Edgar Lungu seems to have an obsession with power, recognition and glory – with being President of the Republic.
Edgar wants even the debate about the state of emergency to be about his power and not its merits. No one is disputing that Edgar has powers under Article 31 to declare such a state of emergency. What people want to hear are concrete reasons upon which such powers have been exercised. To Edgar everything is about recognition. When he receives an invitation to visit another country, to him, that is all about him being recognised as President of the Republic of Zambia.
Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance. Strong people have a strong sense of self-worth and self-awareness; they don’t need the approval of others, recognition by others. We think a lot of self-importance is a product of fear. And fear, living in sort of an un-self-examined fear-based life, tends to lead to narcissism and self-importance. And half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. An honest person, a progressive human being who is involved in the sphere of politics, cannot think about glory, self importance.
Edgar seems to be really obsessed with self-importance, recognition and glory. We know of many people, great figures, who were obsessed with glory, power, recognition. Among these great figures, for example, was Napoleon Bonaparte. Every speech, proclamation, statement of his spoke of glory, recognition, power and his role in history; he was worried about that sort of thing all the time. Napoleon was a revolutionary – with his armies, he spread the ideas of the French Revolution throughout Europe. Later on, he changed and thought more about the empire and the crown and aligned himself with the aristocracy or developed a new form of aristocracy.
In our era, in which one can have a slightly broader view, a more complete view of what has happened and a different approach to and view of the role of human beings, concerns with glory, recognition and power wouldn’t be compatible with the duty of an honest and progressive leader, the selflessness every progressive politician should have, their total dedication. We think that an honest and progressive leader shouldn’t worry about themselves, personal recognition, power and glory. Concern about oneself can have a destructive influence on one’s conduct.
We think that human beings should never draw away from the honest goal they seek and let themselves be influenced by glory, power and recognition. If you have had an opportunity to come in close contact with history and analyse these matters, you will realise that humans tend to make a fool of themselves if they think too much about personal recognition, glory and power. It would be wiser to aspire to a modest, simple, even anonymous place in things, because, if you have a true measure of the power of people as individuals, you know it’s so fragile and such a small thing that it really doesn’t make sense to magnify the role of any individual, no matter how intelligent, brilliant or able they be. There have been many able, intelligent, meritorious figures in the course of history.
Therefore, we urge Edgar to be unassuming and limit himself to doing his duty to the best of his extremely limited possibilities. There’s no need to keep on reminding people all the time that he is the president and that he has immense powers. But power shouldn’t be seen as something that is personal, something that is to be enjoyed. Rather, we should look at power as a tool of a legitimate cause.