We could not believe what we heard: Edgar Lungu telling passengers on a public passenger bus that he was going to abuse his powers as Head of State just like others before him did.
Edgar told passengers that Dr Kenneth Kaunda, who ruled Zambia for 27 years, also ‘abused’ his office.
“Don’t worry I am abusing my power, the powers of the President. Nabobene nga baba President efyo bakalachita,” said Edgar in apparent reference to his critics who have accused him of abusing his power since his election in 2015 following Michael Sata’s death. “Ba Kaunda, 27 years efyo balechita finofine tamwaleilishanya, natekako one year mwakalipa.”
What’s wrong with Edgar? Is this how much power has gotten to his head?
Does Edgar really understand what abuse of power means? We ask this question because it is difficult to understand how one can confess or admit that he was abusing power. It is hard to imagine a more brazen or more dangerous way of admitting the abuse of power than this.
Abusing power, in the form of malfeasance in office or official misconduct, is the commission of an unlawful act, done in an official capacity, which affects the performance of official duties. Malfeasance in office is often grounds for a cause for removal of an elected official. Abuse of power can also mean a person using the power they have for their own personal gain.
How can one find as acceptable the use of one’s position of power in an abusive way?
Edgar has been taking advantage of people, manipulating people and punishing them if they don’t comply.
Edgar’s buse of power endangers our democracy and freedoms.
Abuse of power is the root of all evil.
How can we be comfortable with a president who is telling us he’s abusing presidential powers with impunity? What we fear most is power with impunity; we fear abuse of power, and the power to abuse.
Edgar is so out of control. And his rule is so infested with fraud and deceit and corruption and abuse of power.
Bangambiki Habyarimana, in Pearls of Eternity, wrote: “Nothing is sweeter and addictive than power, the unlucky soul this demon possesses, if he is not sacrificed on its altar will sacrifice others himself to get it.”
It is said that power without honour is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good.
As we have repeatedly stated, the exercise of power should be a constant practice of self-limitation and modesty. Power without breaks is dangerous, it kills.
It seems Edgar thinks it is impossible to have power without abusing it. For him, abusing power is a normal and unavoidable thing. To Edgar everyone holding power abuses it; even those criticising him for abusing power will not avoid abusing it when it’s their time to rule.
How can we accept that abuse of power is inevitable and acceptable for a Zambian president and still aspire to accountability, decency and good governance?
So, we should also accept abuse of power with impunity? And here, impunity means exemption from punishment. It amounts to the failure to bring a president who has abused power to account, to justice and, as such, itself constitutes a denial to justice. Such impunity can only be accepted where there’s no rule of law and where corruption has entrenched itself and a system of patronage has taken root.
The impossibility, de jure or de facto, of bringing abusers of power to account leads to a total breakdown of a nation. And nothing good can come out of it.