No matter how bad a person can be, there will always be something that they are good at. A person considered the most useless in a community has a role to play in the balance of nature. When you critically think about it, even death is useful. Painful as it is, if death was eliminated from the human cycle, our dear Earth would not have enough space and natural resources to accommodate all the past and present generations.
It is, therefore, important that from every sad situation, one must endeavor to find something good out of it. Likewise, no matter how condemned a leader is, there must be something deserving of praise. Yes, we agree that Zambia is in a mess economically, mainly because of the bad governance practices hinged on the Republican President. But surely, there are one or two habits from his questionable leadership that we can treasure.
Last year, we wrote an appreciatory message to President Lungu and his government on the improvement of the road infrastructure in an editorial opinion we titled “Thank you for stealing and leaving us good roads.” When we wrote that, we had the full knowledge of the fact that the road sector is a conduit of corruption and an assortment of other criminal activities. Anyone who needs proof of that should go and witness the trial of government officials being prosecuted over their dealings in the road infrastructure development programme. But we still felt the PF government deserved praise there.
This time, news coming from the University of Zambia that the institution would like to confer President Lungu with an honorary doctorate has raised the question: “what should Edgar Lungu be honoured for? Others are mockingly suggesting that he should be conferred with a doctorate in abetting corruption, others are saying he deserves an honorary doctorate in ‘criminal liquidation’, ‘alcohol abuse’ and ‘destroying the economy.’
In the midst of all that condemnation, we see something positive that the President of Zambia has successfully championed for. President Lungu’s campaign for physical fitness and healthy lifestyles among citizens deserves appreciation. Of course, there are those who make a valid point by arguing that it is evil to expect hungry citizens to have the energy for physical exercises. But for those who can, this is a campaign that anyone can benefit from, just like it has helped President Lungu to avoid some non-communicable diseases.
The nation may remember that President Lungu used to be quite weak when he was first elected into office. At one point during the International Women’s Day of 2015, a newly-elected Lungu could not endure standing the whole duration of the march-past, and he fainted. Later, we were told that he had some traces of malaria, then we were told that he suffers from a low blood sugar condition. Whatever the case, it just boiled down to the fact that the man was simply not physically fit, and quite heavy on his alcohol consumption.
Lungu is not that weak man anymore; he has kept his body busy; in whichever context you wish to interpret that. So, whether the President has a genuine interest in this campaign or he is doing it for himself, doesn’t matter. What is important is that we can all see what routine physical training can do to someone’s health. President Lungu is a living testimony of the benefits one gets from keeping fit. In other words, you can ignore the gym trainer’s invitation, but you must listen to Lungu when he says exercising is of critical importance to your life.
What we are saying to the University of Zambia is that, if, indeed, they can’t resist the urge of honoring this scandalous President, let it be in recognition of his efforts towards this campaign for physical fitness. Let the Physiotherapy Department at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) honour President Lungu and declare him their ambassador.
There is nothing wrong with honouring a Head of State, but the University of Zambia must be careful if they decide to go ahead with this programme. This is a man who has closed down your sister university on the Copperbelt, has abolished the conventional students’ unions and has not even paid your salaries yet. Who are you trying to please?
Even the Bible says when a person slaps you on one cheek, you must simply turn the other cheek. It doesn’t say you must buy pizza for the aggressor in honouring his brutality.