GOVERNANCE activist Brebner Changala feels that without the police, Edgar Lungu’s presidency is totally naked.
He regrets that even “jackals” are now aspiring for the Republican presidency because they have seen how the current occupant has debased the decency of the office.
Meanwhile, Changala has warned that with President Lungu in charge, next year’s general elections will be bloody because: “he leads a party that is armed in more ways than one.”
In an interview in Lusaka, Changala noted that the PF government, under President Lungu, was the worst in history and that it would remain so.
“President Edgar Lungu has destroyed the aspirations of many in the Office of President. Now, every Jim and Jack, even jackals, want to be presidents because they have seen the level…There is no discipline! Almost running the country like a police State,” Changala said.
“In fact, his authority is no longer derived from the people who elected him; he is deriving his mandate now from the police force. Without the police, the presidency is totally naked. He hasn’t assembled a good team of advisors – there is no single advisor at State House who you can point at and say that one may make a change in the life of the President.”
He added that President Lungu had maintained his Cabinet “for reasons known to himself.”
Changala feels that the President should have reshuffled his government many times: “so that he can strike a code of success as they govern this country.”
“He has remained with the same tired and retired politicians. It’s a tragedy! You now have a minister who is behaving like a policeman, closing bars and arresting people. Where is the police? That’s a breakdown in the rule of law,” he said.
Reminded that such a minister, apparently Lusaka Province’s Bowman Lusambo, was helping in the implementation of the presidential directive, Changala countered with: “but that is not his role.”
He noted that there were arms of the government which could implement presidential directives.
“What the minister is doing by arresting and locking up people is like a judge passing a sentence and the same judge going to hang the convict. No! There must be division of labour,” Changala argued.
“But it shows you the total chaos that is in this administration. For almost one year, I have been calling for early elections so that we can reset the button and start afresh. Short of that, we’ll go to a general election in a mess.”
He added: “I can warn the country [that] with President Edgar Lungu at the helm, to face 2021 will be bloody because he leads a party that is armed in more ways than one.”
Changala regretted the PF government’s frosty approach to the private media, “how they are now trying to shut a critical voice.”
“I don’t know whether they are going to face 2021 general elections with any private media still standing. I doubt it! I doubt if they are going to face 2021 them knowing that they are going to lose,” he noted.
“I doubt whether we’ll have the three prominent opposition leaders still walking the streets. They have to manufacture some stories to have certain political leaders locked up because they will need to win the 2021 elections by hook or crook. They have lost their legitimacy, their mandate. They are now surviving on a whisker, a thread; their mandate dissipated, it’s gone.”
Changala further pointed out that the PF, as a party, had remained relevant only because of incumbency.
“It’s not that they have any story to tell the people of Zambia. The so-called unprecedented infrastructural development is slowly fading away in people’s memories – they don’t want to even hear that story,” he explained, adding that Zambians were now yearning for a buoyant economy.
“They want their children who have graduated to find employment, they want food on the table, they want to find doctors and medicines in the hospitals. They want to live decent lives like politicians do. None of these is available at the moment, and yet they are still ‘sloganeering’ that they want to contest the 2021 general elections. They can but the people of Zambia will decide to kick them out. But the question is ‘will they accept?’ I don’t think so. Zambians must brace for hard times as we go towards the 2021 general elections.”
Changala indicated that save for the coronavirus, “one would still insist that we hold our elections earlier than 2021 so that we chart our way forward as a sovereign people, unlike under these PF conditions which are toxic, unbearable and injurious to all.”