Chishimba Kambwili says President Edgar Lungu has changed after getting a five-year mandate as Head of State.

“When he was given the five years, the President changed like a chameleon. Immediately he was given the mandate, the man changed like a chameleon,” says Kambwili.

We disagree. President Lungu has not changed as Kambwili is describing him. In fact, Zambia is under the leadership of a very honest man. By “honest”, we are not saying our Head of State is not a wrong doer, we are saying he is a man of his words – good or bad – he keeps his promises.

There are numerous historic statements which President Lungu made which have come to pass, and when we look back, we realise that it is actually Mr Kambwili who has changed like a chameleon in the manner he is now looking at President Lungu.

During campaigns as a PF candidate in 2015, following the death of Michael Sata, President Lungu said he had no vision of his own and he didn’t need one because he was contesting the presidency in order to fulfill the vision left by Sata. At a press conference after his inauguration, President Lungu said “my time here at State House is short because I never planned that I want to be President, but God has allowed it so I am only here to finish the work that has been left behind by our founding president [Michael Sata]”. Indeed, when he was elected President, Mr Lungu never went out of his way to find a vision for Zambia.

Many said it was impossible for candidate Lungu to become Head of State because he was a drunkard. Well, the impossible was made possible; he is in State House today. Has he changed? Has he stopped drinking alcohol now that he is President? No! Repeatedly, our President has said to those who ask him “I do take beer but it does not affect my work”.

After being sworn in as Head of State in 2015, President Lungu said he was going to fall like a tonne of bricks on those who would make his presidency difficult. Again he kept his word and those who dared to challenge his authority in government and in the party were shown the way out. Minister of Religious Affairs told us a few months ago that Hakainde Hichilema found himself in his [imprisoned] situation because “he pushed President Lungu too far”. Our interpretation of the minister’s statement in that the Head of State fell on HH like a tonne of bricks for daring his authority. The President promised and he did not disappoint.

The mighty Post newspaper today is no more, and that too did not happen by accident. Earlier, in 2015 President Lungu warned the newspaper saying “Fred M’membe alefwayafye ikwakufwila (he is just looking for death)” and we are sure the Dr M’membe saw it coming just like Mutembo Nchito did before he was locked up in Chongwe.

In 2016, President Lungu went back to the campaign podium and asked Zambians to give him his own five-year mandate so that he could put together his own team to govern. President Lungu made PF members of parliament work with former MMD MPs to campaign for him. This happened in broad daylight in the face of Kambwili and many other so-called PF founders. They did not object to his idea. Today, he has appointed those from MMD as Cabinet minister and they say “Lungu has changed”.

Last month, President Lungu said there was too much arson and sabotage in the country and he was going to implement preventive measures for which people would call him a dictator. That is the language of an honest man, so if people call him a dictator – well, he promised. Other Presidents would effect dictatorial measures without a warning, but President Lungu always announces his intentions – good or bad. It’s the Zambian people who don’t listen; or maybe they do listen and this is exactly the President they want. After all he got 1.8 million votes in the last elections and how possible is it that all his votes were rigged?

All the bad things he has done as Head of State, if Zambians wanted to prevent them, they were not going to vote for him. And he knows that he is not always doing right things as Head of State, that’s why on June 21, 2017 he said “If I am doing wrong, pray that I change. I think your prayer will touch me and I will change but so far so good, I am in charge and God is in control.”

Therefore, no one in Zambia today should stand and say President Lungu deceived voters. He has always been an honest man, his brutality has been preached throughout his campaigns from 2014 to date. Just recently on July 11 in Livingstone, the President said “Just pray that I drop dead because if you try to harm me, I will harm you before you harm me”. If any chief out there wants to provoke this President further, good luck!

By the way, President Lungu has promised that he will stand in 2021, like all his promises in the past; this one will also come to pass.

So contrary to what Mr Kambwili is saying, President Lungu has not changed. The only thing that has changed about the President is his self-esteem and most definitely his dressing.

Before becoming Head of State, President Lungu was visibly a man of low self-esteem. He stood out among other Cabinet ministers appointed by Michael Sata as someone who did not have a lot of confidence in himself; someone who felt inferior to other ministers. His dressing was not exactly Presidential and we have pictures to prove this, which if published he may fall on us like a tonne of bricks. But we can say with certainty that he did not have the swag he has today.

Other than that, President Lungu is as honest as a slave trader – his mouth speaks what is in his heart and he does not promise freedom where he feels there must be captivity.