Michael Sata: Zambia's New President

Published on 26th September 2011

Michael Chilufya Sata is sworn in           Photo courtesy
Zambia has set a precedent again! Michael Chilufya Sata is the new President of Zambia. He  was declared winner by Chief Justice Ernest Sakala. When Kenneth Kaunda in 1991 promised the world that he would usher in free and fair elections in Zambia, many people did not believe him. Again, when the results denying him presidency were announced, he outrightly conceded defeat and left the state house as promised.
Though what came thereafter is a sad story, Kaunda lived up to his words and promises. This time around, history has rebirthed itself once again though in a different style and manner. Zambia’s out-going president Rupiah Banda did not promise free and fair elections. His was to try to rig and maneuver elections for his survival to no avail. Again, Kaunda’s spirit of trustworthy politics prevailed. Be it an accident or a deliberate act, the history was repeated if not repeating itself.
In many African countries incumbency has always been, albeit wrongly, used and regarded a trump card. However, what recently transpired in Zambia foils this belief and practice altogether. It is a stalk warning to African potentates depending on incumbency to rig and get away wit it.  As this article goes on air, Zambians once again, have presented a precedent.
Zambians have squarely defeated the status quo Tanzanians, Kenyans, Ugandans, Rwandans and others failed to defeat. Zambians have sent the signal to those depending on incumbency that they have to get their acts together.
Though Rupiah is nursing defeat, he needs to be congratulated or conceding defeat. So too, Zambian youths who, in essence, bear the brunt, need to be commended for their vigilance and readiness to see to it that dirty game does not succeed. Zambians in general need to be recommended for their open mindedness and brevity that enhanced them to vote for the future rather than past and status quo.
Sata is not the first African president to beat the incumbent. In Senegal, Wade did exactly the same as Sata has done. However, Wade turned out to be a dictator. So too did Muluzi in Malawi.
Many observers in the East African Community anxiously wait to see this happen in Tanzania and Uganda where incumbents stick to power by manipulation as it happened in Kenya.
The irony though, is, will Sata avoid the way Chiluba took to end up in shame and controversy? Rupiah Banda, just like Kaunda, has helped history to repeat itself. Will Sata see this way Kaunda and Rupiah saw it or Chiluba’s way of misconstruing the real situation?
As for other potentates who depend on incumbency to rig and steal elections, time is now for them to see the light.

By Nkwazi Mhango
A Canadian based Tanzanian and author of Saa Ya Ukombozi

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