Harry Kalaba is right when he says Edgar Lungu has a tendency to rely on state institutions to decapitate political opponents.
Today there’s no state institution Edgar has not used to persecute his political opponents.
We cannot please all men but we can be a blessing to many.
It is a persistent evil to persecute a man for simply belonging to the opposition. It is a calamity without remedy to hate the opposition in a multiparty political dispensation.
Anyone who persecutes his political opponents must consider who tempted Jesus Christ, the persecution of the apostles and the Psalm 23 of David.
Persecution of the opposition in today’s Zambia of Edgar is not a possibility, it’s a promise, it’s not a maybe, it’s a surety! Belonging to the opposition can mean finding the trouble you’ve been looking for!
What is worrying is the fact that Edgar and his minions don’t seem to learn from their mistakes.
A teachable spirit and a humbleness to admit their ignorance or their mistakes will save them a lot of pain. However, if they’re people who know it all, then they’ve got a lot of heavy-hearted experiences coming their way.
Why is every genuine or credible opposition leader seen as an enemy of Edgar and his minions?
Why, is it the same story of every opposition leader with some credibility? It is the cloud which thunders around everything that is genuine opposition.
Under Edgar and his minions genuine opposition becomes an enemy, as light must have gnats. Those in the opposition shouldn’t bother about it; disdain. They should keep their minds serene as they keep their lives clear.
What Edgar doesn’t realise is that opposition strengthens him. People who purport to support him, cheer him weaken him.
The more credible the opposition, the more it is persecuted by the government. As they say, the greater the fruit a tree bears, the greater the number of stones thrown at it.
And Edgar has mobilised the whole State apparatus for the persecution of the opposition. If you are an opposition leader or member, whichever public office you enter everyone seems scared to deal with you. The police and other law enforcement agencies, the courts, deal with you in a manner that is not fair, just or humane. Look at how the police, the Drug Enforcement Commission, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the courts deal with opposition elements! Look at how they handle Hakainde Hichilema, Chishimba Kambwili!
The hated opposition is an indispensable member of our society and somewhat a loyal friend of our society; its fruits can be sweeter or bitter; it pushes people to take different steps with different motives and understanding. If there is one fearful enemy in our society, we must arrest with all our true strength, wisdom and might, it must be hatred!
But Edgar must beware!
All these people he is using against the opposition are like chameleons, for they can turn persecutors of his overnight.
Edgar wants to keep himself in power for as long as it takes. And his persecution of credible opposition is aimed at confusing and discouraging it.
But those in the opposition shouldn’t be afraid of Edgar’s persecution; the tallest trees are always confronted by the strongest winds.
They never mind of what Edgar and his minions think of them; they should relax and think ahead of them.
Pope Francis’ guidance on persecution is very clear: “Jesus does not mince his words in this respect, when He says, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Hostility is always at the beginning of the persecution of Christians; because Jesus knows that the mission is opposed by the work of the evil one. Therefore, the worker of the Gospel strives to be free from human influences of every kind, carrying neither money bag, nor knapsack, nor sandals, as Jesus advises, instead relying solely on the power of the Cross of Christ. This means giving up all motives of personal pride, of careerism or hunger for power, and becoming humble instruments of salvation worked by Jesus’ own sacrifice.”
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encouraged his disciples with these words, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:10). Jesus defines “persecution” as being reviled and having false things uttered about you.
The Corinthians were looking down on Paul’s persecutions as a sign that God’s blessing was not upon his ministry, and that he was not an apostle to be followed. Paul corrected their thinking, telling them “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).