22 September 2014

An Interview With The Next President Of Zambia

Henry Chibutu Jnr.
Hi Henry. You're good?

Yes Boi (buddy), niliche (I'm good). You're OK?

I'm good too. Thanks for doing this. Let's start off with something about yourself. Your family, education and background.

Henry Musenge Chibutu is my name, the first of 5 children, 3 girls and 2 boys. I never considered myself a first born until I got saved and begun to see my life in a different light. It was then that I took on the challenge of holding it all together and inspiring my siblings. This was even more difficult as I saw most of my friends ruin their lives but God has given me the grace to live for him and he does the rest. I have been to more than 10 schools...

Really, 10 schools?

Yes, 10, all before tertiary education so I know what it is like to learn both at a private and public institution. My parents say they didn't know what school was really the best for me since I was their first son. I should have never ended up studying at the highest learning institution in the land. I was not the brightest in class yet I found myself among the 12 or so students who made it from a school with 700 pupils. The university system helped me see for myself the flaws in our educational system along with the challenges educated people face, having great ideas yet no one to implement them.
ORU Committee (Henry is furthest left, back row) 

You've just finished your undergraduate studies and are now looking forward to a political career. Anyone who knows you knows about your passion for politics and leadership. Where did it come from and how have you kept this passion burning through your university years?

Well, it begun subtly in the school hall at my high school. As prefects, we were punished by the school authorities after keeping quiet when other pupils were planning to riot. As we were gathered together and taken to task, I sat there unable to respond or give reason for what had happened. I had done my part but my tongue couldn't move. I felt the helpless feeling of being in pain but being unable to speak out. During my gap year, I travelled to Livingstone. As the bus moved on I saw vast terrain, uncultivated and untapped resources yet people were living in poverty. It was then that the seed was planted. Seeing children aged 10-16 selling vegetables on the streets everyday till as late as 10pm only fuelled my passion even more. It wasn't right. University life only made my lens more focused. I participated in the student unions and begun a movement called ORU (Operation Rebuilding UNZA). I'm sure you remember when I came to your home with branded t-shirts and shared my dream with you. I also founded a YMCA student branch there. These movements sharpened my skills and exposed my weaknesses.

I'd say that ORU is probably your greatest achievement as an up and coming political leader, especially how you got people on board and got them fired up for an organization you established. Tell us about it briefly, particularly the greatest challenge you had in running it and how you overcame the challenge.

Yes... It was a great feat indeed looking back now. I mean just the aspect of putting together the constitution, getting it registered and earning a name among so many other school associations was no easy task. I remember sharing the idea with my room mate Caleb. It was a casual conversation, at least so he thought. The following day I invited my classmates from the male hostels to the room and shared the vision. This was in 2010. I asked them to commit themselves if they felt burdened. Two responded and we begun as the interim committee, and no, Caleb was not one of the two. In time the executive grew. Our policy was to invite friends who shared the same passion and are Christians with a testimony to show for it. My greatest challenge has been to complete my university degree studies. I have had many falls. I will not mince with words here. I've written several supplementary exams and once repeated a course. Amid my academic pressure was this great desire to serve God in this social sphere. Anyway, I persevered and here I am today. I could have quit school but had to finish this task God gave me.

Just three more Questions my brother. First, do you believe you are presidential material? What do you have to offer that many other candidates lack? Why should people vote you, HMC (Henry Musenge Chibutu), when the time comes?

(Laughs) Do you want a political answer to that one? I'm kidding. I have actually never thought of myself being a president but have recently heard confirmations from friends from all walks of life. Maybe God is saying something. So while I would not answer that question adequately now, I do feel I can lead this nation to greater heights of prosperity and self determination. Politics is not a money making business though I know it can be very rewarding. Many of my political friends are in it for the money. Members of Parliament (MPs) are crying for salary increments. Politics should be a service, and that's my mindset. I am going in not to make money but defend the cause of the poor and weak as first priority. Secondly, I have different ideas. My current target is to run for the MP seat for Kabwata Constituency in 2016. I have a vision for Kabwata Constituency that none of my rivals have. I intend to invest in Kabwata through recreational facilities, real life training and feasible loan schemes for struggling families. This has not been done before. My track record shows that I am able to turn tables, to dream and by God's grace, with little resources bring to life that which was just a dream. It's time for a new candidate in Kabwata. We recognize that Hon. Given Lubinda has done what he could but it's time for ‘Tower Tower’. My slogan, ‘Tower Tower’, is born from a realization that each man occupies a tower, an area of influence, an occupation. But no one person can be recycled over and over again. It's time for youths to take on the mantle and transform this land. So I speak not only for myself but for the youth in N'gombe, Chibolya, e.t.c., having the vision yet lacking courage. It's time.

What is your political ambition/target/goal and plan? Is it to form your own party or rise up the ranks of one already established? Have you mapped out a detailed plan?

My plan is to see youths take hold of key leadership positions, to see them pursue their dreams in music, art, entertainment and whatever field it may be, to see less men and women drinking but rather spend time in recreational activities, to see many agricultural concerns I learnt about in my agricultural studies being put into effect, provide policies that will see Zambians make a decent livelihood no matter their position in society be it being a plumber or a shoe repairer. Yes there's a plan. I believe that man should work with the current systems obtaining unless they fail to meet standards. I will join a party maybe one day. But I am contesting as an independent candidate for the 2016 MP seat. I reckon I will be very popular with the electorate before the elections, and several parties will approach me. Then I will decide on whose ticket to ride on depending on who shares the most values as myself. The highest level for me now in terms of political ambition is Minister in government, particularly Minister of Agriculture. We'll see where God leads.

My last question is this. Politics is said to be a dirty game. How do you marry God and politics in your life?

Henry representing Zambia as YMCA Ambassador in Zimbabwe
Well, David was a politician and so was Solomon. We are all involved in politics in one way or other. One man told me to always put myself in my rivals shoes, would I want what I am dong or saying to my opponent to be done or said to me? Another perspective that also helps me is that politicians also need the gospel. If I deceive them or make a quick move on them, how will I go back and tell them about Jesus Christ and his love for sinners? This will bridge the gap between the two for me. All careers are dirty because we live in a sinful world but that doesn't stop us from going to work every day.

Alright, thanks man! Zambia needs Christian leaders in government and I'm excited just thinking about what God will do through you. May more Christian men and women in our country with a similar passion for our nation rise up!

Thanks for this man. I know one day we'll look back at this and see how good the Lord has been.