Mulenga Sata called me from the United Kingdom. It was just after midnight. I had just left Hon. Edgar Lungu’s home.. I sensed something had happened but didnt know what it was.
On my drive home that night, Emmanuel Chilubanama had called me and ended up saying: “Okey its ok. Ba Mwamba, Lets just meet as early as 06:30hrs.”
So when a few minutes later, Mulenga Sata called me, I felt a premonition of the first and early break of heavy, and sad news.
In his heavy voice, Mulenga was clinical: ” Ba Mwamba, batata bafwa!”
“We have discussed this. I know Hon. Edgar Lungu is Acting President but you also know what the Constitution states. But whatever it is, let’s help that Cabinet not any other body or person makes a decision. Please help and ensure that whatever we decide promotes peace and does not breed confusion”.
“But most importantly, we want an official announcement to be done as soon as is pracrical and we don’t want my father’s death to be subjected to innuendoes and rumours. We have a large number of family members so this news can not be kept as a secret or be contained later than a few hours….please brief me later..I will call.”
I rushed back to Lewanika Close off Brentwood Drive- (where Hon. Edgar Lungu was staying and a place of strategy for the small media and strategy team- Emmanuel Chilubanama, Emmanuel Mwamba, Bernadette Deka, Kaizer Zulu, Anthony Mukwita, Sunday Chanda and PF Media Director, Brian Hapunda).
I found Hon. Edgar Lungu sitted outside- at the Verandah. He was battling with thoughts and phone calls already.
Of concern were Vice President Guy Scott’s calls and speedy manouvres that appeared to be outside the law.
Guy Scott had sent word that he wanted sovereign power handed to him immediately. He had also called Attorney General, Secretary to Cabinet and Army Commander… and others to enforce this.
“Sir only Cabinet can make such a decision. Until then you remain Acting President. Its imperative that you hold a Cabinet Meeting as soon as is practicable to:
1. To approve the announcement to the nation the death of the Head of State.
2. Then to discuss and resolve the issue of who should Act during the transition.”
I encouraged the Acting President to ignore or resist Guy Scott’s manouvres until such a time that Cabinet sat and made decisions.
Kaizer Zulu shortly joined us, so did Anthony, Chilubanama, Bernadette and Brian and we agreed that the Acting President should call for a Caucus Meeting with his Cabinet Colleagues to precede the Cabinet Meeting that was called for 06hrs.
By 04hrs, Kaizer Zulu had helped bring to the meeting seven Cabine Ministers that included Christopher Yaluma, Joseph Katema and Nkandu Luo.
One Minister threatened and warned me stating that any meeting we were arranging was “treason” as only Guy Scott as Vice President could convene any meeting…Caucus or Cabinet after the death of President Sata!
So began the battle with Guy Scott and his entrenched colleagues.
The rest of the events are for another day as the battle was won by the sacrifices and courage of the Central Committee, Cabinet Ministers, and many hands, sometimes, oustide the structure of government and party
But I understood. Before we could grapple with the tragic loss of President Michael Chilufya Sata, we were thrown into a deep war of attrition against Scott and then later the Opposition.
As the Bible states in Mathew 24:8 “all these are the beginning of birth pains”. For before a new thing is birthed, pain and anguish precedes it.
This was to ensure that as we walked forth foward, we upheld the legacy of President Michael Sata but continued the new work, that would lay foundation for the next 50 years through President Edgar Lungu, hence the term- Jubilee President. For he lay at the crossroad of the past and the future.
We had just celebrated Golden Jubilee, leaving the old order and starting another new order for the next 50 years.