The Real President

Filed under: Politics,Special Comments |

By Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa

The Real President! What kind of book could that book be? I was browsing through at Planet Books at Arcades when I was drawn to that book with that title. I picked it and headed straight to the back of the book where normally, the content of the book is described.
The back cover stated, “The Real President is a story of a man in his thirties who decides to challenge the incumbent tyrant president who has run down the country; a seemingly brave but dangerous mission. The later is brutal and tries to stop him but with the help of the ordinary citizens, the tyrant’s power melts away. The new leader ushers in a period of unprecedented prosperity”.
Wow! A “incumbent tyrant…. Run down the country”! What country could he  be talking about? The back cover continues, “Set in an imaginary country in Africa, the book explores important issues such as the challenges of creating a true nation state and providing visionary leadership, lacking in many countries on the continent”. The phrase “visionary leadership” hit me like a ton of bricks. This is familiar. This is “lacking in many countries”. Is thus guy for real? This is a novel? It sounds more real than a novel.
I decided to take a closer look by thumbing back through to the front. My left thumb ended up at page two of the book. My eyes were fixated on the third paragraph where it is stated, ” To a visitor from a better run country, Lubanda was a failed state. Lubanda under Chimwanga was politically and economically a failed state. There was no order, unemployed street boys had power to kill and to maim with impunity. Civil servants had powers to collect tax for each piece of work they did, not for the state but for their pockets. Ministers had powers beyond their jurisdictions, they were juries, judges and mini presidents, as long as they did it in the name and on behalf of President Chimwanga, in exchange for unreserved loyalty in him. The policemen had become national militias for the President. They too had powers, to charge anybody anything for their personal gain. The soldiers had been turned into robots, as long as Chimwanga threw a few coins at them they would crawl on their stomachs to polish his shoes. They were soldiers for Chimwanga and not Lubanda….”

I couldn’t continue reading this book standing. Could this guy be serious? Why does the content of this novel sound so real? I hurriedly purchased the book to go and study it to see if it corresponded to reality somewhere.

There is a club to the right of the SPAR supermarket where I retreated to have a drink while perusing this book. I sat down and ordered a drink. I was still on page two and three. The second paragraph on page three continued, “There were no credible systems for making policies. Any minister or civil servant with a position would make a policy. There was no accountability. Since every minister or political affiliate of the president was like a war lord, policies were made on the hoof. The President would flout the law and the constitution any time he chose. This was far from any semblance of an organized country”.
I was really getting alarmed. A president would “flout the law and the constitution any time he chose”! Could the writer of this novel be serious? Could there be such a country? I paid for the drink and hurried out heading home to go and further investigate the claims of this book.
In the car, I looked back at the back cover. The book is written by Noah Kaindama, a Zambian who lives in the U. K.  He had worked in education in Zambia for many years. This Zambian in the U. K surely has a fertile imagination if he is not talking about reality somewhere.

Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa who teaches law at the School of Law, Zambian Open University is the author of Thoughts Are Free:  Prison Experience and Reflections on Law and Politics in General(1989), a book based on a true experience and sold at Planet Bookstore.


One Response to The Real President

  1. De fake president is Lungu.

    robert sulamoyo jr
    August 4, 2016 at 2:30 pm

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