Contribution by: Chisala, Maxwell L.
The ‘values and aspirations’ espoused by the new party in town, United Transforation Movement (UTM), through its leader Hon. Saulos Chilima appear laudable and very progressive except for the realization that they could easily have remained Hon. Chilima’s unverbalized and unacted-upon thoughts and Hon. Chilima would not have risen to the task of leading the new party in town were it not for crucial ‘intervening’ events—Hon. Chilima falling out with his former party DPP and being told in no uncertain terms that he would not be allowed anywhere near his former party’s convention hall but most crucially, we learn from the undisputed massive Njamba gathering, the intensive cajoling of Hon. Chilima by the Rebellious Six ?
Up until a few weeks ago, Hon. Chilima was comfortably content to sit on the sidelines as his ‘beloved’ country wallowed in unparalleled thievery and plunder or something akin to ‘state capture’ by the powerful, politically-connected and DPP functionaries!
What is plainly clear is that Hon. Chilima’s strain of patriotism may not be hewn from that of our usual flag-wavering nationalists who would impetuously run to the defense of their Motherland at the first sight of social and economic violence, worsening mal-governance upon its populace. Hon. Chilima waited a dead solid four years to gather the political nerve and conjure up the motherly care to respond to the cries of his Motherland! They say, to selflessly serve one’s Motherland, you have to have boundless motherly love to shower spare-lessly to all manner of travails of your Motherland! Or is it not so simple?
For an excruciating-four years this country experienced colossal thieving and plunder by DPP the likes of which no country on planet-earth has experienced but all the while Hon. Chilima watched on the sidelines unmoved, indifferent and uninterested, disturbingly cold and uncaring enough to save the situation or indeed just voice his unease with the situation.
For an insufferable-four years the likes of Hon. Chidanti-Malunga, Hon. Usi, numerous opposition and CSO figures valiantly fought DPP parliamentarians to dissuade them from the path of corruption all the while Hon. Chilima was watching from the sidelines unmoved, indifferent and uninterested, but willfully aware of the colossal thieving and plunder by DPP that was raging on unabated and ever more intensely.
Early in Hon. Chilima’s term, I had faulted Hon. Chilima for choosing a Civil Service Reform Task force that was so tribal (crossed no tribal fault lines) it appeared to have been constituted more to personalize and Lhomwelize the civil service than reform it and doomed not to deliver anything of substance because it conspicuously left out people with the expertise and experience to do the job. For me that was the first and only test I needed to assess the capabilities of Hon. Chilima.
To be fair Hon. Chilima told us at the undisputed massive Njamba gathering, he had all along a hefty ‘dossier’ of fantastic plans to ‘fix and move’ this country but it never behooved him to share these amazing plans with ‘his’ DPP. Was it because Hon. Chilima feared his party or his country would ‘undeservedly’ benefit from his business intellect and experience which were ostensibly his appeal to his party and his country? Or was there some other unstated appeal? Or is Hon. Chilima just not a team player?
I can not think of a weighty war-cry and weighty battle that the citizens of this country wanted responded to and gallantly fought against that Hon. Chidanti-Malunga recoiled from or failed to throw his full moral and political weight to but can hardly think of a weighty battle that would not have mightly benefitted from Hon. Chilima’s weighty voice. That is why it is so puzzling that Hon. Chilima for dead-solid four years had no inner voice urging him to act against his political ‘survival’ instincts or de-cage his transitory progressive political animal earlier. Put bluntly, would Hon. Chilima have put on his armoury of ‘Mr. Fixer and Mr. Mover’ had he not fallen out with his former party DPP or not been told in no uncertain terms that he would not be allowed anywhere near the convention hall by his former party DPP. Would Hon. Chilima have gotten out of his comfort zone (come out of the woodworks) to lead UTM and commit to fixing problems afflicting his ‘beloved’ country and move it to dizzying heights, as promised, without these ‘intervening’ events? Contrast this with Hon. Chidanti-Malunga who was also was very close to DPP but was not afraid to selflessly serve his ‘beloved’ country and we know was personally sued for taking on the politically powerful and connected all the while Hon. Chilima sat on the sidelines and enjoyed the comforts of his office.
And then there is Hon. Chilima’s remarks about the Government he was a part of for four dead-solid years harbouring plans to rig next year’s elections using some spy machine but that it would not work with Hon. Chilima which would suggest to lay-persons like myself experience with rigging elections. Was Hon. Chilima just bluffing or did Hon. Chilima indeed play any role in rigging 2014 Tripartite elections and was this for the good of the country and our nascent democracy and will Hon. Chilima continue doing this whether for the good of the country and our nascent democracy or just for Hon. Chilima?
Why did Hon. Usi want assurance from Hon. Chilima that he is dead-ready for the bumpy road ahead? Was Hon. Usi in doubt Cmrde. Chilima had what it takes to lead a party with such noble goals as UTM and what would be the basis for this if not Hon. Chilima’s comfortably sitting on the sidelines unmoved, indifferent and uninterested, the past four tumultuous years while both Hon. Usi and Hon. Chidanti-Malunga moved heaven and earth in the defense of their Motherland? So in short ‘Is Hon. Chilima the rightful leader, ahead of both Hon. Usi and Hon. Chidanti-Malunga for the noble party in town’? The inescapable reality is a national party with such concretized ‘values and aspirations’ deserves better, I think—a leadership with demonstrated love for the country and demonstrated selfless leadership demonstrably lacking in Hon. Chilima.
Contribution by: Chisala, Maxwell L.