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‘What we are experiencing is terrorism under the guise of democracy’

OUTGOING President, Edgar Lungu says just like UNIP and MMD, the PF has gone down because of violence.

Edgar said this in Solwezi on Wednesday where he went to attend the burial of North-Western Province PF chairman Jackson Kungo.

A sulky Edgar said electoral violence was not envisioned when: “Dr Kaunda, Dr [Frederick] Chiluba agreed, amongst many other Zambians, to introduce multiparty democracy in this country. What we are experiencing is terrorism under the guise of democracy, and we should say no to that. In 2012 when I was a deputy minister, I met a traditional leader in Western Province who told me that violence is what brought down UNIP, violence is what brought down MMD, and violence is what will bring down…” said Edgar. “And I’ll tell you one secret; when we met with President-elect Hakainde Hichilema, I told him point-blank that UNIP lasted [for] 27 years and they went down because of violence, MMD lasted [for] 20 years [and] they went down because of violence. We [as] PF have gone down [after] 10 years, because of violence and you (UPND) will be lucky to go beyond five years because of the violence that I’m seeing today in Zambia. I’m saying this because I have seen trending videos showing harassment of police, older citizens, torture of members of the Patriotic Front, destruction of property…When I met President Hakainde Hichilema, President-elect, I said ‘please, control your people’. But] he says ‘you are still Commander-In-Chief; you should be the one to do it.’ But I can assure you that unless he comes out firstly and sort his people, his government will not reign beyond five years, because Zambians are fed.”

We wonder that these words are coming from Edgar’s mouth, and if he really means them now.

Or could it be that he has finally put on right spectacles! He shouldn’t stress Zambians any further than he has already done in his seven-year misrule. If he had nothing better to say at the funeral, he should have elected to say nothing at all.

When the whole nation called on Edgar to control his violent cadres, his thugs who called themselves commanders, he was quiet about it because he benefited politically. The violence under his watch suppressed the freedoms of his critics and political opponents. It was under Edgar’s reign that the nation saw the most horrible scenes of violence coming from PF cadres. If the political violence witnessed in our country is terrorism, in essence Edgar was running a terrorist organisation that terrorised citizens.

It was under Edgar’s reign that UPND members Glazer Matapa, Lewis Mwila, Lawrence Banda, popularly known as ‘Gaddafi’, and Mapenzi Chibulo, among others, were murdered in cold blood. Additionally, University of Zambia fourth year student Vespers Shimuzhila died following police’s arbitrary teargassing of hostels. This is because Edgar also tolerated and sponsored police brutality against citizens.

The nation still remembers those unexplained incidents of arson across the country in 2017. We all remember the gutting of City Market in Lusaka, over which Edgar’s government has never produced a report as promised. And most recently, citizens were gassed by unknown people. Again, Edgar remained quiet over this and there’s no closure to all these horrible episodes. And now, as he exits State House, he has the audacity to call all this as terrorism and warn his successor that his administration may only last five years if Hakainde does not stop violence! What did Edgar drink on Wednesday!

Now that he is out, the nation deserves to know who was gassing them and for what purpose.

He had embarked on dirty activities uncommon to a head of state. And he wanted to blame all this on Hakainde and his party. Lest we forget, Edgar’s government orchestrated and charged Hakainde with treason over a traffic offence. Hakainde was kept in custody for over three months under inhuman conditions. And just last week, Edgar was threatening to arrest Hakainde if he won the elections. All that was meant to scare and humiliate Hakainde.

So, why should Edgar talk about violence now? Has he only known now that there is violence in the country? Certainly not. Edgar authored and sponsored the violence this country witnessed under his reign. This is a man whose rise to the PF leadership was violent. His fight for a third term was equally violent. He threatened Constitutional Court judges if they did not grant him a third term. And they granted it to him, but it took Zambians to stop this illegality. So Edgar must stop patronising citizens. He must show contrition. He owes the nation an apology for failing to protect citizens from hooliganism perpetrated by his party the PF. Let him now withdraw his ‘tonne of bricks’ threats and the long stick he held over Zambians who were not PF!

The nation cannot just keep quiet about these heinous crimes committed under his watch and supervision.

DaShanne Stokes warns us that, “Failing to indict a criminal sitting president sends the message that those in power are above the law.”

And Abhijit Naskar reminds us that, “No matter the time and era, if ever a government in any corner of the world, begins to persecute a population on the basis of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, in the name of national security and prosperity, then it is the existential responsibility of every thinking human to stand up and defy the authority of such heinous, uneducated, megalomaniacal, delusional and self-righteous government.”

Edgar should not therefore claim ignorance of the violence that he perpetuated. Let him reflect on his failures quietly. He cannot pretend all a sudden to have a vision – a sight – of wrongs in our society!

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