How to win an election

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By Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa

How to Win an Election is an actual title of a book written in 64 B.C by one Quintus Cicero as a campaign propaganda tract for his brother, Marcus Cicero who was running for the position of Consul in The Roman Empire.

That position was equivalent to Ruler. Marcus Cicero is reported to have been a great orator, perhaps the greatest orator of all time.  Romans valued oratory and wisdom. As did the Greeks.

Because of his superior oratorical skills, Marcus Cicero could still have won the election without the help of his brother’ s propaganda manifesto whose aim was to propagate that the end of an election should result in victory and whatever means is used to achieve that end was justified. Hence the phrase the end justifies the means.

Hence Quintus wrote that his brother should promise everything to everybody and that he must uncover all scandals including inventing others pertaining to the opposition, especially sex scandals. Quintus advised that lying to win the vote is justified. Quintus abhorred honesty and principles. Nicola Machiavelli was not the originator of unprincipled political praxis.

It is not reported whether Marcus followed his brother’s advice. He however won the election. The book is translated into English. It is not a long book.
Knowledge without practical application is almost worthless.

The question we face now in Zambia and elsewhere is, is there a Marcus Cicero in Zambia? How good an orator is that Zambian? How many Marcus Ciceros has Zambia ever had, people who mesmerize the audiences and keep them glued to their every word? People who were or are also wise! America has had Martin Luther King Jr.; Malcolm X,; Paul Robeson; Stockley Carmichael; John Kennedy; Barack Obama;  Johnnie Cochran; Clarence Darrow and many many others. Every reader can name a Marcus Cicero or two somewhere.

Chiluba

Chiluba

In Zambia I can name Frederick Chiluba, but I cannot think of others. In University, I could think of Sipula Kabanje (the guy could deliver a speech) and Guy Stokes. The reader can name perhaps a lot of Zambians.  I would like to know Zambian Marcus Ciceros. There is beauty in oratorical and rhetorical flamboyance in my humble opinion.

On the other hand, how many Quintus Ciceros are in Zambia? Political operatives whose raison d’être is to lie and lie and traffic in more lies and purvey false scandals!

Political propagandists and political leaders who have no principles whatsoever but whose goal is to win an election using whatever the means. Quintus Cicero advised his brother to be like a chameleon, to change colours to suit the environment. We have plenty of these in Zambia and everywhere. Can you name any Zambian Quintus Ciceros?

Mitt Romney in the US was known for annoyingly being  like a Chameleon. Occasionally Chameleons do very well, they win elections and Chameleons are durable and fearsome creatures. Do not take them lightly. Constantly exposing their changing colours to suit the environment is the only way to defeat the Quintus Ciceros of this world.  They abhor exposure. That is how Romney lost to Barrack Obama in the USA.

In the next several months we will see a lot of Quintus Ciceros in Zambia. We may not see a Marcus Cicero who will dazzle us with his sweet oratory and rhetoric.  There is none in the US either but more Chameleons there as well. Quintus Cicero would declare victory that his philosophy governs the universe. But hope springs eternal.

The beautiful ones are not yet born according to Ghanaian Ayi Kwei Armah. I believe that they are on the way just like they did under Fidel Castro in Cuba. Barrack Obama’s visit to Cuba in March 2016 rewrote the entire US history’s lies that Cuba was an evil empire. Cuba  is a perfect example that Quintus Cicero does not always have the last word in this world.

Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa’s latest book is entitled, The Case Against Tribalism in Zambia (2016)

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2 Responses to How to win an election

  1. Apart from having the attributes of oratory and rhetoric flamboyance, a Marcus Cicero must be brave like FTJ. Uncle Fred was brave because he was prepared to walk alone. 1990 was a tym wen a man could scare off friends and relatives if he defied time and political expectations to conceive an idea against KK and his murderous regime. Uncle Fred was fully aware of the dangers to his dear life and that of those who shared in his ‘crossroads dream’ but nevertheless braved himself for what very few Zambians could dare dream of. Before the country could fully comprehend their fears for FTJ, KK was former President within 300 days!

    These are the attributes which potential Marcus Ciceros of our time lack. They cant stand alone except under the shadow of others. They cant conceive their own cause for the good of humanity and convince the world to follow them, except to shelter under the risks of others. I must admit that its not their fault, its not just easy! Politicians with oratory powers of FTJ are people we see once in a lifetime. They are like Ronaldinhos or Lionel Messis in football. Yes! We see them once in a life time. This rare talent of oratory is what steered Barrack Obama to the White House. It is this talent too that has earned blacks like Martin Luther King Jnr, Malcom X and a few others in the Marcus Cicero forklore. As for my Zambia, i am afraid it could be another 100 years before we can have another Cicero.

    Jerabo
    April 6, 2016 at 1:38 pm
    Reply

  2. I have no RESPECT for THIEVES

    Mike
    April 6, 2016 at 2:23 pm
    Reply

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31