Many people have told us that Mr Edgar Lungu is a very nice man; kind, tolerant and unassertive. They say when one offends him, he doesn’t usually react instantly, he waits until the dust settles before he can raise the issue in a subtle or civil manner.
We have been told that several State House staff have betrayed President Lungu during his reign; others have abused his presidential powers, making decisions behind his back for personal gain, but he has allowed that tendency and kept those elements close in his inner circle.
But unknown to the Republican President, soon after he settled down in State House, this resigned approach towards national leadership created a void in his office. The Head of State constantly relied on his staff to act on Presidential affairs. In the long run, this ignited a feud between his advisors, who each felt they wielded more powers to make presidential decisions than the other.
In a contest to demonstrate unlimited authority, these State House officials started extending their presidential influence to other government departments; dictating to permanent secretaries whom they should fire and whom they should hire, which contract they should sign and which one they should terminate.
The Head of State has been absent and his advisors feel duty bound to run the system in a manner they deem right. But this interference from State House has pushed government into a state of collective paralysis, with each government official fearing to make decisions without approval from the de facto presidents. Those who have dared to ignore this procedure have either been transferred or retired in ‘national interest’.
We are not surprised that the new Chief Government Spokesperson, madam Dora Siliya has burned her fingers in trying to challenge the authority of State House staff. What poor Dora doesn’t know is that the Head of State has delegated his powers to his advisors. To put it more explicitly, Mr Edgar Lungu is the special assistant to the real Presidents in State House. He gives them advise on how to run the government and how to protect themselves when cutting deals. Together, they hold deep secrets which make it impossible for one to let go of the other.
Dora thought she was more powerful than the President’s spokesperson. She thought she could go behind Amos and say things to the President, which the Head of State would keep to himself, but instead, she has drawn herself into the firing range. Very soon, mock coffins will start flying around with PF youths demanding that Dora must go.
But Dora is not the only frustrated minister. Just the other day, the PF secretariat was faced with a report that some Cabinet Ministers have been having dark corner meetings to destabilise the party. In fact, one of the accused ministers Jean Kapata admitted to holding private meetings to fight the invisible hand that is frustrating democracy in the party. We can add that this invisible hand is also sponsoring corruption, protecting criminals and controlling the Legislature and Judiciary.
It is no longer a secret. Ministers are frustrated with the state of affairs in the PF government. They have no Head of State to cry to. They feel President Lungu is too weak and incapable of calling for order among his aides. An impression has been created among senior government officials that the system has collapsed because the principal is being held to ransom by his staff.
Please Mr Lungu sir, wake up! Your house is on fire. We have heard that you are a good man. Be as forgiving as you wish to be, tolerate anyone who drinks your beer without your permission. But it’s not up to you to forgive someone who usurps your presidential powers. The Constitution does not give you the liberty to tolerate treason. The power you have belongs to the people of Zambia and they elected you, not your advisors. Therefore, it is more criminal for you to voluntarily surrender your authority to your aides. You may never be impeached for this, but you are surely playing in prison territory.
Mr President Sir, we have taken time to understand your work culture from the people in your government and we can say with confidence that you are a lazy man. You play more and work less. On the other hand, you want those same people who are doing your job to push for your third term. Yes, they will do it because the longer your stay, the richer they will get. But government is bigger than State House, your ministers are watching this and they can’t take it any more.
Be very careful Mr Lungu. Late Frederick Chiluba was more famous and much more cunning, but when his ministers got convinced that he was a selfish president, they abandoned him. In shame, he had to dissolve Cabinet and admitted there was a problem within the system.
“It is not in the interest of anyone to have political leaders aggrieved with their own government, that makes government extremely vulnerable and weak. It has never happened where members of a government leave it and share a platform with the opposition. It is not only strange, it is new,” said Chiluba in shock.
Indeed, it should worry you Mr President when Cabinet ministers who also hold very senior positions in the Central Committee start holding dark corner meetings with an unclear agenda. Ask yourself where things have gone wrong. The PF problem is at the top, you have failed the country Mr Lungu and now you are failing your own ministers and MPs. Your advisors are waiting for you to wake up from slumber so that you can take charge of government, but you are busy snoring while the rot spreads beyond Cabinet Office.
Just to make it clear to President Lungu, this is not, in any way, bad news for the people of Zambia. This is the self-cannibalism that the voters have been waiting for. Zambians are tired of counting scandals, they are tired of the confusion in government. They want Lungu out sooner than 2021.
And just a reminder Mr Lungu, don’t forget that there is no President in Zambia who has left State House without being arrested. So it is not a question of whether you will be prosecuted, but how quickly you will be sent to prison. The State witnesses are those you have surrendered presidential powers to. Tick…tock…tick…tock!