Theresa Lungu

Theresa Lungu
Theresa Lungu

By Theresa Lungu

Theresa Lungu
Theresa Lungu
When I left Zambia for the US over a decade ago, I was so relieved to get out. I was confident America would be beautiful and perfect. However, in this great nation, full of wonder and opportunity, I have also encountered illiterates, cockroaches, mice, poverty, liars, unemployment, you name it. Ultimately, what has stuck with me is the commitment and loyalty of Americans to their country.

A commitment and loyalty that Zambians don’t have for Zambia. The solution many Zambians have for Zambia’s woes is to abandon everything Zambian and throw stones at the country.
The true heroes of our country are the Zambians who have stuck it out at home striving to live decent lives and raise families under challenging conditions. The rest of us ran away when the going got tough and we have absolutely no right to throw stones at Zambia.

We are in Diaspora enjoying other people’s hard work. Perhaps we should have stayed in Zambia and worked hard to improve our communities and made Zambia into an admirable place. If you have done something for Zambia, given back in any little way, then be the first one to cast that stone and condemn Zambia. However, if you are just a keyboard critic enjoying someone’s else’s labors in Diaspora, then you are ignorant and don’t understand what it takes to build a strong, prosperous nation. Hail to all Zambians still in Zambia. Doctors and nurses working in outdated hospitals; lawyers operating in makeshift offices; teachers in rundown schools; and everyone else who hold the country up and keep it together for the rest of us.

It is wrong to ignore the many Zambians who are helping Zambia and solely concentrate on pointing out what is wrong with Zambia. We have to stand with those at home that are trying to improve the country. Obviously they don’t have all the answers and resources and it is up to those of us who are enlightened and educated and have had the opportunity to live in development countries to impart this knowledge.

For the last ten years, I have worked with Luanshya City Council on the project I founded, Books For Zambia. I started the project when I found out that the Library in Luanshya, my hometown, was nothing more than a shell with no books or furniture. It could have been very easy for me to condemn the government and turn my back, after all my local library in America was well equipped! However, I partnered with the Luanshya City Council and organized resources for them to receive books from donors in the US and other countries.

I also had extensive conversations with the librarian about the importance of keeping books in the library for the entire community to use. Today, the Helen Kaunda Memorial Library is thriving and has undergone renovations to include a children’s section.

Furthermore, Luanshya City Council has taken it upon themselves to plan for the opening of a new library branch in Mpatamato. I look forward to seeing a section in the library with books by Zambians for Zambians.

Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware of the many pitfalls and shortfalls of government but as citizens we ought to be fully aware of our own role in improving our communities and turning Zambia into the country we want it to be. The attitude of letting government initiate everything while we sit on the sidelines and hail insults is never going to put doctors and medicines in our hospitals, it is never going to improve our infrastructure, it is never going to stop the brain drain and all the other ills that we see and loathe in Zambia. Proactive is what we need to be.
If we all could love Zambia with all its ugliness and mediocrity, just a little, then we can start seeing the beauty and the warmth and the potential that Zambia is so full of. We must, and I insist never give up on Zambia.

Theresa Lungu
Theresa Lungu

By Theresa Lungu

Theresa Lungu
Theresa Lungu

I was rather startled by a recent video report by Muvi TV. Their reporter, Mwaka Namfukwe was in Kantolomba Township in Ndola covering a story she titled, Some Civic Leaders in Ndola’s Kantolomba Township have resolved to start arresting women they find patronizing bars.

Here is her opening statement;

“Kantolomba is one township in Ndola where you find children playing all over the place, doesn’t matter what games or whatever the time, most of them are reportedly malnourished because their mothers spent much time patronizing bars so cannot cook proper food for their children”.

After hearing Namfukwe’s statement I was left with the belief that Kantolomba is populated by reckless, beer guzzling, self inseminating women who have single handedly let their children go unfed and uneducated.
In concluding her report, shot among dancing women of Kantolomba holding plates of food,(wait, I thought she had reported earlier that these women don’t cook!), Namfukwe triumphantly stated that, women are engineers of development in the home, community and the nation in general. If indeed, Namfukwe believes that women are solely in charge of this gargantuan task, why didn’t she stand up in Kantolomba and challenge the actions of the men there? How do you expect women to solely carry the burdens of society without responsible, supportive men to work with?

Four women appeared on camera and testified that they were driven to drinking to drown the sorrows of poverty and abusive, philandering husbands. There were no men interviewed in the report which compounded my belief that Kantolomba is the first Zambian all women township. The only man in the report was the sexist civic leader (his name was not disclosed in the report) who has instructed bar owners in the area to refuse admittance to women. Essentially, he has declared that it is a constitutional right for men to drink and neglect their children but God forbid if women emulate them.

Most disturbing in this report was the inability of the Kantolomba women to give any responsibility to their husbands. None of them stated that their husbands should be banned from the bars as well.
Coming back to the reporter, I was left with the opinion that either Namfukwe doesn’t have a handle on women’s advancement or she is not a good investigative reporter. Reporters should not just chant catchy phrases, they ought to understand what they are reporting and give viewers or listeners clear and balanced news.

In hindsight, I don’t blame Namfukwe, after all she works for a station whose most popular show is Ready For Marriage, a spectacle that endeavors to mold ‘wayward’ women into wives. This show is developed and produced by a man who obviously doesn’t have very high expectations of women. Among other domestic chores that supposedly make a good wife, contestants of the show are tested on bed-making and dish-washing. The last time I checked, marriage constituted two people. So why is Muvi TV only schooling one half of the union? The sad part of this show is that the contestants are very happy to be on it and don’t seem to have any foresight on whether whomever they are getting ready to marry will be equally ready.

It seems Muvi TV has blinded itself to the fact that more and more husbands are becoming dependent on a second income, the wife’s! I bet an ideal Zambian marriage is one in which the wife has a job outside the home, contributes financially to the home and comes home at the end of the day to engineer development in the home, community and the nation in general while the husband hangs out at a bar eating imichopo and entertaining girlfriends.

Heck, we are a nation that flaunts the notion that ubuchende bwamwaume tabutoba inganda (a man’s infidelity does not break a home). How steadfast will a home be when infidelity brings in AIDS, emotional and financial distress not to mention malnourished children?

Since the first Women’s Suffrage Movement in the 19th century, women around the world have continued to progress and get their men to respect them, except in Zambia where women still accept to be second class citizens. As the saying goes, you will be treated the way you allow to be treated.

Clearly, some of our mothers and sisters do not know any better and they are teaching their daughters what they know; to be ill-treated and disrespected by their men and consider it perfectly normal. The one responsibility I would give to Zambian women is to strive to empower themselves and allow to be treated with respect and love and ultimately will we move forward as a people.

If our minds are stuck in the 12th Century, the country’s development will remain superficial. It is the third world mentality in Zambian minds that relegate the country to that status and not the country’s geographical location. We ought to be aware of what that means.

Muvi TV is in a powerful position of reaching Zambians all across the country and as such must help Zambia grow by truly empowering women not beheading them. Their show, Ready for Marriage, must include men who should be readied for marriage as well. Otherwise they should rename their show, Ready for Disaster.

Related other websites Links

Theresa Lungu

By Theresa Lungu

Theresa Lungu

Last week I wrote the article, The Immorality of Convicting Iris Kaingu. I was struck by the polarized views the article invoked in bloggers. Despite well-crafted insults directed at me from some bloggers, I was encouraged that for the most part readers mounted a stand on the topic, argued it constructively and offered solutions. To add on, I would suggest that the Judicial system quit wasting time and money on those ridiculous blonde wigs from the English medieval days that they keep clinging to and get going with constituting new statutes to accommodate effective prosecution of emerging crimes brought on by technology.

Well, since there hasn’t been any new sex scandals to write about, I will just go back to writing about the mundane, the everyday norms that we sigh at but deem too complicated or confusing to tackle. I am contemplating a few topics, such as why the opposition MPs are allowed to flee Parliament whenever they lack plausible contributions or the appointment of Willie Nsanda as head honcho at RDA or perhaps try to guess who the next person President Sata will send into retirement…Ok, I just dropped the latter because honestly I don’t think President Sata himself knows whom he is going to send into retirement on any given day. The man is just spontaneous! I better leave this topic alone before I get a call from Winter Kabimba threatening to shut me down. He may be brushing off his own blonde wig since he is now the Justice Minister. At least we now know what his position in the Patriotic Front Government is. Before, he was just the annoying hanger-on stepping on everyone’s toes and drawing blood.

Speaking of accepted norms from the dark ages, the other day I was watching a news video clip shot in one of the emerging compounds near Chilenje in Lusaka, Mapoloti to be exact. There, over 200 families have set up homes sans bathrooms. They have built their ‘dream homes’ with no regard to indoor plumbing and have now resorted to defecating in plastic bags or the nearby bushes. Then the residents dared go on camera to lament the lack of toilets and Government’s indifference towards their plight. I was very irritated by this particular group of people who think they can just go and settle on piece of land with no planning and then turn around and blame government. People, bush pooping is totally unacceptable! Not only is it stinky but grossly unhealthy too. Mapoloti is full of unemployed young men who stood in front of the camera that day bad mouthing the government. You know what boys? Dig yourselves pit latrines and use the bush to grow some food, how about that reversal of fortunes? Ask the government for some grain and fertilizer. Scratch that, you have already fertilized the ground, just ask for some grain and perhaps a Mill because Guy Scott is never coming to your house to fit it with porcelain toilets and bidets.

Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware of the many shortfalls of government but as citizens we ought to be fully aware of our own role in improving our communities and turning Zambia into the country we want it to be. The attitude of letting government initiate everything while we sit on the sidelines and hail insults (Zambians lead the world in insults), is never going to put doctors and medicines in our hospitals, it is never going to improve our infrastructure, it is never going to stop the brain drain and all the other wrongs that we see in Zambia. Mapoloti residents are just one example of how we disempower ourselves then turn around and look for someone to blame.

In the colonial days, civil servants took and misused BOMA resources to spite Roy Welensky and his cronies. The only problem is, the BOMA is long gone, we just celebrated Zambia’s 48th Independence anniversary last week. Nonetheless, the culture of ripping off the BOMA is still alive. Austin Liato can attest to this. Hospital workers take linen and medicines, other civil servants misuse office funds and resources and that sort of thing. I remember having a relative in the civil service. He brought home all sorts of things from his office. Typewriters, stationery, even chairs. He always said that those things were for the BOMA and we should all enjoy them.

After misusing public resources we resort to posting notices such as the one found at UTH outpatients department: Kindly take note that members of staff at UTH work under very strenuous and demanding conditions due to the increase in the disease burden and critical shortages of manpower. Patients and relatives seeking medical attention at UTH should therefore be mindful that it may take a bit of time for them to be seen by our medical personnel. Assaulting any member of staff is a criminal offence and offenders will be arrested and prosecuted. Thank you – UTH Management

While Zambia has evolved nicely into the 21st Century with smartphones, satellite TV, Japanese cars and shopping malls, a part of our culture is steeped in the dark ages. I bet some of you are getting ready to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day right there in Lusaka! Go figure.

Iris Kaingu enters Lusaka Central Prison pending sentence on Thursday, 25th.
Iris Kaingu enters Lusaka Central Prison pending sentence on Thursday, 25th.

By Theresa Lungu

Theresa Lungu

The picture of Iris Kaingu entering Lusaka Central Prison, her head bowed in shame, her young face marred with worry is a testimony of Zambia’s twisted and incompetent justice system. Thankfully her bright yellow blouse throws an aura of hope around her.  In a short space of time she has gone from a carefree college student to a convicted criminal.  Her crime? She and her boyfriend took videos of themselves having consensual sex in the privacy of their room.

Iris is 21 years old, technically an adult and yet still so young and impressionable.  I am sure many of us recall our college days, drinking, illicit sex and other unsavory activities that as terrible as they maybe, are the right of passage for young people.  At the same time it is not all college students who are mischievous, many are on the straight and narrow, basically just studying and missing all the fun! Ok, the point I am trying to make is youthful offenders such as Iris must be given a chance to redeem themselves and not be sent to prison. As a matter of fact  I wouldn’t call Iris’s deed a crime, I view it as an error in judgment. I am sure Iris rues setting up that video camera.  What good is Iris’s imprisonment going to do for her life?  She has already been slandered and paraded on television and in newspapers as the shame of the nation.  Her future is uncertain and potentially ruined because the justice system and public opinion has rendered her a criminal.

I keep imagining the Judge in the case sitting down and watching the video as evidence.   Did he honestly think two young people having sex was bad for the development and moral fabric of Zambia? Was he rewinding and pausing the video to capture all the details? How did he decide to convict Iris?  If we are going to convict people over sex then we may as well go full throttle and convict adulterers, dead beat dads and everyone else in between. Convicting people solely on moral behavior is a misjudgment.

If I had a chance to visit Iris in that filthy jail cell at Lusaka central prison, I would hold her hand and tell her to put her head back up. She is not a criminal, she is a young woman who fumbled on the path of life like all of us have done at one point or another. Her erring must not be the end of her life, this must be a new beginning for her. She has already shown maturity and resilience in facing her public conviction.  There is no sentence bigger than shame and rejection.  Sending Iris to prison will be sentencing her two times over.  Iris must be pardoned and returned to school.  I am positive that she will make a good citizen of herself but we must give her a chance first.

Some commendable citizens have taken matters into their own hands and started a Facebook page to pardon Iris.  Those on the ground in Zambia, especially women’s rights groups must also mount support for Iris at her sentencing on Thursday and make sure that young woman goes home to her family and carry on with her education.

Iris, hang on in there.  If any adult in that court room has never had sexual relations then let them throw the first stone.

Ah the revolution or not…

Theresa Lungu
I just finished reading an article by Lady C published on this site in which she writes quote, the majority of Zambian women in the UK who are so sick and tired of being embarrassed by underperforming Zambian men who readily complain about Nigerian men bagging Zambian ladies. What do they honestly expect the ladies to do? Settle for a measly bronze medal when they can have an undisputed gold one?? Come on!!, end of quote.
Wow! I find the above statement pretty bold considering the number of Zambian women in the UK. It is interesting how 21st century women crave independence and equal rights so fervently and yet so many more want to be defined by the kind of man they marry. Or could this just be Zambian women lagging in personal growth? Well, much Like Lady C in London, I was recently at a gathering in Boston, with a few women from different backgrounds. With this group, the consensus was financial independence, achieving goals and fulfilled lives regardless of whether or not a man happens along.
Then there was the International Women’s Day celebrated around the world. Of course my interest was how the day was marked in Zambia. Finally, I saw the pictures this mornign. I saw women dressed in political chitenge imprinted with President Sata and former President RB’s heads. Little girls dancing their hearts out in pouring rain as President Sata stood under a canopy while the women marched past dancing and waving. Wait a minute, I thought this was women’s day not government day! This is a day to ponder ending domestic violence, to abash sexual abuse and harassment, to lobby for more jobs and better pay for women. In other words women’s day is about empowerment not waving at President Sata! That aside, Zambia has had a long tradition of using little girls to entertain government officials, bringing them flowers at the airport, holding the scissors tray at commissioning ceremonies and so forth. The point is these little girls are growing up with the mentality that all a woman has to do is wear a pretty dress and serve men. Forget the grass, the roots are already poisoned.
And just yesterday, former Tourism minister Catherine Namugala was encouraging women to go in public ‘scantily dressed’ in protest of the MMD being deregistered as a political woman. Really? And you hope women to gain respect in this manner? What kind of air head reasoning is this? Personal note to Catherine: you just set Zambian women back 50 years and for you own personal gain! Women can be heard and respected fully clothed and you as a leader should be preaching this. Be the first one to undress and I hope you will be the only one. Exploitation of women by women, this is sad.
Honestly, I don’t want to go into another rant about how poorly women are treated in Zambia and what ought to be done about the situation. However, If I were the gender minister in Zambia, I would aim the next women’s day at women and girls with sensitization on self- sufficiency and self worthiness.
To Lady C, I hope you had an opportunity to tell your friends that it spells inferiority and ignorance in assuming every one foreign is more sophisticated as them alleging West African men are better than Zambian men.

By Theresa Lungu

Theresa Lungu

It has been interesting to read the varying reactions of Zambians to the suggestion by UN Secretary General Ki-Moon for Zambia to consider gay rights.   The headline has been the most commented on story on blogs. “Homosexuality is an evil/wicked thing, only a fool can call it human rights,” one blogger on Lusaka times wrote. Do we really have people who are gay in Zambia or is it just a western phenomenon?,  yet another blogger asked. Ultimately, the Zambian government issued a statement this morning that homosexuality is not allowed in Zambia.

The question is, what is wrong with two adults having consensual sex? Whether it is two women or two men.  Must human rights be selective? vis a vis, only to be awarded to people who have sex the ‘accepted’ way?  Additionally, what is the social and economic impact of gay people in Zambia?

Some years back, a neighbor in Luanshya impregnated his 16 year old niece.  The family hushed it up and sent the girl away. My neighbor and his wife are still married.  Is this man who rapes a child better than a man or woman who has consensual sex with another adult?

Religious organizations in Zambia would rather see hell than tolerate gay citizens.  Doesn’t the bible teach acceptance and to let God be the judge?  What makes it right to discriminate against people because they are in the minority?

I often wonder how it must have felt like for our forefathers in slavery when they were considered half human because of their skin color or for South Africans who lived through apartheid.  I wonder too how gay people in Zambia feel, the fear of coming out in the open, the rejection.  I bet every Zambian condemns slave masters and Boers for the mistreatment of blacks and yet they pat each other on the backs for discriminating against Gay people.  Basically, aren’t bigotry and racism in the same bracket?

Peace and equality is what many citizens of the world strive for and I truly hope Zambia is also striving for the same. A Zambia where every woman, man and child are treated equally regardless of their gender, sex orientation, religious belief, disability or skin color.

The international theme for World AIDS Day 2011, backed by the World AIDS Campaign and UNAIDS, is ‘Getting to zero’, namely zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. Here at UKZAMBIANS we are thankful to Theresa Lungu who took her time to write for us our World AIDS Day 2011 message.

By Theresa Lungu

Theresa Lungu

It has been 30 years of carnage in the wake of the worst epidemic of the 21st Century, AIDS.

Although there is still no cure for the disease, the last decade has seen significantly advanced treatment in the form of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART).HAART is an aggressive treatment regimen that suppresses HIV viral replication and the progression of HIV disease. HAART has proven to reduce the amount of active virus and in some cases can lower the number of active virus until it is undetectable by current blood testing techniques.[1]  This means HIV is more manageable and patients now live healthier, longer.  At the end of 2010, 34 million people were living with HIV/AIDS, a 20 percent decline since 2007.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, which includes Zambia, HIV infections have also decreased. These encouraging numbers didn’t come up by chance, it is through the hard work of care and service providers, prevention specialists and advocates. With all the knowledge and expertise that the world is now armed with in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the emphasis has fallen on creating an AIDS free generation, a task for each one of us.

AIDS affects all of us.  It is not a social disease, it is society’s disease.  Almost every Zambian I know has lost a loved one to AIDS, some families have lost multiple members.   However, most of the time, we don’t even want to share news of a relative being diagnosed with AIDS.  It is too shameful to tell.  When someone in the family has malaria or diabetes or cancer we take our solemn faces to neighbors, friends and co-workers in search of sympathy and support.  But when the diagnosis is AIDS we keep quiet and talk in whispers among family. Why?

An HIV/AIDS diagnosis in the family must be used as a learning moment for the rest of the family members, especially younger members who may not be fully aware of the disease and how it is contracted.   Twenty first century children have access to information online and it may not always be the correct information.   It is momentous when elders in the family talk to younger members candidly about sex and the pleasures and risks that come with it. Even as adults, we all remember our parents’/guardians’ teachings. I therefore get alarmed by some Zambian parents who still think it is too sticky to talk to their children about sex and sexually transmitted diseases.  For your information, there is an increased rate of HIV infections in young people aged 15 to 21.   Whether you like it or not your tween’s body is awakening, it is nature!  Ignorant silence is not going to stop him or her from experimenting with sex.  If we are to achieve an AIDS free generation, the work starts now, with you.

HIV/AIDS patients need our support as family, as friends, as neighbors.   Stigma and discrimination contribute to the fueling of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  Many peoplehesitate to get tested for fear of being ostracized by family and friends.  Or they carry the burden alone after being diagnosed because there are still people out there who give the side eye at the mention of AIDS.

I recently received a call from a woman I consideredintelligent.  She called me with the newsthat a mutual acquaintance’s ex-boyfriend had died from AIDS in Zambia.  “Do you think our friend also has it?  I want to see her face when she finds out!” my caller wanted to know.  I was totally disgusted by this call. If I had a Facebook page I could have unfriended this person instantly.  It is that kind of attitude that is still killing people.

If, after three decades you are still sitting there believing HIV/AIDS is only for the wretched and the promiscuous, then God have mercy on you!Think about the baby born with HIV, think about the housewife who gets infected by a philandering husband, think about the rape victim, think about the un-informed youth who gets infected on the first sexual encounter, think about all who got infected with tainted blood in hospitals, think about the millions of AIDS orphans around the world whose lives have been altered forever…

For many of us, World AIDS Day is a tribute and memorial to loved ones battling HIV/AIDS and those we’ve lost.  To our siblings, to our spouses, to our parents, to our aunts and uncles, to our nieces, nephews and friends, you are loved, we stand with you.

[1]http://aids.about.com/od/hivaidsletterh/g/haartdef.htm

By Theresa Lungu

Theresa Lungu

It is always horrifying to hear about women being murdered at the hands of men who are supposed to love and protect them.  This week alone two young women in Kalulushi and Chadidza have been slaughtered by their husband and boyfriend respectively. The Kalulushi woman leaves behind a year old child and the woman in Chadidza was several months pregnant.

Unfortunately, Zambian culture doesn’t always rate domestic violence as a problem.  While Zambia has a rich culture in many ways the same culture does not empower women.  Instead of grooming women to be independent and self sufficient and leave abusive marriages, women are urged to be submissive and follow the husbands’ instructions in order to avoid abuse.

The biggest show on Zambian TV is Ready for Marriage a show that prepares women for marriage.  While I have never seen entire episodes of this show, the little I have seen of it usually tests women on household chores.  I don’t believe the show’s host, Master Chimbala tackles domestic violence and how to deal with it. Perhaps there should be a Ready for Marriage for men? Isn’t it just as important for men as it is for women to be ready for marriage?

Growing up, a friend’s sister was murdered by her husband and the back story was she had been beaten throughout their 4 year union and yet she had stayed on. Her husband never served time in jail and I am certain he went ahead and married another woman.  While my friend’s sister was a stay-at-home wife solely dependent on her husband, educated women with good jobs also stay in abusive relationships.  I once worked as an assistant to a brilliant female executive in Zambia who was terrorized by her unemployed husband and yet she still stayed with him. I always considered this woman as a role model and I was shattered by her personal choices.  There is no straight answer as to why women keep going back to abusive relationships. Some women have nowhere else to go, some women cite loneliness and some women just don’t know any better.  Many women in Zambia grew up in homes where their mothers were beaten and they assume it is the norm to be clobbered by your spouse once in a while.

Unlike western countries that have counseling and safe houses for abused women and tough sentences for abusers, Zambia does not have such programs.  A distant relative was recently set on fire by her husband and upon her discharge from UTH, she is back at her matrimonial home with the same man who has attempted to kill her.

On the other hand, Police in Zambia only show up in a hurry when a woman has been killed but if she is just beaten and still alive then no big deal. Chances are the police officers also beat up their women and as such are not in a hurry to arrest other men doing the same.   Years ago in Lusaka, my roommate was assaulted by her boyfriend and we went to Chilenje police to report the matter.  Instead of the police arresting the boyfriend, the officers showed up at our house every night asking us out on dates.  Eventually, my friend dropped the case just to get the police off our backs!

Sadly, even high profile politicians who are engaged in domestic violence don’t get punished for it.  Case in point, Zambia’s Minister of Defense, Mr. Godfrey Bwalya Mwamba who is a documented wife beater.  I keep wondering how he can defend the country when his wife cowers from him every time he raises his hand to scratch his nose. I believe Charity begins at home.

I would like to see the mission of the Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group (ZMWL).  I went to their website to get more information but apparently the page has been suspended. This group supposedly fights for women’s rights and protection.  In my opinion, if they are serious about women’s welfare in Zambia, they should put more emphasis on the prosecution of offenders and fight to put in place measures that will protect women from abuse.

Women need to know they have options if they report abuse to the police and that they will be protected from further abuse. Women in communities must be taught to teach younger women that it is no okay to live in an abusive relationship.  Even one slap is not acceptable.  I have heard this statement from abusive men, “I didn’t beat her, I only slapped her.” I can’t recall a slap ever being defined as a tickle! Being slapped is not a pleasant experience; it is degrading for any adult to be slapped. Abused women are made to feel worthless and lose confidence in themselves and there is no justification for this.

I was reading about the two college students in Lusaka who videotaped their sexcapades and posted the video online.  The whole country is up in arms condemning these two.  The students are expelled from school and branded sinners.  Mind you these are two adults in a consensual relationship and yet people who are engaged in assault and attempted murder are given cabinet positions.  Is this selective Christianity on the part of Zambians or is it that women’s lives in Zambia have no value?

By Theresa Lungu

Theresa Lungu

I am still recovering from the bad taste of having Xavier Chungu being appointed and revoked as Luapula Province Permanent Secretary and it came as a shock to hear that Dr. Simon Miti has been appointed and revoked as Ambassador to Switzerland .

Dr. Simon Miti was Permanent Secretary in the ministry of health until 2009 when it emerged that K27 billion had been misappropriated at the ministry. Although Dr. Miti’s signature appeared on fraudulent documents used to milk money out of the ministry, he pleaded ignorance in the scandal and all the goats intestines were strung around the neck of a junior officer.  He remained suspended from his post by the former government and while he made a few court appearances.  Up to now, there has not been any indication that indeed Dr. Miti was just a clueless permanent secretary who showed up for work but had no role in the running of the Ministry.

If we in Diaspora were able to follow the 2009 scandal at the ministry of health, Mr. Sata as the opposition at the time surely heard of the disgusting manner in which funds were being misappropriated at the ministry.  Dr. Miti let the Ministry get robbed and as such he does not deserve anymore appointments in the civil service because he is incompetent and indifferent to the affairs of the country.

I believe the PF government was elected because Zambians are sick of corruption and had confidence in the new government to put things right.

Shouldn’t there be a protocol in diplomatic appointments?  A background check in security, criminal and character must be established before a person is confirmed for an appointment.  A diplomatic appointment cannot be an impulsive move on the President’s part.  Our embassies around the world are in disarray because of shady appointments rooted in nepotism and tribalism.

This ‘appoint and revoke’ system that President Sata has embarked on is deeming him ignorant and unsure and can put him in the line for impeachment.  I know I am not the only one wondering if he is capable of turning Zambia around at all.

How short are people’s memories that they cannot remember what happened 2 years ago.  This is the same situation with executives who brought down banks in the 90’s, skipped the country for a few years and now they are back in the country at the helm of bigger companies still taking people’s money.  Criminals should be forgiven but they still must be punished for their crimes.

Please, Mr. President, make extensive consultations before confirming appointments. State house is not a kingdom where we all have to bow to the throne and agree with all your decisions.  Zambia is a democracy, consult and listen to the people or the country is stuck in the ruts and dredges of poverty and under development.

By Mathews Chansa  – Hutchinson , USA

Mathews Chansa

Do you remember Dick Mpheneka, Andrew Makwaza, Mambo Njovu, The Kangwa, Simunyola , and the Kapungwe brothers, John Mwalongo, Lighton Ndefwayi, Sidney Bwalya, Kachinga Sinkala, Brandon Kasulumbe or even perhaps Edgar Kazembe?

I am guessing the last name might be the only familiar one – and only slightly at that if you are a real Zambian tennis fan.
Zambian tennis has been on the downward spiral since the late 1990’s with Lighton Ndefwayi and Sidney Bwalya being our last great tennis players and our Davis Cup heroes. Yes Edgar Kazembe has won a multiple Zambian and regional singles and doubles titles but do people really know him?

Where is all the talent? Zambian is a huge sporting nation with one of the top soccer team in the world, the Olympic champion boxing team, world class swimmers and the recent netball team medalist at the All African Games. Zambia boasts great weather, and passionate coaches, so why are we not producing world class tennis players? The answer is complicated but it boils down to mismanagement and money. The national association is grossly under-funded and where there was once an entire organization committed to tennis in Zambia, the organization is now manned by a one-man show in the name of Tolani Zulu and few supporting casts in Lusaka and Copperbelt. He has single handedly kept the association alive by constantly soliciting sponsors and for bringing new life into Zambia tennis, bringing back the Zambia and Copperbelt junior and Senior open. He has also gone further by having former tennis greats based abroad to be part of the development process. This is one great step in the right direction. Lets’ hope it is the first of many. I remember watching South African Jeff Coetzee, Wesley Moody and Zimbabwean Wayne Black at the Zambian ITF Men’s Satellite Open at Lusaka Club when I was a junior player and it was incredible.

So where are our talented juniors going? College. Thirty percent of all top Zambian juniors have previously and still finding their way into US colleges where they are moving through the colleges ranks and only a very few or non are then venturing out onto the tour. The top juniors in Zambia have no other opportunity even if they are good enough to turn professional; there is no support in the way of funding, training or coaching to help them make the transition from the junior ranks to the pro level.
College has been good to a lot of Zambian players as it has been giving them a great education and – for some – a spring board into coaching positioning and possibly owning their own tennis facilities. But we have lost and still losing too many as these players have nowhere to turn after the great support they receive in college.

This is my take on the situation. The sport has no international tennis heroes to catalyze and create an army of tennis followers, youngsters with the character and the desire to excel like their hero. The sport has grown to become an elitist one played almost entirely in social clubs. One figure, one successful Zambian tennis player, in the international ATP or WTA circuit, could kick-start an avalanche of interest in the sport. He or she could do for tennis what Kalusha Bwalya and Charles Musonda did for Zambia football, They served as the reference of limitless possibilities for the youth of Zambia , with the hunger and desire to escape from poverty into a new world of fame and fortune. This is the hunger that creates champions and heroes. Tennis has to become a street game. It has to be grown from the schools. It has to have facilities in the communities. But more than anything else it has to have an authentic hero to illuminate the path so others can follow.