A US-BASED Zambian has called on President Edgar Lungu to rise to the challenge and show leadership regarding recent events prevailing in the country.
In an open letter to the President, Harrison Muyeba Musonda stated that when faced with crises, previous presidents had faced challenges head-on and given hope and direction to the citizens.
Musonda stated in the letter dated February 22, 2020, that he should not be misconstrued as being an agitator, insubordination or unpatriotic.
“Let me begin by saying I have since you came into office been a staunch supporter of your administration and keenly followed your style of administration to the dot. When you first came into office, you gave the nation the impression of being a listening, empathetic and transparent leader who was going to show leadership when the country may need you,” he stated. “Going by what is happening in the country and the current state of the country, I am left perplexed with fear hence I have been forced to write this appeal letter on behalf of the silent majority to beg you to show leadership. Sir, during situations such as what is happening in Zambia, presidents rise to the challenge and show leadership by showing empathy to the people, and urgently attending to their pain.”
Musonda recalled that when the Mufulira Disaster took place in 1970, then president Kenneth Kaunda showed leadership by visiting the town and made sure measures were taken to take care of families.
“During the Rhodesian Raids of the late 70s and 1980s, president Kaunda again showed leadership by addressing the nation on the seriousness of the struggle. Another example that many young adults will remember is the handling of the Gabon Disaster by president Chiluba. FTJ and his administration showed leadership. He called for a Crisis Meeting, instructed the then foreign affairs minister Hon Vernon Mwaanga to lead a high powered delegation to Gabon with Dipak Patel so that they could bring the bodies of the departed National Team. That was leadership.”
Musonda noted that during the mourning that followed the Gabon Disaster, the late Chiluba showed empathy and love to the families and the nation at large.
“He never locked himself in the State House. Leaders rise to challenges and don’t shy away in the guise of humbleness…” he stated.
Musonda noted that following the recent gassing attacks and murder of innocent people by instant justice mobs, President Lungu had shown a lack of leadership at a time when the country needed him most.
Musonda urged President Lungu to seek help from stakeholders in the country.
“We expect you to call for an indaba of senior and eminent Zambians to help you mitigate this crisis. The nation understands that this is something beyond you and needs wisdom from everyone,” Musonda stated.
“When Moses was leading the Israelites from Egypt to Canan, he faced a crisis of leading the multitude until he consulted his father in law ‘Jethro’ for wisdom on how to handle the situation and he got the answer. Zambia doesn’t lack men and women of wisdom. They are willing to help if only you ask.”
Musonda stated that the President was failing to see the big picture of the long-term impact of the current crisis for Zambia and the SADC region.
“This crisis will inevitably cripple the country’s economy and may lead to an adverse effect on the commerce of the SADC Region since Zambia is used as a transit route by many neighbouring countries,” he stated.
“Matters of national security should never be treated with kids’ gloves. They should be confronted with a mighty hand of firm leadership, and I am sorry to say that is what is lacking in your humble leadership style.”
Musonda stated that he watched a video of President Lungu and other leaders recently attending prayers at Mulungushi International Conference Centre and wondered what he was thinking.
“Have you deeply thought of families who have lost children or have you thought of innocent people who have been killed on mere suspicion of being gassers?” he asked.
Musonda stated that the negative press reports on international news media painted a very gloomy picture of Zambia as a tourist destination and as an investment centre.
“What has happened to our country that has for many years been the beacon of peace in the region? Are you willing to go down in history as a President who failed his people and left the State House when the country was bleeding? Remember that destruction takes a spark but rebuilding takes ages. What will you choose?” he asked.
Musonda stated that what he was seeing today reminded him of the early days of the Rwanda genocide, and the wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia which happened not too long ago.
“How can you bury your head in the sand when blood is flowing in your country every day? How can you even sit at the dinner table enjoying the spoils of life while a mother is crying over a dead child or a family has been displaced? Where is your conscience?” Musonda wondered.
He urged the President to rise up and “do something”.
“People are tired, the economy is suffering, investors’ confidence is flying through the windows and at the end of the day, the same Zambians will, in the long run, be adversely affected by your inept leadership. Please heal the nation,” appealed Musonda. “I beg you on behalf of the SILENT MAJORITY to urgently attend to this matter and show true leadership. I remain trusting that Zambia is larger than any selfishness and lack of judgment in such a time as this.”