Showing posts with label Kenneth Kaunda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kenneth Kaunda. Show all posts

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Kabompo House And Its Significance In Zambia's History

The Kabompo House -Pictures by Tigana Chileshe
By Paul Shalala in Kabompo
The independence of Zambia can not be complete without highlighting the role former President Kenneth Kaunda played. 
Dr. Kaunda's history is not only confined to his childhood town of Chinsali or Lusaka where he has spent most of his adult life.
Kabompo District in the North Western Province is dear to Zambia's founding President.
A visit to Kabompo is not complete without a visit to the Kabompo House where Dr. Kaunda was incarcerated for four months in 1961. 
In March of that year, Dr Kaunda was arrested at his Chilenje House in Lusaka and he was later transferred to Kabompo were he was held until July 1961.
Katiki Sakufola (left) after the interview
This blogger has travelled to Kabompo to track down people who saw Dr. Kaunda while he was in detention.
In a small village, five kilometers away from Kabompo town, i managed to locate Jonas Sakuwaha, the cook who used to prepare food for the then independence leader.
His story is interesting.                                    
"I lived on the Copperbelt with my uncle who was working in the mines in Kitwe. When i returned to Kabompo in 1961, i spoke a bit of Bemba and the British colonialists hired me because they could not understand local languages in Kabompo. I started cooking food for President Kaunda and he was a jovial man," said Mr Sakuwaha while seated on a stool.
The old man, who lives alone in his grass thatched house, added that the former President used to appreciate his food.
"After eating, he used to tell us many stories. He used to assure us that one day Zambia will be free and all of us will have a better life in future. He promised me a job but to date he has not returned, am still waiting," said Mr Sakuwaha.

Mr Sakuwaha also talked about Dr. Kaunda's choice of foods.

"In the morning, he used to drink tea with lemons. He used to refuse coffee or coffee."
Two kilometers away from Mr Sakuwaha's village is the residence of Katiki Sakufola who was a messenger just before Zambia's independence in 1964.
Jonas Sakuwaha (left), the cook who served Dr Kaunda in Kabompo
He and two other messengers guarded Dr Kaunda in his Kabompo House 24 hours a day because at that time, the colonialists had no Police officers in Kabompo.
"We used to take turns in guarding our future President. He used to read a lot and told us too many stories. Whenever we took him to the Kabompo river to work, he would take cover whenever he hears a plane flying past. He was scared of being bombed," said Mr Sakufola.
Mr. Sakufola said he was present when a huge snake is said to have passed in between Dr. Kaunda’s legs as he rested under a huge tree which still stands today near the Kabompo House.
"On a Sunday in March 1961, we did not take Mr Kaunda to the river. So he spent the day under the tree, reading his books. As he sat there, a huge snake came and it passed between his legs. I then whistled for my fellow messengers to come so we can kill it but it ran away," he said.

The tree under which Dr Kaunda used to seat
The National Heritage and Conservation Commission has taken care of the tree where President Kaunda used to rest from.

A Plaque has been placed there with an inscription explaining its significance. 

The Kabompo House caretaker Jean Chipita says youths of nowadays must be grateful to the forefathers who fought for our freedom.
"This house must inspire the young ones to work hard and cherish the freedom that they currently enjoy. Imagine the sacrifice President Kaunda made when he spent four months here just for the sake of our freedom. That was total sacrifice," said Mrs Chipita.
Kabompo may not feature much in the history books but it also has a mark on the freedom struggle.
Despite there being few visitors to this house on an annual basis, its significance is larger than the size of the structure.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This blogger also produced a TV report from this story and it was aired on TV1 on 25 May 2017 and the YouTube link of the video is here.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Zambia Adopts New Electoral Rules, Sets Elections On 11 August

By Paul Shalala
President Lungu assenting to the Constitution Bill


Zambia has today adopted a new set of electoral laws that has set a new date for the forthcoming general elections and introduced what has been described as 'progressive clauses.'

This afternoon, Zambian President Edgar Lungu assented to the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill of 2015 which has come with several laws that had been eluding the Zambian people for decades.

Since the 1990s, Zambians had been submitting to countless Constitution Review Commissions to amend the electoral laws which date back to the colonial days.

Some of the laws Zambians have been seeking to be done away with include the first-past-the-post-takes-all electoral system and the appointment of a republican Vice President by the head of state.

Despite draft constitutions and reports being produced and circulated, successive governments have not been acting on the recommendations, rendering the whole constitution making process dead for years.

The signing ceremony was held this afternoon at the Chinese made National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, a site where the Zambian head of state was inaugurated as the country's sixth President 12 months ago after winning a tightly contested poll following the demise of Michael Sata.

"There comes a time when people's cries on an issue must come to an end....... As leaders, we have to listen to the voice of the people..... When i was being sworn in as President last year, i promise to give you a new constitution and here it is," said President Lungu.

He also reiterated his desire to have the rest of the draft constitution be passed through a referendum that he has tied to the next general elections set for later this year.

When the bill was tabled before parliament at the end of 2015, the ruling Patriotic Front allied itself with the opposition MMD to gunner the much needed votes to pass the bill which was opposed by the opposition UPND, FDD and ADD.

And in his speech, President Lungu acknowledged the role the MMD parliamentarians played.

"The MMD gives me hope with its civic roles it played in the house," he said as MMD President Nevers Mumba who was seated in the VIP section of the stadium nodded his head.

Among the electoral reforms the new law has brought is the 50 plus one majoritarian election of a president and the Vice President Running mate clause.

The new laws have set second Thursday of August every after five years as the election date.

This means that this year, Zambians will vote for their new President, Members of Parliament and Councillors on 11th August.

In the old constitution, Zambia's Presidents had the power to set an election date which stakeholders had complained that it was being used to disadvantage the opposition.

Further, the law has also adopted dual citizenship, a concept that scores of Zambians have been crying for, especially those in the diaspora.

To the delight of many, the requirement for all presidential candidates to have both their parents being born in Zambia has been scrapped off.

This is a law that was passed in the 1990s which many say was targeted at Zambia's founding father Dr. Kenneth Kaunda from participating in elections after he lost the 1991 democratic elections.

Despite this milestone for good governance campaigners, several civil society organisations and opposition political parties were opposed to the adoption of these progressive laws through parliament.

Operating under a loose consortium calling itself the Grand Coalition on The Enactment of a People Driven Constitution, non-governmental organisations even picketed parliament to block the bill last year.

On 23rd October 2014 when the final draft constitution was released, government announced it will adopt the contentious closes through Parliament and later subject the whole document to a national referendum.

But the Grand Coalition opposed the move opting for a referendum to adopt the whole document before the general elections.

Even after the bill was passed by law makers, the Grand Coalition even called on President Lungu not to assent to it.

With the enactment of these laws, the bigger job of enacting the whole constitution still lies ahead.

Zambia Parliament in session
The Bill of Rights, whose review triggers a referendum, is yet to be put on the ballot and as promised by President Lungu, will be voted together with candidates for President, Members of Parliament and Councillors on 11th August.

In May 2015, Justice Minister Ngosa Simbyakula announced that government had appointed Commissioners of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) as members of the Referendum Commission.

This means that the ECZ will conduct the 2016 General Elections simultaneously with the referendum on the constitution.

According to the Referendum Act, all Zambians in possession of the green National Registration Card are eligible to vote in the referendum which is usually conducted in a YES or NO fashion.

Friday, 31 October 2014

THE MICHAEL SATA I KNEW: From A Reporter’s Perspective



Michael Sata, Paul Shalala and Justine Kawisha in Senanga, May 2011
By Paul Shalala

I first came to learn of Michael Sata from his several mentions on ZNBC radio when i was growing up in Nangoma area of Mumbwa District in central Zambia during the 1990s.

In those typical Mumbwa-Mumbwa days, radio was more prominent in the villages as it was the most reliable source of news because newspapers, the internet and TVs were a luxury.

I never knew what position Mr Sata held in the Frederick Chiluba-led government at the time but i only knew his name through his many news items on state media.

My first opportunity to see Mr Sata was somewhere between 1993 and 1994 when President Chiluba came to my village to tour the Catholic-run Nangoma Mission Hospital.

It was my second time to see the presidency in my village and it was some how strange as it wasn’t election time.

Earlier in 1990, President Kenneth Kaunda became the first head of state to visit my village.

While on his road trip to Mongu, Dr. Kaunda made a stop-over at Lubanze village and spent a few minutes at Kasalu Basic School where i was doing Grade 1.

My father Mr. Namasiku Kamuti Shalala, who was the school headmaster, received the head of state as we the pupils did the usual chisokone salute while lined up along the Lusaka-Mongu road.

Fast forward to 1993-1994, Dr. Chiluba came with dozens of vehicles and my fellow villagers were excited to have found something to entertain themselves with for a while.

In Chiluba’s entourage, i saw this well built man who stood so close to the eloquent head of state and he was quiet and attentive to whatever the president was saying, nodding his heard from side to side as Dr. Chiluba spoke.

And when i looked closer, it was the King Cobra himself, Michael Sata, the man who would one day rule Zambia for three years and a month.

After that event in Nangoma, ten years passed and i never saw the King Cobra again until 2006.

In that year, i covered one of his rallies in Mandevu area of Lusaka during the campaigns which preceded the 2006 general elections.

At the time, i was a student reporter at the college-run Hone FM radio.

In 2006, Mr Sata was a firebrand opposition leader who spat venom on the Levy Mwanawasa-led New Deal government which he did not spare with every opportunity he had to address the people of Zambia.

The following year, i did my industrial attachments for three months at the Zambia Daily Mail.

During my time at the Longolongo road-based broadsheet, i covered a press briefing by Operation Young Vote President Guess Nyirenda who issued a statement on Mr Sata and i was forced to get a reaction from the Cobra.

With fear in my body, i peacefully picked up the phone and rung Mr Sata who answered me politely and even gave a reaction without hesitation.
From then on, i kept calling him for stories for the rest of his years in the opposition.
 
After college, i spent two years at the New Vision Newspaper where i covered Mr Sata several times.

Being a newspaper, we used to get stories from the Cobra on the phone without really bothering to interview him face to face.

When phoning him, i would go like: “Mr President, this is Paul Shalala from the New Vision Newspaper, am asking for a phone interview with you sir………..”

Then he would answer: “Go ahead Mr New Vision with your questions……………….”

It was always a great experience to speak to him on phone.

When i worked at Muvi Television from 2010 to 2012, i had several close encounters and one on one interviews with the Cobra that still reminds me of a man who gave stories to reporters as and when they needed them.

In May 2011, my employer then, Muvi Television assigned me to cover Mr Sata when he traveled to Western Province to hold rallies in Mongu and Senanga.

We traveled with the Cobra’s advance party, arrived in Mongu on a Friday evening and slept.

The Cobra landed the following morning on a chartered aircraft and in his usual populist style, he wore the traditional Lozi siziba which charmed hundreds of Mongu residents who welcomed him at the airport.
President Sata upon arrival at Mongu Airport

Mr Sata straight away went to the Blue Gums Ground where he addressed a huge rally and tore down the Rupiah Banda-led MMD administration which he accused of having killed innocent people during the January 14, 2011 Mongu riots.

As a proponent of populist politics, the Cobra read people’s mood and spoke only what they wanted to hear.

I filed my story the same day and it aired on MUVI TV’s 18:30 main news.

The following morning on Sunday, while Mr. Sata was attending mass at a Catholic church in the neighbouring town of Senanga, i sat a seat behind him in the church and listened attentively and watched how Catholics conduct their services.

As mass went on, i just saw the Cobra extend his hand to me and he gave me a folded paper which i quickly read and made me smile for a few minutes.

On that paper, the opposition leader wrote: “Thank you very much Mr MUVI TV. People in Lusaka have told me that the story you sent on yesterday’s rally in Mongu was aired on MUVI TV. Good job.”

At first, i was shocked that the venomous Cobra could write a personal note to me.

To this day, i regret having lost that paper. I wish i had kept it as a souvenir for my children and their children to read in future.

After the church service, Mr Sata went to a lodge to rest as he waited for his public rally in the riverside town of Senanga that afternoon.

As was his habit, the Cobra started reading newspapers to update himself with what was going on around the world.

With my colleague Justine Kawisha who was then working at Radio Mazabuka, we saw Mr Sata’s free time as a photo opportunity.

We approached him and asked to take pictures with him and the Cobra shockingly agreed.

We stood behind him and asked someone to take photos.

That person (i cant remember the name) took three photos which to this day are the only photos i have with Mr. Sata (Check photo above).

When the time for the rally came, we went to a ground where Mr Sata addressed the people of Senanga who came in their hundreds.

It was at that Senanga rally that Mr Sata issued the famous 90 days promise to produce a new constitution and restore the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

My TV report for Mr Sata’s rallies in Mongu and Senanga which aired on MUVI TV contained that story and you can watch it on this Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F24AXckO6yU

In September 2011 when presidential candidates while filing their nominations at the Supreme Court ahead of the 20 September general elections, Muvi TV assigned me to cover all the candidates and i spent the whole week camped at the venue.

When the day for the Cobra’s turn came, there was confusion as hundreds, if not thousands, of Patriotic Front cadres thronged the Supreme Court grounds to see Mr Sata file in his papers.

I remember in my TV report which aired on Muvi TV that evening, i showed a confrontation between PF cadres and Zambia Police Director of Operations Dr. Solomon Jere.

I remember also showing Supreme Court staff peeping through the windows, trying to catch a glimpse of the Cobra who was driven to the Supreme Court in a Toyota GX vehicle and escorted by a huge boat.

My TV report for that day can be watched on this youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOh0WX6FdSQ

After winning the September 20, 2011 with 43% of the vote, Mr Sata soon became a national asset whose access to reporters became scarce.

I covered him on a number of occasions at State House and during campaign rallies in the numerous parliamentary by-elections Zambia has had since 2011.

On June 2, 2014 while i covered the head of state at State House,  he jokingly said he had not been evacuated abroad for medical attention as was alleged by some sections of the online media.

My story on that State House event can be read on this link which i blogged that same day: http://paulshalala.blogspot.com/2014/06/president-sata-says-he-has-not-been.html

The last time i saw the King Cobra in person was on 19th September, 2014 when he went to Parliament Grounds and opened the first meeting of the fourth session of the eleventh National Assembly.

The head of state in his usual humorous mood, opened the house and punctuated his speech with
jokes.

On that day, i sat upstairs in the press gallery not knowing that i was seeing Zambia’s fifth republican president for the last time.
I took a selfie at Sata's rally in Msanzala in February 2012

And for sure i never saw the Cobra alive again. I may only see him again in the coffin when his remains return to his beloved country tomorrow.

He died on 28th October, 2014 while receiving medical attention in the British capital London.

When my close friend Boston Chambuluka phoned me from Kafue at around 03:00hrs on 29th October, 2014 to break the bad news of the demise of the President, i remembered the King Cobra who i had a few chats with in the opposition and who later became the head of state thanks to his populist style of politics which easily wooed him votes.

If someone was to ask me to describe the late Zambian President Michael Chilufya Sata in a few words from a reporters’ perspective, i would describe him as a news source who needed no research to give out a news story at any given  time.

What a loss to us the so-called amutola nkani. Our source is gone.... gone forever.