Tuesday 20 September 2011


The 2011 general elections in Zambia have an interesting twist to it. It is a battle between two veteran politicians of the historical politics of the country. More or less like a fight to return to the past politics with a firm handed leader in control.

If Mr Michael Sata wins this election he will have achieved what very few politicians have achieved in snatching away a popular revolutionary change designed and implement through a new breed of youthful politicians and returning the political complexion to that of the then unpopular past.

He would also have brought back into play the nationalistic type of politics that young generation of the 1991 political technocrats replaced with a semblance of a socioeconomic and neo-imperialistic corporate type. At his age it will be quite a feat for him to run the country with a comprehensive and modern style of corporate governance. In comparison to preferring his last executive leader, he probably will be more nostalgic in pursuing the styles of his former UNIP leader Dr Kenneth Kaunda who still remains a respected political figure in African politics of struggling against Western dominance.

The beginning of his fight to take back power from the MMD started through his shrewd, cunning, populist and opportunist manoeuvrings that saw him shift floors to join the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) just before it won the elections in 1991,literally . As a skilled leadership servant, he worked his way to the heart of the then President Fredrick Titus Chiluba possibly via tribal and loyalist sentiments. This relationship apparently destroyed the original inner- circle of the founding members of the MMD creating Chiluba to single-handedly with the advice of Sata, to side-line the founding members of the MMD that included Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika, Sikota Wina, Derrick Chitala , Kabunda Kayongo, Inonge Lewanika, Godfrey Miyanda,Dipark Patel and a host of many others including Guy Scott. This was his beginning of the political destruction of the change that the MMD brought in the country through the " The Ruling Tribe" elite. Chiluba was not clever to sense that. He was too power blinded and too unwise to figure out this plan and its progression. Chiluba, unwittingly, put his trust in a man that had been very close to a great man of African politics that had lost power.

Sata then consolidated himself in the power circles by playing the loyal servant to the next new powerful man in the politics of the country : Fredrick Titus Chiluba. He was elevated to cabinet ministerial positions where he served with such vigour and authority to not only impress, but to also engrave a name for himself in the modern politics of the country. His work always showed results and left landmarks that he could later claim as his own personal legacy.

In his apparent last attempt to completely win over Chiluba so that he may be a very powerful force in the MMD he played a part in attempting to convince Chiluba that he could run the country for the third term. Chiluba was made unpopular by this attempt at political engineering. Sata was left unscathed though some people recognized his role in this attempt at a constitutional breach. It left him slightly bruised, though.

Chiluba’s attempt to run for the third term further divided the MMD to Sata’s great advantage. Whether Sata planned this strategy for the destruction of the MMD it is an issue for speculation and debate, but it worked well to continue his path in destroying the most powerful political party in the country. MMD was destroyed by tribal factions, technocratic alliances, political differences, corruption and a complete loss of focus. It was only kept intact because it was in government. Most founding members had either left, been side-lined, disillusioned, defected, formed their own political parties or placed in obscurity through the political schemes of Michael Sata. Chiluba was the puppet and Sata was the seasoned master that convincingly played servant. Chiluba was too power complacent and too playful to notice all his manipulations.

After Chiluba had completed his term and Sata side-lined by the new no- nonsense head –of – state, Levy Mwanawasa, Sata had to re-group and start his second phase of his power assuming strategies. He had done the part of destroying the MMD well and this was confirmed when Chiluba was pursued and had arrested on corruption and theft of funds charges by the government of Levy Patrick Mwanawasa. Michael Sata was thrown in the wilderness, but was not out.His strategy was slowly gaining momentum, nevertheless…It had entered its phase of open activity that had a clear objective.

Michael Chilufya Sata now set out on his task to openly confront the weakened MMD. He formed a political party with commercial farmer Guy Scott- a former founding member of the MMD. The party was named the PATRIOTIC FRONT a derivative from the countries that grouped to fight apartheid and the Rhodesian government in Southern Africa in the 1970s.

He used an almost similar technique in winning his way to the hearts of his followers by manipulating his way with promises, quoting his self-made legacy and a constant change in his policy statements to play along with the grassroots mind-set that he was so experienced in organizing and working with.

He later lost two elections, but his popularity nonetheless was slowly rising and gaining momentum…..

In 2010, Sata’s Patriotic Front attempted to join forces with another political party, The UNITED PARTY for NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (UPND) to form a formidable electoral front meant to oust the MMD through the ballot box in 2011. The PACT collapsed. It is widely believed that that PACT collapsed mainly because of Sata’s insistence to be the presidential candidate of the intended coalition force….

In the 2010-11 period the MMD had a president that was people insensitive and had poor public relations skills, was deemed to be openly corrupt, nepotistic and lacked charisma. The MMD president further created enemies within the party causing defections of key big-wigs in that party who directly joined Sata’s party. This worked to Michael’s Sata’s great advantage who capitalized on this double weakness of this party. A weakness that he had created and that was now blossoming…..

Sata knows the power that lays in political leverage and applies it . He, however, retains one political characteristic: He is a non-democrat, a dictator and largely believes in himself as evidenced by the way he single handedly runs the party by avoiding internal party elections at a recent party convention. He does not believe and is even suspicious of modern technology, especially IT. He rarely quotes any socio-economic terminologies in his speeches. He speaks the ordinary language that any average person understands or misunderstands. He is able to listen to the people and speak their language whilst retaining an ungentlemanly or confrontational demeanor to his opponents. His character appeals largely to a tired and frustrated populace.

The question that will be the elephant in the room will be, “ If Sata wins the 2011 elections, will he ever give back the seat without fighting with all his might for a third-term or even perpetual term in office?”……………

One thing that will remain a certain is that no Zambian political history books will be written without the inclusion of this name: Michael Chilufya Sata also known as , “ The King Cobra.”