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‘Even if you vote us out, we will not move out’

Edgar Lungu a week ago told women in Chibombo that even if they vote him out, he will not move out.

“Maka maka imwe, even if you vote us out, we will not move out. You voted us out in 2015, 2016 but we are still there,” Edgar told the Chisamba women, “so it’s better you wake up and start working with us.”

Ummm! What is Edgar telling us? Is Edgar telling us that elections don’t count? Is he telling us that votes against him don’t count? How does he remain in power when he has been voted out? Does he do so by force? That will be a coup! Does he do so by manipulating the electoral process? That will be rigging, electoral fraud! And it’s a crime!

If you’re running a dictatorship, you don’t really have to worry about whether or not people vote for you. Only the people who keep you in power, a very small group, matter. Where is this arrogance coming from? And is this how brazen about it he has become? Edgar’s brazenness – the state of being impudent or arrogantly self-confident – is frightening!

This audaciousness, audacity, boldness, brashness, cheekiness is really worrying!

We have all felt the brazenness of words without emotion, the hollowness, the unaccountable unpersuasiveness of careless talk behind which lies no restraint but not like we are today hearing from Edgar! Edgar’s brazenness can be contrasted with the sedate grace of the heroine! It’s really frightening! How can one, under normal circumstances say such things?

But this how dictators behave. It’s frightening when you realize how passionately all dictators throughout history believed in their delusion and led many others to commit horrible crimes, all in the name of leadership – if you can call it that!

And we should never forget the human rights atrocities perpetrated by such tyrannical despots in their desire to retain power and keep themselves in office at any or all costs. If what Edgar is saying does not scare and sober us into being wary of the corrupting power of leadership if not wielded well, then we should be ready to be led down a bad path by a dictator, a tyrannical leader.

But what should we do about what Edgar is saying? Victor Hugo said, “When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right.” And Tony Blair said, “Anywhere, anytime ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same: freedom, not tyranny; democracy, not dictatorship; the rule of law, not the rule of the secret police.”

We were well warned by Pope Benedict XVI: “We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.”

It’s clear that our elections are a sham, a useless but costly exercise. Plato was right when he wrote: “Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty.”

It’s very clear that Edgar’s rule is not about democracy, good governance, human rights protection and peaceful, free and fair elections; it is about keeping himself in power and enriching himself and his minions. Our duty today is to maintain democracy or go to dictatorship: that is what is at stake in Zambia today.

Clearly and in depth, all that Edgar is doing is aimed at consolidating power and his system of domination. And it will be a grave mistake for us to sit ndwii and allow him to do so. Edgar’s dictatorship shouldn’t be allowed to take root.

When we’re afraid to take on Edgar and his dictatorship. If we are afraid, we lose all sense of analysis and reflection. Our fear paralyses us. Besides, fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators’ repression. And Edgar and his minions are every day trying to instill fear in all Zambians through all sorts of threats, violence by their cadres and abuse of the police and the entire criminal justice system.

It is actually Edgar and his minions who are living in great fear. All these threats and brutality are a result of fear on their part. As Winston Churchill said, “You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police…yet in their hearts, there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home – all the more powerful because forbidden – terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.”

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