We listened attentively and watched closely Edgar Lungu addressing Parliament last Friday: it was a big joke, a big shame!
The man didn’t seem to believe in all that he was reading – it was just another speech written by speechwriters for him to read.
In that speech, he claimed to have created many jobs! Where? Where are those jobs? Who got them? Even his own Patriotic Front cadres are complaining about lack of jobs!
Edgar is never shy to take credit even for problems he has not solved – problems that still persist.
Edgar loves credit. And that has become a truism of State House – which is that Edgar likes to take credit for things he has not yet accomplished. He tries to take credit for things where no credit is yet deserved.
Edgar keeps claiming credit for fixing things that aren’t fixed.
Edgar isn’t much for self-deprecation or passing off praise. Instead, he seeks it out constantly, betraying a perishing thirst for adulation – even when his relationship to a given event, good or bad, is indirect, tangential or plainly nonexistent.
Edgar routinely demands credit for positive economic developments.
Edgar’s general presentation and conduct was embarrassing. Clearly, Edgar’s conduct while presenting his speech to Parliament was unpresidential and lacked decorum – behaviour that people consider to be correct, polite, and respectable. He conducted himself like a common Patriotic Front cadre. He was actually short of standing up in between his speech to dance ‘Dununa Reverse’ on the floor of the House. He didn’t seem to attach any seriousness to what he was reading. Most Zambians could clearly see that he didn’t mean what he was saying. What was propelling or firing him?
To him, nothing he was reading seemed to matter, except that he would have given his usual speech to Parliament.
On concerns by Zambians over the country’s relations with China, Edgar arrogantly said: “We shall choose our own friends on our own terms and that does not mean appeasing anyone with unjustified enemity with others.”
But who told Edgar that Zambians do not have a say in the running of government? Our people have every right to question or express concern on what they feel is not right. Questioning and expressing concern is part of the democratic governance process. So Edgar, just because he’s President of the Republic, has no right to dictate to Zambians and shut them up.
Laura Miti has put it more aptly: “Citizens need to clear something for government – our worry is not Chinese debt, it is debt. Chinese debt is causing more anxiety because it is opaque. Government can make any claims it wants, understate the total figure, hide the terms, deny distress and we will not know what is true. China asks no questions, when it lends. Gives our government all the rope it wants to hang hapless citizens with. So no, we do not want you to borrow from the West, we want to know our total debt burden, the repayment terms and how that money was used. When you borrow again, we want to know how much and why you are borrowing. We want it to be done via Parliament where we can follow the justifications of the borrowing. Summary – our outcry over debt is not about China. It is about our government being transparent, accountable and responsible.”
There’s need for Edgar to account to us for his decisions and actions. And accountability is not for just for those who are weak, or for wimps; it is for the strong who want to be stronger and the unconnected who need to be connected. If you think, as a man, this is still just for the weak, consider that greatness and authenticity cannot come about without humility and connection (James 4:7-12; 1 Pet. 5: 1-11)! “Real men” will be accountable to other real men, and real godly women will be connected to other godly women (Prov. 31). There is no way around this vital call! God gives us the call to be deeply connected to one another because we need it. The leaders in the Bible knew this well, Jesus modeled this for us, and the only hindrance is our willingness to comply. Leaders who are not accountable will eventually fall and, until then, be very ineffective! (Prov. 27:17)!
Accountability is nothing new. Accountability was insisted on and practiced by Christ Himself. Just observe how Jesus led the Disciples and how He modeled to the Disciples.