STARLINK or e-NUDITY [The Worrying Case of Hakainde HICHILEMA and his Naivete]
Hakainde HICHILEMA is naive.
The origins of this lack of the required sophistication and capacity for sound judgment on his part remain uninvestigated.
But what is NOT in doubt is that Hakainde HICHILEMA is a villager.
Don’t ask me how.
He is my brother.
But this villager, Hakainde HICHILEMA is our Republican President today.
Trust me, left alone to his own wiles and ways, without the required tutelage, scrutiny and monitoring, Hakainde HICHILEMA would plunge Zambia into total foreign capture and danger.
Hakainde HICHILEMA requires to be watched, both closely and carefully.
The citizens must keep a close eye on this guy.
And his being marooned at Community House isn’t helping the citizens in pursuit of this required national undertaking, watching their servant number one.
Hakainde HICHILEMA’s announcement about Elon MUSK’s Starlink is grossly PREMATURE.
It should have been preceded by sound Intel and thorough pre-engagement analyses.
But then this is what happens when a Republican President, micro-managing, does the work of a ministerial director.
You see citizens, there is NO FEASIBILITY study that has been done as a prelude to the government’s acceptance of Starlink’s presence in Zambia.
But out of the blue, poof! Just like that, Hakainde HICHILEMA announces that STARLINK is coming to Zambia.
Failing to contain his excitemen, like a child promised a bicycle for his birthday, after a side-meeting at the UN General Assembly in New York, Hakainde HICHILEMA said the following:
‘Fellow citizens, we also wish to inform you that we have held a meeting with Starlink, a firm whose focus is technology, PARTICULARLY Internet connectivity. As you know, we intend to quickly sort out our connectivity as this is the only way we can have a truly functional e-government of the 21st Century.’
Wrong procedure, sir.
*Yes, we are desperate for FDI, but let us tread with caution. Let us NOT throw all caution to the wind*.
*Take it from me, a thorough and rigorous inter-departmental and governmental process needed first to be undertaken and Cabinet consensus built before the head of State could make this announcement*.
This didn’t happen.
You see again, this is what happens when you reduce a Republican President to a marketing officer?
Elon MUSK is the world’s richest man with a personal net worth of about USD 219 billion.
Nearly every time I open my mouth, I make reference to this exemplary man.
I do so to illustrate just how rich Zambia is, second only to the DRC in the world.
Though he is shy to admit it these days, a tiny fraction of the Lufwanyama emeralds helped Elon MUSK as a fledgeling entrepreneur, and as a moral imperative, Elon MUSK should help Zambia. He owes us.
Strategic engagement is all that is required. After all, as an opportunity for Zambia, Elon MUSK is big in the EV world.
*But engaging Starlink might NOT be the best way for Zambia to benefit from Elon MUSK’s business acumen*.
*It is a given that satellite technology, properly handled, would help Zambia exploit and enjoy the full gamut/range of 5G e-benefits/possibilities*.
*Satellite Internet is faster, less expensive and is available everywhere, even in the bush, and this only, s what Hakainde HICHILEMA is looking at*.
A parachial view.
There is more.
Much, much more.
*What Hakainde HICHILEMA is NOT aware of or chooses to ignore is that what he announced amounts to a veritable NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT*.
*The applications of satellite Internet are many, varied and can easily take on nefarious forms*.
*For instance, do we fully know what business implications Starlink will have on terrestrial e-service/digital providers such as Zamtel, Airtel and MTN?*
*Is Hakainde HICHILEMA aware that Zambia has NO capacity to encrypt data via the Starlink systems?*
*How then is Hakainde HICHILEMA going to address e-data leakages, a known phenomenon of these systems?*
*Does he know that Starlink can easily be used as a regional spy-platform?*
*Is Hakainde HICHILEMA aware that the radio waves that Starlink uses can remotely identify an individual’s phone and that such identification can be used to the detriment of that individual?*
*Is Hakainde HICHILEMA aware that Starlink technology can be used as a platform for data eavesdropping?*
*Starlink is a private company and Hakainde HICHILEMA should know that network control would NOT be in his hands. Is this what he wants for Zambia’s government?*
*Does Hakainde HICHILEMA know that, in the 40 countries where Starlink is presently operational, its overall oversight is under the US government?*
*Does Hakainde HICHILEMA know that Starlink technology was recently used in Ukraine to track Russian missiles?*
*Is Hakainde HICHILEMA aware that Starlink, a private company, would have more data about Zambia than the Zambian government itself?*
*These and many other questions, are questions citizens must ask, and questions which Hakainde HICHILEMA must satisfactorily answer before the placement of Starlink on Zambia’s soil*.
Yes, Hakainde HICHILEMA is naive.
And the foregoing is the premise of these opening statements in this treatise.
A clarion call then must be made.
That Zambia’s citizens must closely monitor this man.
That Zambia’s citizens must advise this villager just how complex and sophisticated the world is today.
That Hakainde HICHILEMA must remember the words of Julia CHIKAMONEKA to the colonialist McLeod: ‘Tulefwaya ichalo chesu.’ Neo-colonialism no more!
*That Zambians must retain sovereignty over their land, its full ownership and ensure its security for reasons of common benefit of its people*.
*With Starlink, dear citizens, Zamtel and other such terrestrial companies, might eventually be mortally crippled*.
*Yes, with Starlink, Zambia will become e-NUDE, digitally exposed*.
This is our country, ladies and gentlemen.
It does NOT belong to Hakainde HICHILEMA alone.
Is this what you want, dear citizens? Decide for yourselves.
But then if we follow Elon MUSK’s business acumen and example, and the Lufwanyana emeralds being there still, in their tons, in due course we can place in space, Zambia’s OWN SATELLITE. Yes we can.
Visionary governmental thinking is the determinant, is all that is required.
We, your guardians, only playing our God-given role, on divine assignment, merely advise, show you the way.
Dr Canisius BANDA
24 September 2022