Thursday, November 19, 2015

From prayer, churches to ‘ukutumpa’

"The vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.” -  Kahlil Gibran.

OCTOBER, to November this year has been a rather Byzantine time for Edgar Chagwa Lungu, and God just had to be a national agenda. Some rat somewhere must surely have been messing up our beloved leader’s acumen to solving problems. Well, that is what my grandmother told me in defense of her good friend.

Seems the severity of socio-economic and political governing fell on the man of the “An officer, gentleman, lawyer and politician“ acclaim, like a ton of bricks! Our beloved president’s recourse was to call for national prayers, and later proudly telling us he is going to build us a very big cathedral!

Our beloved president did this, because he knows life is now frighteningly scorching for the majority of us. Whenever, we go to the katemba to buy tupamela or a tot of cooking oil, we only just come back with the pamela or nothing. We prayed, but the katemba chap still increases his prices. The first day the chap claims he increased the price, because of the dollar, the next day the excuse was load shedding, then later, he said God did not answer our prayers. The Halo sun was fake, the opposition put it up there.

Well, yesterday I lost it. “ukutumpa[1]. And careful, I can nationalize you,” I told the chap.

Sorry, this is about Edgar Chagwa Lungu. In the run up to the January 2015 presidential elections, we had a profile that sought to educate us on Edgar. “An officer, gentleman, lawyer and politician”, so it pronounced. This profile told us a lot about the man we have for president, but in the end told us a hidden truth. He is wanting, is the conclusion those that read would have derived.

 This profile attempts to unravel the mystery and enigma that is Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the Minister of Defense, Minister of Justice, until recently, Chief Executive Officer of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and President of All Political Parties in Africa to mention but a few”, the profile reads. (I wonder which political parties in Africa, Edgar was president of).

The most discerning on how Edgar is wanting as a president are the accolades in the profile.

He bagged his legal practicing certificate without trouble... Many lawyers have to sit for the Law practice certificate exam, a dozen times before they can get the legal practicing certificate because it is not the easiest exam to take… As a former military officer, Lungu is sometimes likened to others such (as) Ariel Sharon of Israel who served with the Israeli military from 1948, rising through the ranks until retiring as a Major-General in 1973, became defence minister in 1981 and elected prime minister in 1999 but was initially a Lawyer” (not forgetting we are never told what rank Edgar attained, what prominent law firm he run or even what publicly cited case or precedent he set in Court, since he was so good at law). 

Edgar should surely have not allowed such unsubstantiated toadyish accolades. But he did, because he knew the majority of our people easily believe.

Edgar is undoubtedly a good lesson in the fundamental failures of judgment we make in choosing our leaders. In hindsight, we need to forgive ourselves for lack of foresight. Could be we look at ourselves as humble individuals. And we know God more than God himself. But of course! Poverty, misfortune is often the humble mask for some of us.

But, when suddenly political or economic power befalls us, it is “Abracadabra!”

We become the kind of individual that takes to heart Saville row suits, Stetson hats and ‘break-dancing’ at foreign international airports, short of scribbling “Mbinji was here” in the loo of the Emirates Airbus flight to New York. Not forgetting, we always assume a posture that shows our shinning handmade Italian shoes. We also now glow in being the talk of township weekend binge and admiration. “Wachimumona, Mbinji? Mujoza boyi. (Did you see Mbinji. He is the guy). Simplistic, in its purity.

Predictably, Edgar is today failing the nation simply because the high acclaims and accolades were inane, unfounded, and most of all toadyish.

If they were not toadyish, why else was one of his first major proclamations admission of a lack of vision. An officer, gentleman, good lawyer and insightful politician cannot, first, tell us his vision is that of the dead, then seek asylum in prayer, a church, and now telling us ‘twalitumpa’. Sic.

“Ba Edigar” (as we are told he is fondly called) was never up to the challenge of leadership. His stay in office is simply that of like me writing “Mbinji was here” in an Airbus loo. I do that because, being in the Airbus is a black swan event. It may never happen again.

Edgar's glow in the talk of township weekend binge and admiration has been checked. The verdict from a growing majority, teachers, Unions is, “failure”. 

Things are not looking good for him anymore. Our socio-economic abnormalcy is self imposed, and he knows he has no solutions but take popular asylum in God.

Edgar knows God on October 18, and the building of a church is a fa├žade. An attempt to hoodwink us that he is indeed a God fearing humble individual, like us. Seems he forgets that, we know that sometimes the run to God is libidinous when the dark closet in which we are hiding our deficiencies is opened.

The unsung Edgar in the sycophantic acclaims in the run up to the January elections has come to roost. Political grandeur is now a very threatened illusion, and he won’t allow that to happen. He will seek recourse in what he knows best. Threats, undignified and uncouth language. And of course, the mangy dog eared promises, we believed before.

“I have not failed. I just came into office. (Thought he is PF?). Anyone, who says the contrary, Kutumpa”. How godly!

In retrospect, the journey from prayer, churches to ukutumpa of the unsung officer, gentleman, lawyer and politician and his eventual choice is simply a dialectic of the unthinking.

We think. And, clearly, it is time we said, “Sorry, your Excellence, chachine twalitumpile, nomba ta twakatumpe nafuti” (we where stupid then, we won't be stupid again)! We are not entrapped in a degenerate state of democratic irresponsibility. A leadership should respect us, work towards sustainable livelihoods, and not insult us.

Verbum satis sapienti - a word to the wise suffices.

[1] Ukutumpa is ichibemba, in this context meaning don't be stupid