Just Politics: The precarious position of this President

[By Aaron Ng’ambi]

THERE are many schools of thought that seek to define what good leadership entails, but despite the various theories, almost all of them tend to arrive at the same conclusion; good leadership must start with self-awareness.

It is self-awareness that makes a good leader conscious enough to pursue excellence and seek integrity in all his/her dealings. No one can lead others if they have no sense of self-awareness in terms of what they say or do, because both words and deeds have serious consequences when emanating from anyone in a position of leadership.

Therefore, we must remember that everything that our leaders say or do cannot be ignored or taken lightly. However, it is difficult to do so when dealing with the Patriotic Front government, simply because at the helm of this party and government sits a President who has put himself in a very precarious position. It is apparent that the President must either protect the interest of his bootlickers or do the right thing for the people of Zambia. Sadly, it looks like the man is leaning towards one at the expense of the other. He is deliberately supporting his base instead of serving all Zambians. The man knows too well that his mandate comes from all the people of Zambia, and that he has an obligation to us and not just his cadres. Perhaps we should remind our so-called humble leader that the consequences of his choices of defending those who worship him rather than doing the right thing will follow him even after he leaves office.

In the last few years, Zambians have witnessed many unbearable things. For example, the President has been claiming to fight corruption but he himself – including his daughter – has been a subject of many allegations of corruption. No one can take this President’s remarks on the fight against corruption seriously when we saw a Cabinet minister dragged to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to be investigated without being fired or sent on leave to pave way for the investigations. This move was nothing but a joke and made many people believe that such a minister was under the wing of the President from the beginning, hence the investigations yielded no tangible results. In any civilised society, a cabinet minister under any allegations of misconduct would have been put on leave pending investigations for the sake of transparency.

Another issue that exposes the precarious position of President Edgar Lungu is the issue of him defending those he perceives as loyal followers at the expense of doing the right thing. Just recently, a provincial minister harassed young people and artistes on social media in an attempt to intimidate them and restrict their freedom of expression. This unacceptable behaviour by the provincial minister towards the ordinary citizens should have been a cause for the appointing authority to call this minister to order. Unfortunately, the opposite happened and the President again lost an opportunity to do what was right. Instead he spoke in favour of the minister whom everyone knows was in the wrong on this issue. The reality in our country today is that the siting President has found himself between a rock and a hard place. In the words of his predecessor, Mr Michael Sata, “The man cannot lead; the man is politically impotent.”

Any well-meaning Zambian can clearly see that President Lungu has lost it. He spends too much time trying to defend the indefensible. Whenever the President says something, he either has to walk back on his words or have his surrogates try to make sense out of whatever the boss had said. If anyone looks at every decision, every move and literally everything that our President has done so far, the only logical conclusion to be reached is that indeed this man never thought that he would one day be president of this great country. The only explanation why the PF regime is so reckless and uninspiring is that the leader of the party in government has no vision for the country and cannot seem to do anything right.

The President’s policies and moves show us that he is neither coming nor going and that all he is left with are nothing but last kicks of a dying horse. In fact, it is an open secret that even most officials within the PF government know that the centre cannot hold any longer, hence a sequence of mistake after mistake. To those who doubt this analysis, we say to them read the writing on the wall, from the mismanagement of resources on a scale we have never seen before, and the corruption allegations in the cabinet of which the President himself has admitted to but done nothing to put an end to. All these are signs of a regime that is on its edge and can tip over at any time.

Therefore, we are seeing attempts by some government officials to instill fear in the hearts of the people so that people do not hold them accountable for all their wrongs.

There are many examples that show us that President Lungu is in a predicament. He professes to love and cherish democracy, but attempts to silence his opponents. The same man claims to be humble and peaceful, yet he does nothing at all about the thugs in his party who harass and intimidate innocent citizens. And above all, we know that the President has been going around already campaigning for a re-election next year even though he has no vision. We should not forget that the man in State House today told us that he had no vision for the country when he was initially a candidate for office.

In fact, if our memory serves us correctly, it was in 2015 after the death of president Sata and leading up to the presidential by-election when Lungu said on record that he had no vision of his own for Zambia. After almost 5 years of trying to lead the country, his own words have proved to be true because this regime is clueless on how to deal with many issues including but not limited to the gassing issue, COVID-19, corruption and many other challenges. If this President does not come around and get out of this precarious position, then it will be said of the PF government that this regime is like the crab which lies still on the chopping block, never knowing when the knife will fall.


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