Addressing Parliament on the progress made in the application of national values and principles in March this year, Edgar Lungu said, “A nation without morals is like a ship without a compass. We must, therefore, collectively resolve to strengthen the application of these national values and principles in everything that we do as a country. For the Honourable members in this House, it is as much your duty, as it is mine, to live up to these values and principles. Our country expects no less from us, our people demand no less and our future generations deserve no less. However, we have observed with great concern that our morals have deteriorated overtime. This is evidenced by the high prevalence of teen pregnancies and early marriages. We have also witnessed a growing trend in the misapplication of public funds and abuse of social media. Of equal concern is alcohol and substance abuse as well as poor work culture, among many others. We need to act now!”
But now Edgar is saying, “I cannot talk about alcohol, because I can offend myself.”
Edgar seems to forget easily. He seems to have forgotten that less than two months ago, he condemned the increasing levels of alcohol abuse among youths and told them to drink responsibly.
This is the problem with these speeches written for them which they read without comprehension. Today, Edgar can’t talk about alcohol because he will be talking about himself! How? Ni chakolwa? Is he abusing alcohol? Is he addicted to alcohol as he is addicted to power?
We know that a bad leader has the same addiction to power as an alcoholic has to alcohol or a gambler has to gambling.
Power can go to some people’s heads and change the way their brain functions – their personality changes, they have a loss of empathy, they’re more narcissistic – and are increasingly of the opinion that without them, everything will fall apart.
The reason some political leaders don’t leave on their own accord, but have to be pushed out, is because of an addiction they develop to being in power.
The loss of power is equivalent to an alcoholic losing alcohol, or a gambler who stops gambling. There’s a terrible sense of loss and emptiness. And although it causes them immense stress, they can’t envisage life without it.
A good leader not only listens to those that he is serving, but also admits his mistakes, learns from them and acts upon them. Edgar doesn’t listen! Edgar doesn’t admit mistakes! Edgar doesn’t learn from mistakes! Edgar doesn’t act upon mistakes!
The artefacts around democracy were invented – such as the judiciary, and a free press – because it was observed that leaders often went off the rails and above the law, seeing themselves as special once they gain power.
Clearly, Edgar has been corrupted by his own ambition. And he has put his own ambition or needs ahead of the Zambian people.
Of course, being a political leader is no doubt an incredibly difficult task – not only do you have to inspire the people around you to follow suit, but you are constantly judged by the public, as is the nature of the job.
It’s a hell of a job, you’re constantly looking over your shoulder.
Certainly, Edgar needs to be a little bit more honest with himself and the Zambian people. Honesty is the most important of all the virtues because without it, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.
Consistency is the true foundation of trust. Either keep your words or do not utter them.
It’s not what we say and do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we say and do consistently.
Edgar shouldn’t say things he cannot continue to say or do. What the Zambian people want to hear and see from him is a consistent message and deeds.