Just as much as one can’t be right and be wrong at the same time, one can’t be a dictator and a democrat in the same breath.
But Edgar Lungu wants to be seen as a democrat when his rule is that of dictatorship, tyranny, “crushing like a tonne of bricks” his opponents, those trying to stand in his way.
It’s not what we call ourselves or what we want to be seen that really defines us. It is our deeds that reveal who we truly are – “…you will know them by their deeds”.
Similarly, Edgar wants to be seen as a devout Christian when his daily deeds and language are that of the devil, evil.
Edgar says if the International Monetary Fund thinks he has gone astray by invoking Article 31 of the Constitution to “restore order” in the country, then they “can go”. “Everything we do, we consult and I want to be remembered for sticking to the law and being with it to the expectations of the people. If the IMF want to go because of this, let them go. If the IMF feels we have gone beyond the norms of good governance and democracy…they are free to go,” says Edgar.
But I say it again, if they think we have gone astray, let them go…Fear nothing, the country is in safe hands and we will continue being there for you. We are here to protect you. There is an attempt by individuals in countries such as Kenya, South Africa, here in Zambia, Zimbabwe…they have hired intellectuals to speak ill of Zambia in international media. Our response has been that come to Zambia and see if indeed this Edgar Lungu is a monster whom they are saying he is. I had a meeting with diplomats from the EU. I asked them to say, ‘Tell me, what do you see. Am I a dictator?’ One of them said, ‘One of your bishops wrote a letter that Zambia is sliding into a dictatorship’. As media, do you have a dictator in Zambia? Is Zambia sliding into a dictatorship? May I appeal to Zambians to just be sincere and be true to themselves. Zambia is one of the best democracies in Africa. Let’s be proud of ourselves, otherwise we risk losing it all. In Zambia…we tolerate so much nonsense than any other country. When you say Zambia is a dictatorship, defend your position with facts, not speculation. I am an advocate of media freedom and I consider the media a friendly force. I am not going to disrupt ordinary life. We will curtail danger to public security. I am tolerant by the way, you can call me names but if you endanger public security, I will come for you. The application of these powers has well-meaning intentions. I will ensure I protect the Zambian people against any excesses. We are going to follow case by case…We are human beings. But if you break the law, I will certainly come for you. Under the law, if you are arrested, the police are mandated to bring you to court within 48 hours, but currently, they can hold you longer. This will last depending on what Parliament will decide, if it’s two weeks, three months, six months…And we will ask those who know to interpret the jargon in the law. The president has power to declare that the current situation is threatened. It is not a state of emergency…Surely you saw what happened after the elections. There was Armageddon coming, and you expected me to sit and say ‘no if I say anything, they will say I am a dictator’, no I can’t. I have to act. It is sad that somebody is incarcerated, I hope they hear the case quickly, either they convict him or free him, I don’t care. The City Market fire is sabotage…This is a deliberate strategy by opposition to drive us to the negotiating table. But when you lose an election, you have lost…There is no room for negotiation now, power belongs to us. We have shared power with MMD because MMD helped us.
Hehehe, hehehe! This is classical oxymoron. An oxymoron is two or more words that contradict themselves. Sometimes an oxymoron is intended to be humorous. But Edgar is not joking; he is serious about what he is saying. Let’s examine what he is saying: “The IMF can go…” Really! Is this arrogance necessary?
Who wants something from the other? Is the IMF looking for anything from Edgar? And why use such language on an institution that has not said anything about his state of emergency? Uncouth language does no one any good.
Edgar says has invoked Article 31 of the Constitution to restore order in the country! When did the country get out of order? All along, he has been saying all is well in Zambia – no tension, conflict, confusion or chaos!
And Edgar says “everything we do we consult”. Who does he consult? Kaizar Zulu! Stephen Kampyongo! Bowman Lusambo! Probably he needs to relook at the type of people he consults!
Edgar says “I want to be remembered for sticking to the law”. Does Edgar stick to the law? Manipulating the judicial process to get what he wants is sticking to the law! Edgar, up to today, has refused to obey lawful orders of the Tax Appeals Tribunal to reopen The Post and has proceeded to liquidate the newspaper under the most fraudulent of ways. And it should not be forgotten how he manipulated things to get rid of an independent Director of Public Prosecutions and pave way for the abuses of the administration of the criminal justice system we are today witnessing. It should now be clear why Edgar moved so quickly to remove justice Lombe Chibesakunda as Chief Justice and Mutembo Nchito as Director of Public Prosecutions!
Who has hired intellectuals to speak ill of Zambia in international media? It seems for Edgar, people have no eyes and ears to see and hear things for themselves, analyse things for themselves and arrive at their own conclusions. This is a reflection of himself: he hires mercenaries to speak for him and against his opponents. The corollary of this is that every person you see defending Edgar has been hired.
Edgar is asking people to look at him and see if he is a dictator, a monster! Being a dictator is not something that is reflected in one’s looks, but in one’s actions. And facts about his tyranny, dictatorship are there: he has restricted the freedom of association, assembly, expression and speech and the press more than any president or regime since the country’s return to multiparty politics in December 1990. Edgar has undermined and destroyed the independence of the judiciary than any president or regime in the independent history of this country. Where does his democratic credentials lie?
Edgar says he is an advocate of media freedom and considers the media as a friendly force! Edgar has closed down and harassed more news media outlets than all the presidents or regimes that have ruled this country put together. And look at how he has turned the state owned and government-controlled news media outlets into personal propaganda machinery at the exclusion of all other stakeholders!
And only those his regime is comfortable with are granted broadcasting licences. Even newspapers today are regulated by his agents in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Edgar says he is not going to disrupt ordinary life with his state of emergency! Don’t be deceived by what he says. Follow what Article 31 and Cap 112 say about what this state of emergency is. Edgar is trying to play down the meaning and purpose of this state of emergency because he knows what it is and what it means – dictatorship!
Edgar says he is tolerant! What does he tolerate? Arresting and detaining political opponents on trumped up criminal charges is tolerance! “Crushing” critical news media outlets is tolerance! Stopping opposition protests, meetings, rallies is tolerance! Trying to obliterate critical organisations like the Law Association of Zambia is tolerance!
Edgar says “if you break the law, I will certainly come for you”! “Come for you…” as what? And this is the same person who tries to convince everyone he has nothing to do with the arrests and detentions of people in this country; it is the work of an independent and professional police!
And Edgar says the police can now hold you for more than 48 hours without taking you to court or releasing you! Is this normal? And doesn’t this affect ordinary people and their lives? Edgar says this is not a state of emergency. Again, don’t be deceived by legal jargon or form. The substance of it is that it is a state of emergency. There’s literally no difference between threatened and state of emergency. They are both anchored on dictatorial powers and both suspend democracy.
And without any evidence, Edgar concludes that the Lusaka City Market fire was sabotage by the opposition to drive him to the negotiating table. This is a lie. Edgar is lying. This is not true. There’s no opposition party seeking to share power with him. Yes, dialogue is needed on a number of governance issues and even over the continued detention of Hakainde. But it is not about power sharing; it is about rule of law, justice and fair play.