The rape of Democracy and the rule of law in Lungu’s Zambia

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Anonymous Doctoral Student

Why do African political incumbents forget the mortality of fraudulently acquired and maintained political systems? Why do people like Mr. Lungu disregard the corpus of history that shows that—after politicians exit public office—the people will right past political crimes? Who ever said that dictators have no expiry date and that there is a statute of limitations on political crimes, much less any crime? On August 15, something happened. Lady Zambia of peace, tolerance and cheerfulness even in adversity—always known regionally and globally as so politically pristine—lost her purity. Zambia as we have known her, lost her political virginity. The loss was from an individual who may have been ignorant, arrogant and glaringly deficient if not ineffective in the conduct of public affairs and democracy. We will never understand adequately the pain of the victim of rape and in certain cases, the robbery of their virginity. Even for nation states, the violation of etiquettes of civilized conduct, the rule of law and good governance does send a disturbing feeling among peace-loving and law-abiding citizen.

We all must feel aggrieved for the loss of Zambia’s political virginity, and for Mr. Lungu’s opponents, particularly Mr. Hichilema. Yes, even for Mr. Lungu—unknown to us but him, his win could be a pyrrhic victory. But mother Zambia is now soiled, demeaned, violated, confirmed as a Christian hypocrite and perhaps even now infected with a with irreversible effects. Entrenched and disheartening tribalism. Low governance expectations. Political corruption. Cynicism. Confirmed incompetence. Yet, maybe we could use some help with “counselling” for the victim. A little counselling for the perpetrator as well, but real justice means that ultimately we will seek perhaps even crave for judicial “vengeance” as a means of upholding the sanctity of civilized conduct and order in society. The conduct of Zambia’s recent election campaigns and ultimate outcomes were akin to rape. We must recognize them as such if we are to seriously address its primitiveness and repugnance.

To be fair, most of other African countries also fumble with the most straightforward aspects of governance such as conducting a transparent electoral process. Increasingly, fair-minded Africans shake with frustration, resignation even anger at the backwardness of some of their African countries. Most Africans who genuinely want to see a prosperous, stable and peaceful Africa have stopped praying for Africa.

God seems to have left Africa to her own devices or that God Himself is unable to intervene. They point to many African examples that are a cesspit of irredeemable dictatorships such as Zimbabwe, Uganda, and now Zambia. I argue that Africa will forever remain a backward continent as long as it propels and encourages forth-backward individuals without vision such as Mr. Lungu, as self-confessed. As well, Africans must not sit on their hands believing somehow that the omnipotence will right the wrongs that a clique of greedy men that have institutionalized. Some Africans—incorrectly—assume that thugs that assume power will self-correct out of their own due to the moralizing necessity and impact of leadership or that they will even self-destruct due to deficiencies of their self-inflicted political contradictions. I respectfully disagree. These political thugs once at the helm have no vision or dream no better dreams for Africa because many of these individuals are themselves a product of the cultural deficiencies of our societies. They think about self-preservation and that of their ethnic group. The objective conditions that gave rise to these incompetent pretenders to the presidency spur our dejection of these individuals.

How does a ruling party functionary or a clueless minion, clearly immersed in squalor conditions applaud a thug running for political power—who as an example, lacks a record worth celebrating, and whose policies or absence of them contributes to the abject conditions the opponents seek to right? Most of those who developed an almost spiritual attachment to PF’s “Dununa Reverse” campaign live and experience the horribly unconscionable conditions of squalor that the “Dununa Forward” campaign of UPND sought to eradicate through their more hopeful social and economic agenda. And yet PF thugs caricatured UPND as merely a bunch of power-seeking Tongas. What creature is man, I must ask? We must weep for this conundrum. However, each day we refuse thuggery in politicians and in politics; reject those who pit us against one another based on tribe; the moment we think about the posterity of our countries and a yearning for strong democratic institutions; each time we resist applauding thugs masquerading as leaders; the second we rise up against even our families and tribes for promoting destructive mediocrity and ethnicity, that is the day, I believe, Africans will liberate themselves. It is all about nurturing civility and respectful interactions for a more orderly, peaceful and prosperous society, and it is about nurturing and defending strong democratic and governance institutions. It is about opposing, rejecting and resisting those who undermine these institutions and order (for which many independence heroes shed their blood). It is undermining, exposing, naming and shaming political criminals and crimes in our midst. It is about discouraging and frowning upon blind loyalty to greedy, incompetent and ignorant individuals at the levers of state power. But it takes a few truly gifted individuals and a collective of patriotic people to project this vision, and to imagine a pleasant and hopeful future—a mountain top, in the words of Dr. King. This vision worked and is working in Singapore—and it may yet work in Rwanda, if Mr. Kagame nurtures an inclusive democratic state and shuns the cult system quickly foaming around him. It could have taken root under Thabo Mbeki, and it could have endured if earlier pan-Africanists of the Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere era and Nelson Mandela had been around longer. Yet, we will lose all these important attributes of the struggle if we let the Biyas, Kabilas, Mugabes, Musevenis, and now, the Lungus thrive and flourish around us.

By accounts of those who did not vote for him, Mr. Lungu—perhaps more than the PF’s founding president (the late Michael Sata)—is one of the most intellectually and ideologically meagre president in Zambia’s 52 years as a republic. Evidence is phenomenal; Mr. Lungu has next to no business record except ruining and fleecing his clients in his failed short foray into legal practice—for which the Law Association of Zambia disciplined him. He only operated strings of beer taverns in one of the squalor compounds of Lusaka—Chawama—the place he called home before fate catapulted his accidental presidency into a “palace.” Mr. Lungu is next to scanty in policy—in fact he knows nothing about fundamental economic principles or foreign affairs; conveys no evidence of being a quick study—a trait so important in matters of state governance; is allergic to debates—avenues, which if he cared would have cured his seeming numbskullness on most policy issues. Mr. Lungu continues to struggle with alcohol addiction—an item that could have already stressed and impaired his liver, and poses a potential challenge to his mental and physiological fitness as president. But a whole electoral institution could not resist his undemocratic overtures and chose instead to cast a die for nearly seven million voters, thereby consigning the fate of the 15-million nation to a potentially perilous economic future.

Yet, for most of us with scanty blessings from nature, we make up for our physical, intellectual and emotional deficiencies through relying on those closest to us. For politicians and those who seek to govern us, we suppose they look to other statesmen and wise elders within society for guidance and advice. One only has to look at Mr. Lungu’s current and past team and acquaintances to question whether they are of any import. One “Doctor” Kambwili is so deserted of intelligence as to be worthy of being an aide to Mr. Lungu or to hold a ministerial position. A recent constitutional court ruling found Mr. Lungu to have—either willfully or as most likely, under the influence of “arro-gnorance” [a mind-numbing stew of arrogance and ignorance]—misinterpreted the constitutional court’s provision regarding ministers’ continued stay in office. To date, based on his boondoggle of constitutional misinterpretation, all of his ministers and deputy ministers who relied on his (mis)interpretation of the law are heavy debtors to the Government of Zambia. They impoverished the tax payer in salaries and allowances—it turns out, illegally, to the tune of millions of kwacha as well as potentially an illegal $188 million dollar loan that the finance minister contracted, some of which may have seeped into—and fueled—PF’s rowdy campaigns . The“re-election”—, which accurately was an ECZ’s selection of Mr. Lungu and his PF party, have returned most of these ministers as illegitimate legislative guardians. Mr. Lungu will now have to forgive their political and monetary sins, to the pain of Zambia’s taxpayers and as a continuation of disrespect for the rule of law and order. Equally, most of these same political partners Mr. Lungu relies on for guidance on the matters of the state are themselves incompetent—and are back to continue with unconscionable rape of democracy, and likely, Zambia’s treasury.

Those who have followed him in the election trail point to the inflammatory language Mr. Lungu occasionally uses in the privacy of his friends or his supporters Yet in public, he portrays a humble persona, hoodwinking gullible Zambians to say prayers to atone to the political tensions and ills of Zambia, and once, to prop up a collapsed currency. This language and demeanor suggest that Mr. Lungu—an accidental candidate for his PF party for the presidency—should never have been elevated to Zambia’s highest office in the first place.

Many fair-minded Zambians argue that the demands of political office are so heavy that Mr. Lungu’s knowledge, stability and his temperament are so lightweight that they are a mismatch for the rigors of the presidency. So how, then, has he been twice “lucky” to go through the political process and the presidency? It is a chance stew of shrewdness and the enabling hordes of numbskull minions (Zulus, Chungus, Bwalyas, Mwambas et al) upon whom Mr. Lungu’s demagoguery have cast a spell. They believe he is their savior both physically and financially—and that of Zambia too. Through, arguably, a menu of opponent intimidation, ballot rigging, Joseph Goebel’s (Hitler) type-propaganda, policy deception and lies, they have built and massaged Mr. Lungu’s image and protracted his presidency. In five years’ time, may be even earlier, history’s verdict will tell. So far, his story and history is blatantly open-eyed: Lungu’s nineteen months have been those of a sailor lost at sea.

Mr. Lungu clearly has displayed his barrenness on important issues. Once under pressure to control political violence—most of it from his semi-illiterate unemployed (and potentially unemployable cadres)—Mr. Lungu offered a shibboleth of incredible arrogance and ignorance when he conflated democracy and peace, citing their mutual exclusiveness.

Such an utterance clearly shows how rationally inadequate his character is, how misplaced his governance values, how constricted his world view, and how his eighteen months’ experience at the helm clearly show that he has no experience and the intellectual astuteness in debating the hard issues of governance and democracy. Yet as it now turns out, fair-minded Zambians must live with and endure repeated intellectual nakedness that Mr. Lungu will erroneously portray as Zambian, in his just concluded fraudulent odyssey to succeed himself.

One could argue that like his ‘president friends’—Museveni and Mugabe, Mr. Lungu could well turn out to be a dangerous president for Zambia’s history and posterity and would put at risk , on hold or even accelerate Zambia’s dwindling rating as a peaceful country. One enduring ability of a statesman—which Mr. Lungu lacks in addition to being “unstatesman”—is the ability to sift through the conflicting and contradictory morass of truth and falsehood for legitimacy and credibility in governing a country or indeed any organization. Because of his inability to sift through issues, and apply cold rational reflection, Mr. Lungu seems dismissive of conflicting views. One telling example on Counting Day: sensing a potential recount that the opposition UPND demanded, Mr. Lungu dashed to the electoral commission offices to stop any attempts at righting alleged rigging of ballot counts in most of the capital’s (Lusaka’s) voting stations. Such callous attitude towards transparency, such clear absence of self-control and impetuousness must now worry fair-minded Zambians, and the international community. With his “re-election”, the rapid sinking of Zambia has began in earnest, enabled and affirmed through ECZ’s own ineffectiveness and dependence on an incomplete “leader”.

Many of original inner circle of PF (Guy Scott, Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) abandoned Mr. Lungu, pointing to his ineptitude and lack of foresight in decision-making. Instead, they teamed up with the UPND and Mr. Hichilema as a means of resuscitating and reclaiming Zambia’s political and governance sanity that Mr. Lungu—in a mere eighteen months—had destroyed for good. Mr. Lungu’s conduct in the presidency is so “unlawyerly” that on the contrary—under his watch—Zambia is increasingly acknowledging and resigning to lawlessness as part of Zambian political culture. Does Law School instruct students to uphold, misuse or abuse the law? The reading of the preliminary report of the European Elections Observer mission to Zambia attests to this point, but in a more diplomatic speak as they often are. With Mr. Lungu’s “re-election,” Zambia’s economic future will increasingly remain uncertain, and may collapse altogether under certain evolving global conditions.

The international monetary fund (IMF) is set to insist on a package of conditionalities to address some fiscal and monetary imbalances. This IMF package may compound Zambia’s employment problems, and potentially introduce a troubling shock to the economy. Without vision as Lungu self-confessed, it is anyone’s guess how rapidly the ship of state will begin taking in water, and capsize altogether. Moreover, investors are allergic to unpredictability and impulsiveness in policy making especially in jurisdictions with contested and unsettled as well as disconcerting political outcomes.

So where do we go from here? First, Zambians should remain peaceful even in the face of the most provocative taunts of the “winners” and in light of the patently stolen election. An evolving legal challenge to Mr. Lungu’s “re-election” or “ECZ’s selection” may yet reverse the ills of this electoral outcome, fend off its pungent aftermath, and unwittingly put Zambia on track to an earlier UPND/HH’s positive vision and agenda. Yet, as the African political and governance terrain so ably demonstrates, judicial reviews of contested electoral outcomes have rarely (or minimally) reversed glaring frauds and injustices of incumbents because most organs of the state are captive of the ruling African monsters. Fufu-headed vampires—as my “friend” George Ayittey (watch his Youtubes and you will cry tears of joy) calls these political thugs—celebrate even against clearly incorrect “constitutional “winning percentages such as my alert wife—(Iam lucky I married her)—noticed for Lungu’s “win.” Often, to correct such embarrassing errors (or evil?), political thuggery will summon another evil to “correct” a prior evil. If incumbents yield to the pressure of re-runs and earlier shenanigansism fails, then re-runs are just opportunities for perfecting political thuggery. We must weep for most of Africa, and the third world.

Second, the international community must speak out forcefully against blatant rape of democracy for, as Dr King opined, “injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.” Election Observers must openly recommend that Mr. Lungu’s and his party’s fraudulent electoral practices must attract prompt and serious consequences such as through targeted sanctions against Mr. Lungu. The international community could deny election cheats such as Mr. Lungu, their associates, families and party functionaries visa entries, and call for worldwide action. The global community could also activate justice redress systems such as prompt investigation and disposal of human rights violations as those that took place in Zambia’s just concluded elections. Indictments and charges against Gbagbo, Taylor and Milosevic are specimens of the work of international criminal court (ICC)—itself a recipient of hate from Africa’s dictators—mean that political crimes never rot and are unacceptable.

Today, the world is sharp-eyed and forceful against terrorists and terrorism. The international community must include individuals who cheat elections as terrorists too, because the planning, and the violent conduct of political party functionaries under the guiding hand and encouragement (and the silence) of the incumbent inflicts equal if not greater damage to their people physically and emotionally. There was a loss of life, increase in tension and repeated omens about the stability and security of the state. These are attributes befitting the profile of terror and terrorism and so could bring a political leader within the ambit of “state” sponsorship of terrorism. From best media sources and human rights investigators, perpetrators of Zambia’s election violence remain unidentified, are enjoy state protection, possibly still walk the streets, and do their trade. Are these not the traits of global terrorists, the world is fighting against and who we seek to destroy and discourage?

Lastly but not least, there is need for Zambians to engage in non-violent resistance such as refusing to acknowledge an illegitimate incumbent, refusing to attend his meetings, taking down his pictures from a business premise, engaging in shame and name campaigns (as your author is doing), global protests and so on. Non-violence is often dismissed as a “weak” tactic but in the long run, these tactic reminds the incumbent fraudster and oppressor that people do not forget—and may, in drawn-out political conflicts—send the message that the oppressed will also not forgive when justice eventually emerges from a truly democratic and accountable government.

In the next weeks, months, and perhaps years, if Mr. Lungu is unable or unwilling to acknowledge and address the cloud of illegitimacy over his “re-election”, and the meaning of a contested electoral outcome, and particularly, political tensions—many stemming from his unguided, unteachable, unprincipled and incompetent cadres—and if Mr. Lungu continues to show inability to master the wheel of the state, and so change the current path to peril—Zambia will experience certain near-term social, political and economic risks and impacts. And if Mr. Lungu and his ruling party digests Josef Stalin’s aphorism that “those who cast the votes decide nothing [but] those who count the votes decide everything,” he will have set Zambia to a very dangerous path for our children and their grandchildren. By raping democracy through rejecting transparency, and being seemingly silent about lawlessness, Mr. Lungu and his PF party contributed to—and possibly hastened—the slow and sure demise of this once peaceful and wonderful country that we once knew as Zambia.


9 Responses to The rape of Democracy and the rule of law in Lungu’s Zambia

  1. Well articulated only a fool can not understand what happened.Please International observers help us.

    August 16, 2016 at 11:24 am

  2. I do not normally enjoy read long winded articles, but not this one. The author articulately discusses a lot issues and in details to under pin his argument, well written and covers just about everything hence the length. A must read to all well meaning Zambia. My appeal to the author is, could you you please make this available also to the other media like Post Zambia, Lusaka times and Zambian Watchdog.

    August 16, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    • As a serious African weeping for Africa, I would not send my thoughts to pro-goverment partisan outlets like Lusaka Times, and perhaps even to “unbalanced”–sometimes unprofessional Zambian Watchdog. Not even to News outlets such as ZNBC, Times of Zambia and Daily Mail. These outlets are just disgraceful taxpayer-funded landfills of “govt” garbage propaganda.

      Yes, to the seemingly independent Post Zambia (which Mr. Lungu froze), I would. They seemingly also don’t drink bullshit from characters masquerading as “presidents”. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Anonymous Doctoral Student
      August 16, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      • Thanks Anonymous for your quick response, here is why I thought it was a good idea to extend your articles to even those outlets that a aligned to one political party or the other, one word coverage and I only mentioned these three deliberately. If you restrict your articles and especially this one to Zambian eye only, you are defeating the objective you trying to achieve. Zambian eye has a very small audience.

        August 16, 2016 at 2:21 pm

  3. Very good article sir. Well written and clearly describes the situation in Zambia. I feel pity for Mr Lungu in that he doesn’t seem to realise that his own misdeeds are enslaving him and not anyone else; not even his cronies whom he sends to go and do mischief. Mr Lungu, no matter how much he may deny it, knows very well that him and his party have promoted tribalism to the hilt, no Zambia’s president has ever promoted tribalism in the manner Lungu’s govt has done. This is a fact, but biased pf people may deny this. But the same Lungu in his post- election address said the regional pattern of voting doesn’t please him-is this a man you can really believe? Mr Lungu said it in Mungwi that when he comes to power he will not take development to non pf areas. That is the president of a country saying that surely. For Mr Lungu, he now has to prove the people who doubt him wrong by improving the economy and uniting this country that he has divided like never before. Excuses wont help, because all the countries/individuals in the world face the same challenges. The difference with people who succeed is that they THINK out workable solutions to the challenges. we don’t want to be hearing excuses of global, weather, copper prices, no. His job is to find solutions to the problems, that is what he is paid for. We live in the same world with other countries and other countries have made it. They live well.

    Mabvuto Konga
    August 16, 2016 at 1:15 pm

  4. The man is a dictator period!

    August 16, 2016 at 3:39 pm

  5. Meno meno has successfully divided the once prosperous, united and peaceful nation. Zambia will never be the same. Thanks to meno meno ECL.

    poor Zambia
    August 16, 2016 at 3:59 pm

  6. Anonymous author.This article is well written and addresses many important issues. Only those that have wisdom in them are able to understand and appreciate your article fully. Keep it up.

    August 16, 2016 at 7:49 pm

  7. Well written,the way to solve this complicated issue, we need to re-vote’.we want democracy in zambia please`.

    August 16, 2016 at 10:13 pm

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