Gary Nkombo: the day the anti-Kachasu drive turned sour

Gary Nkombo: The Day The Anti-Kachasu Drive Turned Sour

Gary Nkombo: the day the anti-Kachasu drive turned sour

Gary Nkombo: The Day The Anti-Kachasu Drive Turned Sour
Garry Nkombo

By Michael B Munyimba

When I first heard this recent Gary Nkombo anti-Kachasu saga, I said ‘NOOO, not him again’!

Such things ought not to happen in the new dawn, those are things that were common in the PF/Lusambo era. How could they be happening in this period when we are all still struggling to recover from the nightmares of the past regime when human beings were treated like dogs?

Let me start by admitting that there was a time when I really loved and admired this guy for the fight and courage he displayed as he laboured to topple the PF through the ballot. Yes, I need to put that in past tense because as of now. I have great misgivings about the way he’s been conducting himself ever since he became local government minister. My admirations and respect for him have badly waned. How else must one feel, after all the negative news of his weird acts from the word go? First, it was the issue of him issuing contradictory statements to those of the President regarding the issue of cadres, an act that I’m told did not go down well with the ‘the powers that be’. When the President said no more cadres in markets and stations, it seems Gary had other ideas on his mind, he issued a statement completely different and opposite; more like shooting down or rescinding the President’s order. It didn’t sound so good to those who heard him.

It was more like having two presidents, with one singing a sweet melody, and another mimicking a sour fandango! Who were the people going to obey? Anyway, he was forgiven after a perceived behind the doors apology to the Head of State. And now our ‘beloved’ minister is back in the limelight, this time ‘caught’ forcefully shoving bottles of Lutuku (Kachasu) down the throat of a suspected brewer and her underage child during his anti-Kachasu drive.

What Garry should know or remember is that Lutuku has always been there, was there way before even his great grandfather was born. It was there in the time of Roy Wellensky and Sir Evelyn Hone of the colonial days. It was there in the Kaunda and Chiluba era, it was even there during Mwanawasa’s time despite him being an ardent and avid law enforcer, and it was there during the time of RB, Michael Sata and Edgar.

In fact, for reasons unknown, Kachasu has suddenly become more popular now than ever before. Back in the years, it was a public shame for anyone to be associated with the brew. It was found in hidden places deep in the slams and villages, and was only popular among very old men and losers that had given up hope on life. Yes, only those were the perpetual partakers. Young men were not expected to take part in it. In fact, most brewers would actually not sell to people below a certain age, or of a different type from the regulars because it was known to be a killer brew that could actually cook one’s liver if taken carelessly.

Today, Kachasu is found and sold everywhere. On streets, in markets and bus stations and roadsides along residential areas throughout the country; openly being sold to doctors, teachers, soldiers and schoolboys. One can say it’s actually a sad state of affair that should not be encouraged. But to be sincere, venturing on an anti-Kachasu move in a manner that the minister did of forcing the sellers to drink it with their kids is utterly unacceptable, dangerous and a sheer wastage of tax payers’ money. It’s more like trying to push a rope. There are certain things we can change; others are beyond human control. You can’t eradicate Kachasu brewing, it’s practically impossible and a big joke.

Garry’s office is a very busy and critical one with piles of worthwhile programmes upon which the minister should focus his energy than wasting government petrol chasing Kachasu brewers, or else he may end up killing someone with his dangerous antics. Unless he has been a pastor all his life, the minister would be lying if he says he never tasted Lutuku in Kalingalinga during his university days as he pursued his teaching degree at UNZA. Most of these prominent men, ministers, managers and directors of big conglomerates at one time or another were members of the ‘Kachasu clan’. Others are products of dignified universities because of the Kachasu their mothers brewed and sold. All I’m saying is that this issue of Kachasu did not start yesterday, it’s an old story, probably the same age as prostitution. Is it possible to eliminate that too? Nay!

So, to learn of the minister’s recent action against that woman and her child was heart-breaking. It was illegal, a violation of a fundamental human right. I could even call it attempted murder because Kachasu is neither water nor Fanta. Kachasu can kill someone if taken in excess, more so a child! What was he thinking? Was he drunk or what? It’s a mystery why Gary is forcing the people who love and adore him to turn against him?

Gary should also know that whatever he does or says is construed to represent the views of government and the President, and any act that tarnishes his image or that of his office automatically does so to the President. So, my brother Gary should be prudent with his deeds. You don’t go around playing God, behaving like Lusambo, thinking you can do as you wish. Everything should be done within the confines of the law and human rights. And what does the President think about the minister, if I may ask? I wouldn’t be surprised if he contemplates firing him one of these days because it seems he’s become too big for his shoes.

And talking about the President, let me conclude this article by changing the subject a bit. I have my misgivings about the way UPND has opened its hands and doors to everyone. People who only yesterday were busy throwing unpalatable insults at HH and his party are now suddenly flocking to join the party, singing praises of the President. The sad part is that these same people are being welcomed, with some even being given jobs inside. For instance, why on earth would UPND welcome people like Tutwa Ngulube, even giving him a post?

Now he’s suddenly singing praises for the President because he wants a job! Ba muselela kwakaba! And Tutwa is not the only one, the grapevine has it that even GBM is seriously thinking of jumping on the UPND bandwagon, then next it may be Tayali, Chishimba Kambwili, then Bowman and Lubinda, before ECL finally seals the trooping. And the way things are going, all these will be welcomed and hailed before being given ministerial posts.

I know the President and his party mean well by welcoming everyone. But some people are better off left aloof, because their loyalty and allegiance has a price tag, it’s purely based on lies and benefitting where they did not sow. The President should be careful because others are just spies, getting closer so that they can silently sabotage all his efforts.

What the President also ought to do is to get rid of all the die-hard PF sympathisers masquerading as government technocrats in ministries, because these will bring him down by turning the people against him through deliberately making sure they don’t deliver to make it look like it’s him. For instance, why should defence personnel’s salaries always be delayed? What do all those responsible for their release do in their offices throughout the 30 days of every month, such that they only start running up and down on the last day of the month looking for money?

Could it be that some few top accountants may be trying to turn the men in uniform against the President? But, anyway, that will be a subject on another day. All I can say is that a major cleanup is still required in all sectors. Drugs in medical facilities are still being pilfered, corruption is still rampant, and abuse of government resources still on-going.

As for bwana Gary, he fought a good battle during the struggle to free this country that was under siege by ‘bandits’, of which we appreciate. We all saw how the guy ‘died a little’ towards and during the elections last year, bravely risking his life defending us all and spending sleepless nights wrestling with those that were determined to keep the citizenry hostage, chained in manacles of slavery and poverty by running the country like ‘Animal Farm’. In fact, most of us thought Gary would either be vice-president or defence minister, because he had stolen the glory and limelight, so much so that he’d won the hearts of many citizens. It was through his efforts, together with a few others, that sanity was finally restored in the land-and immeasurable credit goes to those same Kachasu brewers who came out in numbers to usher him, and friends into power. So, they deserve some respect. And, how much did you pay that woman as compensation, if I may ask, sir?

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