Columnists Features

Goodbye Mr Sata, father of the nation

TIONE NDHLOVU
My VERY first vivid memory of His Excellency, the late President Michael Chilufya Sata, was a day I was in a bank and he walked in.
Because I had never seen him before I was obviously enthralled. By then he was not yet the president of Zambia.
I had heard of him and followed some of his policies when he was Minister of Health, most of you will agree that the things which remind us of him are songs such as Mwe Makufi by Nathan Nyirenda and Donchi Kubeba; as they became some of his signature songs.
One thing for sure is that everyone who had had an encounter with him, be in person or at a distance, has a story to tell.
He has been called a man of action, ‘King Cobra’ as we popularly knew him. Indeed anything he touched, or anywhere he went people would know that ‘King Cobra’ had been there; tenacious in his approaches to getting results.
These are things that we all saw and vividly remember, but when I decided to write something about him suddenly it seemed I could not put my words on paper except his face, which came so intensely to me, as I had seen it over 10 years ago.
So I decided to ask people how they remembered him and, to my amazement, behind that punitive sounding, husky voice and straight supercilious looking face was a kind man.
Bewildered I was upon hearing such descriptions, but almost all the people I spoke to indicated that he was indeed a compassionate man, with a heart for good relations.
“He was a person who would scold you then ask what you needed, then immediately give you if within his means,” said a retired nurse who worked under him while he was minister of Health.
“And when you disagreed, or had a tussle with him and he knew he had offended you, he would immediately come back to reconcile or do something that would show that the fight was not what defined the relationship,” another person attested.
When everyone had finished expressing themselves, I saw an angle I had never seen in him, one that I had never experienced first-hand and today if I had to write his eulogy it will not entirely read a solid, tough, vigorous person.
No, it will carry a kind, loving, considerate person, too; one who truly had time for others.
Everyone of us may have his own opinion about President Sata, yet we all know that at a time when frustration was at its peak, and people desired a change he manage to rally so many and make them believe that the power to make that change was in their own hands.
And as he echoed United States President Barrack Obama’s slogan ‘yes we can’ all you could hear were people shouting “Pa bwato! pa bwato”!
Yet again it was like the first time Zambia got independent, or the time Zambia was declared a democratic state and a Christian nation.
Unity and peaceful jubilation are what were spelt on the lips of every citizen.
His boldness none could fathom, his persistence to attain results only to be desired, his ability to relate with no barricades, and bring people to flow through performance is only something that every leader wishes for.
Yes, he had his weaknesses, but he also had his strengths and today we do not mourn but celebrate a man appointed by God to lead us, a man who from the time of his birth was appointed to be not only a father to his children but also the nation.
A nation of love, peace, unity and oneness; a land in God’s very hands and plan.
Your Excellency, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, may your soul rest in eternal peace.
The author is the proprietor of Enoit Consultancy is a writer, trainer and consultant in career/personal development.


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