“The Head of State His Excellency President Edgar Lungu has left the country for a brief visit to Kenya,” Amos Chanda, the Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations to the President, told the press at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.
“President Edgar Lungu has gone to Kenya at the invitation of his Kenyan counterpart, His Excellence Uhuru Kenyatta…It is a short visit… the President will return to Lusaka over the weekend.”
There’s something not tying up here: how can Edgar pay a courtesy call on Uhuru who had invited him to visit Kenya?
It’s an explanation that needs to be further explained; it doesn’t make sense. If Edgar was really in Kenya at the invitation of Uhuru, it doesn’t make sense for him to go and pay a courtesy call on Uhuru, the same person who had invited him, his host.
They say a lie has short legs. Indeed this lie has to walk far. You can’t get away with cheap lies; the truth always comes out.
A lie has short legs but it runs faster than the truth. It’s easy to catch a liar. Lies don’t make it very far.
Amos last week told Zambians that Edgar Lungu had gone to Kenya on a three-day visit at the invitation of Uhuru when he had actually gone for purely private business. Edgar only went to pay a courtesy call on Uhuru. Like always, his business partners in the likes of Vaulden Findlay were in his delegation.
But to mask their moves, Edgar managed to squeeze in some signing of “agreements” with Uhuru. But why tell such a lie?
This not strange. Edgar and his minions frequently fail to talk in a straight and entirely truthful fashion. Not long ago, they told another lie that Edgar had been invited by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa just after he took over office when he was in that country for private business and again, he only paid a courtesy call on Cyril.
In Edgar’s politics, hypocrisy and doublespeak are tools. They can be used nefariously, illegally or for personal gain. But the moment things become public, plausible deniability ceases. Edgar lies to conceal his true actions when they diverge from majority public opinion, or from the beliefs of a key part of his support base. This effectively helps to fool some substantial number of less knowledgeable voters.
Edgar’s lying seems to be reaching its apogee, though we are sure there will be new heights – or depths, depending on how one looks at it – to be reached. We are constantly amazed by how often Edgar and his minions lie and then, of course, their unwillingness to admit that they lied. The euphemisms that politicians use for what is, in many cases, bold-faced lies are legend. They misspoke. The biased media misinterpreted what they meant. Their words were distorted, misrepresented, twisted, exaggerated, or taken out of context. They overstated, understated, or misstated. But, of course, they never lie, at least that’s what they say.
Yet, the unvarnished truth is that they do lie about things substantive. They are narcissists. It isn’t difficult to see the connection. These are narcissists, arrogant, self-important, who see themselves as special, requiring excessive admiration. They have a sense of entitlement, and are exploitative. They say if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it’s probably a duck. This constellation of narcissistic attributes causes them to believe that they are right and, even if they are not, they’re too smart to be caught or suffer the consequences. In other words, they believe their own lies.
They have a self-focus, an egotism, a narcissism that leads them to believe you can do whatever they want.
They know their followers will believe them, even in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary. They live in an echo chamber in which everyone watches the same news channel, listens to the same talk radio, reads the same newspapers and websites, and hangs out with the same like-minded people. There exists an impermeable membrane that prevents conflicting information from entering. The content of the lies is also usually red meat for their ravenous base who are only too happy to chew on it for days on end.
They don’t want to hear the truth. Truth, as the saying goes, hurts and no one wants to hear things that threaten their existence, their beliefs, or that will make them uncomfortable. It is decidedly better for them to tell people what makes them feel comfortable. The Internet never forgets. One of the unintended consequences of the Internet is that information, true or not, lives on forever and it is likely to continue to be believed even in the face of contradictory evidence.
It is said that if a lie is told enough times, people will assume it is true. It is not a stretch to understand why people would believe something if they hear it enough. People expect that lies will be disproved and fade away. So if the lies continue to be heard, people assume, then they must be true. We are going to assume that they know when they are lying – if not, we not only have a bunch of narcissists in government, but also a whole lot of sociopaths. So, they lie when they believe that dishonesty is the best policy for keeping power or getting re-elected.