Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula and the One Party Participatory Dictatorship


We have discussed how Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula influenced the struggle for independence and how it was rooted in a belief in human equality. Mr Nkumbula’s, and indeed the ANC’s fight did not end at independence. They were committed to the achievement of freedom from all forms of slavery, and in the case of Zambia, power was transferred from the white elite to the black elite. Reading the writings of Hitchcock, you get the impression that the first president, assumed as the colonial rulers had, that Zambian’s did not know what they needed or wanted. After Independence, UNIP started on a trajectory towards a one party state, a dictatorial form of government that was hidden behind the words “participatory democracy”.

As early as the day that President Kaunda returned to Zambia after signing what declared Zambia independent, declared that the government would rule strongly and put down trouble makers. Mr Nkumbula, warned Zambians of the dangers of a one party state, calling into question the claims by UNIP, that a one party state was a continuation of the traditional forms of government, and when they tried to strangle and control the media, warned Zambia about where the country was headed; and when UNIP repealed a 1962 bill, that made it illegal to request party cards in public, Mr Nkumbula saw it as a means of forcing people to join UNIP. Later when government introduced the Mulungushi reforms that gave it controlling shares in major companies and restricted the types of business that individuals could enter into, Mr Nkumbula rightly predicted it would result in disaster; Zambia today is still suffering the effects of that disastrous undertaking.

Mr Nkumbula’s belief that people had a right to choose their thoughts and associations, expressed itself in his defence of the Lumpa, a great number of whom found themselves exiled from Zambia, as well as the Jehovah’s witnesses, who, due to their choice to not sing the national anthem, found themselves as UNIP’s target. The ANC, as a whole, saw government and the laws of the land as a way of defending individual freedoms and not as a means for control, and when the UNIP youth went around terrorising people, called for the need for them to be disbanded. They also advocated a foreign policy that put Zambia’s economic interests above Pan Africanist solidarity.

Mr Nkumbula’s ANC, despite facing great financial difficulties and destabilising forces from within its ranks was still able to provide the people of Zambia with a better sounding form of governance that, while at the time was scoffed at by many, finds greater popularity among Zambians today. It is important to note that the political future he offered Zambia, grew out of political views that were influenced by his Methodist background and norms of his initial constituents, the Bantu Botatwe, and further developed as a reaction to UNIPs dictatorship.

When UNIP raised the cost of being in opposition to its governance, the ANC still stood its ground and maintained its stronghold in Southern province. Its members had trading licences revoked, property taken from them, were refused travel and suffered beatings, among other ills. In 1966, UNIP was so brutal in employing intimidation as a campaign tactic, that only a third of Mazabuka’s population turned out to vote the following year. That same year, an ANC-MP for the North Western province of Zambia, from Mwinilunga was arrested for high treason, and when he was released, returned with a compromised mental capacity. The same year, when four ANC MPs from the South of Zambia joined UNIP, and were forced to resign their seats by law, the ANC’s new candidates still managed to hold on to those seats, proving that it wasn’t mere tribal alliances that caused them to follow the ANC. That year, Mr Nkumbula and his deputy were jailed for insulting the president during their campaign; the latter pleaded guilty and was given eighteen years with hard labour. Mr Nkumbula was released and it was proven a fraudulent police report was used as evidence against him.

Discontent was building within the ranks of UNIP, with people resigning in large numbers, and by 1967, United Party (UP) was formed by Lombe and Mumbuna, taking a lot of members with them. Despite UP’s more radical stance, Mr Nkumbula managed to negotiate a merger. This did result in the radicalisation, to an extent of the ANC, but also lead to the doubling of the seats in parliament in 1968. The following year when UNIP went on a rampage, taking homes from ANC members and subjecting them to beatings, violent clashes became common place and the ANC found itself banned, on the 17th of June, the same day that the referendum—that saw the government taking power from the Zambian people, in regards to making constitutional changes and putting them in the grips of the government—was held, which gave UNIP the power to pursue a One Party state.

Two years later, the United Progressive Party (UPP) was formed and it was Mr Nkumbula, who despite the history between them, allowed Mr Kapwepwe to use the ANC headquarters for UPP purposes. They tried to negotiate a merger, but decided in the end, that it was better to work alongside each other. Legal action was launched by Mr Nkumbula and Kapwepwe to try to stop the inception of the one party state, but the UPP, found itself banned in 1972, and their leader, Mr Kapwepwe, who is said to have been the president’s biggest threat, spent the rest of the year in jail. That year, Mr Nkumbula is said to have helped the cause of those detained. Mr Kapwepwe issued a directive for UPP members to join the ANC, however, by then, it was too late. On December 8th that year, UNIP won the two-thirds it needed, in the National Assembly, to put in place a one party state, and six days later, the ANC’s lawsuit was dismissed. THE ANC, WAS LEGISLATED INTO NON-EXISTANCE!

 

The opposition leaders were given a short period to either join UNIP or leave political life altogether, and Mr Nkumbula, is said to have stated, he would not be joining UNIP, however, he and Mr Mungoni Liso, his deputy, signed the Choma declaration between 1972 and 73 and joined UNIP. There have been reports that he was bribed or promised a high position in UNIP, however, it is hard o imagine that a man who fought so hard against UNIP, even when the slogan “it pays to be in UNIP” rang true, would in the end take a bribe then, and if a high position was promised, it never materialised. The other line of thought that could explain his change of mind, could be that he thought that he could bring reform from the inside of UNIP. Yet the difference in ideals that had become ANC, were different to those espoused by UNIP, and as such, Mr Nkumbula is said to have never fit into the party. In the mid-1970s, Mr Nkumbula started thinking of challenging Ba Kaunda for the highest job and joining hands with Mr Kapwepwe announced, at different times in August, their intentions. This was despite Mr Nkumbula having a stroke and his health starting to deteriorate in 1977.

UNIP acted to stop their intentions by amending the party constitution and using intimidation, and was successful; Ba Kaunda was left the sole candidate of the elections, which he won. The two individuals came together in mounting another fight in High court, stating the election was unlawful but it was thrown out, and so was an appeal to the Supreme Court. This is said to be what convinced the former ANC president that reform could not be achieved by being a member of UNIP. While Mr Nkumbula never incited it, former ANC members began to campaign for a ‘NO’ vote and were highly successful, as Southern province recorded a majority ‘NO’ vote.

Evidence exists that there were efforts to revive the ANC, with Mr Nkumbula stating it was still alive and Mr Japau, an ANC member still loyal to Mr Nkumbula, was detained in 1980 when he tried to get a permit to hold a rally. He was tortured for three days and tortured, in order to get him to admit that he had been printing ANC cards and trying to hold meetings. Another man was arrested in Monze for selling old ANC cards. Mr Nkumbula, was readmitted into hospital in 1981, after which he maintained he would still try to get his seat of Bweengwa the following year. Mr Kaunda, honoured him with a first division order of the grand companion and allocated him a house in woodlands near state house. He lost his battle with cancer the following year. He is said to have had Zambia on his mind even as he breathed his last, a family member stating that he was in anguish over the state of his country.

It is important to point out that the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, the party that won the 1991 elections that saw the end of the dictatorship, may have its roots in UPP and the ANC. Mr Nkumbula’s son is said to have funded a substantial amount of MMD’s activities and Mr Kapwepwe’s daughter was also a part of the movement. There are many others who had been members of these two parties who were part of the team that toppled UNIP. That being the case, Mr Nkumbula was not a failure as a lot of literature has stated, but that he lived up to his vow to challenge President Kaunda even if he lay in a coffin. Though the Lion had fallen, his legacy still goes on. He challenges us to fight till our last to bring freedom to the masses, to free Zambia from the chains that hold it back. He inspires flawed men to keep walking, at all costs, to achieve freedom for


References

Hitchcock, B. (1974). Bwana – go home (1st ed.). London: Hale.

Macola, G. (2010). Liberal nationalism in Central Africa (1st ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mwangilwa, G. (n.d.). Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula (1st ed.).

Advertisements

Can paedophiles change?


I was reading about the case of the baby who was allegedly abandoned in Thailand by his biological parents, who took his twin sister and brought her back to Perth. I subsequently watched part of an interview broadcast on 60 minutes. If anyone is unaware of the story, quick google search will deliver the story to you. Recently, it has been revealed that the biological father of these children has been convicted of 22 sex offences against children. In the interview, the father claims he no longer has sexual urges towards children and the woman interviewing him makes a statement to the effect that she has interviewed  many paedophiles and they have stated that they will always be paedophiles.

I understand that children should be protected and that we should be concerned with the safety of children, what I am trying to figure out is; is it right to make statements like “once a paedophile, always a paedophile”? If some paedophiles have stated that they will always be that way, does that make the statement true? We are constantly told we have  the power to choose our destiny, so why are we championing the view that people are victims of their biology? Where is the power of choice? In saying to people, this is how you are and you will forever be this way, aren’t we defeating them in the process? Can’t they choose to be different? Can’t they choose who they will be?

Are we making our society safer by making such statements or are we in fact making it harder for people to decide to change and be better? Are we saying, “you are broken and cannot be fixed” and throwing people in the “discard” pile. Doesn’t it seem weird that on one hand we say to paedophiles that they have no choice in the matter, they are who they are, and yet on the other we a so filled with anger when they offend. I think we are so angry because deep down we know that they have a choice and that they are responsible for those choices and it doesn’t come down to mere biological defect.

I personally believe human hearts  and minds can change. They can be renewed and made whole, and while I don’t think I would leave my child in a room with someone who has been convicted of sex offenses, I don’t believe anyone is beyond redemption. There is always hope and every human being should be looked at as an individual, not based on what others have decided about themselves.

Why support Compassion or Watoto


I wrote a post on why I don’t support Compassion but this one is an argument for why I should. This is by no means a change in my views that long-term Aid cripples rather than lifts up but an addition to it. As I said in the other post, I used to sponsor but due to financial constraints I stopped. It is a commitment that requires a consideration of where you are and whether or not you can continue paying the monthly $48.

1. Compassion and Watoto are honourable in the work they do.

I once had an issue with Compassion over the way information was presented at a conference and got in touch with them. They were open and apologised and explained their policy and how they do things. I was left feeling more confident in the work they do. They let locals tell them what is needed instead of going in and saying “this is the way things should be done.”
The locals run all the programs. They are clear about what it is they are doing with the money and up to date, I have not seen an ad of theirs that uses falsified information.
The same goes for Watoto. And any person who would stay and help people in a war zone, definitely gets respect from me…

2. There are people in Serious need

I used to often look at Aid adverts especially if Africa was mentioned and think “this is not possible, I grew up in Africa and things aren’t that bad.” But isn’t it funny how we are so quick to say that and yet we get so angry when we are grouped together as Africans. I don’t know how many times I have been asked questions that assume I’ve come from poverty because I am African. I think at least two people even assumed I was a refugee. Considering we know that there are variations in culture and circumstances, doesn’t it make more sense that some countries are well better off than others and that what we have seen, is by no means the norm? there are peaceful countries as well as war-torn ones as well as famine and abundance. In the case of countries like Rwanda, Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, etc. there is a need for outside help and Aid, within reason to help them build. Couple the effects of war with HIV, you have children that need caring for. I have never been to any other countries in Africa except my own and Zimbabwe and South Africa. From what I have heard from people who have been to some of these places that have experienced war, the levels of poverty are beyond words. That doesn’t mean however that poverty doesn’t exist in our country…it exists everywhere.

3. Personal responsibility

I am an African and there are very few Africans who sponsor children. Don’t get me wrong! There are a lot and I mean a lot! of Africans who take care of orphaned children within the family as well as outside. But I used to think why should I sponsor children when I have family who need “sponsorship”. I have family with needs and  that those children have family too. But the reality is in war, families are disrupted. Our Pastor who went to Rwanda recently was telling us how in some cases only one family member out of 74 had survived. So many children were left alone, with no one. As an African, it is my responsibility to take care of my own. I came to this conclusion thanks to my Pastors and because of the convictions that God had been placing on my heart prior to that. But hearing what our pastors saw, and their wise counsel, we have to rise up and take responsibility for Africa. I guess it is even possible to say, for those suffering in the world. Starting with our own but growing to fit the whole world in our hearts.

I still hate the adverts with the swollen bellied children and a fly. But in this world, no one is perfect and you can’t have it all. There are only two organisations of this kind that I find this close to perfect. Compassion and Watoto. So if you are going to sponsor a child, definitely do it through them. Also consider the cost and whether you can manage it before you commit but definitely consider it!

Democracy at work


I am not one for giving opinions on other people’s “homes” and I don’t quite appreciate it when other people comment on my home when they have no clue what is actually happening. When it comes to the US government shut down I have heard opinions ranging from the Republicans are just racist and are doing “this” to get the black president out of office, right down to, Obama is stubborn and refuses to negotiate. I will not comment on the ins and outs of what is going on because I am not an American and we will leave that for them to do.

For someone like me who comes from “third world’ country, living in a Western Country, AKA Australia, it looks really bad for America because while we don’t understand completely what’s happening, it looks like a bunch of grown men refusing to compromise and find a working solution. A lot like a Country who is up in everyone’s business, but can’t even run their own Affairs. Constantly deciding what’s best for us Africans yet you can’t even decide on how to fund your own government. That’s how bad it looks and it will take a lot to build credibility.

On the flip side though, it goes to show that man can not be trusted. So many of us look to government to solve our problems, yet this shows us that the people we elect to lead us are just humans, who may or may not represent our best interests and at the end, each community has to find what works best for them. I guess it’s also a good thing that the President doesn’t have all the power. He can’t just act as he wills. Those are safeguards that my country only dreams of. All we can do is pray that everything works out okay

Why Porn is good for Society


This might come as a surprise but I thought I might give some insight as to why porn is good for our society. Christians constantly claim it has bad effects on the people viewing it and that it is destroying our society. But then can we really listen to a bunch of “fairy tale believing adults”? Porn is simply adult entertainment and adults have the right to access whatever it is they like. Also, internet pornography comes with an age verification process, thereby allowing for the protection of children from viewing adult material. That makes sense doesn’t it?

Adults do have the right to do with their lives as they please, however, statistics show that the average age of first exposure to pornography is 11 years old…11 years old! How effective is the age verification process if all you have to do is click “Yes, I am above 18” to view porn.  According to the ABC, children are viewing porn online as young as 6 years old.  Porn is addictive, yet unlike Cocaine it is legal in most countries. Adults should have the right to access what they please but in the case of drugs, we as a society don’t afford that right to people. Why? Because it destroys people and it has negative effects on society.

While there are many studies into the effects of childhood exposure to media violence, there is very little being done in the area of exposure to sexually explicit material; sex scenes in movies inclusive. Is it so important for adults to have their entertainment at the expense of children? Clearly, what is intended for adults is mostly being accessed by children and believe me, we have given way to a storm that will destroy our world in ways we never thought possible. Sex isn’t meant to be watched, but what we have done is taken private acts and made them public.

I am the face of a child whose first exposure to sex in the media was before age 11. It was a sex-scene in a movie. I have no idea who brought the movie into the house and I don’t think my parents even knew it was present. I had already been exposed to sex at the time and maybe that made me more curious, I don’t know and I won’t make excuses. I used to sometimes wait till no one was there or when everyone was asleep and put the movie on and fast forward to the one scene. At age 16 I viewed porn online and it left me feeling suicidal. I watched it again and again and believe me, it has ruined me in ways that most can never understand. What is the real cost of adult entertainment? Can anyone really answer that?

Fact is, we are learning to objectify each other, yes, men and women, not just men. In a world where we only see human beings as something that can satisfy our desires, how then do we function as a society? In a world where kids grow up as sex crazed animals, what sort of leaders are we producing? Porn crosses all sorts of boundaries and the more you indulge, the more of it you want and soon watching behind a TV screen or monitor isn’t enough and you want to experiment. And even that ceases to be enough and you start crossing boundaries in relationships. A few years ago, there were news reports of kids dying because they were choking themselves during sex. Where did they learn to do these things??? Marriages are breaking down, Congress men are tweeting nude photos of themselves, Sexual violence and perversions are rampant, we are a society destroying ourselves and refusing to protect the most vulnerable. I have to say the fairy tale believing adults (I do not in anyway think God is a fairy tale and totally believe in Him), are right in their assessment of porn.

I wish I new then what I know now, so let me sound the warning! DON’T INDULGE IN PORN, YOU MIGHT NEVER COME OUT ALIVE AND YOU MIGHT TAKE A GENERATION TO THE PITS WITH YOU!

Respect, a perspective on Zambian culture.


Respect…I’m sure many would agree if I said that respect was earned, but this view for me was challenged and has been challenged many times. I used to think myself a very respectful person but every time I think “I’m there”, I’m convicted about seemingly small things be it respect for others or even myself, the call on my life and any number of things.

I remember a vague conversation with one of my brothers (One of the few wise Zimbabweans I know…jokes!)a few years ago and for some reason respect became a topic of discussion. I expressed the view that respect needed to be earned and he didn’t accept that. I was so shocked and asked if he would still respect me if I went around doing things that for some reason or the other are unrespectable. I remember giving an example, possibly something morally “rather –  rather”.

He told me respect was not dependent on whether someone showed themselves to be respectable. That was an “ahhh…” moment for me. I couldn’t argue with him when he asked what the world would be like if everyone disrespected each other because the other person did something unrespectable.

Looking back, I have disrespected the people in my life at one point or the other  and more frequently than anyone else, I’ve disrespected myself at every turn but more importantly every time I show disrespect, for either myself or others, it shows a disregard for God. I disrespect for the Judge who always sees what we do.

There are a few Zambian, more accurately, Bemba sayings that come to mind when I think of respect. One, makes up the words of a very well-known Zambian song…to Zambians, that is. “Mayo wanjebele, uko waya uko, wika tuka ba noko”, which pretty much means, directly translated, my mother told me, where you’re going, don’t insult your mother. Pretty much the meaning is wherever you go, don’t insult your mother or father. It’s a song that calls for us to respect every elder, which is anyone older than you pretty much. The song goes further and says even if a person is a fool, treat them as you would your own parents.

Another saying would be “Kwapa ta cila kubeya” which means, the armpit will never be above the shoulder. My grandmother, loves using this one on me when I complain about her sending me to do something every time my elder sister who’s only a year older than me is around…she just doesn’t seem to send her. Sometimes I can be a nut head! but even when I’m upset with my elder brother and sister…there are things that they don’t tolerate and a lot of the time, I have to submit. And it’s not a case of them “lording it over me” but them making boundaries clear. It should be noted that they are very reasonable individuals who generally respect me too.

Now for many, it might seem like African culture is very “disrespecting” of children, however, I choose to differ. I’m reminded of sayings like “imiti ikula, ee mpanga.” which means, the trees that grow, become forests. This talks about children of today being tomorrow’s leaders. But how does that fit into my argument on respect? Another saying “Amano ya fuma mwi ifwesa, ya ingila mu chulu” which translated is Wisdom went from a mole hill and entered an ant hill much means that a young person can advise the elder. They can give words of wisdom too.

Now, the best way to teach values is to embody them… so what better way is there of teaching a Child, who will one day lead a nation to respect others than to respect them? If a child can offer advice, the person on the receiving end has to respect the vessel from which it is coming for them to value it. And the child who is offering it must do so in a way that recognises that this person they are talking to is older and more experienced and should be given a level of respect too. Without respect and consideration for the other party, we start wars where mere dialogue would have offered a more favourable outcome.