Why should we cry to get development?

His Excellency, the humble President of Zambia Dr Edgar Lungu, says development will be delivered to those who cry for it the most, adding that those who are not crying will not see development because it means they are comfortable. “If you are not crying more, we will not give you development because we will think you are okay. You with your MPs who don’t cry because you are waiting for your new president to come in 2021 or 2026, that’s your problem,” he says.

If you have never lived in Zambia and under this current leadership, you would be tempted to accuse the media of fabricating sentiments made by the President. But this is the absolute truth about the calibre of our country’s leadership. These are the President’s own words, no addition.

President LUNGU: “Even the sun as it shines up there; it will affect the taller ones first before it hits the short ones. Development will be shared accordingly, but some depends on who is crying more. If you are not crying more, we will not give you [development] because we will think you are okay. You with your MPs who don’t cry, councillors who don’t try, you are waiting for your new president to come in 2021 or 2026, I will not know about your plight. I have said it before and I can give you an example, in brief, there is a story of a woman who had two children, a set of identical twins and one was making noise and demanding that she is given access to the breast and she was sucking the milk, the other one was saying ‘no, I can’t cry because I am troubling my mum’ and eventually, one of the children died from malnutrition. So, if you don’t cry because you don’t love me and you are waiting for your mother to come in 2021 or 2016, that’s your problem.”

We are surprised to hear this new criteria of national development from our humble Dr President because this is not what he promised Zambians when he was asking for votes. We have read the 2016 Patriotic Front manifesto several times, and there is nowhere where it says “to get development, citizens will have to enter a crying contest.”

So, we mean no malice when we ask President Lungu: If you will give development to those who cry the most, then where is the 7th National Development Plan, which you said was the country’s blueprint for development for the next five years up to 2021? What is it for? Where is the Vision 2030 which you said would outline the long-term national goals for attaining desirable socio-economic indicators in accordance with the Zambian people’s aspirations? What is the purpose of the Ministry of National Development Planning if development will only be given to the winners of the crying contest?

This is really disappointing coming from our Head of State who claims to be a President for all Zambians. But while we complain, we must also remind ourselves that President Lungu has brought us where we deserve to be as a country. When we think about it deeply, we feel this particular President doesn’t mean any harm to the people of Zambia; what he is doing to the country is what is within his capacity.

We have no doubt that Mr, oh sorry, Dr Lungu could do more to serve Zambians better if he had the ability, but this is his full capacity. What we see is all he has to offer. As far as he is concerned, his language is on point, democracy is thriving, the economy is in tiptop form and his Presidency is firing on all four cylinders.

Like Professor Oliver Saasa said during the News Diggers!/OSISA public discussion forum, a good leader or a bad leader is simply a reflection of the people who vote. Dr Lungu is our President; we produced him. If we don’t like anything that comes out of his mouth and actions, we must show him the door. But before we decide to show him the door, we must be very careful with the options that are impatiently waiting outside.

Our advice to voters as we head towards 2021 is that they must try to pay more attention to the candidates who will flaunt themselves. Analyse them and study their personalities critically. If he says he has no vision, chances are that he will distribute development according to who cries the most.

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