Why Do We Love Animals?


Mwizenge S. Tembo

Author of “Satisfying Zambian Hunger for Culture”.

Professor of Sociology

On Wednesday, I came back from work in the evening. When I opened the front door, our white German Shepard dog was right there squeezing her nose against the door as both dogs do always when we come home.  However, Buddy, the other dog, was standing a few feet away with very droopy very tired looking eyes. He had a very slow staggering walk. Buddy would not even eat. He loves to eat. He looked miserable as his whizzy labored breathing got louder.

On Thursday when I got home at 4:00pm Buddy was lying across just behind the front door almost blocking it. He did not even lift his head. I jumped over him. His breathing was terrible. I called the Veterinary doctor to see if I could take him in

Buddy the dog during happier times playing with the ball in the back yard.

Buddy the dog during happier times playing with the ball in the back yard.

immediately. The doctor had already left for the day. I made an appointment to take Buddy in at 8:45am.

Buddy had not eaten for two whole days. There were two good pieces of nice chicken in the fridge. I cut them into small pieces and warmed them in a pot and made some gravy with it. I have been told a million times that people food is bad for our pets. I added this to his dry usual bowl of food. I put the plate right up to his nose as he lay there. Suddenly, he lifted just his head above the bowl and ate the food. That was to be his last very good meal.

Buddy liked to ride in the car. I winded through the back road of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley before arriving at the clinic. The doctor showed me the X-rays that showed so many things wrong including an enlarged spleen, enlarged heart, high fever, and many spots on his lungs including arthritis in his bones. The doctor said he could not say if any of it was cancerous. The prognosis was not very good. His breathing was so loud it was like a broken whizzing vacuum cleaner. I felt awful for him. He was suffering and about 15 years old. We got the dog when my mother-in-law passed away in 2008.

I was there lovingly patting his head as he closed his eyes and that terrible heart wrenching horrible  whizzing loud breathing for 2 days was suddenly gone. Buddy was put to sleep. Buddy the Australian Sheep dog was not suffering or in pain any longer. I had a feeling of great relief but also grief. Later I sent an email to the long list of family members to inform them of Buddy’s passing. Why do we love animals?

In January 2008, our family Beagle mutt that our 6th grade son had adopted from our local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) died after a short illness due to old age and perhaps natural causes. I expressed my grief in a column in our local paper. A few days later I received a hand delivered blistering 3 page hand written letter from a man who was behind bars in our town in Harrisonburg. He berated me for wasting column space and possessing poor intellect in expressing my grief over a pet. Didn’t I know Americans spent $43.2 billion on their pets when millions of people are starving and live in dire poverty? Wasn’t I aware of American and European imperialism and aggression that inflicted injustice, caused wars and conflict in the Congo in Africa and elsewhere? Did I know who the radical Malcolm X was? He expressed contempt for my views since in an earlier column I had expressed some positive sentiments about conservative black American Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

My critic had been in and out of prison for several years. It was apparent he did not know who I was, my history, what I knew, and what I had experienced in life. I did not respond because growing up I was taught not to hit a man when he is already down.

In my humble opinion, from Kafulafuta, Gwembe Valley, Mpulungu, Lusaka in Zambia to America, Russia, Europe, Japan and the whole world,  we love animals because the same very powerful love we have for other humans is exactly the same love we have for animals. This simple explanation is probably the most powerful reason we should love and treat all animals kindly.

Could this be the End of Peace in Zambia?


Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

When I saw the images of the massive fire at the large sprawling Lusaka City Market in which 1,901 shops were destroyed, I was alarmed. I was aware that fire gutted a market in Bauleni in Lusaka in August 16, 2016. I had not paid much attention since that time until President Lungu’s address to the nation in which he listed a chronology of terrible incidents all over Zambia that involved fires gutting public buildings and vandalism of ZESCO electricity pylons. There have been over ten such incidents since August 2016. I am both stunned and fearful about my home and country of Zambia. Could this be the end of peace in Zambia after 53 years? Could these destructive activities be the work of just a few criminals and copy cats? Is this the work of ambitious frustrated political saboteurs who want to send a message to the nation,  President Lungu and the ruling PF party? Is it that some Zambians want to wreak so much havoc and chaos that the country becomes so ungovernable that the ruling

Lusaka City Market Fire

Lusaka City Market Fire

government will look so weak that the opposition expect to reap huge rewards of political power once the dust settles?

Arsonists, Copy Cats and Criminals

There is a possibility that arsonists have set all the terrible fires. My limited knowledge of minds of arsonists from police crime documentaries is that arsonists all gain tremendous rash of physical gratification from the site of huge burning fires they have caused; the bigger the fires the better for them. Since everyone pays so much attention through word of mouth, news outlets, photos, and videos of the huge sight of the fire and the destruction it causes, there are some people who will imitate the terrible actions by setting new fires themselves; these are the copy cats. Those with criminal minds like to take advantage of such chaotic situations. The fires and the vandalism could be the actions of criminals. I am sure Zambia’s security forces have probably already investigated these possible motivations for these criminal actions that endanger public security.

Political Sabotage

I am sure that from the President, security forces, and ordinary citizens all over Zambia, people have an idea whether this is political sabotage or not. Because all the terrible incidents have happened among ordinary Zambians, those destructive people who carry out these terrible actions of arson and vandalism live, talk, go home, sleep and walk among Zambians. Some Zambians have to know who is doing this and why. I will not suggest any suspects as my aim is for everyone who is reading this to think in a wider picture about 14 million Zambians as opposed to narrow political motives.

Assuming that this is political sabotage, if the aim of members of disgruntled opposition political parties is to cause so much fear and chaos that the country becomes ungovernable, how can you be sure that once the chaos perhaps stops, you will assume political power if we have elections at all? If everything is in flames in Zambia how will you rule? If you as the opposition now somehow assume power later because the country has become ungovernable through your terrible actions, what will stop the next opposition parties from using the same strategy of planting chaos in order to later win power? The cycle of destruction would never stop. Are these the kind of politics we want in Zambia?

King Solomon and Cutting the Baby

The Biblical story is that two women had a serious dispute because each claimed to be the mother of the newly born baby. The case was brought before King Solomon. In order to solve the case, King Solomon ordered one of his guards to bring a huge sharp sword. The baby was laid on a pedestal. The King told the 2 women that he would order his guard to cut the baby in two so that each woman would have half of the baby. The first woman cheered and said the King’s decision was very wise. The second woman cried and between sorbs said she rather the King gave the baby to the first woman even though the second woman knew she herself was the real mother. When the King asked her why she gave up the fight, the second women replied she would rather the baby stay alive and live with the other woman. The King handed down his judgment and gave the baby to the second woman who the King believed was real mother because she did not want her baby to be killed and preferred the other woman to raise it. At least the baby would be alive.

The moral of the story is that all politicians in Zambia should follow the biblical King Solomon story. If you love your country, you do not want to create chaos, violence, and threaten or act in any way to destroy the country so that you can rule it. You should have enough love of the country and confidence that other elected Zambians can lead the country peacefully. You should be able to find peaceful means of resolving all political disputes.

Guard Peace Jealously

I will never forget being among now fewer Zambians who have lived through all the 53 years of peace since Zambia’s independence in 1964. Creating a nation of peace and tranquility is not easy. There are always challenges, serious ups and downs. We used to think President Kaunda was a madman whose public speeches during his 27 years always repeatedly urged Zambians to love one another; to avoid tribalism, racism, hate, and to fight ignorance, disease, and exploitation of man by man. In one of his hundreds of speeches during the 27 years, President Kaunda once warned potential political saboteurs who were said at the time to be meeting and plotting in dark corners, that once the whole country was engulfed in flames, there would be neither peace nor a place for the political saboteurs themselves and even criminals to enjoy their spoils.

My advice to any Zambians who will listen is that as a Zambian never ever take the peace for granted. Because once it is lost, sometimes it may never come back. Every Zambian has to guard the peace jealously. It means that if you are a young cadre in any political party and a fellow Zambian is urging you to engage in violent criminal acts, such as arson and destroying ZESCO pylons especially for political motives, you have to oppose him or her. Everyone has to work with other citizens to find peaceful ways of achieving change if you strongly feel Zambia is becoming undemocratic.