It feels like soon, we will wake up as a country and thank God that what we are currently going through was just a dream. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen. This is not Big Brother where after a few months or years, we will go back to our normal lives; this madness is the new normal.
Zambia has turned out to be a country where reality looks fake while actual fake news makes more sense. This is where we are now; you wish fake news was real and the reality was just a bad dream. It’s like we are a nation of actors hired to make a movie about the most ridiculous government leadership in the world. Who can explain how we got here?
Those of you who are privileged to have friends abroad, how do you explain what is happening in Zambia? How do you explain with a straight face that what they think is fake news is actually the truth? Doesn’t it make one feel foolish explaining that a sober citizenry elected this crazy leadership? Take the following situations for example:
The Anti Corruption Commission arrests a Cabinet minister, charging him with 11 counts of corruption and abuse of office. A story breaks out that the said minister has resigned on moral grounds, thanking the President for giving him an opportunity to serve in government. That’s what would be normal right? But it’s not true. How does it feel to accept this as FAKE NEWS very far away from reality?
How does it feel to watch a Head of State on television, asked if he will suspend the arrested Cabinet minister to pave way for smooth prosecution of his case, and he responds: “I cannot remove him, those who are asking me to suspend my minister are wasting time because I am not going to lose a friend, you have to prove a case against him by bringing your evidence.”
Is this not supposed to be fake news? How can this be REAL NEWS?
Ignore the minister with 11 corruption charges but still flying the national flag on his luxurious government vehicle. What about this other minister who is fired for allegedly allowing the abuse of social cash transfer money in her ministry, and when the donor country freezes all bilateral aid, government says the money in question is still intact in ZANACO bank. Doesn’t that sound like fake news? But it’s true! The former minister of Community Development has since been arrested and is standing trial for ‘stealing’ money which government says never went missing. What kind of a country are we?
Look at what is happening at the most important and sensitive ministry in government. The kwacha hits K14 to a dollar, yields on Eurobonds are plunging, international rating agencies are raising the red flag. The nation expects the Minister of Finance to take to television and outline a recovery plan with practical austerity measures on how the country will pull through the crisis. But what do you see? A completely boozed up Finance Minister doing Mr Bean facial expression as a figure head at a national event. One would expect this to be fabricated footage meant to spread fake news, but it’s REAL NEWS!
What does the President do in response? He decides to create a diversion for his drunkard minister, but in the process he sets in motion another crisis by liquidating a multi-million dollar foreign-owned mining company, without first consulting his Cabinet or experts. What on earth is going on? How did we get to this point where news sounds like a segment for “just for laughs”?
Even in other countries where people made a mistake of electing lunatics, their crazy leaders pause a little bit between one scandal and another so that citizens can recover from the shock and prepare for the next episode of madness. But here in Zambia, all the cited examples happened in a space of less than two weeks. How can anyone explain that? This is mind blowing to say the least.
But we are here fellow Zambians. Once again this is not a reality show; it’s simply reality. Every one of us must remember how we got here. Like we have written on several occasions before, this is not an Edgar Lungu problem, it is not a Ronald Chitotela problem and it is not a Margaret Mwanakatwe problem. It is a voting problem. We maybe on the ground already, but if we don’t change our destiny, we will be buried.