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Zambia – A Modern Day Animal Farm

“If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” 

― George Orwell, Animal Farm

Zambia is a modern day Animal Farm.

I rarely write about politics on my personal blog but the situation in Zambia has become so ridiculous I can’t keep myself from purging. “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” – Pericles.

The PF Government deserves an award for being the most incompetent govt to tackle corruption allegations leveled against politicians in the history of Zambia. Never in the history of this country has there been such open and shameless plunder by government officials. It’s like Animal Farm, but with an actual sugar candy mountain because clearly, I’m not the only one seeing the rotten teeth in the mouths of some of our leaders every time they open their lips to mumble effluvia. Not even in Chiluba’s time.

Napoleon was now never spoken of simply as “Napoleon.” He was always referred to in formal style as “our Leader, Comrade Napoleon,” and this pigs liked to invent for him such titles as Father of All Animals, Terror of Mankind, Protector of the Sheep-fold, Ducklings’ Friend, and the like. In his speeches, Squealer would talk with the tears rolling down his cheeks of Napoleon’s wisdom the goodness of his heart, and the deep love he bore to all animals everywhere, even and especially the unhappy animals who still lived in ignorance and slavery on other farms. It had become usual to give Napoleon the credit for every successful achievement and every stroke of good fortune. You would often hear one hen remark to another, “Under the guidance of our Leader, Comrade Napoleon, I have laid five eggs in six days”; or two cows, enjoying a drink at the pool, would exclaim, “Thanks to the leadership of Comrade Napoleon, how excellent this water tastes!”

― George Orwell, Animal Farm

At least their predecessors conducted such dealings with caution but not these people in this government. They’re ‘allegedly’ (and here I’m being as diplomatically and politically correct as humanly possible because I live in a country where free speech is only permissible on paper, also no one has ever been convicted of anything. It’s like there’s zero corruption!). What was I saying? Oh yeah, allegedly stealing in broad daylight, killing in broad daylight (think Vespers?), engaging in corrupt practices in the open, they utter the most outrageous fiddle-faddle that even the most illiterate world leader from one of these special countries would gape at in awe.

And they keep doing so with impunity because they know no one will ever hold them accountable as long as a new naked picture is trending or some wanton celebrity wanna-be is making headlines about snagging a fair-skinned underage boy with hair that would make Alfalfa’s ears turn red.

“They had come to a time when no one dared speak his mind, when fierce, growling dogs roamed everywhere, and when you had to watch your comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes.” 

― George Orwell, Animal Farm

How the hell do we have ministers investigating fellow ministers for corrupt practices? The police investigating themselves for acts of brutality, murder, and corruption, skeletal-looking firetrucks that cost a billion bucks but function with the same enthusiasm as Garfield on a Monday? We have an educated president with a law degree, and let’s not forget, a doctorate of some sort now responding to all this mayhem in sheer torpor using rhyming F-words that can only be found in a chorus written by a certain General K high on a certain oxidizing agent that’s been fused with elements from 16 dried Irish potato leaves burnt on a michopo brai stand.

Speaking of numbers, 48 houses without an owner? FORTY-EIGHT. NOT eight, but you have to count all the way from 1 to 10, then another 10, and another 10, and… I’ve even given myself an aneurysm trying to do all this math. I flanked Math all through high school but fortunately, I learnt how to count from 1 to 10 at the age of 2 so I can confidently give you a formula that would help the whole country arrive at the names of the culprits behind this 48 charade. Let a marketeer build her 2 bed-roomed house in Chilenje and see how the government will even know the name of her last born son even before he’s born 3 years later because they need to calculate how much tax his generation will pay to offset the deficits they’ve pushed the economy under by the time they get a third term, kaput.

“Surely, comrades, you don’t want Jones back?” 

― George Orwell, Animal Farm

Effective leadership is one that yields positive results, and an effective leader is one that leaves a lasting positive impact on the people and environment from/in which he operates. You will know such a leader by the people he/she surrounds himself. If everyone around you agrees with everything you say and do, I can safely inform you without apology that you’re in the wrong company. What type of leader are you? What type of leaders do you choose to give power to? Speaking of which, are we still discussing that FIC Report or maybe sexy pics of Iris somehow quenched that flame? How about those awesome bills proposed at the NDF? I bet you some Kopala princess somehow managed to quench that flame too, like they did Vespers’ death. But what do I Know?

When government – in pursuit of good intentions – tries to rearrange the economy, legislate morality, or help special interests, the cost come in inefficiency, lack of motivation, and loss of freedom. Government should be a referee, not an active player.

Milton Friedman

Do you choose to put in power the type of leaders that would get billions of dollars in loans to purchase a luxurious jet on a national budget operating at a deficit because the boss wants and deserves to travel in comfort? Are you the type that elects leaders that travel thousands of miles with a gazillion entourage to collect firetrucks that survived 2 world wars on a logistical budget that’s higher than the items being collected? All this while thousands of civil servants have not been paid for months and higher institutions of learning are closing left, right, and center? You tell me, who’s responsible for this kind of leadership?

“Comrades!’ he cried. ‘You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brain workers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink the milk and eat those apples.” 

― George Orwell, Animal Farm

At least when we were a British colony, we understood exactly why we were being screwed over. It was their interest firsts, and never ours. We are now an independent country whose copper proceedings majorly end up in the hands of foreign entities and our most prime land is owned by people that speak a language whose etymology we know not. We hardly have economic power over most of our national assets. We successfully moved from forced enslavement to self-enslavement. We are not a poor country. In fact, we’ve never been poor! What we are is a country governed by selfish leaders with poor leadership qualities propelled to power and prosperity by silent citizens afraid to hold the servants they gave power to run their affairs accountable. Our economies aren’t a reflection of poverty. Rather, they’re a reflection of poor minds, incompetent leadership, and cowardly citizens that think construction of roads is a sign of a working government.

The stupidest questions of all were asked by Mollie, the white mare. The very first question she asked Snowball was: “Will there still be sugar after the Rebellion?”

“No,” said Snowball firmly. “We have no means of making sugar on this farm. Besides, you do not need sugar. You will have all the oats and hay you want.”

“And shall I still be allowed to wear ribbons in my mane?” asked Mollie.

“Comrade,” said Snowball, “those ribbons that you are so devoted to are the badge of slavery. Can you not understand that liberty is worth more than ribbons?”

There are too many people out there that have absolutely no idea how much power they wield in the political arena, so much so that they think they can sell their vote for a 25kg bag of mealie-meal. And then there are these noisy cadres that think the government can do no wrong. They speak in elevated tones everywhere they go and reek of things that could have only been secreted in Jabba the Hutt‘s pancreas. Anything one says about the prevailing corruption allegations being leveled at government officials is the agenda of the opposition party. I belong to those few people that don’t pledge allegiance to any political party, but to individuals that have demonstrated time and time again their commitment to serving rather being being served at a national scale.

Election days come and go. But the struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just the one percent – a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice – that struggle continues.

Bernie Sanders

How much power do you hold in your hands?

Liberty has never come from Government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it.

Woodrow Wilson

Or maybe George Orwell was right, “some animals are truly more equal than others”.

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