Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo says President Edgar Lungu does not deserve any honorary doctorate in good governance because Zambia has recorded the worst governance record under his administration.
Last week, the University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers’ Union (UNZALARU) confirmed that the University of Zambia (UNZA) management planned to honour the Head of State with a doctorate degree in good governance.
UNZALARU condemned the development through its Publicity Secretary, Moffat Moyo, who explained that the union was concerned that the timing and reasons advanced for conferring President Lungu with a doctorate degree were inadequate to satisfy the widespread indignation, ridicule and scorn the wider public would render.
And in an interview, Nkombo advised President Lungu to decline the honorary degree, saying if the Head of State had done a complete assessment of his governance style, he would understand that he did not deserve such an honour.
“I think if he deserves any honour, that is fine. But that which they want to confer upon him is clearly not the one because it clear knowledge that Zambia’s governance record is at its lowest stage in the reign of President Lungu and there is no contest to that. The abuse of human rights has been rampant in his style of governance under his nose. The issue of arbitrary arrests of political enemies is in the front stage. The issue after the revelation by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) tells us that our corruption index has risen exponentially and all other issues about the institutions of governance, including the police, have suffered a lot of abuse during this particular period of governance,” Nkombo said.
“The institutions, such as the Electoral Commission of Zambia, the public perception of that institution has suffered under the same individual. So, we can only question the motive of those who have chosen to do that; whether it’s for genuine reasons or it’s for purposes of aggrandizement or patronage. But it’s also incumbent upon the person who is being conferred to that particular honour to be true to himself. If I were President Lungu, I would decline that based on what I would call a self-assessment tool kit because everyone does assess themselves, and if he has done a complete assessment of his governance style, I am sure that it would only point to one area, that he does not deserve.”
Nkombo said the fact that unions, such as UNZALARU, were opposed to the idea, should give him more reasons to reject the offer.
“I think this gives even more reason why the President should reflect upon it and do an introspection that in the midst of a controversy where some people think he deserves and others do not think he does, he can behave like we all expect. If you recall Mr Rupiah Banda was conferred with an honorary doctorate, but he either declined it or he doesn’t use it. So, ultimately, it’s President Lungu’s call. But he must also take heed to how those members, like us, who belong to the same society that he governs, feel about him and his governance style and this honour is limited to his governance style and nothing else. So, we think that if he were to be assessed by some of us, he would be recording a failure in terms of good governance,” said Nkombo.