Zambians have experienced the rule of four different country leaders since Kenneth Kaunda admitted defeat at the hands after ruling Zambia for 27 years, beaten by a labour backed opposition party called Movement of Multi Party Democracy (MMD)which was led by Fredrick Chiluba in 1991. Since then Chiluba has been succeeded by Levy Mwanasa albeit from the same party however the constitution of Zambia bars anyone from standing for a third presidential term (a clause Chiluba attempted to amend and failed) a cornerstone of democracy which leading democratic countries of the world have adopted. Mwanasa was succeeded by Rupiah Banda again from MMD again the significance of the peaceful change of guard cannot be downplayed. Now MMD has been thrown out of power by Patriotic Front led by the incumbent president Michael Sata who becomes the fifth DIFFERENT PERSON to head the Zambian government.
The peaceful transition of power in Zambia deserves respect and recognition for the Zambian institutes that made sure that the election in which Michael Sata triumphed was free and fair. It should also be commended that the out-going president of Zambia Rupiah Banda, whatever his faults, was man enough to admit defeat inflicted by an opposition party. It is no mean feat to admit defeat, after all this Africa and Zambia is an African country. It is a feat that has alluded the motherland from time immemorial. Authoritarian governments have dominated the post-war history of independent Africa. In fact, there have only been 189 country-years of democracy
in Africa compared to 1823 country-years of dictatorship between 1946 and 2000. Moreover, dictatorships still outstrip the number of democracies in Africa by a considerable margin despite the transitions to democracy that occurred in the early 1990s.
Zambia is a neighbour to Zimbabwe, which the on the contrary has only been ruled by one person since we achieved independence in 1980. Mugabe has been ruling for 31 years, four years more than Kaunda and one year more than Kamuzu Hastings Banda of Malawi. If the rumours are to be believed it was ego driven race for him to out-rule all the African leaders, though I doubt he will beat 42 years of his compatriot Muammar Gaddafi. As things stand today Zimbabweans are bracing themselves for another 5 years of autocratic rule by Mugabe unless he dies before the completion of his 7th term he is 87 old. Zimbabwe has had no formidable opposition party for 20 years until Movement of Democratic change emerged in 1999. All elections that Mugabe claims to have won since 2000 were rigged to ensure that his iron grip on Zimbabwe continues.
While I sit here and drool with envy at the Zambians on how they manage something that had eluded Zimbabweans for long. I wonder whether Zimbabwe will ever be free in our lifetime? What about the other people who benefit from Mugabe's political patronage such as Saviour Kasukuwere and his criminal cabal, the security forces who actually now run Zimbabwe, will they allow the country to become free giving up their pornographic opulent lifestyle while the rest of the population can barely breathe?