I went to university during the days of United States president J F Kennedy, Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah and the American dreamer, the Reverend Martin Luther King.
The last 20 years have been dogged by mass immigrations of persecuted people running away from horrible regimes. The light of freedom is now but a flicker. Despite the humiliating US defeat in Afghanistan, US President Joe Biden is trying to rekindle some hope in freedom.
For those in Africa, who look to the US for support in their struggle to regain their freedoms, Biden made it clear that “US military power must be our tool of last resort, not our first and should not be used as an answer to every problem we see around the world.”
But the US has many other tools it can apply to destroy the economies of those countries it considers enemies. In this, Biden included corrupt African dictatorships whose governments are no longer serving the needs of their people.
“Corruption fuels inequalities, siphons off a nation’s resources, spreads across borders, and generates human suffering.” The lesson, though, is that while the US is a dependable ally in the fight for human rights, the natives must take the matter into their own hands. Democracy “lives in the young people of Zambia who harnessed the power of their vote for the first time, turning out in record numbers to denounce corruption and chart a new path for their country.”
The message is very clear. It is not the duty of the US to throw out corrupt dictatorships; the natives must take up the power of the vote.
But even as Biden promised support for freedom fighters, the US sees greater peril in other areas of combat, Covid-19, global warming and mass migrations. The US will lead, as is expected of it, but not in the area most needed in Africa.
Biden’s message is simple. Africans must free themselves.
Africa is being recolonised by China with the active co-operation of tin pot dictatorships that cannot smell anything a few inches away from their noses.
Edgar Lungu’s sins
Former president Edgar Lungu lost his bid for re-election for sins that are actually minor by African standards; namely foolish economic policies and mismanagement and personal egomaniacal aspirations.
Compared to Zimbabwean leaders, Lungu would be considered a saint. The mismanagement of the copper mines, the blood line of Zambia’s economy began with former president Kenneth Kaunda.
In an attempt to reverse nationalisation policies, the copper mines were returned to their previous owners, Anglo American for US$30 million. The Anglo Americans sold the mines to an off shore Mauritius company, which repaid the loan within six months from sales of copper exported off shore.
Obviously, prices had been suppressed somewhere and the global economic predators laughed all the way to hell.
Lungu increased Chinese participation in the Zambian economy. The stupidity of Afro-Chinese contracts is very simple. Bank of China sends an assessor. A Chinese company gets the contract to build the airport. Chinese workers build the airport, including the janitors and motor mechanics. The Chinese management company runs the airport for 12 years and then passes it on to Zambians. By that time, a Chinese bank review will have advised that the loan be refinanced.
In one incident, a Chinese company built their head office across a trunk road, forcing the road authority to relocate the road.
In short, the Chinese are the worst employers and the least transparent foreign aid projectors in the world. There are other horrible stories. If they are mining for gold, they will transport the ore (the earth) to be sorted in China, so the host country has no idea how much gold was found.
Similarly, Marange diamonds in Zimbabwe were supposed to last for 40 years. They were exhausted in 10 years. Zimbabwe’s former president, Robert Mugabe, who boasted of seven academic degrees had no idea what had happened to them.
You sluggard, the contracts were written in Chinese.
Lungu’s personal sins were derived from an overgrowth of his ego. Hakainde Hichilema was driving along a certain highway when a presidential motorcade, with sirens blazing, passed by.
Considering it unsafe to go out of the road, Hichilema slowed. That was not good enough. He was arrested, held in solitary confinement, without bail. When his wife came by, she was turned away.
“What has my husband done to be held in solitary confinement?,” she asked.
“Treason, my dear lady,” a puffed up secret agent scoffed. “It is punishable by hanging.”
When Hichilema’s attorney, fearing the worst, could not get beyond the crime of “failing to give way to a presidential motorcade” he fell off his chair.
“Is that the basis of his treason charges?” he asked.
Lungu had lost all sense of proportion. A small bodied human, 5 ft. 6 inches with a boyish face, he had developed a Napoleonic complex. As Napoleon assumed that he was “La Farance” Lungu assumed that he was “MuZamba waMuzambia.”
When Zambian protested at harassment of Hichilema before a courthouse two people were shot dead, December 20, 2020. Coming before Christmas, it overshadowed the good news of Christmas.
The callousness was regarded as part of a pattern when the Financial Centre reported that US$284 million was misapplied by government towards shady contractors and cronies. The withholding of US$34 million by Britain in foreign aid in protest at mismanagement did not help to project Lungu as a clean operator.
Then, the straw that broke the camel’s back was his attempt to change the constitution so the president would be free from parliamentary (or judicial) oversight.
Lungu played the tribal card as well, but Zambians seem to have advanced beyond that stage and saw through it. Hichilema won by 59% of the vote.
When the IMF refused to get into meaningful talks with him until after the elections, Lungu’s economic card was swept under the rug.
It looks like I have seen this film in Zimbabwe as well.
- Ken Mufuka is a Zimbabwean patriot. His latest book is entitled Life and Times of Robert Mugabe: Dream Betrayed (Innov8 Bookshops, Zimbabwe) and kenmufukabooks.com in the international market.