When President Edgar Lungu went to Parliament to address the nation but instead blamed climate change for everything bad coming out of his government, we heard a silent voice in his speech that was admitting that he has failed. That was the clearest admission of failure from the Head of State, as he was almost openly calling on people who have better ideas to help him.
The moment he started blaming his bad governance on climate change, we realised that our President had exhausted all the excuses that he could think about. Of course, it was easy for him and those who wrote his speech to select climate change as the beginning and the end of all the problems we are facing today as a country, because the so-called climate change is one villain that can’t defend itself. Those who don’t bath blame climate change, those who contract national debt and fail to pay it back blame climate change, those who are arrested and charged with corruption also blame climate change, it’s easy.
But when you critically think about it, climate change has always been part of human evolution. The elephant’s great, great grand parent was a mammoth, the Jumbos we see in the Kafue National Park today are survivors of climate change. Scientists tell us that modern birds that we see flying around have descended from a group of two-legged dinosaurs known as theropods; they adapted to climate change and survived. There is no need to mention that we, as humans, have equally evolved from apes; we adapted to climate change as specie and here we are!
So, the moment we start blaming all the problems around us on climate change, then it is a sign that we have failed. President Lungu has admitted failure, and in a normal country, this is the point when you call for elections so that the people who are governed can look around for alternative leadership.
Leadership is about problem solving. If you can’t find solutions, why should you stay in power? People did not vote for you so that you can fly in an expensive luxury jet, make money and empower your relatives, no! People want solutions to their problems. If you think climate change is the problem, solve it!
Like we have illustrated, climate change has always been there, and those who fail to adapt to it, unfortunately, become extinct; they die. If President Lungu has failed to make Zambia adapt to this climate change and wants to become obsolete, let him not drag citizens down with him.
Zambians want someone who can lead them through this challenge with modern solutions. They want a leader who will not just identify problems and then ask citizens to subsidize his government. What the PF has created at the moment is a situation whereby those in government behave like they are being governed by those who are outside. They have zero solutions apart from demanding for more money from citizens through taxes, tariffs and levies.
President Lungu must realize that this recent State of the Nation Address he made to parliament is his second last before Zambians go back to the drawing board. Considering that this is a man who never likes the idea of holding press conferences, we can comfortably say that he is remaining with one last national address next September in which he has to convince citizens that he is worth a third term. He is running out of time, and we can’t see anything special from his leadership that can warrant a third term for him.
In our view, the President lost an opportunity to concretely tabulate what government under him has done to transform people’s lives. He lost an opportunity to demonstrate that he has the capacity to find solutions to the problems that we are facing. We don’t see anything in his last address to Parliament that can influence voters to consider him. And by voters, we don’t mean PF cadres at the secretariat who scramble for mealie meal that is donated to DMMU; we are talking about voters whose businesses are shutting down as a result of load shedding.
Sadly for President Lungu, he has a bunch of government officials who are making his bad governance so unbearable. Whenever they open their mouths to defend the bad policies, they only succeed at making the Head of State even more unpopular. The statement that “we will only declare hunger a national disaster when people begin to die” can only come from a leader who knows that he is serving in a headless government.