By Kapya Kaoma
President HH’s BBC interview, in which he skunked Zambia’s creditworthiness to creditors while undressing himself as ignorant of International Relations and Global Financial workings, only proved my initial assessment of his candidacy–unless he grows up, Bally will remain a Baby President. The poor man is erratic, insecure, and mostly pitiable whenever he faces cameras. Walking back his rants on Twitter will only make him a Trump in African skin.
I refuse to be part of the myth that HH must be given time–he is the President and must be held to account. I won’t join the HH cult. Just as I called out Lungu’s poor leadership, corruption, the rottenness of the Judiciary, the Police, the Big Man money wasting kantemba called Anti-Corruption Commission–it is stinkingly corrupt and only works to punish enemies of the President, I won’t treat President HH otherwise. The Presidency is not an internship. President HH is already making executive decisions with a lasting impact on the Nation. He must be held responsible from the word go. As I argue in, “Raised Hopes, Shattered Dreams,” “dictators are made and not born.” Our failures to hold Presidents accountable from the moment they take office is what creates monsters–I refuse to be part of this horrible tradition.
Despite his worshipers’ denials, the President himself understood his pathetic performance in that interview. Sending another childish tweet to assure creditors not to “worry about [Zambia’s] current financial position,” and to end with, “As the youth of Zambia would say, “Bally will pay,”‘ however, says much more about his priggish attitude, than advance the nation’s cause.
Presidential interviews are meant to promote the interests of Zambia at all costs. Creditors are waiting to see how he acts on arresting corruption, increasing accountability and transparency. They are not interested in what the youth say–but what the Zambian President says. Zambian youths can shout” Bally will pay”–another lie aimed at promoting his egocentric imaginations. Bally won’t pay Zambia’s debt, the nation will pay. To the Baby President, such praiseworthy shouts would entice more tantrums against the PF. The problem is, the PF doesn’t exist on contract national debt, Zambia does. Presidents rarely take policy-related foreign interviews for this reason.
President HH may have run the UPND alone, but he won’t govern alone. He needs professional policy analysts to make him look intelligent; they have to tell him how to prevent such embarrassing scenarios. He needs a good media team to vet which interviews to take or pass, and tell him what to say. Moreover, Presidents are prepared for big interviews–this is how the media world works. Presidents rarely write their speeches, but have experts do it. They only deliver them. If HH has such a team, he must replace it as soon as possible. Not every foreign media will be kind to him, another reason his team must vet interviewers in advance.
Let me bring it home. Assume someone asks to borrow your money after revealing that they are drowning in debt. “I thought I owed creditors K13,000, but after looking at the books, I realize my debt is much bigger than that. My account has only K2000, and my workers are stealing even as I speak. Please lend me some more money to help rebuild my business.” Unless you are a fool, lending is off the table. President HH had an opportunity to prove to creditors that under his leadership, Zambia will manage its debts, and responsibly contract new ones. Instead he told them Zambia is a skunk. It is what it is, our President junked Zambia’s credit worthiness.
The BBC interview was simply shameful, Ignominious and shockingly humiliating. Worse still, the developing trend in the HH Presidency of ignoring the facts is worrying. Why announce to the world what Zambians don’t know? It is bad PR. Besides, if he didn’t know, why didn’t he ask for the information during the transition? Maybe he does not read, or he is simply ignoring the facts. It is one thing to mislead Zambians during the campaign, but when the President misleads the world, the National economy is the victim.
President HH represents Zambia and has the role of selling it positively. In fact, he is Zambia to the world. Until his followers help him to know this basic truth about the presidency, Zambia will be in a fix as Bally continues to rule as an opposition leader
Bally worshipers think the President simply told the world the truth about the rotten Lungu administration. But this is not what the world heard. To Creditors, our President warned them to lend Zambia at their own risk. This unmeasured statement would reduce Zambia’s bargaining power in contracting new debts, as well as invite high interest rates with short term payments. But who cares? He is Zambia’s Trump–his followers will remain loyal as long as he can tweet!
President HH narcissistic behavior needs taming before it explodes into an unmanageable crisis. The collapse of the Bond forced HH to tweet “Bally will pay,” but the damage is already done! .Unless you’re Trump, the world does not run on tweets, but on disciplined policy.
International Relations and Foreign Policy 101, is this–always put the interests of your nation first. As President, HH does not represent himself or the UPND, but the Nation. I understand his obsession with the PF regime, but there is only one President, Hakainde Hichilema. We have mechanisms in place to deal with the PF corruption and ; he is in charge of all instruments of power. What the world wants to see is actions, as opposed to shameful and unmeasured rants.
I am afraid, the FTJ Chiluba reincarnation is before our eyes. Like erratic HH, President Chiluba didn’t understand the workings of government either. His first years were all about the KK regime. Like HH, he imprudently revealed state secrets to the outside world for his own egotistical interests–he was the best. We now know that Plot 1 has tunnels and Broadcasting equipment. We know where the Presidential banker is–the very banker he needed in an attempted coup. The reason? To show Zambians and the world how evil the KK regime was, and how Chiluba would clean it up. Did he? History can’t be rewritten.
President HH represents Zambia and has the role of selling it positively. In fact, he is Zambia to the world. Until his followers help him to know this basic truth about the presidency, Zambia will be in a fix as Bally continues to rule as an opposition leader. Sadly, like a toddler, he is opposing himself against himself. Is this another psychological problem Bally should fix in himself?