Toilet tissue shouldn’t be an issue

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Kambwili

It’s not a long time ago when we described former information
minister Chishimba Kambwili as “a good bad man”. In our
analysis, we did state that Mr Kambwili or Honourable Doctor
Kambwili, as he prefers to be called, was a perfect opposition
figure. We observed that since he was removed from his
ministerial position and expelled from the ruling party, the
Roan member of parliament attracted support from many Zambians
because of the fearless manner in which he started naming and
shaming corrupt individuals in government.

That’s not all; we went further to state that Mr Kambwili could
not make a good Republican President because he was an
emotional and vengeful leader. However, that criticism did not
sit well with his supporters who felt we were being sadistic.
In fact, Mr Kambwili himself called our editor to register his
displeasure with us for publishing an article which he felt was
in bad taste. Anyway, that’s not the issue. The issue is that
shortly after he questioned our judgment of his character, his
emotions vindicated us.

“My dear sister Mumbi Phiri, if you live in a glass house,
don’t throw stones. Don’t go on the radio and start defending
yourself ‘no me I was married to a man who was very wealthy
that’s why I built that house’ …I used to buy toilet tissue for
you and bathing soap for you who is married to a wealthy man,
mulekwatako insoni (you should be ashamed), I would go into
your house Mumbi, elo nasanga namulepula inyunshi esho
mulebomfwa mu toilet elo natila Mumbi, MP inyunshi mu toilet (I
would find you have cut pieces of newspapers for use in your
toilet then I would say ‘Mumbi, an MP using newspaper in your
toilet?’) And then I would go to Shoprite and buy for you,”
said Mr Kambwili.

To those who didn’t follow this story, Mr Kambwili was trying
to make a point that many people in the ruling party had
acquired wealth through corruption. First, we must state that
there was absolutely nothing wrong with his observation. In
fact, we agree with him that there is corruption in the PF
government and the epicenter of that corruption is State House.
But look at how Mr Kambwili’s emotions spoiled the important
point he was trying to make.

To begin with, we wonder if Mr Kambwili realised before
attacking Mumbi that the former Munali member of parliament has
had a soft spot for him. Ever since Mr Kambwili started facing
his tribulations, we have never recorded a statement from Mumbi
attacking Kambwili, which as journalists we found very strange
– considering the diarrhea of the mouth that Mumbi herself
suffers from. But a quick inquiry within the PF circles brought
us a revelation that Mumbi was among those in the ruling party
who felt Mr Kambwili’s case needed to be handled a little
differently to avoid the prevailing antagonism that his
expulsion brought about.

Now, we do appreciate that when he was expelled from the PF, Mr
Kambwili vowed to take on the PF, punch for punch. He made it a
point to hit back whenever he was attacked by a government or
party official. He promised to spill the beans and let the
Zambian people know the true colours of the leaders they voted
into power. Again, we found nothing wrong with that because
that is what is expected in a functioning democracy. But they
say a good boxer knows when to punch back and when to duck.
Kambwili punched when he should have ducked.

In his defence, Mr Kambwili apologised to his ‘sister’ saying
‘I am sorry, I got carried away in the moment but I have
reflected on my statement and I withdraw it’. That is exactly
what we meant by stating that Mr Kambwili’s emotions were his
greatest weakness. There was no need for Mr Kambwili to
humiliate a mother in that manner. Genuine help means giving
and forgetting. You cannot go back to the person you bought
underwear for, and say “stop running around, you will destroy
the kaputula I bought you”.

It is good that Mumbi acted wisely by ducking and not punching
back. As a matter of fact, Mumbi did not need an apology from
Mr Kambwili because that statement backfired and killed the
momentum that the rebel MP was enjoying. This careless
statement disappointed us because we want Mr Kambwili to
continue hitting the PF and making them sit up. We would like
him to continue exposing corruption because a corrupt regime is
not different from a dictatorship.

Our only advice to Mr Kambwili is that he should not act on
impulse when he gets agitated. Most importantly, as a leader,
he should not take pride in reminding the poor what he did for
them. There was nothing wrong in Mumbi using newspapers if she
couldn’t afford toilet tissue. After all, Kambwili himself used
Mumbi’s newspaper on that same day after doing what he went in
the toilet for, unless he tells us that he boycotted the
newspaper, drove to Shoprite to buy tissue and came back to use
it.

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