IT is election year once again and our politicians are already going on rampage dishing out lies through their mouths, press statements and manifestos. We are hearing all sorts of promises and pledges which are meant to hoodwink the people. One such example of a lie that has resurfaced is the reopening of the Mulungushi Textiles in Kabwe. This is the same factory that President Lungu opened in 2015 during the presidential by-election. Later it turned out that the Head of State and his ruling party were lying to the people, as nothing of that sort happened – it was just a show for ZNBC cameras, as Mulungushi Textiles remained closed.
In 2016, exactly the same lie was told and youths flocked to the Central Province Capital in search of employment. The PF claimed they had reopened the textile plant with thousands of jobs expected to be on offer. But the truth is that nothing of that sort happened. The occasion where President Lungu cut a ribbons was a fictitious event meant to hoodwink the people of Zambia and Central Province in particular. We are now in 2021 and this lie is still being peddled. The Patriotic Front, one again, is promising to reopen Mulungushi Textiles.
Why do our politicians lie to the people they lead in this manner? What is sad is that our people understand perfectly well that a politician is lying, but strangely, they tolerate being lied to without holding it against the liars. Why is this so? This is the gullibility that we were referring to in our editorial opinion last week where we stated that President Lungu is dangerous, but the people of Zambia are even more dangerous, because they can see that someone is lying to them but they can willingly choose lies over the truth.
We are constantly amazed by how often our politicians lie and then, of course, their unwillingness to admit that they lied. Look at the Kabwe case of Mulungushi Textile, this story started when Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) was Defence Minister. But to this very day, not a single politician has gone to Kabwe to apologise for lying to the people. So really, it is hard to understand what really goes on in the minds of our political leaders and the people who elect them.
We can only conclude that many of our politicians are narcissists. Narcissists are arrogant, self-important people who see themselves as special, require excessive admiration and have a sense of entitlement. Narcissists are exploitative, and that’s exactly what our politicians are. Some have a personality disorder which manifests itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behaviour during election time. They care about nothing but themselves and their interests.
This constellation of narcissistic attributes causes them to believe that they are right and, even if they are not, they think they are too smart to be caught or to suffer the consequences. In other words, they believe their own nonsense. Case in point is the Kabwe lies. How can a normal politician go to reopen an institution three times? Why would someone go and face the people to tell the same lie with a straight face?
This is why we are failing to progress as a nation. We are being led by egotists who push to make the people believe that they can do whatever they please without any consequences. Our politicians know their followers will believe them, even in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary. Our politicians live in an echo chamber in which everyone watches the same news channel, listens to the same radio news, reads the same newspapers and websites, but they want to paint a picture that there is milk and honey flowing through the community taps under their reigns. And the people sit and watch without challenging such lies.
What is even more disheartening during this campaign period is that the most vulnerable, the most economically affected citizens are the ones who are singing the loudest praises for the oppressors. It’s very strange. It’s hard to understand the nature of citizens that we are. Our people don’t want to hear the truth, and even when they hear, they don’t want to believe it
Anyway, the Patriotic Front must be reminded that while the people of Zambia may forget, the Internet never forgets. One of the unintended consequences of the Internet is that information, true or not, lives on forever and those who have the desire to seek the truth will always find it. They say if a lie is told enough times, people will assume it is true, but we are here to tell the people that this Mulungushi story is a lie.
The other place where the people of Zambia will find a lot of beans is inside the PF manifesto. As Hakainde Hichilema observed; why would a party in government promise to waive Road Tax to citizens “if they are elected in power?” What is stopping them from doing it right away?