Why is President Edgar Lungu the Head of State? What is his Job? And while we are still asking questions, where is he? Alikuti?
We ask these questions because there is something very suspicious about the way President Lungu is governing this country. It’s almost as if he is also an ordinary citizen waiting for a leader above him to give the country direction.
We need to remind the occupant of State House that the people of Zambia did not elect him to make his life better but the other way round. A president is elected to solve problems, that’s why great leaders make their mark during crises. Anyone can lead when everything is well. But it is only great leaders who stand out in times of crisis. Even in football, anyone can score but the one who stands out is he who scores the most critical goal. It is for the same reason that Stoppila Sunzu will remain a household name, despite several other players scoring in that decisive 2012 AfCON shoot out.
We have really tried to understand Mr Lungu’s leadership strategy but the more we look, the more we are left with no choice but to conclude that there is actually no leadership and certainly no strategy. It is becoming increasingly clear that Mr Lungu does not believe that he is the President. It seems he thinks there is somebody else who should address the problems facing our country. And Laura Miti is right when she says at this point, it feels irrelevant to have a Head of State. Indeed, this country is being run by ministers who are now busy contradicting one another on policy pronouncements in the absence of the President.
We are not saying this to ridicule ba Kateka, we are just making a conclusion from the very ugly facts that are staring at us. We have no doubt that even President Lungu’s biggest supporters and the sycophants that surround him know that the country is in trouble; we are in a crisis, yet the boss doesn’t want to show his face.
With what is going on in Zambia today, one would expect a Head of State to operate in overdrive, like other world leaders are doing. But Mr Lungu is very quiet, distant and disinterested. His government seems to be a government for rent. He is the disinterested landlord, an absentee landlord who has leased out the presidency to all kinds of people. There are many interest groups that have come under the umbrella of the PF, who are using the presidency to achieve their own purposes, and not national interest.
Anyone who looks at things for what they are today will have no problems agreeing with us that this is a government of tulyemo; a government of sela tusheteko. It is no wonder they don’t have any interest in dealing with the real problems, instead they are pouring all their energy and resources in enacting Bill 10, which is bent on prolonging their stay in power.
For those who think that we are being unfair to this President, think about it. The price of mealie meal, Zambia’s staple food, has more than quadrupled, the President is quiet. Not only has the price more than quadrupled, the commodity is actually no longer available, it’s in short supply. This gentleman is silent. What is his job if not to ensure that there is food security for his citizens? We ask again; alikuni uyu munthu?
Our people have been suffering under unprecedented levels of load shedding, from two hours per day to 18 hours. Coupled with the increased fuel prices, small businesses have closed down. But our humble President has remained quiet, no reassuring message whatsoever. What kind of leadership is this?
The country has just gone through a horrible experience of gas poisoning, in which more than 50 lives were lost. President Lungu has seen it appropriate not to address the Zambian people on this crisis. The only thing he has said is that he will address the nation once he knows the truth. In other words, he is as ignorant as the rest of us on what is going in the country. So what’s the purpose of having a Head of State who knows nothing, a president who has no message for his people?
The economy is in disarray, and our currency is in trouble. We are now buying one dollar at K17, and yet our President thinks it’s normal to keep quiet under such extraordinary economic problems. Is there leadership here? No, there isn’t. Is there strategy, maybe? Zero! It’s kwalola umwela, as Bembas would say.
Look at the handling of COVID 19. His own government has announced that Coronavirus has arrived in Zambia, what is he saying about it? Surely, this is not a big enough crisis deserving a national address? Is President Lungu telling us that he will also speak on this crisis once he knows the truth? Unless the President himself is under quarantine, this doesn’t make sense at all.
Actually, it does make sense come to think of it. This man told us that he has no vision, and if anyone of us had any doubts, this is our proof. We have a President who is sleeping on duty. It is not normal for a president to be missing when there are such problems in the country. We are not safe.
Mweo aLungu ukani tapapata, vinthu vavuta.