Since January 2015 when he assumed the presidency, President Lungu has uttered some things that have led to a lot of debate in this nation and which many have pointed out as falling way short of presidential.
His spinners and apologists have argued that the President has been quoted out of context and the controversial videos are cut in such a manner as to paint the President in bad light by his detractors. But they have never gone on to provide the full videos that show full context as per their claims.
The President’s people have stated, sometimes, that the President said whatever he said in the manner of a light moment as in the recent incidence in Kabwe during the Cheshire fundraiser. Be as that may be, it’s quite sad and shocking when one reflects on some of the things that have been jocked about especially coming from the Republican President. Issues that border on national unity and security and integrity of institutions of governance including the Presidency itself.
Here are some of the things that the President has said in recent past that, for us, standout and how we see them;
There will be chaos in this country if the constitutional court judges try to be adventurous and emulate their colleagues in Kenya.
For us this statement undermines the very foundations of separation of powers and conflict resolution which is the bedrock of civilization. Unfortunately it can also be viewed as an attempt by the President to try and procure a favourable ruling for himself without regard to the law.
Ubomba mwibala, alya mwibala. Yes the presidential handlers have come up with all sorts of arguments in trying to explain what he meant here. Davies Mwila even went as far as asking UPND president Hakainde Hichilema to basically shut up as he is not Bemba and cannot surely understand Bemba sayings and idioms. But ironically President Lungu is not Bemba also. Maybe it was double talk on the part of Mwila?
Anyway whatever the case, in our view this statement undermines the fight against corruption and goes against the spirit of custodianship and accountability. And it cannot be more damming than to come from the President himself.
Makamaka imwe, you voted us out but we didn’t leave. Even if you vote us out in 2021 we won’t go out.
First and foremost, why would the President go for those poor women? The women must have been very excited to see the President, hoping that that they would sell a lot! After all the big boss was in the area! Only for the President to pour water on them with ‘makamaka iwe’. Losely translated ‘you people’. And anyway how did the President know whom THOSE particular women voted for? And isn’t it their constitutional and universal right to vote for any candidate on the ballot? Even to write in a candidate or spoil the ballot in any other manner they like?
For us this is a tribal statement by the President. We know Amos Chanda would say differently but imagine Hakainde Hichilema going to Katete and telling people there ‘makamka iwe’. What would be the conclusion?
In the end this a statement that can invoke tribal sentiment but also undermines the ECZ, the body mandated by the constitution to run elections.
Yes we know the argument here. But why didn’t the President just say ‘you didn’t vote for us, but we won. Even if you don’t vote for us in 2021 we will still win’? Simple and straightforward!
In fact Mr President instead of threatening and intimidating those women, you could have used the occasion to sell your vision. Entitlement is not a good thing.
And then a few days ago he basically said am abusing my powers. Others will do it too when they take over. Kaunda did it for 27 years.
Whatever the President meant here, this statement is a direct onslaught on the very presidency he is directly in charge of and arguably the law of rule.
But what is the President trying to communicate to the people of Zambia? What exactly is he trying to say with all these things? Could this be double talk? Double talk is when one says two or more things using one statement or says one thing but means something totally different. The Bembas say ‘akanwa kamilandu kalaibala’. But may be Jesus Christ said it even more clearly when he said ‘from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks’.
The President’s handlers are always complaining about the detractors. But what about them, the people in the presidency themselves? How much have they done to raise the profile of the presidency?
Well, it’s about time that the President and his staff at statehouse raised the presidency so high that THOSE detractors can never reach it with their stones of scorn and ridicule.