Edgar Lungu’s rule is becoming more and more repressive. And it is time for Zambians to resist this repression. As the Human Rights Commission says, rights and freedoms are not gotten on a silver platter from those in authority, we have to remove our fear and challenge Edgar’s repressive regime. The civic and democratic spaces we worked very hard to broaden over the last three decades are quickly shrinking under Edgar.
And as Human Rights Commission spokesperson Mwelwa Muleya correctly puts it, citizens must overcome fear and struggle for their rights and freedoms.
We are being driven into a de facto one party state by Edgar. We are increasingly becoming a police state. And we know very well what a police state is.
Edgar has destroyed the independence of the judiciary by appointing spineless and incompetent Patriotic Front cadres as judges – robbing the Zambian people of any protection. Under Edgar, the judiciary has become a crucifixion platform for his political opponents.
And as Muleya says, there’s need for society to be reawakened to realise that the democratic space is shrinking.
“From a human rights perspective, rights and freedom are not given on a silver platter. You have to struggle for rights and freedoms. We should start to have self-introspection and ask ourselves whether we have been stoking in fear around this democratic space… failing to enter it. We must overcome fear,” says Muleya.
Fear-based leadership can often have origins traced back to a leader’s own lack of self-confidence. If a leader has any insecurities, ruling by fear is a way to mask these limitations. In an environment where people are afraid to positively challenge ideas, decisions or actions, people will simply fall in line and never question authority. That works well for leaders who lack poise.
Fear breeds silence and silent engagement is never a helpful trait. Leading by fear stifles participation and creativity. This leads to the status quo and revolutionary ideas are seldom born of the status quo. Stagnation is not a component of an advanced, vibrant culture.
Building a shared consensus is great, but hearing “yes” to everything isn’t. If you can’t have healthy debates in a nation, in a political party, it is a sign that people are afraid to disagree with the key leadership. Earnest debates are good for sustained and long-term success of a nation, a political party. Leaders make the best decisions when they hear all sides of an argument.
Governing by fear can be a hard habit to break, particularly if the opposition is resilient and growing. However, governing by fear is not a good long-term political strategy. While fostering an environment of tolerance and democracy is not easy and requires effort, it is worth the time and commitment. Driving the fear out of the nation is important. Let the people speak freely and without fear of being arrested or beaten by cadres.
Fear sometimes is a very helpful thing that keeps us from harm.
But many times it’s a barrier that keeps us stuck, that keeps us from getting what we want and becoming who we honestly deep down want to be.
We just have to get rid of fear and confront the challenges facing our country.
Rosa Parks said, “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
It’s said that fear comes from uncertainty. When we are absolutely certain, whether of our worth or worthlessness, we are almost impervious to fear.
Not a single person on this planet is immune to fear. To be human means to feel emotions and be affected by our thoughts, which sometimes leads us to losing track of our divine nature. In those times, fear can take hold of us and make us feel trapped and powerless. If we are going through a time in our lives where we feel scared, we should know that we are not alone. We should know that within us is all the power we need to overcome our challenges.
There is no illusion greater than fear.
They say what you fear is what you must conquer.
Overcoming what frightens us the most strengthens us the most.
Mahatma Gandhi said,
“Fear has its use, but cowardice has none.”