By Chris Zumani Zimba
On 29th September, 2018, Zambia’s Chief government Spokesperson, Dora Siliya officially confirmed that “Yes I can confirm that Professor Patrick Lumumba, a national of Kenya I believe, has been denied entry into Zambia by the Ministry of Affairs’ Immigration Department… We saw recently a similar example of our national Laura Miti who was denied entry into South Africa. They don’t have to give an explanation. We trust that they make judgment based on national security. So it’s the same case here, and I just spoke with the Minister of Home Affairs and he has confirmed that they did deny Professor Lumumba entry for security reasons. That is good enough for government because they have the responsibility of looking after the nation,” she concluded. In response, Prof. Lumumba charged from Nairobi that, “How do I become a security risk? I only carry ideas. I don’t move with guns. That’s an act of stupidity.” Lumumba was denied entry into Zambia upon his arrival at Lusaka Airport as he was invited and scheduled to give public lectures on ‘The Nature and Impact of Chinese Investment in Africa,’ a paraphrased title.
While many skeptical African governments suspects Lumumba to be a sponsored Western voice to support and strengthen opposition takeover in states where Chinese investments and presence seem to be growing fast and dominating, his invitation and topic seem to have fallen into the ripe equation of his political critics and intellectual rivals-the Zambian government hence his denial to enter the country. Responding to this development, Zambia’s lead opposition leader, HH observed that “we have studied and fully investigated the issue surrounding the deportation of a highly respected academician and Pan Africanist Prof. PLO Lumumba. We find the action by the PF leadership to humiliate him in such manner at the airport highly irresponsible, harsh, and goes further to confirm what we have been saying that this Government is led by despots.” Outside Zambia, the reaction is similar-Lumumba has instantly become a hot intellectual name to discuss in most African, European, American, Australian and Asian political towns. As we speak, the Kenyan lawyer has already been invited and is this week scheduled to feature on prominent global media platforms such as CNN, BBC, VOA, France 24, DWTV or Aljazeera part from being guest speaker in America to discuss democracy, Chinese investments and authoritarian politics in Africa.
Hence, our critical observation and conclusion on this issue is very different from most of the prevailing narratives and opinions because we chase the deadly lion with sticks to the cave and aim to kill it with our bear hands. Had the Zambian government allowed Lumumba to give his public lectures on Chinese Investment in Africa, today he wouldn’t have attracted the global attention of CNN, BBC, VOA, France 24, DWTV or Aljazeera at the expense of Lungu and Zambia’s good democratic credentials. While they may seem good allies to him internally, it is clear that some PF inner cycle political advisors and government policy gurus are genius gamblers and Judas who are scheming to systematically dethrone and replace Lungu soon or later by constantly and deliberately making him look politically evil and unpopular at national, regional and international level. Deporting Lumumba was very unnecessarily as his lectures were certainly politically inconsequential at national or regional level. He is not as frank or honest on corruption as many exaggerates him to be especially when he is facing the host political lions.
And what is so new and special in Lumumba’s head about Chinese Investment in Zambia which most informed Zambians do not know? This topic is both boring and monotonous to many informed Zambians such that Lumumba’s lecture would have been like any other public discussion. The Zambian democracy is founded on the wheels of “Let the People Talk” and nothing much about actions. Most Zambians love to enjoy and exercise their ‘freedom of expression’ and any government that is seeking to win another term in office must never present itself like the oppressive Chinese Communist Party. Thus, the schemers of this notorious decisions to deport Lumumba upon arrival at KK Airport in Lusaka did not help both President Lungu and Zambia because they only succeeded at overrating Lumumba’s profile above Mt. Kilimanjaro as well as celebrated him in the sky for nothing while the political injury on Lungu’s presidency and Zambia’s democratic credentials continue to plummet nationally, regionally and globally.
Why did the state fail to engage and guide the organizers of Prof. Lumumba’s public lecture in advance about government’s position on him? This would have prevented financial and emotional injuries to many stakeholders. Is this the new way we conduct politics and business in a democracy? Surely no. The conclusion is the same: there are few clever men and women within the PF government and party whose aim is to dethrone Lungu in style by making him look dragon or act authoritarian in the eyes of many Zambians, regional and global citizens. If they meant well for Lungu, the state officials could have engaged the organizers in advance and inform them that Zambia could not host Lumumba for this and that reason. This is crucial because Lumumba’s deportation now sounds very dragon as he has been in Zambia before for similar engagements and was allowed by the same government. Someone is seriously painting Lungu to look too brutal and politically oppressive-a president with no regards for human rights, democracy and good governance. Through such gestures, Lungu is styled to look politically poisonous, unchristian and intolerant indeed while his political leadership indirectly declines and faints at home and abroad.
Who on earth can advise an entire Republican President to fire a Cabinet Minister alone for alleged corruption of donor money without the Permanent Secretary or any director in the ministry in question while within few days, the same President and Zambians are told that the money was never stolen but kept intact at a named bank? The scheme within against Lungu is the same. Through deliberate policy blunders, misleading actions and contradictory postures, the genius political gurus around Lungu are dangerously winning to achieve their hidden agenda as they paint him either politically dull or evil as well as present the Zambian president to be a high profiled subject of public scorn and political humiliation. Gradually, it is clear that Lungu’s political potency both at national and international level is being eroded while someone is being tipped and mentored to take over from him by the same few men and women he trusts. While this is a hypothetical conclusion from our end, it is important for President Lungu to wake and critically scrutinize his inner cycle because Jesus Christ was both betrayed and consequently crucified by his close friends and allies he lived with, loved, fed and indeed healed.
Chris Zumani Zimba is a Political Scientist, Author, PhD Scholar, Lecturer, Researcher and Consultant