Chishimba Kambwili is today saying all the right things – the things the great majority of the Zambian people want to hear. And we say he is now making sense. How we wish Kambwili was saying these things when he was in government! How we wish Kambwili was raising these concerns in Cabinet, to Edgar Lungu’s face!
We know he wouldn’t have lasted in government with such an attitude, approach. He would have been fired much earlier. But so what? Kambwili was not a silent observer of the wrongs of Edgar and his minions; he defended them with passion. We were some of his daily punch bags for trying to expose and criticise the transgressions and inequities of this government. The last statement Kambwili made as minister was a harangue of The Mast, claiming it was an illegal publication. But that illegal publication has today become the main purveyor of his statements against the government and the president he defended with all his energy and heart.
Kambwili was not an ignorant, uninformed politician innocently doing his duty as Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services and chief government spokesman. Kambwili knew very well that what he was defending was wrong, rotten and corrupt to the core. He was conscious of what he was doing. But he defended it nonetheless. Why? Our simple and only explanation is that it was politically and otherwise profitable to him.
The things Kambwili is talking about are not new discoveries. He knew about all these things when he was in government – the corruption, abuses of power and so on and so forth. In some of them, he was actually an accomplice. And there are many like him in the Patriotic Front and its government today who are defending things they know are clearly wrong, are corrupt. But because it is beneficial for them politically and otherwise, they go on defending them. Some have chosen to remain quiet in order to keep their positions and jobs in the Patriotic Front and its government.
Like Kambwili, they know wrong things are going on, but they can’t speak out or resign. They will only speak out and denounce these wrongs when they are fired by Edgar. We know that resigning from a position of privilege is not an easy thing. Resignation requires will, and will requires decision, and decision requires belief, and belief requires that there is something to believe in. What makes a political leader to resign or not to resign has something to do with having an honour or not. Those who have honour always choose the honourable way: resignation.
It’s easier to respect and trust a politician who resigns because he or she is not able to stop the wrongs or corruption going on in government and wants to free oneself from it. It is not easy to believe a politician who waits until they are fired to start criticising the wrongs they used to defend. Kambwili should explain to the Zambian people why all this time, he never denounced the corruption and abuses of Edgar’s regime. When he was in government, corruption and abuses of state machinery were not issues! Is it because now he is on the receiving end and he has to hit back with all that he has? Is it a case of sour grapes?
Kambwili is not the only one with this challenge. The are people in all our state and government institutions who are not happy with what is going on but are not ready to do anything about it. We have judges who are not happy with the rot in the judiciary and in privacy and confidence will complain to you and it ends there. There are ministers and civil servants who will reveal to you the corruption and other abuses going on in government but will never publicly speak out or resign. Some, even when they are fired, will only talk about the wrongs in Edgar’s government in privacy and confidence. Some will even try to find their way back to the stinking government.
This is the tragedy of our leaders!