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Zambia’s worst political architects ever: The out-going Edgar Lungu and his PF

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By W.E. Kamirichiki

The six-year-old shadowy, and predatory lying and parasitic architects waddle in Zambia’s electoral swamp in a quest to protract their unsustainable parasitic enterprise. They are the outgoing PF, and its leader, Edgar Lungu.

We are in the closing months of the quinquennial ritual in which PF’s political machinery always applies rugged tactics and propaganda in search of the “winning” percentage tally of electoral votes. It is a period in which PF engages in ceaseless opaque pecuniary transactions and handouts to seduce voters, its enforcers and prostitute politicians.

It is the season yet again of PF’s political terror in which there is sometimes asymmetric information or “information failure”. It is an epoch in which PF’s background political tactics and instances are all sufficient to help us interpret what has gone wrong in PF’s Zambia.

It is true, for example, that the advent of Covid-19 imposes serious implications on the conduct of political campaigns and the well-being on the citizen voters. What is increasingly true too as well is, Lungu and his PF may well re-align the Ministry of Healthcare Covid-19 guidelines as a guise to restrict political messaging from his opponents. Polished dictators Museveni (Uganda), and Dennis Sassou Nguesso (Congo-Brazzaville) have all applied this tactic with great positive results.

But unlike Ugandans and Congolese, Zambians are now awake to Lungu’s roguish tactics and know want real change. Yes, this is a season in which we see PF’s double-edged tools of political warfare.

They contradict the regime’s tiring propaganda as they support the notion that the regime traffics in evil. Anything, and everything goes, especially in this perilous hour of PF’s quest for political survival.

PF’s rugged mis (ill)-informed agents who live in our neighbourhood, who are in front of us in an ATM queue, our old schoolboys ( and girls) and possibly that smiling regime-enrolled PF thug walking down Cairo Road all help fuel PF’s continued survival through commissions and omissions.

They engineer harm, even deaths, some perhaps unintended. A few are retaliatory response by reported agents of a brutal “humble” leader whose shocking comments in Kapiri Mposhi in 2015 about his rivals have since garnered thousands of views on YouTube. A “humble” leader whose minions wear law enforcement uniform (and probably) carry unlicenced weapons, and who unashamedly walk into a police station beat up and rob police officers.

For them, liberties, order, and peace undergirded by our republican constitution are to be ignored and their version of the constitution is to be imposed on the streets of this country through brute force.

The PF has always been a club of no-little opportunists who prostrate before Mr. Lungu even as he has destroyed the founding ethos of the PF party, and is hollowing out democracy to new frightening depths.

All moral partisan defects: Lusambos, Kanganjas, Kambas, Kabwilis, kapyongos Nkandu Luos, etc have been miniatures of Lungu, crafting decisions that mostly please Mr. Lungu and directed towards their own self-interest.

From our experience with PF’s brutality, be it in Lusaka, Copperbelt, Mongu or Luanshya, the regrettable Lungu presidency has bred after-effects of unquantifiable trauma. There are no verifiable numbers of the traumatized but in abundance are either pretend commissions of Inquiry or Zambians’ fatigue with ascertaining the number of commissions of inquiry without effect.

Most rationale Zambians now believe history will look back on Lungu’s presidency and all that PF embraces as an aberrant moment in time. In opting for a running mate, Nkandu Luo, who wrecked policy as a minister of Higher Education, and spewed divisive tribalistic sentiments against the opposition, Lungu has endorsed the very antithesis of our founding republican president, KK, who preached the uniting mantra of “One Zambia, one Nation”.

But Zambians must not extend Edgar Lungu’s occupancy of the presidency for another five years, or even long enough after August 12. Failing that, he and his PF will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this country of the Eagle, and who we Zambians are.

We cannot stand by and watch PF’s sewage politics destroy a once democratic country full of brotherhood. The opposition agenda is not by any means perfect, but there is a lot to be cheerful for.

A lot of, for example, UPND’s platform items are framed in terms of not merely shoving the Lungu era into the political cesspool of our country, but rather shaking up our country’s governance, institutional and economic systems.

It is true that the current occupant of State house is not a principle cause of what is broken in our country today. He is the latest and most extreme symptom of our failure to vet our leaders, especially who should be a president of our country.

Edgar Lungu is a product of a half-baked multi-party system with immature political guardrails that occasionally props up morally deficient semi-crooks who kick dirt on everyone else. So once PF is voted out on August 12, we cannot pretend or ignore that Edgar Lungu never existed or that none of his party’s abhorrent tactics never happened.

There must be some degree of deterrent accounting and institutional adjustments to prevent such behaviour and morally deficient individuals from faking themselves into power ever again.

Like other gangster political parties sometimes found in African politics, the PF are seriously vying for parity with Hitler’s buried propaganda machine.

Granted, in a fog of uncivil discourse and political campaigns, many number claims are made in bad faith, and there is indifference to truth and accuracy of issues around governance indicators.

In Zambia today, many rational minds find it difficult to believe PF. As in every purposeless leadership, there is a select cult-following that has morphed into Lungu defenders, even today’s contrarian trolls, spouting horse dung, all the while lying to themselves that they are objective and fair individuals holding the megaphone of common sense.

Nothing is far removed from integrity as this, in the face of what is now commonplace abhorrent state-paired evil and manufactured anti-UPND/HH propaganda in our country perpetrated by the likes of GBM, Kambwili, Kachingwe, etc.

Our Creator installed in all of us a standard moral equipment and a cognitive toolkit for identifying, preventing, and rejecting evil, lies, exaggerations, and distortions. How do those opposed to the opposition agenda, then, refuse to embrace open evidence that daily stares at us that PF under Edgar Chagwa is a very wrong outfit for our country?

Forget the laundry list of “achievements” Lungu and his party parroted in their campaign kick-off. The real political ledger charge entries for Lungu and his PF are shown in the graphic below)

Why would regime sycophants (some “learned” and fervid PF ideologues) , embrace common place but cheap ignorance , scorched earth tactics, the most darndest of lies and unpatriotic schemes, inconvertible evidence of evil in all its forms and numbers in an effort to divert attention from the regime’s excesses?

The late Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel put it best: “What hurts the victim most is the not the cruelty of the oppressor but the silence of the bystander.” My fellow Zambians, August the 12th is the time to reject the label of a bystander, and seriously contribute to cleansing PF’s democratic and governance wrongs in our country through the power of our vote.

In our country today, fact-checking and number-sanitizing is without effect because we endure to survive in an environment where PF operatives do not care about the facts, shame and numbers stacked against them.

If at all, it is only when it is about eliciting support of an incompetent leader with a fading license to operate as president of our children’s and grandchildren’s country. But why? Well, as in Adolf Hitler’s Germany, sometimes, it is purely a question of setting a career, or some other obsession with primitive wealth accumulation, position, prestige, and having an enduring wealth flow because all else is absent or impossible without an appendage to a vicious political party. For sure Mr. Lungu is not Adolf Hitler.

But we do not have to calibrate Lungu’s despoliations to Hitlerian extremes for them to be repulsive and an existential threat to our country’s posterity. Yet in all sites and sights of seemingly unauthorized “call outs”, arrests, some illegal, most political vengeance, we sane and patriotic Zambians remain silent, some even cheer Mr. Lungu and his gangster PF apparatus in the face of open evidence of thuggery, intimidation, and coercion.

Some suffering Zambians rest silent—with only a few heroic women wrestling evil with barehand and depressing wails, trying to save their beloved relatives, communities, democracy and by extension, their country.

Why do most of us men simply watch and write when Mr. Edgar Lungu and his coterie of gangsters dispatch our brothers, sisters and children and our posterity to possible death?

When Mr. Lungu abuses our country’s ideals of brotherhood by fake arguments that he is in fact, defending the country from “troublemakers” who apparently must be arrested, even die without the civil process of due process.

Why? Why must we accept and be inured to his bogus claims that he alone or his illiterate PF gangsters can govern this country? Mr. Lungu has grown to fooling Zambians by emphasizing “infrastructure developments” associated with his governance, with his party occasionally playing off opposition disagreement on strategy for his political exit and sowing doubt on alleged inability of a Tonga to govern.

There is, among his cult followers, a willing audience for such futuristic gloom. In nearly six years, perhaps ten years of his politics, Mr. Lungu and his handlers have perfected the tactics of brewing illegality and stretching his political tenure, by “editing” forms about the constitutionality of his eligibility to stand for another term.

Mr Lungu’s parallel cunningness like of those of other dictatorships involves enacting draconian steps against his political opponents, and funding, fronting, co-opting, and nominating mysterious candidates including proven pornstars (Mabumba, Iris, etc) to promote the myth of PF-inclusive broad-based democracy.

The same tactics, and sometimes even the same horses, later re-join his political kraal for a share of their hay (e.g., the unprincipled Kambwili, morally capricious GBM ) , who Mr. Lungu will undoubtedly deploy to utter insane bray on political rivals.

While there are a few Zambian men of valour with howling voices, the rest of us murmur and grumble in whispers when Mr. Lungu stuffs key government posts with corrupt and incompetent officials, some with a simple qualification of shared vitriol against the opposition, especially UPND’s HH.

A common apothegm these days may be “umwine wa chisushi tafwisa mate” (the owner of the flatus does not smell it). We also easily forget the corollary of that apothegm: We do not know for now the quantity of national resources the owners of the flatus ( aka Edgar Lungu and his corrupt PF) have “eaten” to generate that chisushi (flatus).

Do we not see that this PF style of governance is corruption to the soul and rule of law? Our souls? A corruption that pollutes our country’s future. Do we not see that this is the antithesis of the contents of Scripture most of us pair ourselves with, and which require that we speak out forcefully against such corruption?

When do we recognize that the destruction of our country’s basic institutions under Mr. Lungu’s regime is the apotheosis of PF’s violent reckless political streak? Which every red line has Mr. Lungu not crossed, and is still insufficient for Mr. Lungu to finally spur Zambians to vote PF out of power? If so, which ones? If not August 12, when is another last chance to save the country for our grandchildren?

Most of us Zambians believe, as do some in the international community, several of these democratic and governance lines have been crossed.

For more than four years now, a preposterous argument among some foreigners and some Zambians is that Mr. Lungu has been an enduring partner in ensuring economic development of Zambia(as long as they benefit from his presidency).

But which economic development in this sea of economic want among Zambia? Even the much-touted Chinese debt-soaked Zambian road infrastructure is riddled with PF-induced corruption.

To date, there is not one (publicly available) report about value-for-money regarding Zambian roads, never mind that PF functionaries are peddling evidence-free statements that “Lungu and PF have delivered”. The same political mercenaries are campaigning that Mr. Lungu’s continued presidency is a positive for Zambia.

It is an argument without effect on Zambians worried about their future, and that of their great grandchildren. Concerns of proven human rights violations abound.

Mr. Lungu has milked relations with certain foreign constituencies, and they are probably at this minute resourcing his attempt to entrench himself into power yet again and deny Zambians an alternative democratic and prosperous future.

In fact, the weak argument of his alleged good economic shepherding belies the sharp negative contrasts from reports and evidence from organizations such the African Development Bank, the World Bank, and the IMF.

In this same period as well, Mr. Lungu’s ruling party has managed and perfected as we have experienced in our country: a campaign of terror, stifled political domestic dissent, threatened rivals, bred thugs, jailed opponents , rigged elections, and succeeded himself, in a controlled political circus, as president two times, arguably in defilement of our constitution.

Moreover, in arguing that only him or his PF can advance our country, Mr. Lungu peddles two dangerous falsehoods : namely that the rule of man rather institutions and the consenting is supreme, and that there is no basis or need for changing government for Zambia’s posterity: these assertions are sometimes the unspoken default positions of dictatorships.

Zambians, by voting him out, effectively disallow and forestall this incompetent and insecure coward of democracy from whipping up a horde of thugs and gullible acolytes ( even to hand him another August election).

We must not at this hour be impotent cowards resigned to having the vagaries of chance erode the vilest regime in the history of our republic. Every Zambian must work hard to quickly line up ducks in a row for a fresh post-PF/Lungu order, aided in part by dynamic internal factors, geo-political and social elements whose thrust and tide even PF goons will not stem.

Even for those inured to Lungu for Lungu, know that there is peace in having a predictable economic and political environment, unlike that in which we now find ourselves. The end is approaching for Lungu’s apparatchiks and PF’s rotten architecture. The end of a period of embarrassment, shame, and cluelessness. In August, we will regain our country from PF.

We will reclaim our democracy and strengthen our organs of the state as we build back from a very pitch-dark era of Lungu’s unconscionable governance wreckage and errors.

But above all else, in these nearly three final months of the Lungu presidency, especially in the morning after Zambians vote out Mr. Lungu and his PF, we must begin the collective work of re-imagining part of our brotherhood and common humanity that was wrecked by, and hostage to, the worst president Zambia has ever had.

We must pray to our God and ensure that, as journalist H.L. Mencken said in another location and in another historical epoch, “No other such complete and dreadful nitwit is to be found in the pages of [Zambian political] history” among his future successors.

Dr. W. E. Kamirichiki, is a political, economic, environmental and social affairs commentator based in Lusaka.

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