Former vice president Nevers Mumba says President Edgar Lungu is an emerging dictator who needs to do better to prove to the world otherwise.

Speaking when he featured on Muvi TV’s Assignment on Sunday, Mumba said it was funny that President Lungu was forcing people to recognize him because not even God made such demands.

“First of all, we are disputing the [election] process, we are disputing the results, and now they are asking us to recognize him, which is a contradiction in effect. Because there is lack of that recognition, then tension rise and now we hear the PF demanding that we recognize the President, very funny! Not even God demands that we recognize him,” he said.

“So if Mr Lungu wants to be recognized then he is bigger than God. This is an emerging dictator, we are actually there but not yet there. As it stands today, we are in a dictatorship because there is no rule of law; there is no respect for human rights; in a democracy! There is no need to arrest an individual with over 60 police officers. As at now, Zambia cannot be classified as a Christian nation in practice because we have fallen short of love, reconciliation, forgiveness, and compassion which are the very basics of what a Christian nation is.”

Mumba observed that in Zambia today, democracy was only on paper and the Head of State was exhibiting traits of a dictator.

“My advice is that President Lungu needs to be careful in the sense that, that title of a dictatorship is like a jacket, and if it fits you, you cannot do anything about it. So it is up to President Lungu to prove to the world and to this country that there are no dictatorial tendencies. He needs to do better than he is doing right now. I will speak just like the Catholics did that ‘we are going nowhere, everything else looks dictatorial except just the name that we are a democracy,’ the reason is ‘there is no opposition that is allowed to function in this country, period.’ And if the opposition cannot function, private media cannot freely function without being trailed and being closed, that is why there is a problem because the tendency of a dictator are starting to be seen in our country,” Mumba said.

Mumba said his role as an opposition leader was to advise President Lungu without belittling him.

“My role at this particular point is to make sense to the President without belittling him. I want him to understand that the position he holds is a challenging position. It is a position where he is hearing voices every day, and he has to make a decision on which way he goes. This instance of using force has never succeeded anywhere in the world, he has a legacy to keep,” he said.

“And we insist that the continued incarceration of Hakainde Hichilema will continue to intensify the problem of our country and that is why we are demanding for his release. I think it is extremely important to use dialogue instead of police brutality and force.”

And Mumba, who is also Vice Chairperson for the Southern Africa for Democratic Change (SAPDC), said it was humiliating and embarrassing for Zambia to deny entry to South African opposition DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

“Our government is afraid of something and we are appealing to them to remove fear, you can never govern with fear, you injure yourself, you injure the people. The government is afraid of something that we do not know. I think they need to relax and accept that governance means that you need to keep good relation with the opposition, to keep good relations with the international community. We are in a global village, Zambia cannot exist outside the confines of the global village,” said Mumba.

“So we are appealing to government that by chasing Mmusi, they have created a situation where the AU is now doubting our democratic tenancy in this country, the United Nations has expressed concern on our democracy in this country, we have a situation where SADC have started talking about the nation as an individual not as a group, starting to talk about our situation in this country. So we are having a complication created by ourselves.”