Posts Tagged ‘George Kunda’

George Kunda’s Campaign Against Homosexuality

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

By Henry Kyambalesa

I wish to comment on Vice President George Kunda’s incessant reference to Patriotic Front (PF) President Michael Sata over the last several months as being a supporter of homosexuality. In a recent Times of Zambia article of February 10 2011 entitled “Sata Is Telling Lies,” for example, he is quoted as having said the following: “There have been several articles in the Times of Zambia and in the Zambia Daily Mail that he [Sata] supports homosexuality.”

Firstly, Comrade Kunda does not seem to know what he ought to know: that the Times of Zambia and the Zambia Daily Mail seek out news stories which demonize opposition political parties and their leaders on the one hand, and those which glorify the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) and its leaders on the other hand. Anyone who has faith in everything that is reported by the Times of Zambia, the Zambia Daily Mail and the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), therefore, needs to have his or her head examined.

Secondly, the learned Vice President and Minister of Justice needs to take a neutral position on issues which are likely to incite some segments of Zambian society to rise against other citizens. He needs to take the lead in ensuring that whatever he says is not based on his own opinions, or on innuendos, speculations or on promoting hatred for a particular politician or group of citizens.

After all, our country’s constitution does not recognize same-sex unions, same-sex marriages or same-sex adoptions. What Comrade Kunda needs to do is to introduce a Bill in Parliament which will address issues relating to sexual orientation, particularly with respect to whether or not there should be a ban on discrimination of any individual on the basis of his or her sexual orientation.

It is important to note, though, that South Africa provides a special case in Africa because it recognizes same-sex sexual activity, same-sex unions, same-sex marriages, and same-sex adoptions, and allows gays to serve openly in the military. The country also has laws which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In fact, the laws in South Africa are similar to those in Israel—God’s chosen land!

Also, it is important to note that “same-sex sexual activity” is LEGAL for both male and female citizens in some other African countries—including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Rwanda.

In Central America, North America, South America, and the Caribbean, “same-sex sexual activity” is LEGAL for both male and female citizens with the exception of a few countries like Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana.

In Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, “same-sex sexual activity” is LEGAL for both male and female citizens with the exception of a few countries like Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu.

In all of Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Southern Europe and Western Europe, “same-sex sexual activity” is LEGAL for both male and female citizens.

Comrade Kunda seems to have a flare for ‘divide and rule’ tactics. Not too long ago, while on a campaign trail in Maamba, he portrayed Comrade Sata as a tribalist “who has hatred for Tongas … [and who] cannot work with … Tongas.”

Tribe and ethnicity are highly sensitive and emotive issues, any mention of which must be used only to unite the people, not to isolate a particular political opponent, or to pit a political opponent against a particular tribe or ethnic grouping.

I hope he will try to make an earnest effort to be a little bit more modest and courteous when he gets back onto the campaign trail. It is not too late for him to try to be a role model.

(Contact us at editor@zambianewsfeatures.com)

Kunda’s Tribe-Based Campaigns Will Lead To Bloodshed

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

By HENRY KYAMBALESA

OF late, I have been losing a lot of sleep over Comrade George Kunda’s attempt to destroy the spirit of co-existence among Zambia’s 73 tribes which we have inherited from the UNIP era.

There is a need for national leaders to treat each and every candidate for political office as an ambassador of his or her tribe, even for those from his or her tribe who may not support his or her candidature. To refer to a political opponent like Michael Sata who has a large following of political supporters as “a devil who cannot be entrusted with the instruments of power,” as Kunda did recently at Hamusonde market in Monze, therefore, is to cast his tribe and/or supporters in the same light.

Also, to portray a man of Sata’s stature in public as a tribalist “who has hatred for Tongas … [and who] cannot work with … Tongas,” as Kunda did in Maamba recently, could be interpreted in the same manner.

Tribe and ethnicity are highly sensitive and emotive issues, any mention of which must be used only to unite the people, not to isolate a particular political opponent, or to pit a political opponent against a particular tribe or ethnic grouping.

The learned Vice President and Minister of Justice needs to take the lead in ensuring that political campaigns are conducted with utmost civility. His campaigns should particularly be exemplary; they should be based on issues affecting the people, not on his opinions or on innuendos, speculations or on promoting fear and hatred for a particular politician.

His campaigns should revolve around policies which the MMD is geared to pursue, such as those relating to agriculture and food security, education and training, healthcare and sanitation, the economy and job creation, poverty reduction, national defence and security, the development and maintenance of infrastructure, the fight against corruption and other forms of crime, national unity, and foreign relations, among other important issues.

But if Kunda continues to go around the country on a campaign designed to demonize MMD’s political opponents, and to pit tribes against such opponents, we are surely going to witness unprecedented bloodshed and destruction of property during the forthcoming elections!

I am surprised, very surprised, that he does not seem to know what he ought to know about the potential for ethnic incendiaries, fear-mongering and misinformation to lead to mistrust, tension and bloody conflict among a country’s people. Nevertheless, he needs to re-think his campaign strategy because it is clearly a recipe for ethnic tensions and bloodshed.

Prevention, as an age-old maxim teaches us, is better than cure!

As I have always maintained, we are all one and the same people in spite of the different political parties we belong to, the 73 different tribes to which we belong, or the different languages we speak. Besides, we have the same dreams and expectations as members of the Zambian family; among other things, we all wish for a government that will address the catalogue of problems facing our beloved country—including poverty, hunger, ignorance, illiteracy, disease, unemployment, disadvantaged children, crime, corruption, and moral decay.

Zambia: Moving toward a De Facto One-Party State

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

By HENRY KYAMBALESA

Currently, Zambia can, by and large, be classified predominantly as a “repressive state,” that is, a nation-state where leaders impose sufficient repression on opposition political parties in order to keep them weak and maintain their own power, while adhering to enough democratic formalities that they might just pass themselves off as democrats.

Mildly, the country fits the description of a “criminal state,” that is, a nation-state where the government is oblivious to crimes committed by government leaders and the elite and, among other things, individuals with criminal records are appointed to positions of authority.

George Kunda

Vice President George Kunda on the onslaught

Zambia also temperately meets the characteristics of a “patrimonial state,” where government leaders treat the state as their own piece of property.  Moreover, the country fits the description of a “collapsed state,” that is, a nation-state in which common people are generally left to their own devices while government officials revel in conspicuous, state-financed luxury.

With respect to the country’s classification as a “repressive state,” we are very likely to see our beloved country turned into a de facto single-party state if the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) continues to rule the country beyond this year. I have provided a bird’s-eye view of the bases of my conclusion below.

MMD Manoeuvres:

Vice President George Kunda is apparently tasked to spearhead MMD’s onslaught on Zambia’s major opposition political parties and their leaders—the Patriotic Front (PF) and the United Party for National Development (UPND), and Hakainde Hichilema and Michael Sata. His incessant attacks and misinformation aimed at discrediting the PF-UPND pact and its leaders are unprecedented in our country’s history.

MMD leaders’ machinations against major opposition political parties are clearly and deliberately designed to impose sufficient repression on them in order to make them weak and maintain MMD’s stronghold on power. The poaching and appointments of Heritage Party, PF and UNIP members of parliament to positions of authority, and the constant invitations to members of opposition political parties to join the MMD, have the same rationale.

Constitutional Clauses:

Article 203(2) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill 2010 states that “Any person or group of persons who desires to form a political party shall satisfy the Political Parties’ Commission that—(a) the party shall, within a period of twelve months from the date of its registration, have party structures in at least two-thirds of the number of provinces of Zambia. And in Article 205(1), it is stated that “The purpose of the Political Parties’ Fund shall be to provide financial support to registered political parties with seats in the National Assembly.”

Political parties are apparently expected to comply with the requirement in Article 203(2) with their own resources. Unfortunately, most political parties in the country do not have adequate financial and material resources to comply with this requirement. It is, therefore, essential for the Republican constitution to provide for a level-playing field so that it does not appear to favour political parties whose founders and members have deep pockets.

Such a requirement will eventually lead to a de facto one-party state, particularly in bad economic times, when political parties fail to raise enough financial and material resources to maintain the required party structures in at least two-thirds of the number of provinces of Zambia. It also imposes a one-size-fits-all type of organization structure on political parties. Some political parties may wish to operate from a single centralized location in order to reduce costs.

The question of whether or not a political party is regional or tribal should be left to voters. Voters are not daft; they will not popularly vote for presidential candidates from political parties which appear to be regional or tribal in nature. It is, therefore, enough to require all candidates for political office to have a specified number of supporters at the time of registration.

The Public Media:

Zambians are wary of the current situation whereby large segments of the mass media are state-owned, under tight controls by the MMD government, and the rights and freedoms of individuals and non-governmental institutions are subordinate to those of the ruling party and the state.

Unfortunately, this state of affairs has greatly and unfairly enhanced MMD’s competitive advantage over opposition political parties. And the continued push for statutory regulation of the media is a clear indication that MMD leaders represent their individual and partisan interests rather than the common interests of Zambians at large.

The express desire for statutory regulation of the media and the tight controls over public media institutions by the MMD are all partly designed to shut out the opposition and create a greater and unfair competitive edge for the MMD.

The Party and Its Government:

We have a political system that allows individuals to hold government and political party positions concurrently. This has inevitably distorted the boundary between national duties and party activities, and has culminated into what is commonly referred to as “the Party and Its Government” or “the PIG” phenomenon.

And we have failed to introduce provisos in the Republican constitution which would bar national leaders from actively performing political party functions. Also, we have failed to permit the Registrar of Societies to require all political parties in the country to include a clause in their constitutions providing for duties of party members who get elected or appointed to serve in either the judiciary or the executive branch of the national government to be assumed by incumbents of other offices within the party’s administrative and management structures.

The MMD is happy with the PIG since it has made it possible for the party to dominate the political arena through public resources used by government ministers during campaigns.

Conclusion:

Our country’s nascent political pluralism is clearly on the chopping block! If we ignore the foregoing signals and vote for the MMD later this year, we will actually be voting for a move to a new version of a one-party system of government. And we will be voting for a government that has thus far proved to be insensitive to the basic needs, expectations and aspirations of the majority of Zambians.

Nearly 20 years have passed since the MMD assumed the reins of power, but we still have a healthcare system which cannot meet the basic needs of the majority of citizens; tens of thousands of Grade 7 and Grade 9 students have continued to be spilled onto the streets every year; so many citizens have no access to clean water and electricity; and a critical shortage of decent public housing has compelled so many of our fellow citizens to live in shanty townships nationwide.

Moreover, public infrastructure and services are still deficient; civil servants are still not adequately compensated for their services; a lot of civil service retirees cannot get their hard-earned benefits; crime and unemployment are still widespread; taxes and interest rates are still very high; and, among many other socio-economic ills, the constitution-making process is still fraught with personal, partisan and short-term interests.

We need to pray hard for divine intervention in the governance of our Motherland. No sleep for our beloved country!