#GUEST ARTICLE: Is Lungu taking us for fools?


By Lazarus Bwalya

Former President Edgar Lungu really thinks we’re stupid, doesn’t he?

There he was midweek with a horde of other politicians challenging his successor Hakainde Hichilema to call for an early election.


His basis for the challenge to Hichilema – who himself must shoulder the blame for being too nice to Lungu – is that he has become a dictator, the economy is crumbling and the cost of living is unbearable, while also quipping that the incumbent was badly brought up.

Lungu also accused President Hichilema of failing to manage the cholera outbreak which has claimed the lives of slightly  over 600 people since last October.

Lungu – who alongside his new found political friends, some of whom resigned from his government citing corruption and brutality – argued that Zambians should put pressure on the president to accept that an early election was “imperative”.

But when it mattered the most, Lungu failed to convince even the most gullible how, if he were in Hichilema’s position, he would turn around the economy and improve the cost of living.

Instead, he deflected the question and challenged the journalist who asked him the question-of-the-conference to direct that to Hichilema who was currently in charge.

So in keeping with that theme, perhaps it’s high time to ask Lungu what he did when he was in charge – during which time he couldn’t even host press conferences to interact with journalists on critical matters afflicting the country.

Who vowed to arrest HH if he won the 2021 elections; who had him incarcerated following a road traffic incident?

How many supporters were unlawfully arrested and killed under Lungu’s watch – remember the cases of Mapenzi Chibulo and Lawrence Banda? How many opposition rallies/meetings did Lungu allow when he was President?

Who contracted billions of dollars in debt that the current government is struggling to reach payment plans with its creditors?

How was Zambia’s performance on corruption indices under Lungu’s reign?

Under whose watch was there indiscriminate, unplanned, cadre allocation of plots or land grabs that are partly contributing to the spread of cholera through illegal settlements?

Is it not under the Patriotic Front’s rule that street vendors were given free rein until government found something to do for them – something that never happened?

One person who followed Lungu’s press conference, where a new political alliance was announced, is social and political commentator Laura Miti, who like many people, wanted a convincing answer on how the former president would confront the country’s present problems.

She got none and ended making this observation via Facebook:

“Ati – I am not in State House so you can’t ask me that. Ask HH!

“Well, with that one answer, President Lungu killed and buried that press conference. The main star could not say what he would do to address our biggest problem, that is underpinning all our other economic problems – debt.

“Truth is, I am convinced that Zambia would drown, economically, if any of those people who were at the high table, today, were in charge, just as President Lungu drowned in that question.”

At least Miti is even measured in her assessment, not one social media motormouth – Chilufya Tayali.

“I can bet my wife and say if Edgar Lungu appeared for an interview and was asked what he would do to improve the country’s economic situation, he would be blank.”

When all is said and done, maybe one more question Lungu should answer is: if you won the 2021 elections, would HH have been dead or alive today?

Kalemba February 3, 2024


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