MR Edgar Lungu can easily top the list of most insulted presidents on the continent, if not, in the world. Here in Zambia, he is definitely the most ridiculed Head of State that we have ever had. Sadly for him, even the people who surround him express apprehension about the quality of his leadership.
This does not come as a surprise. If we are allowed to speak frankly, we will say President Lungu has never been a leader of choice to many, especially those who are in the Patriotic Front. Rather, he has always been a leader of convenience. We can also add that although most are loyal to him, it is a fact that two-thirds of his members of Cabinet feel they can make better presidents than Mr Lungu if they were given an opportunity. They will never come forward to admit this, but every Cabinet Minister reading this knows that we have hit the nail on the head.
What made Mr Lungu become President of this Republic is a story that has been told repeatedly by different people on various platforms and in various formats. For the avoidance of repeating ourselves, let’s just say we are all agreed to the fact that this is a president who found himself in the right room at the right time. He, too, agrees with the rest of us that he got into State House by accident, as he has personally told us that he never planned or prepared to be Republican President one day.
So, it is normal for people who work with Mr Lungu to feel that they can make better leaders than him. And let’s face it, Mr Lungu has set the leadership bar so low in this country that, indeed, you can pick a random ‘A’ student from college and he can stand toe to toe with President Lungu in leadership. Without any malice intended, we can add that as things stand in Zambia today, if Mr Lungu stepped down and we decided to proceed governing ourselves without a Head of State, we can make it.
Unfortunately, this is something that those who surround President Lungu don’t like to hear. Not because they believe in his leadership capabilities, but because his continued stay in power translates into direct benefits for their businesses. They love the President for what he is able to do for them and not what he is able to do for all Zambians. As long as things are going well for them, they will do everything to keep him in power.
Meanwhile, for years now, Zambians have been stomaching the pain of not getting the benefits of voting for the Patriotic Front. Citizens have seen the price of mealie meal escalate from K50 to K200 in a matter of months. Their businesses have been making losses because of the record-breaking depreciation of the kwacha. Their salaries are now insufficient to support their families. Their children are being chased from schools and universities because they’re not able to pay for their tuition and examination fees. Those in hospitals are dying because essential drugs have been pilfered and diverted to private hospitals, which only the rich can afford to get medical help from.
Like the Sakala Brothers put it in their song, kuti udyeko bwino mu Zambia, mpaka uchimwe. We now have a country where if you don’t do anything illegal, you are bound to suffer. Look at the way PF cadres are flaunting their wealth! Look at the PF members of parliament and the donations that they are making in their constituencies! They are enjoying and mocking Zambians who are suffering.
Because of this and many other reasons, deprived citizens have been boiling and they are struggling to contain their anger and frustrations. They would like to vent out or rather speak their mind about what they think of this Patriotic Front administration. This is why we are seeing more cases of citizens being arrested for insulting the President.
Of course, it happens in many other jurisdictions that citizens resort to insulting their leaders if they feel left out in the sharing of national resources, when they see that only the corrupt are benefiting from their government. But the problem is that we have seriously punitive laws against insulting a Head of State in Zambia, and many people will be subjected to inhuman treatment for insulting President Lungu. This is what brings us to our piece of advice for the Zambian people today.
Dear fellow citizens, there is no need to insult President Lungu or, indeed, any other leader in the Patriotic Front government. Insulting the President will get you nothing but trouble. It does not matter how much you detest the man, it does not matter how his leadership has destroyed your business or income. Insulting cannot solve any problem. Our humble advice is that, please go and register to vote. Next year, on August 12, you will have an opportunity to decide how you want your country to be governed. If you don’t like President Lungu, vote him out and prepare to face the consequences of your new choice. That is the nature of democracy.