Monday, June 29, 2009
…of Rupiah Banda, the Monkey and African Folk Stories!
When I was young I got really fascinated by the African folk stories told by our grandparents whenever we gathered in the evening around the fire. It was more than a fascination, though; when a monkey decided to do his thing on the president.
The childhood stories revolved around what happens when a wild animal comes from its natural habitation enter your house and pees or literally releases its bowels in your house. In the ensuing; this meant (at least in my community) a great blessing and riches shall follow thereafter.
Popular View on Banda and the Monkey
The incident that happened when the Zambian head of State, Rupiah Banda was addressing those who attended the press conference he called to make a number of things clear; has been described in many ways by the citizenry.
A number of people seem to be puzzled on exact meaning of this incident. Talking to people in Lusaka during my visit, a number of people seem to be puzzled on why this should happen to Rupiah Banda and not his predecessors.
“The founding father of the Nation, Kenneth Kaunda sat under that same tree for 27 years, Fredrick Chiluba for 10 years, the late Levy Mwanawasa (May his soul rest in peace) for 7 years; the monkeys were there but never peed on them. Why Rupiah after leading the country only for 8 months?” posed one of the Lusaka Residents.
While questions are flooding the streets of Lusaka, some people believe that this incident indicates clearly that Rupiah Banda is not the right person to lead the country but a good chunk of the locals believe that this is “a clear sign that even though he has been fought against in many ways and at different occasions; he is never-the-less, the anointed. Even by the ‘sprinkling’ by the monkey!
You can have your take but if you asked me what my personal opinion is, I would ‘join’ his Excellency the president to say, “It is a blessing” and put more value in the outdated yet embraced African folk stories.
What an exposure
As many still pour their mind out over what happened to the president, a little tricky component raised an ‘ugly’ face; this touches on the decency or indecency of the monkey’s act. From the hindsight, Zambians now live in uncertainty on what is going to be the direction of the current sitting government. Some go as far as speculating what it would have been like if this act came from a human being.
I liked it and I got a little bit into serious thinking when a friend of mine suggested that if this was done by a human being he or she would have faced charges of indecent exposure and others which would have been found fitting!
In the strangest of ways; the Zambian defense Minister, George Mpombo also had a very interesting confrontation with a monkey last Thursday. I am again filled with laughter but beyond the laughter a lot of questions come up. The most disturbing is, should this be called ‘witchcraft’ of which I am not a subscriber.
It was claimed that the monkey which peed on Banda did at the time the President started speaking ‘ill’ of the opposition parties. But to me Rupiah is the commander in Chief of the Zambian Forces and now the monkey attempted drowning the Minister of defense! It should be remembered that the two are part of the three crucial people in the security line in the country. Are these the signs of the times and if so, what should we learn from this as Africans but more pointedly; what should Zambians learn from this?
On a serious note though, what is the signs of the times for our African Leaders at a time when the continent is faced with so many challenges? What is our take as citizens in helping our individual countries get out of the dwindling if not collapsed economic quagmire?