We listened to President Edgar Lungu introducing his desire to contest the 2026 general elections with absolute bewilderment. We could not believe what was coming out of the President’s mouth, especially that he claims to have stopped taking what was regularly going into his mouth and making him high. But we will give the humble leader and his handlers at State House a chance to hopefully confirm that what he said in Solwezi was nothing but a dry joke. Instead, today we want to talk about why he should not even contest the 2021 elections if he means well for Zambia and for himself.

Some very right thinking PF youths have been engaging in very constructive debates in their circles. These youths feel things are so bad in the country and PF doesn’t seem to be discussing the real solutions. The leadership has isolated itself from the general population and this has put the party and the country on a very dangerous path. The solution is for the President and the Central Committee to stand down. “As we move towards 2021, President Lungu should do the honourable thing and open up the leadership contest,” these are the discussions that the youths are having in their blogs.

We agree. The leadership of PF is not listening to the people; the policies they are pursuing are not what were in Michael Sata’s PF. This problem started with the fact that the PF has abandoned it’s original 2011 manifesto. This party was meant to be pro-poor, it was meant to be for the poor citizens, not the rich tenderpreneurs who have captured it. The party still has a chance to make things right for Zambia, but that will call for a new presidential candidate, a new vice-president, central committee and specifically a new secretary general.

Why are we discussing a PF party issue? Well, we have said it before that the issue of Mr Edgar Lungu standing for the third time is not a PF issue. It’s about Zambia. Being an incumbent President, there is always a likelihood of winning the election by whatever means possible, including through rigging. If President Lungu is allowed to stand again in 2021, Zambians and PF members must prepare for another five-year rule of the humble leader, and as he has already started hinting, he will never leave power. As we will discuss in depth tomorrow, the man is on course to become the longest serving President.

But what we are suggesting to President Lungu is not an insult. We are simply asking him to give others a chance, the same way he was given a chance in the midst of a transition crisis after the death of Michael Sata. When there was infighting and the party was split into camps, everyone came to the conclusion that for the sake of the party, let’s support Lungu. Guy Scott and his camp had to go against their wish to launch a united campaign for Lungu. And Zambians also said for the sake of peace, let’s vote Lungu; and the man was given a rare opportunity to see the inside of State House.

What Zambians are asking President Lungu to do is something they have done for him in the past. So if President Lungu loves his party and he loves Zambia, let him forgo his third term ambition. This is no time to start making jokes about standing again in 2026.

And we want to remind President Lungu, once more, about what he said when he first took over power. He said “I am just a transition leader and I am not here to stay. I have never had an ambition to be President and this is not my calling. But as a country, we need to see a proper peaceful election process, so I am here to transition you to the next election so that you can decide now whom you want to lead you.” We remember vividly that the President said this in January 2015 at State House as he was appointing his Cabinet.

President Lungu needs to be grateful. An entire five-year full term is something that Michael Sata never had, Rupiah Banda never had. This transition President is very lucky that by the time we will be getting to the 2021 elections, he will have ruled for almost seven years already, just like Levy Mwanawasa. What has he done in seven years compared to what his three predecessors did in the same time or less? Ba Lungu, ushitasha mwana wandoshi!

By contesting the 2021 elections, President Lungu will be saying he wants to be the longest serving President of Zambia after Dr Kenneth Kaunda, and with this new desire to stand again in 2026, it’s clear that he wants to beat Kaunda’s record as well. The question is, who does Edgar Lungu really think he is?