[By Gibson Kapili]
There is presumption by some citizens that President Lungu is not in control of state affairs or makes wrong judgements based on wrong advice from advisors.
This is far from the truth. He is not ill advised. He is very much in control. It makes sense when we understand what drives him. His decisions, actions and utterances exhibit attributes of someone suffering from what the psychologists call ‘Dark Triad Personality Disorder’. It simply means it is a psychological problem. I should state from the onset that people with this type of personality can [be] very destructive sometimes. Most dictators like [Adolf] Hitler are associated with this type of personality disorder.
There are a number of symptoms that are associated with the person suffering from the Dark Triad Personality Disorder. Not all symptoms can characterise one person. Some people have more symptoms with greater intensity than others. These can range from envy, low honest-humility associated with deceptive behaviour, manipulative, exaggerated sense of entitlement and superiority thinking, moral disengagement and unethical attitudes, lack of empathy, threats in response to distress, covert tactics, breaking the law to blame shifting using persons called flying monkeys. These symptoms are collectively linked to aggression driven by fear and absence of empathy, high focus on oneself with no regard for others and manipulative for one´s own personal gain.
Perhaps we should dovetail some of the characteristics and see how they relate to the underlying personality of our President.
President Lungu´s reign can be considered to be that of deception. Before the death of president Michael Sata, President Lungu was known to have a personality that is different from the one he mimics today. During the funeral of the late president he wept uncontrollably, which several people associated him with deception in order to win sympathy for presidency opportunity he foresaw coming.
After the funeral he presented new personality of a poor man from Chawama characterised by poor dressing, humble, full of respect and love. Zambia being a religious country where religion is used as anesthesia for problems, he positioned himself as a man after God´s heart. This, coupled with sympathy for president Sata, won the hearts of some poor people and evangelicals who were duped (manipulated) into declaring themselves “Christians for Lungu”.
He later went on to create the Ministry of Religious Affairs, declaring public holiday for prayers and providing land to build a house of prayers. This year we also learnt of Godfather Seer1 being the centre of PF spirituality. This has shown his unshakable faith in his ability to manipulate and deceive citizens when power is bestowed upon him.
After the death of president Michael Sata, acting president Lungu then literally refused to hand over power to Dr Guy Scott, citing Articles 38 and 39(1) of the 1996 Constitution as his basis of appointment and hold on to power, ignoring provisions of Article 39 (2), which outlined the procedure for appointing the acting president in case of a demise of incumbent. It had to take former Attorney General Musa Mwenye to advise him that his action was unconstitutional.
Since then his presidency has been characterised by breaking the law, which includes keeping ministers in office, threatening the judiciary and citizens; not handing over power when his election is challenged, going for the third term and allowing lawlessness of his cadres, which is a departure from the affirmation of the oath he took and trying to legalise the third term through Bill 10, which is inappropriately overhauling our constitution.
Despite showing strong personality, president Lungu is a very vulnerable, fragile and fearful person. The insecurity makes him aggressive, malicious, maintain attitude of superiority, distort reality, threaten and injure others and to him the impact of his actions is irrelevant. He does not care the damage he is causing provided his needs to make him secure are met. Some of the threats and propaganda are being issued by his flying monkeys.
For instance, from the time he took over office of president in 2015 he has been threatening and persecuting anyone whom he thinks crosses his path. In 2015 he threatened Fred M´membe with death, only rested in 2016 when he liquidated The Post newspaper, consistently threatened to arrest HH if he did not accept 2016 results until he put him [in] prison with feaces on trumped up treason charges; threatened ConCourt judges to render judgement in his favour on third term bid; threatened USA ambassador until he left Zambia; threatened youths against having protests until they had to have them in the bush; threatened IMF, students, threatened ACC and FIC, the list is endless including attacking and closure of media houses. He has now consistently started threatening HH of arrest if he does not accept 2021 elections, a sign that they have been rigged, and on privatisation.
President Lungu´s government is characterised by blame shifting to dodge responsibility and project a sense of blameless. For instance, he closed Prime TV and said in Siavonga `te ine` (it’s not me)’. While addressing a rally in Lukashya he declared that HH may be arrested if he is not lucky but goes further to state `te ine, ma Zambians (it’s not me but Zambians) who want him arrested. While in Runfunsa he blamed UPND for bad road network, he blamed the church for inciting violence during chemical spray attacks, he declared state of emergency and blamed the opposition over burning of Soweto Market, blamed miners for tragic mine dump collapse, blamed opposition for failed referendum, blamed opposition and former BOZ governor for free falling kwacha, blames the opposition for tribalism. The list is again endless on this one.
There are so many Dark Triad traits that we can associate President Lungu with ranging from envy of HH’s achievements, vengefulness, violence by his cadres, lack of care of emotions/feelings and suffering of others by having them in prison for no crime.
In a constitutional democracy, presidents usually swear to the oath of office to defend the constitution and bear the true faith and allegiance to the same. Our President has departed from the oath. Moral seriousness and respect for presidency just isn’t his thing. He believes in the ‘Might is Right’ rather than rule of law. He is using fear-based leadership to manage the country.
The author is a Zambian consultant working in the diaspora who is also concerned about the President´s behaviour more than anything else. Send comment to: email@example.com