KENYAN Professor Patrick Lumumba says Zambians should try UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema next year.
And Prof Lumumba says President Lungu tolerates corruption, and as such, a corrupt regime needs to be removed.
And Professor Lumumba has urged President Edgar Lungu to admire retired African heads of state like Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo and realise that “there are beautiful things that a Head of State can do after leaves public office in dignity”.
Prof Lumumba was in 2018 banned by the Zambian government from entering the country on grounds that his visit posed a national security risk.
This was after he was invited to attend a graduation ceremony at Eden University.
Speaking when he featured on a virtual Muvi TV programme dubbed The Assignment, Friday evening, where he discussed “governance in Africa”, Prof Lumumba said although he was not party to the electoral process in Zambia, he believed that Hichilema was a leader Zambians needed try.
“It is the duty of Zambians to elect a leader of their choice. My advice to Zambians, choose a man or a woman who will help you to realise your potential. Choose a leader who will make Zambia a great country. I believe there is no shortage of such leaders. Despite what other critics will say, I believe Hakainde Hichilema is somebody that Zambians should try,” he said.
And Professor Lumumba charged that the argument that President Lungu was eligible to re-contest next year’s general elections was without basis, and urged the Head of State to leave office with dignity.
“President Lungu is a lawyer. He knows that his arguments are lame. His argument that he inherited a presidency and therefore that he is eligible again is without basis. He has not served Zambia well, he knows it. What is he going to do in his third term even if he gets it. He should leave the stage and do so in dignity. There are a lot of things to be done when he leaves office, let him ask many Presidents who have retired. Let him ask president Olusegun Obasanjo, let him ask president Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, let him ask president Joachim Chissano, let him ask Festus Mogae, let him ask Thambo Mbeki. There are beautiful things he can do after leaving office in dignity, he can form Edgar Lungu foundation,” he said.
Professor Lumumba further charged that one of the issues he did not agree with President Lungu on, was the fact that the Head of State was running the economy very poorly.
“First of all he is running the economy very badly. The economy of Zambia is not doing well and he knows it. Secondly he is intolerant to the opposition, he is not a democrat. Thirdly, he is a demagogue who doesn’t believe in issues and forthly he is paranoid. And when you have that cocktail of characteristics, the net effect is that you can’t serve your country well. Personally because he denied me entry into Zambia, I look to the day when he will invite me to Zambia and tell me what he thinks,” he said.
Asked if he had anything personal against President Lungu as he sounded bitter, Professor Lumumba said, “You must distinguish passion and bitterness. Why should I be bitter? I am not a citizen of Zambia, I survive in Kenyan. That is the problem with you journalists, the inability to distinguish between passion and bitterness.”
And on President Lungu’s remarks that the fight against corruption in Zambia had been anchored on politics, Professor Lumumba charged that the Head of State was not interested in the fight against corruption.
“That tells you that, that kind of President is not interested in the fight against corruption. We know it, he is not interested in the fight against corruption. Until the day that he is serious in the fight against corruption, corruption is going to thrive in Zambia. Because the duty of an anti-corruption body is to follow individuals who are engaged in corrupt activities in accordance with the law. If you have cabinet ministers who are engaged in corruption and an anti-corruption authority investigates them and they are found to be capable, then they ought to be taken to court. If you then interpret that as a regime change, then that regime ought to be changed. A corrupt regime needs to be changed,” he said.
Prof Lumumba said he was amused that a lawyer like President Lungu could consider his visit to Zambia a security risk.
He charged that the manner in which President Lungu was administering affairs in Zambia was testament to the fact that he is a paranoid Head of State.
“I am not a bearer of arms [and] I have not threatened the government of Zambia. I was amazed and amused at the same time that an administration led by a lawyer like Edgar Lungu would consider that I am a security threat. I have subsequently written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Zambia, to the Zambian High Commissioner in Nairobi to tell me why they consider me to be a security risk. They have never had the courtesy of responding. Truth be told, the manner in which President Lungu is administering Zambia is in itself a testament to the fact that he is paranoid,” Professor Lumumba charged.
“If you stop an African citizen from getting into your country to preside over a graduation, how else can you describe it but paranoia? In fact the word paranoia is not even strong enough.”
Asked if his ban to Zambia had affected the relationship he had with the country, Professor Lumumba responded in the negative.
“Not at all. You see Zambia is the home of one of the greatest Africans who ever lived, Kenneth David Kaunda and Zambia is a country that I am fond of. It is sad that young people such as Edgar Lungu, when they occupy office they become paranoid because they are beholden to the Chinese. Therefore I suspect that [its] because of the stance I have taken against the Chinese. I visit many African countries, I have many African Heads of State who are my friends and they have never considered me a threat to security. In fact they accommodate me and I criticise them and praise where it is necessary,” he said.
“Yet President Lungu in a manner that I have never understood thinks that when you criticise them then you are a threat to security. When someone says that then the security of Zambia must be very weak, that an individual from Kenya who arrives in the country can threaten the security of Zambia. [Then] Zambia must be very weak, which I refuse to believe.”
Meanwhile, Professor Lumumba said Africans through their leaders had allowed themselves to be manipulated by the Chinese, and further urged Africans to liberate ourselves from the inferiority complex.
“Politicians in Africa allow themselves to be manipulated by the Chinese. The Chinese are very clear on what they want. They want our natural resources, they want that which is in the best interest of the people of China and they do it very well. But Africans through their leaders allow themselves to be manipulated so that we always get the short end of the stick. The Chinese are now creating what are called Confucius Centres at the universities. I believe there is a Confucius Centre at the University of Zambia and there is one at the University of Nairobi. What these centres are designed to do is to indoctrinate us, to make us study mandarin and to make us begin thinking like Chinese. We must guard ourselves against that kind of manipulation,” he said.
“They (China) may come with these goodies but what they are getting out of us is much more. We must never as Africans, for once, believe that we cannot build roads, we can. We must not be led to believe that when people come here and give us things to entice us that we cannot achieve these things, we are capable. Why can’t the Zambians invite the Nigerians to build bridges for them? Is there any African who is building a bridge or mining in China? Let us liberate ourselves from this inferiority complex. It is our duty to checkmate them before they consume us. If we don’t, in the next 20 years, our new coloniser in a very subtle way will be China.”