When a country’s economy gets on a sharp downwards trajectory like Zambia is currently on right now, you would expect leaders of that State to break their heads looking for solutions, talking to experienced experts and actually taking their advice on how to implement a recovery plan. Sadly, this is not happening in Zambia and this concern is causing great panic among citizens.
President Lungu, just like his friend Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, has so many advisers in State House, at home, at the lodges where he drinks from, among bankers whom he does morning aerobics with and in the church where he occasionally goes to reset his sin-count as well as to replenish his perceived humility. Unfortunately, President Lungu gets nothing from all these advisors who surround him because he is actually the one who advises them on how not to take advice.
Addressing former African Presidents who visited Zambia to join in the celebrations of founding president Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s 95th birthday last month, President Lungu said there was a lot to learn from the statesmen who ruled the continent years back, adding that he was looking for wisdom on how he could best serve the people of Zambia like the veterans did under tougher circumstances.
“Your organization has a lot of respect amongst us African leaders. Speaking for myself as Zambian President, I hold this organization in very high esteem and from time to time we are looking for wisdom, we are always flicking through your list to see who we can work with to resolve some of the issues which arise in our country. I was just reminiscing on how your generation worked as a team to ensure that issues pertaining to the liberation of Africa were resolved amicably,” said President Lungu.
To be honest, President Lungu was just singing lullabies to Joaquim Chissano and his fellow old veterans from the Africa Forum for Former Heads of State. He was not genuinely showing interest to tap into the wisdom of the elders who visited him at State House. Our President doesn’t need wisdom because he has no use for it. This sounds rude to say, but we can justify it.
We don’t believe that President Lungu is mad, as some people maliciously portray him. There is no way possible that we can say he is dull neither; the man is a practicing lawyer with years of experience for goodness sake! Surely, he must have a powerful brain, which we unfortunately believe he is reluctant to apply. How else can one explain what is happening to Zambia under a President who is supposed to be an intellectual from a nobal career? This is not lack of wisdom; this is having no use for it.
Mr Lungu knows that wisdom is stopping the breakdown of rule of law and strengthening institutions of governance, not surrendering them for abuse to his party structures. Mr Lungu knows that wisdom is taking those who are being prosecuted for corruption like Mr Ronald Chitotela out of Cabinet, to prevent them from interfering with witnesses and evidence. The President knows that wisdom is borrowing money and using it to generate further income for the country’s growth, not sharing it with road contractors through kickbacks from inflated tenders.
How can a President get a loan to buy, not one or two, but three presidential planes under the disguise of Zambia Air Force at mind blowing inflated costs in a country where civil servants are paid once in two months? And then you go out to say, “I’m looking for wisdom on how to best serve the people?”
This newly acquired presidential Gulfstream alone has cost Zambia US$135 million, which in our depreciating currency translates into K1.7 billion. This means Mr Lungu and the Zambia Air Force decided to spend almost 40 per cent of the entire K5 billion Ministry of Defence budget for 2019 on a presidential jet. Is this lack of wisdom or refusing to use ones faculties?
And remember fellow Zambians, this is the President who went to Parliament to declare that he doesn’t want a retirement house because that is a waste of money, and some members of parliament were clapping for him like zoo animals cheering their keeper. How foolish do these people think Zambians are?
Rupiah Banda’s retirement house cost only K5 million, which is a paltry 500, 000 in dollar terms. What is better between building Mr Lungu a retirement house at K5 million and allowing him to spend K1.7 billion on a presidential jet for himself and his best friend Valden Findlay to ride in?
Anyway, we are sure Zambians can now see why mudala wakasaka ka ndalama doesn’t care about a retirement house – he has bigger plans for himself and has no use for any wisdom that people are offering him.