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Fluorescent elephant in the dark room (elephant in the American diplomatic bag), by Sakwiba Sikota


I visited a friend of mine who works at the American Embassy in Zambia. Whilst he went to prepare snacks and drinks for me I noticed a document on his work desk. The document was marked, “2nd DRAFT”.

It was a draft of what was being prepared for American Ambassador to Zambia Michael C Gonzales to dispatch as mail in the next American diplomatic bag to be sent to Washington.

I know it was wrong for me to look at documents that were not meant for my eyes but, from the corner of my eye, what was written jumped up at me and it was impossible not to read to the end. From the first line I was hooked.

Read more: United States of Africa in our lifetime, by Mwape Musonda

I did not see subsequent drafts and the editing done or indeed the final communication report that was sent.

The draft being prepared for approval by American Ambassador Michael C Gonzales, made me wonder what the Americans really think of us and may say in private sealed communications as opposed to their public pronouncements.

The yet unfinished or approved draft communique read,”to the department of state African desk Zambia country report.”

Update on activities on Zambia’s 59th Independence celebrations-24th October 2023.

This years Independence celebrations here in Zambia were the most memorable and significant since Zambia’s Independence.

Whilst looking at the Independence day happenings, i was left a feeling of deja vu. Being only forty eight years old and not alive during the Richard Nixon Presidency, my mind must have gone back to my parents narrations and what I read about the happenings on 17th June 1972 in Washington.

This is when the Watergate Building break in occurred that set in motion the interlocking political scandals that ultimately brought down the administration of that tricky bally, Richard Nixon.

These activities were all aimed at securing Tricky Dick’s second term. To do this the tricky old bally and his team tried to do everything to damage and cripple the Democratic Party and it’s candidate George McGovern.

One of the five persons arrested was James W McCord jr., who was the security chief of the Committee to Re-elect the President. This position would be equivalent to that held here in Zambia by the President’s Special Assistant-Politics, Levy Ngoma.

The Presidential Press Secretary Ron Ziegler, who is the equivalent of the Chief Government Spokesperson here in Zambia Cornelius Mweetwa, responded that the president would have no comment on a “third-rate burglary attempt.”

Like Ziegler who dismissed the involvement of Tricky Dick and the Republican Party in the Watergate scandal, Cornelius Mweetwa, the chief government spokesman, has assured everyone that neither President Hakainde nor the UPND had a hand in the odd coincidences surrounding the PF Independence retreat.

The president, his chief of staff, H.R. (Bob) Haldeman, whose equivalent here is Bradford Munakalupe Machila the Principal Private Secretary to the President, and the special counsel to the president, Charles Colson, who is like Zambia’s Christopher Mundia who gives counsel to President Hakainde, was Nixon’s close political aide, spread alibis around Washington.

I am certain that when I next meet with Bradford he will be able to provide me with alibis for all the main UPND players and government officials in charge of security and registration of societies.

On June 23, 1972, the tricky old bally Richard Nixon, , through channels, ordered the FBI to tamp down its investigation. Later, the Nixon tapes became the “smoking gun” proving that the president had been part of a criminal cover-up from the beginning.

Throughout the 1972 campaign season, two young reporters, Woodward and Bernstein were fed leaks by an anonymous source they referred to as “Deep Throat,”. Here in Zambia a young reporter by the name of Thomas Zgambo seems to be following in the footsteps of Woodward and Bernstein.

Zgambo wrote about how express permission was given to Miles Sampa to hold an “Independence Retreat” allegedly for the country’s major opposition party The Patriotic Front.

All the national, provincial and district leaders of the PF did not attend this retreat and must have missed the memo.

Zgambo reported that none of PF’s Members of Parliament but for two attended the retreat. The roll of attendees and their designation has not been released.

The Whistleblower and other independent media such as Newsdiggers and the Daily Nation went on to report that whilst at the “Independence Retreat” Miles Sampa decided to hold a spur of the moment “Extraordinary General Conference” of the PF.

The ‘Independence Retreat’ turned into an ‘Extraordinary General Conference’.It is like how the only taps the Watergate ‘plumbers’ were working on turned out to be wiretaps.

Of the nine PF members who had months earlier previously indicated that they wanted to contest the PF presidency, only Miles Sampa was aware that there were to be snap presidential elections.

The other eight were not even refunded their two hundred thousand Kwacha nomination fees.

“Deep Throat” provided Zgambo with documents showing that the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Muyambango, worked on Independence Day in the evening waiting for names to be forwarded as to new office bearers for the PF.

Mulungushi gate was well in the way as the extraordinary conference ended shortly before 1800 hours.

Home Affairs and Internal Security minister Jack Mwiimbu is not happy with the activities of “Deep Throat” and has made a statement about the same.

Fingerprints were taken of twelve people by the fingerprint unit which was on standby on the national holiday after normal working hours for even a normal workday. Zambia Police showed it’s efficiency in that the twelve sets of prints were checked with all police districts in Zambia within minutes and cleared.

This allowed the Deputy Inspector General to summon his secretary from home to word process a letter to the Registrar of Societies informing her that the names had all been cleared.

The late night Independence Day fingerprints clearance from the Deputy Inspector General f Police’s letter is the Mulungushigate “smoking gun.”

Newspapers that were sympathetic to Tricky Dick hardly mentioned Watergate at all. Similarly here in Zambia media outlets sympathetic to my good friend President Hakainde, have not mentioned what is now commonly referred to as ‘Mulungushigate”.

Some are seeing the hand of the UPND in the run up to Mulungushigate and the post conference moves to shore up and cement the declared results.

It appears that the dawn’s new light we were seeing in August 2021 is quickly dimming and by 14:00 hours everything would have dimmed. After the happenings at Mulungushi conference Hall, it seems the New Dawn is quickly being eclipsed and a heavy dark early dusk has befallen Zambia.

This communication seeks your instructions as to whether, in our public statements about these happenings, we should take our usual stance of sweeping under the carpet the wrongs that are happening under the current administration? We ask this in view of the fact that they have shown that they will support us politically, diplomatically and economically in all that we ask. Each time I check on them in my pocket, I can see that they are lock and step with us.

We need to get a proper picture of the political space and room in Zambia. Even a consortium of twelve CSOs have in the past week red flagged the growing trends of undemocratic tendencies, intolerance, shrinking space for freedom of assembly, making them fear the potential of the country plunging into the dark abyss of demagoguery and political repression.

The consortium also noted that the UPND’s hand was present where it should not be.

I plan to meet, next week, with my colleagues the ambassadors and High Commissioners of Sweden, the European Union, Germany and the United Kingdom for us to have a common position over the Independence Day happenings at Mulungushi.

As my colleagues and I look into the dark abyss, I am pretty certain that no one, not even the Western ambassadors and High Commissioners who are always lock and step with us and have the same pocket agenda, can miss or sweep under the carpet the huge glowing red fluorescent elephant in the dark room.

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