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Lungu and his emotional outbursts

Edgar Lungu’s emotional outbursts at airports are not a sign of strong leadership, of someone who is in control of oneself and others. It is a sign of weakness and an attempt to conceal one’s vulnerability. What is it that fires him up on that plane? Is it Jameson?

Edgar needs to learn to remain calm, serene, always in command of himself. He will then find out how easy it is to get along. Anger or emotion is not the argument.

Edgar needs to heed Fr Kennedy Chola’s advice and stop using emotions in governing the country. “We have noted with concern the continued trend of the President using his emotions to govern the country. This trend is growing particularly when the President is speaking at airports. We have continued to advise the President to refrain from speaking at airports. It seems there is an emotional problem with the President and airports,” says Fr Chola.

“Leaders need to act with their brains and not emotions. In leadership, you will be insulted, called names but we use our brains to think and not emotions. Even us in our parishes, people call us names, insult us, but we act as leaders by just listening. We don’t use the homily service to answer back. We just preach love and peace and pray with them. Now if a leader uses emotions, just know that there is lack of leadership. The President needs to respect himself and know that he is a servant of the people. Whatever people say, they have a right to demand from him. It is not for him to say whatever he wants, it is the interest of the people that should come first…Zambia needs leadership and not what we are seeing today.”

Edgar needs to realise that a calm approach to others brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good leadership. His outbursts are a sign of inner weakness, lack of self-confidence. Edgar doesn’t have to control his thoughts. He just has to stop letting them control him. Edgar needs to learn to be patient. And patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one he has in mind.

Everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it. If we’re frantic, life will be frantic. If we’re peaceful, life will be peaceful.

Everything Edgar is doing can be done better from a position of calmness. He needs to slow his heart rate, stay calm and learn to shoot in between his heartbeats.

Edgar’s emotional outbursts are a product of a person in panic mode. And panic causes tunnel vision. Calm acceptance of challenges would allow him to more easily assess the situation and see the options. Edgar really needs to learn to calm down the winds of his mind, and he will enjoy great inner peace. There’s no need to make such unhelpful emotional outbursts. The emotional brain responds to an event more quickly than the thinking brain. What is troubling Edgar? What is scared of?

Jim Butcher said, “Courage is about learning how to function despite the fear, to put aside your instincts to run or give in completely to the anger born from fear. Courage is about using your brain and your heart when every cell of your body is screaming at you to fight or flee – and then following through on what you believe is the right thing to do.” Edgar should learn to take care of his tongue like the way he takes care of his wallet and other treasures.

Edgar needs to know that he is master of what he says until he utters it, once he delivers it, he is its captive. He should learn to preserve his tongue as he does his money and other valuables. One word could bring disgrace and the termination of a bliss. They say a fool is made more of a fool, when their mouth is more open than their mind.

Political leadership isn’t about just talking, it’s about thinking too. Edgar fails to say the right words at airports because he chooses to say the wrong words. He chooses to say the wrong words because he fails to think about the right words. Probably before Edgar says anything at the airport, he should always be asking himself: ‘What will happen if I say nothing?’ They say speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret. It is only the young and callow and ignorant that admire rashness. They say think before you speak and know your subject.

Probably Ernest Hemingway’s advice can be of great help to Edgar: “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”

To this can be added Mahatma Gandhi’s advice: “Speak only if it improves upon the silence.”

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