PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu’s reactions to the many important events that have occurred in our country in the last few weeks is nothing short of shocking. It goes without saying that being a leader requires the leader to lead. One cannot say that the way our president has (or has not) reacted to the current third wave of the Coronavirus, the passing away of Dr Kenneth Kaunda, and even the Chief justice, has been a good example of leadership.
The President has been conspicuous by his near silence or very low key reactions to very important events. When president Kaunda passed away, President Lungu was nowhere near that development until it was all over global news. When people expected that he would be announcing the death, it was someone else speaking. One would have expected that the passing away of such a giant figure in the history of our country would have caused any leader who is conscious about what is important to immediately rise to the occasion and address the nation.
Look at the President’s approach on the prevailing pandemic. Covid is raging in a manner that we have not seen before. At the last count, it is our understanding that not less than 400 people have passed away in a two-week period. And this figure represents only the verified or certified Covid deaths. We are told that there are, however, many others who are brought in dead who are not tested for Covid, which means that the numbers could be much higher.
This is nothing short of a disaster for any country. But where is our President? As if this was not enough, the country has lost the Chief Justice, a very high ranking public official who headed one of the the three call equal organs of the State , and yet the President does not see it fit to address the nation about the crisis that we are facing. If he cannot step up and provide leadership at a critical time such as this in our country, then what is his job?
Now, we find it surprising that a man who is clearly incapable of reacting appropriately in a time of crisis insists that he wants a third term in office. This is sad and disappointing. If you can’t be a President when the country needs you, what is your use? We don’t mean to insult president Lungu. If there is anything wrong with him, the country needs to be informed. If we are left to speculate, we will judge the president by what we are seeing because no one is telling us what is wrong with him.
And at the height of this national crisis, we see a leader who does not stop using false propaganda for political convenience. With President Lungu, everything is about calculated politics, and he doesn’t mind misleading the public. When he went to commiserate with the Kaunda family. He found an opportunity to insert KK in his third term bid. According to him, Dr Kaunda had assured him that he (President Lungu) could run Zambia for more than 10 years.
President LUNGU: “When I became President he was calling me, he kept saying that ‘you have a challenge, it is not an easy thing. I did it for 27 years and I know you can do it for five years, if not ten or more’. So for me, I think I will live inspired by the life of the bold man, the great man.”
Who does that? Why would KK be encouraging president Lungu to aspire to an unconstitutional tenure in office? Is this true or was the President was telling a lie using a person who was no longer alive to verify his story?
We are asking because this is not the first time this type of campaign gimmick is being used. When President Sata died, Mr Lungu’s team made a lot of noise about how president Sata had anointed him to take over, something they knew to be untrue. Why do our leaders in PF find it fit to use deceased people for political expediency?
We don’t have anything personal with their politics, they can do what they like. But we are very disappointed that their desperation has now driven them to start parading president Kaunda’s casket all over the country, in a misguided attempt to use the mortal remains of this hero of our country to garner sympathy in the forthcoming general elections. Suddenly, all the concerns about Covid have been set aside. It is very clear that where their political interests are concerned, Covid is not an issue. But the same people are quick to try and clamp down on the opposition using the pretext of Covid guidelines.
This type of politics is not helpful to our people, especially that we now seem to have an absentee Head of State. President Lungu’s failure of leadership at this critical time is very costly, because lives are being lost. As the saying goes, he is fiddling while Rome burns.
This Covid crisis has now become uncontrollable because it has stretched to smaller towns outside Lusaka where health facilities and medical staff are few. Hospitals are overrun, the health workers are overstretched and exposed. Some are protesting and downing tools because they are not getting paid. How can a president feel indifferent about such a situation? If this cannot move him, then what will?