his Greenshirts? If indeed they are then we must brace ourselves for untold atrocities.
Notice I apply the term “auxiliary police.” This is because Chuumbwe’s conference could only be staged by the Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani with formal permission and clearance by the president because it is a matter of national security. The Zambian Police Force has policies and procedures for issuing statements on matters of violence in the country. Libongani knows very well that Chuumbwe, Sturdy Mwale, Clement Katongo and those present engaged in an unlawful assembly for the purpose of preparing to engage in tumultuous and violent conduct likely to cause public alarm.
“Youths in the party will not fold arms while the opposition continue[s] to insult the president,” Chuumbwe said.
Katongo added: “You may wish to know that for as long as someone using their mobile phone registered in Zambia or laptop connected to any Internet provider in the country, they will not run away or hide from their crimes.”
Katongo had just revealed that Zambia’s intelligence agency is accessing user data from mobile phone and tapping into the most sensitive information stored on the phone, including contact lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information about where the user is or has been. It is then passing it on to party cadres. This revelation is of great concern because it means that the Zambian intelligence has broken encryption and that all mobile phones and computer files for all Zambians are in the hands of PF cadres.
If this is the case, the PF cadres are listening to anyone and everyone, even loyalists and ardent supporters of the president. If Katongo is right, we have no control over our personal life; Sata and his PF cadres (Greenshirts) are controlling as much of our life as they can. If on the other hand Katongo lied, he must be deemed an enemy of the state. Inspector General Libongani must arrest Chuumbwe, Mwale, and Katongo for taking matters in their hands and creating a recipe for mayhem.
Of course this will not happened, not under the leadership of president Sata. He has already given himself emergency powers that allow him to hunt down his enemies. Some of his ministers like Yamfwa Mukanga have, in their effort not to look “useless,” put on the Greenshirt and are acting beyond the bounds of reason. Mukanga is using his extra-legal terror to intimidate and stampede Sata’s opponents.
“We are closing-in on people who abuse the online publications to defame others in the name of freedom of speech,” he said.
With threats such as the one above there is bound to be blood spilled in the land. It is clear that Mukanga has a list of marked people up for vengeance. Should we begin to think president Sata is the mastermind behind all this? Yes, certainly. His silence on matters of violence is a sign of worse things to come.
Throughout his political career Sata has served as a propagandist and an inciter who has often advocated for violence both in UNIP and the MMD. Both these parties wreaked terrible physical aggression on men and women they hated and feared. We are living in perhaps a worse condition where anybody who questions the legitimacy of Sata’s authoritarian rule is subjected to death threats and imprisonment. The president is using his cadres for propaganda and intimidating purposes. Should we then expect a state pogrom of unrestrained hordes carried out on the enemies of the president—journalists, human rights advocates, opposition leaders, and citizens? Sadly, the answer is “yes.”
Remember, Sata and his Greenshirts are listening in and tracking your every move. Your mobile phone is now your worst enemy. How about this? Return your mobile phone to the courier and demand for a new secure SMS, or urge all mobile users to turn off the phone for a day as a protest and see what happens.
A Zimbabwean friend once told me the following: “what we Zimbabweans have bitterly learned over the years is that ‘prevention is better than cure.’” It is the same lesson President Bill Clinton learned over Rwanda. The United States, Britain, the entire West, the International Court of Justice, the United Nations, and all Human Rights watchdogs, must keep an eagle’s eye on Zambia and stow in their minds names of people mentioned in this article.

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. The website also features interesting articles like “Why I hate being a Black man” and topical videos. Watch JP Rushton and David Suzuki debate IQ at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. The site will be updated weekly. Contact me, blog, or join in the debate.
Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, and author. He is a doctoral candidate at George Fox University. ©Ruwe2012

By Field Ruwe

Field Ruwe
Field Ruwe

Please note: If any author is as emotionally charged as Howard Bland is in this article.

He may not fairly present all views. Be conscious of wording that indicates bias, denigration, and invectives. Watch out for statements that contain the words “black” “African,” and “baboon” see how they are phrased to suit his aversive racism. It is possible we are dealing with an angry white man who feels insulted by a Black man.

I cannot stress enough that critical evaluation of a sensitive topic such as this requires the author presents his credentials; who he is, his academic status, occupation or affiliation and/or what else he has written. Since he claims to have settled in Africa, he should feel at ease to name the country. Mr. Bland should know that a credential is an attestation of qualification, competence, and authority. You will find mine at the bottom of every article. Mr. Bland may choose to present his personal details now with an apology, but his work has already been viewed as NOT credible by professionals. Although a rule of thumb, the practice is as strict as rule in academia.

Mr. Bland is quick to give the impression he is a better researcher than me and lists Internet sources as reference (My foot!).  First, it is difficult to identify the referent in the article due to poor or lack of citations and quotations. Second, a web-based citation in the list of reference should contain Author Last Name, First Name, and Title of Article, Title of Website, Name of publisher, Date of publication and, Date of access. Mr. Bland should have done the same with the books he claims to have used.

Third, and perhaps most important, unless you are downloading scholarly documents, avoid using websites as source.  In his rush to counter-attack, he uses blog sites and “The New Republic” a conservative newspaper as sources. You can tell his conservatism by the way he loses his senses and launches an attack on Obama. It bothers him greatly that Obama is in the White House.

Lastly, it is obvious Mr. Bland is of the opinion that Whites are smarter than Blacks. This is what makes him a racist. He chooses to ignore the history of race and intelligence and the controversy it shoulders. Instead, he wants the reader to believe in the so-called research conducted by pseudo scientists even when many well-intentioned White scientists have conducted tests to the contrary.  Among them, Stephen Jay Gould, the man he refers to, has shown, research into “intelligence” has been powerfully shaped by the social views of the researchers.

Howard Bland must identify himself before I can make a full rebuttal to his rabid and at times unintelligent rant. I would hate to be responding to a hardcore racist or eugenicist. I shall await his response. Thanks.

Shall wait for his credentials and only then write a rebuttal.

By Field Ruwe

Field Ruwe
Field Ruwe
Vice President Guy Scott has proved wrong all white racists who in their sick effort to preserve White dominance claim that Africans have the lowest IQ (Intelligence Quotient). Over the years Scott has showed us that intelligence is adaptable by environmental input; that environment is elemental in the development of a given attribute. He has proved that how and where people live, their up-bring, their economic status, and culture have a substantial impact on the intellectual skills of a person.

Having laid the premise let me expound. Back in September 2011, what evoked great interest for Zambia in the West was not so much the headline “Victoria Station sweeper becomes president of Zambia,” but the appointment of Guy Scott as Africa’s second white deputy president after South Africa’s Frederick Willem de Klerk. The Guardian’s David Smith wrote of Scott: “He is outspoken, has the popular touch and just became the second most powerful man in Zambia. He also possesses something now rarely seen at the top of African politics: white skin.”

The media also stressed that in addition to the color of his skin Scott was an Oxfordian trained scientist: “he graduated in economics from Cambridge, researched robotics at Oxford, and wrote a PhD in cognitive science before returning to Zambia at the dawn of multi-party politics in 1990.” It was clear the ulterior motive of some of the writers was to draw a distinction between the white vice president and the black president—scientist and sweeper; day and night; white and black; European and African; all in their aversive racist effort to activate stereotypes of Whites as intelligent and Blacks as dull and lazy.

For those not familiar with the term “aversive racism,” it is a type of subtle bias practiced even by well-intentioned white journalists and individuals in order to perpetuate negative feelings about Africans. It can be said that 99.9% of whites possess non-conscious aversive racism which can be dictated in their actions, comments and body language. I am including Scott in this category. They believe in the stuff peddled by eugenicist and unrepentant racist Richard Lynn and other pseudo scientists who continue to insist that the IQ of whites is higher than that of Africans no matter the level of education.

The Lynn garbage has been fed into our minds as well. It has created in us a lack of self-worth, and a feeling of not measuring to White standards. As a result we tend to subconsciously over-compensate Whites when we are in their presence. Scott, having been born in Zambia knows how we cherish him because he “possesses white skin.” We, I mean most of us believe that he is more intelligent than we are. We believe that his engagement in various forms of reasoning is rapid, and he tackles problems by taking thought.
This goes for every white person. Some of us think white people are super smart; that that they are blessed with more intellectual gifts than us; that they have more natural innate intelligence; that they possess survival-orientated knowledge that allows them to achieve goals they personally desire. Whites know this and in order to sustain our impression of them, it is only natural that they retain an element of aversive racism.

In the case of Scott, it would not be far-fetched to claim that he is the reason some people are in the PF party. Wherever he goes, villagers and a good number of town dwellers flock to him and believe every word he says. Because they have been convinced a White has more wisdom and sight, the simply conclude “the muzungu has spoken.” In actual fact, it is this belief that gave them a sense of hope when he became vice president. Perhaps a white man “at the top of African politics” would put things right and lead the way to prosperity, they said in their indoctrinated manner. He would make economic success and modernism the crests of the Zambian nation.

Scott is in the third year of his vice presidency. One would expect that his “high IQ” coupled with his academic achievements [PhD in cognitive science] would be clear testimony of Lynn’s claims. If the IQ boloney is anything to go by, we would, by now, have seen Scott spearheading Zambia to first world status. Blessed with “sheer natural ingenuity” he would have found an intelligent way of ensuring that his uncontrollable boss understands that it is on the core values of democracy that the success of Great Britain [the country of Scott’s origin] is dependent. We should have heard him threaten to resign due to Sata’s failure to exercise legal equality, freedom of the press, and the rule of law.

Understanding a constitution is the defining essence of a country, Scott would have scoffed the “show me an animal-driven constitution” and side with those who are calling for the release of the draft. Being a “genius” Scott should fully understand that China is an external predator in a Venetian mask; that Chinese presence in Zambia is no different from that of Cecil Rhodes in early 1900s. He should be tutoring his boss on the dangers posed by Chinese investment and advising him to resist any exploitative deals.

By now Zambians should be applauding Scott for devising a most feasible solution to our economic and unemployment woes. We should be seeing clear signs of Zambia embracing globalization, free market capitalism, education, and strict pragmatic policies. Scott, by now, should be connecting us to the developed world and convincing their nationals to resuscitate our mines and reclaim our ranking as the second highest producer of copper in the world after Brazil. We should be giving him credit for allowing Western investors to manufacture in Zambia and thanking him for the training of unskilled workers in information technology.

It is clear Scott has not done any of such, and to imagine he is going to is wishful thinking. His degrees in Economics and Science hang on his wall like those of other educated Zambians. There is no scientific innovation to his credit. There has not been since he graduated and returned home. His comments and statements are no different from say Wynter Kabimba’s. In his recent television interview Scott said the following: “The Constitution is not a magic formula to take the place of governance. Good Governance is more important than the Constitution which entails that the people who lead you have to be sincere, genuine and take seriously the obligations of setting up schools, hospitals, roads, etc.”

Clearly his utterance is unintelligent. What IQ Scott chooses to discount is the fact that it is the provisions contained in the constitution that lead to good governance; that it is the constitution that provides a Code of Conduct for elected politicians; and that the constitution carries with it the enactment and judicial validation of accountability and transparency. It is the constitution that is a precursor to good governance.

From the time he took the oath of office, we have been watching Scott eat his own words. Most of the stuff he wrote in his Post column in 2010-11 is coming back to haunt him. He once wrote: “The press provides the means for reporting events and expressing views that represent checks and balances on our elected leadership. A competition amongst the media – such as we are seeing in Lusaka FM radio stations – contributes greatly to quality, and the public also deliver their checks and balances against poor quality nonsense through their patronage.” Sadly, today Scott is part of the system that is shuttering online publications, intercepting radio programs, and jailing dissident journalists and activists.

Scott even went as far as lecturing us on why Africa is so disorganized. “There are two schools of thought,” he wrote. “The first, which I will characterize as “English speaking,” tends to believe it is due to inexperience and immaturity on the part of Africans and/or African institutions…” the other school of thought, tending to be “French speaking,” says that Africans are perfectly good organizers and managers. It is just that they have discovered that deliberately-induced chaos can be a useful tool and they tend to use their managerial abilities to bring it about. Chaos, disorder, whatever you want to call it, is a useful instrument for achieving many goals including stealing money, evading justice and, above all, maintaining political power.”

Both lines of thought are very true and they are Scott’s heartfelt impression of African politicians. Sadly, Scott is no different from the Africans he deprecates. To our dismay, we have watched him become part of the chaos and disorder. A dealer of misinformation and image-repairer of his capricious boss, Scott has mastered the technique of rapid rebuttal, often with a Pinocchio nose and finds pleasure in evading justice in order to maintain power.

What does this tell us? It tells us that Guy Scott, born and bred in Zambia, is no different from us. He is one of us. Like all of us he was provided with the Zambian social and environmental stimuli during his childhood. Although being white he was reared in favorable environs and buffered by his well-to-do parents, his scholastic aptitude is no different from intelligent Zambians with similar qualifications.

It can therefore be concluded that how and where one was raised plays a pivotal role in one’s intelligence. For instance, had Scott stayed at Oxford as a researcher or worked in a robotics company in England it is possible he would have become part of Britain’s distinguished inventors. Why? Because of the various opportunities for enlarging knowledge and the availability of appropriate tools that make imagination an important part of intelligence. This is a fact that Lynn and his legion of followers choose to intentionally ignore. Ladies and gentlemen we are but the same people.

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. You can buy chapters or the actual books at a discount. The website also features interesting articles like “Why I hate being a Black man” and topical videos. Watch JP Rushton and David Suzuki debate IQ at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. The site will be updated weekly. Contact me, blog, or join in the debate.
Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, and author. He is a doctoral candidate at George Fox University. ©Ruwe2012

Field Ruwe
Field Ruwe

By Field Ruwe

 The “Africa Year Book and Who’s Who” (1977) edition has President Michael Sata’s date of birth as January 6, 1936. Aislinn Laing, the Telegraph reporter who interviewed Sata at State House in 2011, also has the same year (1936) in her article “Michael Sata: the Victoria station sweeper turned Zambian presidential hopeful” and so have many other archived sources. Sata’s observed date of birth is July 6, 1937. He was born Michael Chilufya Sata at Chitulika village in Mpika in the Muchinga Province of Zambia to Langford Mubanga Sata and Harienta Bukali Kabuswe both of the Bisa tribe.

Back in 2002, Sata sued Patrick Katyoka for alleging that his father, born in 1904, was a Tanzanian who migrated to Northern Rhodesia as a young man before World War I. In 2011, Government Spokesman Lt. General Shikapwasha claimed that Sata migrated to Zambia at the age 9, and based his assertion on what Willie Nsanda had previously said. Since no one has showed up with irrefutable evidence the claim still lingers in mere speculation. Conservers of oral history in Bembaland are Paramount Chief Chitimukulu and the Bemba Royal Establishment. They know Sata’s family tree and are therefore in a position to put the matter to rest.

Here is what is on record. In 1941, at the age of 4, Sata attended Mpika Education Authority School.  It must be mentioned that before independence full primary course lasted 8 years. This was followed by two years to Junior Certificate (Form 2), and three years to Form 5’s school certificate (“O” levels). Some schools provided a higher school certificate (“A” levels) in Form 6. To obtain a primary school certificate one had to go through Sub A and Sub B [pre-school and kindergarten], and then Standard 1 to 6. Sata was at the afore-mentioned school from 1941 to 1947, which means that he attended Sub A to Standard 4.

In Bembaland, the White Fathers and the Protestant missionaries of the London Missionary Society were fighting for converts; both used education as bait. The White Fathers offered Catechists schools and encouraged their followers to enroll their sons in priesthood. Between 1947 and 1948, Sata entered Katibunga Seminary for a year. Records show that he was moved to another Catechists school called Kantensha in Isoka close to the Tanzanian border where he spent three years from 1948 to 1951. By this time some missionary schools had established secondary school courses, many up to Form 2. In 1951, Sata passed on to Lubushi Seminary near Kasama where, on top of clergy training, the school offered an unaided (by correspondence) Form 2 external examination.

Sata left Lubushi in 1956 at the age of 19. Some people speculate that he absconded, while others say he was expelled while some say he failed. Again, this is only hearsay. The office of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kasama would be in a position to confirm or deny the rumors. One thing certain is that he did not become a priest. It is also evident that he obtained a Junior Certificate (Form 2). The acquisition of a Junior Certificate is confirmed by his friend Phinias Makhurane who is quoted later in this article.

In 1957, Sata left Mpika for the copperbelt. Now, when he became president in 2011, the Western media, in its usual negative portrayal of Africa as the “dark continent” relished in depicting him as instinctual with their “porter,” “sweeper,” and “cleaner” headings. The Telegraph, The Times (London), Daily Mail (London), The London Evening Standard, even the BBC unleashed their dark self. And yet none of them backed up their story with the exact period, and I doubt anyone bothered to check with Sata’s employers in England.

For instance, Jane Flanagan of the London Daily Mail in her article “Former Victoria cleaner is elected president of Zambia” dated September 23, 2011, wrote that Sata worked as a cleaner and porter for the British Rail in the 1950s: “He studied part-time and took casual jobs at car assembly plants before returning home and joining the police force.” But according to Laing of the Telegraph, Sata moved to Britain in the early 1960s: “He worked in a laundry in Bromley, before moving to the Vauxhall car plant in Luton. He then moved to British Rail where he worked at Victoria then London Bridge first as a porter, then a shunter, then conductor and eventually driver.” Sata himself must have provided the information during the interview.

This research did not find any evidence or indication that Sata left the country between 1957 and 1960. What is clear is that in 1957, he joined the Northern Rhodesia Police Force. He got to the copperbelt at a time when Police Commissioner Colonel John Patrick Fforde was in need of native police officers to beef up his force. During this period natives (as Zambians were called), incited by Kaunda and Nkumbula were clashing with white settlers. With only a handful of white police officers Fforde recruited 1,720 natives among them our very own Michael Sata. Since most of the recruits were Standard 4 and less, Sata, with a Junior Certificate, was among the highly learned.

On February 20, 2010, Sata told reporters that he resigned from the police force in 1958, adding: “I joined politics. When I joined politics I was arrested in Luanshya, I was not in Zambian Police. In 1960, I was with great people like Justine Chimba, Mazimba from Ndola and Dingiswayo Banda.” This was in response to former president Frederick Chiluba’s claims that Sata was dismissed from the force. Chiluba who as president and appointing authority of the Prisons and Police Services Commission had access to Sata’s file challenged him to “tell the country the truth.” He posed the question: “Were you imprisoned for your participation in the fight for independence?” Or can you say why you were jailed and dismissed from the police force?

A member of the political illuminati, Dingiswayo Banda, accused Sata of not telling the truth. In the Times of Zambia of March 20, 2010, he said that Sata was jailed for a criminal offence and not political activities in 1960. Ten days later [March 30, 2010], Home Affairs Minister Lameck Mangani informed the nation that his office has instituted investigations to establish “whether Sata had lied that he had never been convicted of any criminal offence when he declared his candidature for the presidency.” The following day [March 31, 2010], Mangani announced that the government had found the prisoner warder who registered Sata at the time of his imprisonment.

About the same time, Lusaka Times reported that a Mr. Blackwell Barrow Chifita, who served as detective constable in the 1950s, arrested Sata on a charge related to the liberation struggle. Chifita gave his police force number as 1230 and said that he worked at the Roan Antelope police station under officer-in-charge H.W. Witsher and CIO Chaongopa. According to the story, he arrested Sata in a mine Section 5 beer hall for “proposing violence to an assembly” and was jailed for two years. It was believed that Sata while in the employ of the Northern Rhodesia police was an informer, passing vital information to freedom fighters.

Mangani did not refute Chifita’s claims nor did he produce the prison warder to tell his side. Chiluba also remained numb. Amazingly enough, not former presidents Kenneth Kaunda, Levy Mwanawasa, or Rupiah Banda did, in their reign, give Zambians a hint, not even when they themselves were ridiculed by Sata.

It is not clear if Sata served the full sentence. What is documented is that by 1961, he was in Kitwe working for Roberts Construction (Central Africa) Limited. In his book titled “Phinias-Mogorosi Makhurane: An Autobiography,” Makhurane, from the then Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) tells the story of his friendship with his workmate Sata in 1961. Here is Makhurane in his own words:

While at Kitwe, I built a friendship with one very active man who also worked for Roberts Construction. He had completed his Junior Certificate and was regarded as one of the most educated black people in the company. His name was Michael Sata. Besides being a worker, he was also the secretary of the local Trade Union organization. The Trade Union worked closely with the United National Independence Party (UNIP) of Northern Rhodesia, led by Kenneth Kaunda. During weekends, Michael would take me to meetings of his union as well as to political rallies organized by UNIP.

Sata’s involvement in the trade union is well documented by Dr. Henry Meebelo in his book African Proletarians and Colonial Capitalism: The origins, growth, and struggles of the labour movement to 1964.  There is one undisputable fact about Sata that stands out of the book: his tenacious and “militancy and rancorous” intransigent behavior dates back to his youthful days.

In 1961, at the age of 24, and while at Roberts Construction, Sata became General Secretary of the National Union of Engineering, Construction and General Workers (NUECGW), which in some way rivaled the African Mineworkers Union.” His designation would bring him in closer contact with UNIP freedom fighters. In 1962, he became Director of Publicity and Research for the United Trades Union Congress (UTUC), a “functionary of the United National Independence Party with Matthew Mwendapole as the General Secretary.” The following year [1963], he was elected UNIP Chimwemwe branch treasurer and set off on his journey through the slippery slopes of Zambian politics.

Sata maintained his UTUC position until February 1964 when he became a member of the ten man “cabinet” and the Field Secretary-General of the Young Trade Unionists (YTU) formed by the youth wing of UNIP. The reader must be reminded that in the early 1960s the Cold War was at its height. Kaunda and his UNIP were disenchanted with the United States (US) support of the apartheid regime. The Soviet Union (USSR) took this opportunity to commit thousands of dollars of aid to UNIP and its affiliate trade unions. Fully-funded crash programs were availed to natives in various parts of the Soviet Union (Russia). During the period 1963/1964, Sata, together with Michael Bungoni, Rennie Chikonkolo and Bryan Chirwa, received their trade union training in Russia. When they returned they behaved like “communists” labeling some members of other trade union groups as “capitalist stooges.”

The belligerent YTU lasted until July 1964. It dissolved itself and pledged to support UTUC. Meebelo writes: “One of the loudest voices crying out for early UTUC elections…was Michael Sata. UTUC General Secretary [Albert Kalyati] dismissed Sata’s demand and called him “a confused man” who must refrain from “stirring up troubles.” According to Meebelo, at independence (1964), Sata was part of the group that had “brought more destructive than constructive policy into the industrial relations sphere of the industry.”

Kaunda saw Sata and his cabal as rabble-rousers and refused to give some of them, including Sata, cabinet and diplomatic posts. In frustration Sata attacked Kaunda and lumped him among those “freedom fighters who when became rulers, delivered lots of unfulfilled promises.” Their relationship was strained and his allegiance to UNIP wilted.

Sata went into private business and opened an industrial relations consultancy firm in the defunct Tanzania-Zambia Railway building. He became an associate of the Institute of Personnel Managers (1964-1966) and one of the founders of the Zambia Institute of Human resource Management (ZIHRM). He also sat on the board of Trans-Africa Safaris Limited, a South African company established in 1918. In 1965, Sata was further marginalized when the Zambian government amended the colonial Trade Unions and Trade Disputes Act and created the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions, whose activities had begun in 1964. At this time, Sata, together with Bungoni, were banned from holding any post in the executive of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering, Building, Construction, and General Workers (AUEBCGW), an affiliate of ZCTU.

Trans-Africa Safari Limited specialized in taxidermy—the killing of animals, preparing, stuffing, and mounting the skins with lifelike effect for display purposes. Sata’s role in the company brought him in contact with white settlers and hunters, including Oliver John Irwin. I mention Irwin because he was an ardent pilot, and Sata, through such contacts is said to have learned how to fly. Sata also practiced target shooting for the purpose of hunting. His relationship with White settlers aroused a lot of suspicion. It was believed that he was passing information on the activities of the ANC and other liberation movements to the Boers. This was difficult for the research to ascertain.

It was not until December 28, 1968 that Sata married Margaret Manda, an educator. Two years later, in 1970, he left for England. The research findings show that it was not in the 1950s or 1960s that Sata worked in England, but the 1970s. In fact Sata himself alludes to this fact. During his address of Zambians resident in Gaborone, Botswana in 2012, he bragged that in 1970, he was the first Zambian expatriate in the United Kingdom. It is then that he worked at Victoria Station and other platforms around the country. Queries to British Rail about Sata working as a shunter, conductor, and locomotive driver proved futile.

His presence in London is further confirmed in Miles Larmer’s book Rethinking African Politics: A History of Opposition in Zambia. At the time of Sata’s departure for England, rumors of a new political party, the United Progressive Party (UPP) were rampant. In August 1971, Sata was in London when Simon Kapwepwe admitted to be its leader and resigned from UNIP. As Smart Kabamba is quoted in Larmer’s book, one of UPP’s objectives was to “prevent communist infiltration” into Zambia, especially that of the Chinese. Remember this was at the height of the building of the TAZARA line and the Chinese were already in the country. Kabamba’s remarks were seen by Kaunda as a UPP effort to get support from South Africa.

In London, Michael Sata, who in Larmer’s book is described as “a Zambian of the Bemba tribe” and “Mr. Kapwepwe’s representative” with “no official position in UPP,” attempted to make further contacts with South Africa on behalf of UPP. His visit to the South African Embassy is described as follows:

He [Sata] evidently came to London a year ago [1970] to prepare the anti-Kaunda campaign now being launched. He stated that the purpose of his visit was to obtain from us the name of a reliable printer who could be trustsed to print their material without there being any danger of it leaking out to pro-Kaunda elements …we could of course not assist him in any manner bearing in mind the nature of his activities in London and this …Mr. Grobelaar made quite clear to him …

There is also information that the purpose of his trip was to attend London School of Economics and Political Science. “Africa Year Book,” shows that Sata was at the said school between 1970 and 1973. Sata’s allies have intimated that it was then that he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. This research contacted the LSE Alumni and received the following reply from Reyes Castellano, Alumni Relations Officer: “We have not been able to find Michael Sata’s record on our alumni database.”

When he returned home in 1973, UPP was defunct and Zambia was a one-party state. Most of the UPP members had returned to UNIP. Sata had no choice but to follow suit. He settled in Lusaka where, over time, he was Managing Director of Tanners and Taxidermists (Zambia), Executive Chairman of Ndola Inn Limited, Director of Delta Electrical Contractors, and Project director of Avondale Housing Estates Limited. His offices were located at Farmers’ House on Cairo Road.

Sata’s stay at the Avondale Housing project brought him back in the limelight, sort of. Desiring to expand his public sphere, he went back to active politics in 1981, and became the ward councilor for Bauleni. Kaunda, who for 21 years had shunned him, began to notice and appreciate him. In 1985, Sata became Governor of the City of Lusaka. It was at Lusaka Urban District Council (LUDC) that his authoritarian traits became part of his brilliant political tactics. He was said to be shrewd and dictatorial, often refusing to listen to his subordinates. His reputation as the hardest working governor in the country earned him a seat in parliament as MP for Kabwata, and the eventual post of Minister of State in the Ministry of Decentralization. It was in the late 1980s that he met Christine Mwelwa Kaseba (born 1959).

In 1991, sensing the winds of change, Sata, perceived by many as a political opportunist with a double-pronged venomous tongue, labeled Kaunda a dictator and earned himself a dismissal from government. A disappointed Kaunda who had known Sata’s father to be a humble man, declared: “imamba taifyala mamba” (like does not beget like), but it was too late, Sata had already earned himself the nickname “King Cobra.” He quit UNIP and joined the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) where he was elected National Secretary.

In the MMD, he became part of the powerful Group of Five (G5) or the “untouchables” comprising Ben Mwila, Remmy Mushota, Ronald Penza, and Andrew Kashita. He went on to hold various ministerial posts including Minister of Local Government, Labor and Social Security, Minister of Health, and Minister without Portfolio.

Sata’s presidential ambitions became even more apparent in 2001 when Chiluba attempted to alter the Constitution and go for a third term. Political opponents within his party accused him of trying to position himself for succession. In 2001, when Chiluba abandoned his third term bid and appointed Levy Mwanawasa as his successor, Sata resigned from the MMD and formed the Patriotic Front (PF) days before the dissolution of parliament and only months before the elections.

The maverick Sata used the PF as his bully pulpit—a conspicuous platform from which to advance his agenda. He turned himself into a populist opposition leader by fuelling public revulsion for the Chinese whom he accused of trying to colonize the country. He was fully aware that his anti-Chinese strategy would strike a bitter chord amongst Zambians most of who were incensed by the presence of the Chinese in the country.

When his 2001 presidential bid failed, he continued to make the Chinese a rallying issue and an optimal winning tactic, referring to them as “infestors,” to the enchantment of vendors and marketeers. A month before the 2006, he traveled to Malawi to “solicit funding from Taiwanese businessmen.” He caused a diplomatic furor with the Chinese when he declared that he would recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state if elected. But Sata lost the 2006 election and the Chinese breathed a sigh of relief.

The 2008 election necessitated by the death of Mwanawasa was a near miss for the now ubiquitous Sata. The post-election riots that broke out in Lusaka and Kitwe were an indication that it was just a matter of time. In the 2011 campaign, he added to his anti-Chinese stratagem, lower taxes, and money in people’s pockets within 90 days and won. On September 23, 2011, the political “genius” with a sterling gift for vitriolic campaigns, vicious demagoguery, personal attacks, confrontational encounters, and contradictory statements, was sworn in as Zambia’s fifth president to the delight of an ecstatic crowd. With that he earned himself a merit badge. Although his adversaries see him as a cannonball, “traveling to its aim blindly and spreading ruin on its way,” it is only fair to call this 76-year old father of eight, a tenacious political virtuoso who up to this day turns heads questioningly.

Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, and author. He is a doctoral candidate at George Fox University and serves as an adjunct professor (part-time lecturer) in Boston. ©Ruwe2012

Please Note: I have gone to great length to research into the life of President Michael Chilufya Sata because he is a great man. No great man lives in obscurity. Greatness is leaving an impression on earth. Indeed, the history of the world is the biography of good and bad, mad and normal great men. Those whose legacy is left in vain become victims of fiction. By shutting the door to his life, Sata risks becoming a mere relic—an artifact. It is for this reason that I have unilaterally taken it upon myself to drill a pigeon hole in his door so that the reader, friend and foe, can have a clear view of the man who is our leader. What is contained in this abridged biography is information documented from as far back as the 1960s. Below I deposit a list of some of the sources for the doubting Thomas.


Africa YearBook and Who’s Who (1977). Pg. 1319. Published by Africa Journal Limited. London

 African Affairs: Northern Rhodesia Ministry of Native Affairs (1963), Government Printer.

Larmer, Miles (2011). Rethinking African Politics: A History of Opposition in Zambia. Ashgate Publishing , Ltd.

Makhurane, Phinias-Mogorosi (2010). Phinias-Mogorosi Makhurane: An Autobiography. African Books Collective. Pg. 59-60. [Makhurane is first Vice-Chancellor of the National University and Technology and a previous Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe. Currently, he serves as chairman of Zimbabwe National Council for Higher Education].

Meebelo, Henry (1986). African Proletarians and Colonial Capitalism: The origins, growth, and struggles of the labour movement to 1964. Kenneth Kaunda Foundation, Lusaka.

“Zambia Opposition Chief Files Complaint Over Amin Comparison,” AFP, 17 September 2006.

By Field Ruwe

Field Ruwe
Field Ruwe

Anxiously, I waited as Cyril Ramaphosa announced the names of leaders present, but before he got to Zambia, I saw Guy Scott in the VIP locale and my heart sank into the pit of my stomach. When I first read that Sata would rather attend Kenya Jubilee celebrations than celebrate the life of the world’s most revered statesman, I began to think there was something terribly wrong with our president. I prayed that he changes his mind and joins other world leaders in sending off an extraordinary black man, a colossus, a global icon who is African. To the shock and horror of many, he did not.

Why do we have a president? This is perhaps one of the simplest yet profound questions. The answer has always been because we need an arbitrator, a trailblazer, and in times of war, a commander-in-chief. The person we choose becomes our front, our image, our chief representative. In this case we chose Michael Chilufya Sata to serve as our vanguard and conduit for reaching the world. His actions and decisions are therefore at the heart of our personal lives. If he acts inappropriately the world laughs at us; if he improves our lives, the world applauds him; and if his achievements go beyond world expectations, the world treats him like Mandela.

When Sata failed to show up at Mandela’s memorial many people were left scratching their heads, more so when Zambia High Commissioner to Kenya Mumbi Phiri announced that Sata would be traveling to Nairobi for the Golden Jubilee, a day after the Mandela service. For those who thought our president had lost it, cannot be blamed. As for me, I thought he was the usual daring leader without discernment who was making the greatest blunder of his life based on his ego; that his bold and thoughtless decisions were at work. After all, he has the reputation of being unpredictable and impulsive. I feared that the world would laugh at us for putting such an insensitive man at the helm.

Let’s face it; if there was a historic occasion that called for the presence of our president, this was it. We, more than any country in the world are largely responsible for securing the release of Mandela and the eventual destruction of apartheid. Mandela said so himself. Upon his release from Robben Island, he picked not Tanzania, Ethiopia, Cuba, Russia, or the USA, but Zambia for his first foreign tour in 27 years. On February 28, 1990, Mandela arrived in Lusaka to thank us. He reminded the world that it was from Lusaka that the ANC’s “remarkable team of men” built the organization into a powerful force. With the patience and cooperation of Zambians they executed their plans to the point “where we feel we are on the edge of a breakthrough in our struggle for freedom.”

Yes, Zambia became a seat for the ANC in exile. Between 1964 and 1991, we accommodated the ANC’s executive committee members including Jacob Zuma who was housed in Woodlands, Thabo Mbeki in Makeni, and Oliver Tambo in the former colonial governor’s house at State House. Others included Alfred Nzo, Commander Joe Modise, Chris Hani, Mac Maharaj, Moses Kotane, Duma Nokwe, Mzwai Piliso, Mendy Msimang, Moses Mabhida, Themba Mqota, Mark Shope, Tennyson Makiwane, and Jimmy Hadebe. These men with their families called their flight to Zambia “the pilgrimage to Lusaka,” and so did thousands of South African refugees. They were found in almost all residential areas—Emmasdale, Avondale, Lilanda, Matero, Kabwata, Libala, Kaunda Square, and even in shanties. They used some of the houses as “MHQ Underground” (MHQ=Umkhonto we Sizwe Headquarters), or “Special Ops” from which sabotage strategies were planned.

In 1967, the ANC and ZAPU of the now Zimbabwe formed an alliance known as the MK-ZAPRA (later ZIPRA) force to fight the Rhodesian and South African governments side by side. The merge put our lives in danger. Rhodesian and South African forces began to infiltrate our country, destroying lives and property.

Who can forget October 19, 1978? On this day, the Rhodesian Air Force took over all our airports, and launched a series of raids on ZIPRA training camps in what became known as “Operation Gatling” conducted with the support of the South African government. Bombs fell on us indiscriminately. The emergency wing of UTH was turned into a sea of blood. It is believed 3,000 people, some of them Zambians died on that day alone, and many were maimed. Rhodesia and South African killings, invasions, raids, blasting of roads, and burning of villages continued until KK met P.W. Botha in 1982. In the end we lost many lives and our economy tanked.

When Mandela embarked on his tour, Commonwealth heads of state, including Secretary-General Shridath Ramphal, travelled to Lusaka, Zambia to meet him. It was a proud moment for KK and Zambia, a country Mandela, in his words of gratitude, referred to as “the Switzerland of Africa” for its sacrifices. He clearly recognized the human and economic cost we endured. For that, we won a permanent place in his heart and in the hearts of countless South Africans. It is with our sacrifice in mind, and in honor of all those who perished, that President Sata should have put other commitments aside and travelled to Pretoria together with KK. Yes, KK did, but that was by far enough.

It just didn’t feel right to send VP Guy Scott to represent us for various reasons, one being that he is a man despised by South Africans for his off-color remarks about South Africans being backward. Lest we forget, here are Scott’s own words: “The South Africans are very backward in terms of historical development. I hate South Africans. That’s not a fair thing to say because I like a lot of South Africans but they really think they’re the bees’ knees and actually they’ve been the cause of so much trouble in this part of the world.” With these words he fell out of favor and damaged our relations with the South Africans. At the memorial Scott was the unwelcome guest.

Now, there are some who might be quick to defend the president, many who are his cadres, die-hards, “pain for gain” beneficiaries, and those who naturally love him through thick and thin. They will foolishly say they see nothing wrong with sending Scott to the memorial. Sadly, Zambian politics blindfolds the mind and impedes critical and reasonable thinking. A party leader wins and his followers build a brick-brained wall of blind loyalty and strongly support any poor or foolish decision, regardless. That is what is wrong with us. We treat politics like a religion. The leader becomes a demi-god. He is immortal. We kneel, bow, kiss his feet, and render a nod of stubborn idiocy. We are totally at his mercy and “shall surely follow him” even when he causes us shame or leads us into the abyss. Such is the paradox of blind loyalty.

“You don’t know the reason why the president delegated Scott,” someone might say. And this is where the problem lies. It is most likely that the person who says thus may not know either. But if the past is anything to go by, we should know who we are dealing with. President Sata truly believes he has got us in his thrall. His attitude and actions reflect his deep conviction that he is indispensable; that he owns us and therefore owes us no explanation or apology. We have instilled this perception in his mind. We have created in him a cult of personality that makes him behave like an insensitive tyrant.

Surely, if Sata was not invited to the memorial, he should have informed us. We would have taken it upon ourselves to protest, attack President Zuma and call him the most ungrateful leader on earth and demand he pays reparations for our sacrifice. If Sata had chosen not to travel because he disliked Nelson Mandela, he should have advanced the reasons for their differences. If indeed he was feeling fatigued or unwell he should have posted a press statement. Whatever the reason, we, his humble servants should have been informed. He didn’t, and he won’t, which is a great shame really.

Nevertheless, it was gratifying to see hundreds of planes emerge out of the African sky, carrying with them heads of state from Obama of the U.S. to Xanana Gusmao of the small country of East Timor. Even Hamid Karzai from war-torn Afghanistan and the aging Robert Mugabe found time to travel to Pretoria to memorialize Mandela, an African whose humility, and visionary leadership, touched the lives of billions on earth. The moral conscious of more than 100 world leaders required that they attend. For once it felt great to be African, and wished it could last a lifetime. Thanks Nelson.

Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, and author. He is a PhD candidate at George Fox University and serves as an adjunct professor (lecturer) in Boston. ©Ruwe2012