Zambias new leadership challenge: the wamuyaya syndrome

Dear Editor,

Dictatorships, coups, armed rebellions, free and fair elections and now in vogue, power-sharing Africa has seen it all. 

But as Zambians go to the presidential and legislative polls in August this year another worrying ingredient has been added to the mix. It is what some are calling ‘wamuyaya syndrome’.

This is not being ageist by suggesting that those standing for office are too old. Rather, the term refers to a ‘disease’ whereby the sufferer feels that by virtue of being the president of a party, he or she has absolute authority on all matters concerning that party including presidential term limit.

From the outset let us be realistic. Following the turbulent years after independence, Zambia is now enjoying a marked improvement in the area of governance. The country has certainly turned over a page on the presidency of Kenneth Kaunda’s dictatorship which began to unravel in the early 1990s after the general elections which saw voters reject his one-party state.

Yet a hangover of KK’s politics, this so-called ‘wamuyaya syndrome’ still threatens the country’s political establishment dominated by three major opposition parties – FDD, MMD and UPND.

It is at the intra-party level that this subtle brand of dictatorship is particularly evident, as shown by FDD which has resolved to postpone its national convention until after the general elections in August to allow its president Edith Nawakwi to contest Zambia’s presidency.

Notwithstanding that, Nawakwi has remained the party’s president since her election 11 years ago (Sunday Nation, March 6, 2016).

Take the incumbent MMD president, Nevers Mumba, for instance. He has thrown out all those who are calling for the holding of a national convention prior to the August polls or those who oppose him.

On the other hand, UPND president Hakainde Hichilema is unchallenged in the party.

He is ‘president for life’. Every time we have presidential elections in this country he is the one who prevents other opposition leaders from uniting to challenge the incumbent in State House. It’s him or nobody else even though he has never subjected himself to the UPND electorate since 2006.

What these suggest is that the opposition party presidents have an unrestrained hand in calling the shots, while at the same time party lieutenants ensure that orders are obeyed. For the moment, though, would-be voters for the FDD, MMD and UPND in the August polls will be between a rock and a hard place – between a presidential leadership seemingly entrenched in office and a myriad of legislative candidates seemingly entrenched in opposition.

Mubanga Luchembe, LUSAKA


What you see is what you get


Dear Editor,

I am very surprised by the reaction of Zambians to what is happening in the country, because evidence can be found in history.

There are people who are naturally violent in their conduct. They will beat the wife to pulp, beat employees who demand salaries and even insult officers who challenge what are considered to be fraudulent claims.

People cannot change overnight. Their traits live with them until they die. Whatever position they hold will certainly haunt them.

There is no reason to wonder or be surprised. LJK


ECZ should not rush GCE exams

Dear Editor,

It is strongly rumoured that the Examination Council of Zambia may conduct GCE exams much earlier than August with the view to accommodating some politicians who may not possess Grade 12 certificate legal requirement which threatens their eligibility to contest the forthcoming elections.

If that were true, ECZ would cause more harm than good to the students who have spent a lot of money on enrolment and tuition fees scheduled for August. It is literally illogical to change the national curriculum just to satisfy a few selfish individuals who may be pressuring ECZ.

Suffice to say that it is common knowledge that some students may have an overload of at least six subjects which require lots of study time.

Furthermore, the examination body needs to strictly verify certificates because they are bound to make bizarre discoveries especially on the Copperbelt.

As we speak some have reportedly established the threshold of obtaining the requisite qualifications under suspicious circumstances.

McDonald Mulongoti , Chingola



Dear Editor,

Reactions to Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Director General Rosewin Wandis resignation range from vague titillation to outright endorsement in Zambias anti-graft circles. However, I do rather suspect they regard it as long overdue (Daily Nation, March 5, 2016).

Whatever the outcome of it all, in future the first item on the to-do list for the in-coming ACC director general should be a fresh start for investigation into the Trafigura oil procurement scandal.

Trafigura, the multinational commodities trading company, was embroiled in an investigation into a former Zambian government minister who was accused of taking bribes over a $500 million fuel contract.

Zambia’s former justice minister, Wynter Kabimba, was once called by the ACC to respond to allegations that Trafigura paid his company, Midland Energy Zambia, to secure a petrol and diesel supply deal.

The hearing was suspended amid chaotic scenes and protests from the former minister’s supporters. The atmosphere was not conducive for any interview.

As a consequence, the ACC rescheduled its investigation. Up to now, nothing of substance has been heard of the outcome of the ACC’s investigations into this matter.

Kabimba, who was also secretary-general of the ruling PF party at the time, had consistently denied the allegations and said he would resign as minister if the ACC found evidence proving he influenced the deal or received any kickbacks from Trafigura.

In August 2012 Trafigura was awarded a tender by the Government to supply and deliver 216,920,000 litres of diesel and 21,230,000 litres of leaded petrol over a two-year period. The tender process was run on behalf of the Ministry of Energy by ZPPA, an independent regulatory body which follows World Bank procurement guidelines and procedures to evaluate bids on both a technical and a financial basis.

Trafigura categorically refuted any allegation of corruption at any stage before, during or after the award of this tender and welcomed the investigation by the ACC.

The company added that it had never made any payments to Midland Energy.

The Rainbow Party leader is a director of Midland Energy and the public domain has seen copies of the company’s incorporation documents from PACRA which list the former Justice minister as a board member and shareholder. The company was registered on 10 January 2012, four months after the PF government came into power.

As such, I strongly believe it is right for the in-coming ACC director general to revisit the Trafigura oil procurement scandal.

Mubanga Luchembe, LUSAKA

Categorized | Letters

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