WE are ‘impressed’ with the levels of incompetence at State House lately. The once most respected and feared office in the land has now become the prime source of humour and embarrassment. This is the level to which Mr Edgar Lungu and his administration have reduced the Presidency. Our Head of State is now a subject of laughter to the rest of the world. Even maniacs like Seer 1 can now have the audacity of calling our President an idiot, a road thief. Aaa? A sitting President being called a road thief, an idiot? This level of sinking popularity for a Head of State is unprecedented, not even Nyama Soya was ridiculed like this.

For those who have not followed recent events, President Lungu, through his official Facebook page, has been posting false images of developmental projects. On March 3, 2020, President Lungu posted a photograph of workers in a sugarcane field with a caption inviting the private sector to join him on his endeavours to develop the country. The image was downloaded from an article published in an Indian news outlet called Swarajya in November 2018.

On July 4, 2020, President Lungu posted a modernised fish farm with a caption: “As I have previously said on this platform and elsewhere, my Government is not pursuing an ad-hoc development strategy, but we are implementing a people-centered Development Agenda… In view of the above, my Government, through the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, approved seven hundred and thirty-six (736) aquaculture business loan applications from Zambian citizens countrywide as at May 2020, valued at K118.3 million.”

Facts, however, reveal that this picture which was put on President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s page on 4th July, 2020 was again merely downloaded from the Internet by his media team. The image originated from Israel and it first surfaced on the Internet on December 26, 2010. It was first posted by an American online magazine focused on technological and scientific advances made by Israeli researchers.

On Tuesday this week, President Lungu posted photographs of road rehabilitation works, claiming they were new images of ongoing road works on the Kafue-Mazabuka Road in Southern Province. “I am impressed with the progress report on the Kafue-Mazabuka Road earmarked for completion by October 2020. My Government was called all sorts of names because this road had been in a deplorable state for the many years. We listened and committed to work on it,” President Lungu stated. But the photo President Lungu was referring to was an old reused image which had been published by various publications in Nigeria, Malawi and the United States of America from as far back as 2017.

The President’s media team recognised that publishing the false road construction photo amounted to deceit and they openly apologised, saying it was erroneously attached. What about the other pictures from India, China and Israel which they have been posting? Was that also an attachment error? Come on people, this is the presidency we are talking about! It’s not a personal private page that can publish anything a person feels like. When Facebook gave the Edgar Chagwa Lungu page an authentication badge, it was on the satisfaction that the person behind it was the verified Head of State for a country called Zambia. So it is embarrassing that the President’s verified page is publishing fake news.

And people should not say those questioning the pictures are being petty. It’s a very big issue. The President of Nigeria cannot post pictures of Levy Mwanawasa Hospital and claim to his people that he has been delivering development. This is why we feel there is something amiss about the presidency. The signs are very clear. It’s not a long time ago when social media was awash with an image of a presidential flag with the Coat of Arms flying upside down while the President was addressing citizens somewhere in this country. Surely, who does that? How did that happen? Was that a fake photograph? Someone has to explain what is going on with the President and his advisors at State House. Mr Isaac Chipampe and his counterpart on the political desk, Chris Zumani Zimba, must come out and exculpate themselves. So far, they have demonstrated ‘impressive’ levels of incompetence, and we can imagine that their predecessors must be laughing their lungs out.

When the President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza died, President Lungu’s handlers posted a condolences message, but when citizens responded with negative comments, the post was deleted. The same happened to a video where the President was threatening the youths and civil society organisations that sought to protest against bad governance. Later after seeing that the President was serious about his threats, they claimed the ‘missing’ video was due to an upload error. Ummm? This doesn’t make sense at all. The levels of clumsiness and disorganisation at State House are simply getting worse.

Yesterday when we asked Mr Isaac Chipampe to explain the discrepancy and confusion on the President’s Facebook page, he said it was an internal matter which was going to be dealt with administratively. No bwana Chipampe, Presidential Affairs are not internal matters. If that was the case, his Facebook page would have had settings that prevent anyone else from seeing what he posts apart from himself. The fact that you want the public to see what he has to say on national issues means people have the right to question and complain.

Questions need to be asked. How did we get to this level? How can a Head of State sink so low to become the national mbuya whom anyone can make fun of? Last month, we posed a question: since Amos Chanda and Kaizer Zulu, the infamous ‘notorious’ presidential advisors are no longer at State House, who is giving the President all this bad advice? This question has not been addressed and it has come back to seek answers. Who is handling the President’s Social Media pages? Are these the advisors President Lungu is going into an election year with? Hehehehe!

This is why Seer 1 can have the audacity of saying he feels sorry for the Zambian people because we are being led by idiots and thieves. Painfully, we have to admit that what the idiot is saying about the idiots ruling us is very true.