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COMMENT FOR THURSDAY 13/04/2017: Lungu’s rule of brutality, tyranny

It is said that the challenge of power is how to use it and not abuse it. When you abuse it, it reverses on you and it hurts you.

And this is why we have consistently been saying that the exercise of power must be a constant practice of self-limitation and modesty. Edgar Lungu seriously lacks self-limitation and modesty. His level of pettiness is frightening.

Edgar is the worst of all the six presidents Zambia has had when it comes to abuse of power. Even Frederick Chiluba, at his worst, still had some restraint; there were people who could tell him: ‘Mr. President, this can’t be done’ and he listened. It seems that none of the people who surround Edgar are able to tell him what he doesn’t want to hear and moderate his abuses of power. As for the police, they have completely lost control of their operations. If they are today told to kill, they will kill. The police command is not able to tell Edgar, ‘This we can’t do.’
Edgar has turned the police into a personal political force for the brutalisation of his opponents. The police is now under the command of Edgar’s minions and it is an extension of the Patriotic Front.

The statements coming from the police command are not different from those of the Patriotic Front secretariat.
Was it really necessary for the police to storm Hakainde Hichilema’s house in the middle of the night and cause so much destruction to his property?  Since when has Hakainde refused to respond to a police call out?

Unless Edgar is capable of learning to respect the dignity of his victims, impassable barriers will remain, and our country will be doomed to violence, cruelty and bitter suffering.

Anger and unnecessary tension is building up in the nation. And the abuse of power that seems to create the most unhappiness is when a person uses personal power to get ahead without regard to the human rights of others, or when power is used to go into the lower dimensional planes.

Does this country really need to sink this low? Anyway, sometimes things need to get really bad before they can ever get better. But really bad can become untenable if enough people get sick of it. We all need to show Edgar that we are not happy with his abuses and protest in whichever way possible his brutality, tyranny by voicing our opinions and declaring what side we are standing on. Brutality, injustice to any one of us is a threat to every one of us.
And it shouldn’t matter what political affiliations one has or doesn’t have; there is something profoundly wrong and unacceptable about using the brute force of the police to bully, harass, humiliate someone. And the exact measure of our civility, humanity is the degree to which the intelligence of our minds prevails over brute force. What is happening in Zambia today reminds us of the story of the Sea Wolf – the story of a man who believed only in brute force. He was so firm in belief in his own ideas that he despised all who disagreed with him. He preached the doctrine of intolerance. He floated the notion that democracy isn’t anything but weakness.

There’s excessive impunity and we are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of a country’s history, the stage of rule by brute force.

They are today openly boasting about their ability to brutalise others. Listen to Mumbi Phiri boast about the Patriotic Front’s security wing’s capacity for brutality! But it is unwise to be proud just because you have brute force, because an animal has brute force too! Either you be proud with your intellect and with your thoughts or be silent!

When we have a gift in speaking the truth, brute aggression is no longer our security blanket for approval. We, on the contrary, spend most of our energy trying to tone it down because our very nature is already offensive enough.

They say that power without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.
Edgar wants to be treated like an emperor who cannot in any way be openly criticised or challenged without one risking his or her neck. It is, however, not brute force but only persuasion and faith are the kings of this world. Nothing achieved by brute force lasts. Again, we conclude where we started: the exercise of power must be a constant practice of self-limitation and modesty!

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