Tuesday, 17 September 2013

'Sata Unsurpassed Political Wisdom'

President Sata had waited for too long to allow the differences to boil into a civil war between the two factions of the ruling Patriotic Front that emerged over his endorsement. Some party supporters see this as outstanding political wisdom that has finally settled the battle. However, Brutal Journal brings to surface fault lines that may still destabilise the ruling party

By Nyalubinge Ngwende

All along it was dead silence from President Michael Sata. It was though he was basking in the glory of being endorsed as sole party candidate for the next presidential election that is still four years away in 2016.

Secretary General of the party Wynter Kabimba (Justice Minister) openly differed with a senior member Geoffrey Mwamba (Defence Minister) who has been going round the country mobilising party supporters to endorse Sata. And till yesterday, with the intervention of Sata, the differences grew more noisy and violent by day.

Those who were with Kabimba were beaten by cadres who were with Mwamba’s for opposing the endorsement calls. At one time, the cadres from the two factions fought at Northmead School in Lusaka, injuring one another and destroying school property.

The silence from the President was numbing, bringing to memory of a King Nero who was fiddling while Rome was on fire. Amidst all this, was our own President Sata playing a King who ensconced himself in the luxury of State House fiddling while his party was ablaze from implosion? Why did he wait only till yesterday, September 16 to come out speaking in tongues to stop the all hullaballoo about his endorsement?

“Unless you don’t understand English, you can only endorse if someone proposes. No one has proposed my name as candidate, there is no need for anyone to endorse me for 2016,” Sata told his party, asking them to stop the debate forthwith.

Those Patriotic Front supporters, who watched from the sidelines as the two factions—the endorsers and those against—viciously attacked each other in public, went agog on social media, ululating and praising Sata as a man of vast political wisdom.  They are elated that President Sata has finally settled the battle. They are toasting the glasses filled with relief, happy that the public display of uncivilised politics has been stopped.

The nation is also happy that public property will be saved from destruction, as law and order returns to all public places that the farcing and fighting among their political ‘peasants’ had turned into battle fields.

However, not everything is settled. President Sata’s statement yesterday came too late and with too little potency to help simmer down the implosion in his party.

at State House, outside his disciples marched onto the State House grounds baying for Kabimba’s blood, demanding he steps down as party Secretary General.
President Sata with Geoffrey Mwamba
Just when President Sata was asking his Defence Minister Geoffrey Mwamba to stop the endorsement farce

Kabimba issued a statement shutting up people calling for his resignation, saying he would not resign unless President Sata who appointed him asked him to do so.

Oh, Shame PF cadres! You have no stake in your own party. You were not there when it was formed and no single leader is accountable to you because you never voted them to the party positions. You have no legal or legitimate claim for you to pass a vote of no confidence to those holding party positions.

There used to be no camps in the ruling party and Wynter Kabimba was held in high esteem as hard working SG, as they fondly referred to him. Now there are divisions in the party and Kabimba is a black sheep they wanted nailed.

Cadres from the two sides inflicted pain on each other and engaged in intolerable verbal abuse. There were protests, even as President Sata made his statement to stop the endorsement farce, pro-endorsers were verbally abusing and physically violating a senior woman leader of the party right on the State House grounds for seemingly standing against them with Kabimba.

Throughout the whole period that the skirmishes have lasted the hate for Kabimba and all other leaders that stood with him has grown among the rank and file that were for endorsement of Sata’s 2016 presidential candidature.

Unhealed scars are everywhere. There are also serious fault lines that can weaken the cohesion among senior members of any political organisation after bitterly differing in opinion. These scars do not heal on their own, just the fault lines do not disappear with wishful thinking. There is need for a reconciliation process that require sitting the warring parties together and agreeing to the some terms of truce.

Did President Sata offer that process of deliberation for reconciliation? The public is yet to learn. All that is known is that the cadres who physically hurt each other over the endorsement still have their swords out of the scabbards, impatiently drooling to spill more blood.

The anger by those who want Kabimba to step down will not be satiated by anything but seeing him go, unless a process of healing takes place. There is a clash of egos.

This is not over, no matter how the Patriotic Front members who have been watching from the terraces can cheer about Sata’s intervention and unsurpassed political wisdom.

Somebody will be badly hurt soon or later, especially those who may take the bait of challenging President Sata’s candidature as per his invitation to Fackson Shamenda, Sylvia Masebo and Wynter Kabimba to come out in the open to declare their presidential aspirations.

Lookout for a follow article analysing the state of leadership in the Patriotic Front in relation to their capacity tending to  error of judgment and complete failure to reconcile differences as they get blinded by a power disorder known as hubris syndrome  

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