Source:Kwacha Celebrity Newspaper
“COMMON Man”, a ‘Never Dying’ song done by legendary Kalindula musician Professor Peter Kaumba (PK) Chishala that sparked spontaneous food riots in 1988, which to a larger extent destroyed KK’s United National Independence Party (UNIP) “iron bar” 27-year-reign, has now become more pronounced now as life has become very unbearable for an ordinary Zambian citizen, lament Controversial Musicians, Maiko Zulu and Fumba Chama aka Pilato.
And Edwin Sakala who is president of Zambia Direct Democracy Movement(ZDDM), holds a view that a string of riots that hit Zambia are a ‘Ticking Bomb’, a boiling volcano ready to explode as the Zambian people are ‘Starving to death’, grieving that ‘a hungry person is an angry person’.
Mr. Sakala said the recent riots on the Copperbelt were not as a result of Zambia Forestry and Forest Industry Corporation (ZAFFICO) sale but people took advantage of the situation to express their anger.
The ZDDM leader who is connected to the slain Muhammur Ghadafi’s Libyan movement, has challenged the PF Government to honour the late “music professor” PK Chishala with a prize medal, having used his song Common man song to defeat the MMD.
While one can argue that Dandi Crazy’s “Donchi kubeba” song that apparently became an anthem of the PF 2011 campaigns and Fred Namakando M’membe’s defunct Post Newspaper combined to finish off the MMD, the fact is that PF founding president late Michael Charles Chilufya Sata used PK’s Common man song to influence the Zambians against the “corrupt” MMD regime.
Sata used his money wisely by paying the radio stations for advertisement of the Common man song to play each time he was appearing on Radio and the late PF strongman could cite Common man versus to castigate the MMD for introducing small plastic packaged meali-meal commonly known as “Pamela”, the food commodity that was not heard of in the Kaunda regime.
The song influenced voters on the line of rail to turn against the MMD and embraced Sata who was speaking the language of PK Chishala’s hit song.
“PK sang his common man song, Mwamba Luchembe went berserk, my Soweto boys went berserk, my Chimwemwe boys started running battles with the police and my Mandevu boys went wild. Finally, Kaunda was removed from power and this is exactly what will happen to the MMD,” late Sata said at the Matero in 2006.
In the song, PK complained about the pathetic living conditions amid food crisis. He sang that the common man is the one who was feeling the burden of hunger.
“Alanachishupa bane.Namwishiba Ichalo ngashaingililwa nensala, maningi umusebanya,” bemoaned Chishala in the song loosely translated as (It has become very difficult colleagues. You know, it is very embarrassing when the country is attacked by hunger)
Chishala appealed to late Frederick Chiluba who was then Zambia Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) president to talk to Dr Kenneth Kaunda and let him know that Zambians were hungry because prices of meali-meal had gone up.
His song goes:”Wamufyashi watufyala niwe trade union mayo ufya ifwi fwibantu tuleilishana. Tutuleikuta ubwali bulechepa pantu umutengo wa bangu naunina ukechila amalipili elyo bambi tababomba. Tuletasha inchito tulabomba tufwile nokulya bwino, imilile isuma iwamwa amatontokanyo nokubombesha. Abengi, bakala nensala pa lanchi kwaula imweu, nokubelenga bambi kulanda ilyashi no kuteya insolo. Bamo bashinguluka ama sitolo kwati pali efyo baleshita. Bambi banwa amayeu balilila na banzi, bambi mataba ifwumbu nangu tute baletobela nambalala(Our father(Chiluba) you have begotten us, you are our trade union leader, now, we are complaining because we are not getting full, the prices of meali-meal have gone up and some people don’t even work. We are grateful because we work but we must eat good food that makes people think clearly and work hard. Many people live with hunger. At launch time, some keep on yawning because of hunger while others just sit in the streets, reading books. Some people at launch time wonder about the shops as if there is something they are buying. Some people have Maheu drink and buns for launch while others eat sweet potatoes or cassava with ground nuts)
Ironically, Chiluba detested the song when he tested power as it started haunting him after selling parastatal firms, the situation that condemned Zambians to untold miseries.
Not only did Chiluba despise Chishala who was working for the Ministry of Community for being blind but also moved him from Lusaka to Mansa to disconnect him from the Mayenge Band led by late Chris Chali who was a staunch UNIP supporter. Chali and Chishala collaborated on bands during their illustrious careers
This was how late Chiluba paid Chishala back for handing him the 1991 election victory.
When reached for a comment, Zulu said the 1987 PK Chishala’s classic, is now a good story.
He said whatever PK sang about is what is happening because prices of food and commodities have skyrocketed within the short space of time the PF have been in office.
Maiko said the PF promised the Zambian people lower taxes, more jobs, especially for the youth and more money in their pockets alas, the opposite has been done.
“Common man is now a good story because I think if you see the cost of living, it has gone so high. We were promised more money in our pockets, lower taxes and more jobs for our people, especially the youths but these promises have hit a brick wall and you discover that it is only the few that are enjoying the fruits of the country. So, Common man by PK Chishala is an inspirational song for all of us that are into conscious music because the man even in his state without sight saw lot more than us with sight are able to see,” the Mad President and Margie Mayela singer said.
And Pilato agreed with his controversial colleague.
“Common man has gotten more pronounced and it will get more pronounced as we proceed,” the singer of Koswe Mumponto and “Alungu anabwela” said.
Pilato said Chishala’s songs outlived him because the musician was telling the truth.
“Music is a prophesy of today, the philosophy of today so, PK even before he died, what he spoke about then is still happening today because he was telling the truth and any artiste, especially myself one thing I have leant is that music has always been powerful. Music has always been a tool which artistes can use to call for justice to hold leaders accountable. Music has always been that way. It didn’t start with Pilato; it didn’t start with Maiko Zulu. It started way back,” Pilato said.
And Sakala said Chishala’s song led to the downfall of the “mighty” Kenneth Kaunda and the song still has impact now that the living conditions have worsened.
He said the song sent a strong message to Dr Kaunda and consequently provoked food riots that occurred in 1988.
Sakala said when Common man came on the scene; things were not as bad as they are now, charging that the country is on a time bomb.
He said during the Kaunda days, there were vigilantes but now there are party cadres who are tarnishing the name of politics in the country.
He said during the 80s, when Common man hit the airwaves, most of the Zambians were in employment but now jobs have become scarce.
Sakala said government has turned retirees into destitute for failure to pay them, adding that most of them (retirees) have died from depression.
Sakala said while Chishala was lamenting about the hunger situation in the Kaunda regime, the taxation system was bearable as opposed to the case now when new taxes are constantly being introduced.
“Definitely, PK Chishala’s song provoked the 1988 food riots that started from Kabushi in Ndola and then moved to Kitwe, before spreading to other parts of the country. Luckily, people then were more united than we are now when the country is divided on tribal lines,” Mr Sakala said.
He said in this situation, the country needs a complete overhaul of the governance system, saying change of Government alone will not be a solution.
Sakala said federal government system is the best way to go, saying there is no way that people in Lusaka can be making decisions for residents of Dundumwenzi Constituency in Southern Province.
“In the Kaunda regime, the economy had become bad, resulting in food riots. Then Chiluba took over. We thought Chiluba’s government could be an answer, alas; they started telling us to tighten our belts in three months of his rule. Then there was Mwanawasa, nothing much changed in the Mwanawasa government, though politically motivated charges increased. We had Rupiah, Sata and now Lungu but our problems are not finishing,” he complained.
Mr Sakala said the riots that erupted in Kitwe a fortnight ago were not as a result of ZAFFICO sale but that people were expressing displeasure over the poverty situations in the country.
Asked if it was Hichilema who caused the riots on the Copperbelt, Mr Sakala said the UPND strongman was used as an excuse.
“It is like a match stick, when it comes into contact with matches’ box, the fire light up. This is a same with the Hakainde saga. He is just being used as an excuse. The riots are not as a result of ZAFFICO sale, no, people are angry. A hungry person is an angry person. Go in compounds of Lusaka, there is hunger everywhere. Hakainde didn’t incite anyone to riot; he just found the ground fertile. Hakainde has nothing to do with the riots and PF as nothing to do with the riots. Hunger is beyond political parties,” Mr Sakala said
He called for a national Indaba to address the problems the country is facing.
Asked whether it is time PK Chishala, the King of Zambian music should be honoured with a significant monument for his art that touched lives, Sakala responded in the positive but expressed concern that Zambia is not known for honoring heroes.
“Unfortunately, there are lots of unsung heroes that have not been honoured in this country,” he complained.