Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Prosecuting or Persecuting Edgar Lungu – is this echo from the past?

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By Chimwemwe Mwanza

There is blood in the ocean and the sharks are circling a mortally wounded prey to inflict a final bite. The prey has two choices; either fight back or hunker down and surrender to its fate. This analogy aptly sums up former President Edgar Lungu’s predicament.

At a recent but tempestuous gathering of his supporters, Lungu’s emotional scars were visible yet he finally roused himself from a politically induced slumber to issue a thinly veiled salvo at government, and by implication the incumbent President.
Feeding red meat to his base, his euphemism about Boris Johnson having lied his way into No 10 Downing Street rhymed with the jingle, ‘Bally Muntu Wabufi’. And this line struck a chord among ululating PF cadres gathered to offer support to their embattled leader. Seemingly urged on by mob psychology, Lungu who was visibly basking in a rare limelight, let rip his frustration – somewhat betraying his humble demenour.

“You don’t have to be clever to know that after her it will be me,” he muttered to an enquiry about alleged victimisation by state prosecuting agencies. Similarly, the pandemonium that characterised the former first lady’s appearance at the DEC speaks volumes about what is fast becoming a pattern of harassment.

For context, the assertion that the former head of state or members of his family may be guilty of corruption is not the crux of this discussion but the fact that his family is being subjected to a trial through the media is Lungu’s concern. Is there merit in his grievance? Spare a thought for the former President – who until recently was a poster man of imperviousness, he looks tired and frail in just under 9 months after his political foe trounced him at the polls.

At the height of his Presidency, Lungu crushed dissent with maximum force. Insulating himself with sycophants who were after his largesse, he detached himself from the socio-economic challenges facing Zambians. He was beyond reproach, ba bosele, mwine wakasaka. Utterances such as ubomba mwibala alya mwibala as a response to alleged looting of state coffers by his government epitomised his arrogance.

Ethnic polarisation and identity politics became entrenched under his watch. Of his transgressions, the UPND faithful will never forgive him for incarcerating their leader on a trumped-up treason charge. Agreed, it was ill advised, callous but most of all uncalled for.

Why are we beating a dead snake?

Wenzenjani sishaya inyoka ifile kudala, is a profound Zulu idiom, loosely translated reads as ‘why are we expending our energies beating a dead snake or in other words, what good does it do us to evoke memories of a by-gone era?

It is this history and Lungu’s reign of terror that has got us to this crossroad. What is happening to the former first family and a coterie of his former ministers is history unfolding right before our eyes, the exception being that actors have swapped roles. Former victims have become the oppressors and the former oppressors are now victims.

Of concern though is the alacrity with which government has reacted to Lungu’s protestation by threatening to withdraw his pension for voicing what seems to be a legitimate concern. At best, government’s reaction is illustrative of a problem endemic to revenge politics. However ruthless he was a leader, disdain for Lungu does not rob him of his inalienable rights to self-expression. In other words, the state should not be seen to be blackmailing the former President by cajoling him to purchase his immunity and pension benefits through an induced silence.

But it is the conduct of law enforcement agents that is even more worrying. Eager to impress the new dispensation, the DEC – which until recently was in the deep pockets of the PF government, began to dish piece meal information on a string of properties allegedly deserted by a person bearing the names of the former first lady. The objective was to sully the former first lady through the mud and create a perception that she is a person of questionable virtues.

And trouble is that perception equates to reality – at least in the court of public opinion. And the slow but assuring abjuration by the general public of their support to the first lady is proof that this malicious strategy is working. This is what has irked Lungu the most. Makes you wonder, does the DEC even have a compelling case against the former first lady? This question is in no way a verdict of her guilty or innocence there-off.

Off course, humiliating her has made good a charade for cameras but there is a real risk that the DEC’s antics may be endearing the Lungu family and by extention former PF ministers to victim and possible martyr hood. The matrix becomes even more complicated when you factor in the prolonged imprisonment of former PF Deputy Secretary Mumbi Phiri. How ironic that her incarceration is no different to that of HH. Just like the President was, she too has been detained on a laughable charge.
As troubling as this might be, it could just well be true that few are actually shedding tears for the incarcerated former PF strongwoman. She is paying a steep price for her arrogance – amalibu yaku ilombela. The reality however is that her association to identity politics should in no way justify her incarceration. Two wrongs do not make a right. The lesson to the formerly oppressed – who are now in charge of the levers of power is that arrogance which is emblematic of triumphalism can be dangerous if not moderated.

And most worrisome is the rate at which UPND leaders are graduating from the Patriotic Front University of arrogance. But If ever the UPND leadership wanted to have sight of a political karma, they need not look beyond Lungu’s predicament.
For feedback, contact [email protected]

* Are we back to that era of renting cadres to drown independent mindedness? Unprovoked, uyu kandile who specialises in writing on the homeless – the analyst of anything alive on earth, decided to throw an unwarranted epithet at us.

While we accept criticism of any kind, just don’t just become personal. We chin up when the likes of Ayatollah and De Javu bomb our works because theirs is criticism based on facts and bears a sence of sincerity and patriotism. Even the partisan Spaka alalandako ifyamano. Our response to you kandile: Stop cheer leading your own blogs under the guise of one Chirwa and other pseudonyms. Bushe balakulishamo?-

32 COMMENTS

  1. Your article comes with mixed stories that do not demonstrate great journalistic expertise. It’s full of opinionated idiologies that do not speak to what really is obtaining on the ground. In short it has many biases to the PF regime. There are certain assertions that sold you off, especially statements such as, “Mumbai Phiri has been detained on a laughable charge”
    Laughable charges really??? Someone died under her shenanigans, children lost a farther, siblings lost a brother, a mother lost a son, men lost a friend, the UPND lost an able cadre and you are calling this laughable charges? You are mediocre big time to say the least.

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    • Facts

      She is charged with murder and is awaiting trial like many Zambians……

      What is wrong with that ?

    • Ngubo – Aparrently this author is an avid reader of political history and philosophy. The only thing he supports is Kabwe Warriors and Liverpool. There is a list of a dozen articles s/he has written on LT you will find listed on muckrack. com/chimwemwe-mwanza/articles
      This writer is trying too hard to be sophisticated but all s/he needs is just keep it simple.

  2. Lungu and his regime were very evil……evil to the core………….

    The worst show of evil was banning HH from attending the funeral of the late KK………..

    Even in times of mourning and sorrow, lungu was at it…………

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  3. “….We chin up when the likes of Ayatollah and De Javu bomb our works because theirs is criticism based on facts….”

    Ever since De Ja Vu came back from his harvest , his posts are irratic……..

    That is why I’m of the opinion the man planted weed, as well as other crops……

    • Really laughable…maybe he has partnered with Peter Sinkamba underground hence he disappears where there is no network.

    • TO

      Every time he dissappear to his so called harvest , when he comes back he is stoned out of his head,……….

      you can tell from his posts……….

  4. What type of article is this? Its all over the place no direction just mumbo jumbo..final mark 3/10.

  5. Stop defending your relative criminals. Lungu and his whole family are thieves, looters & they should all be prosecuted

  6. Lungu must be persecuted to the core until the widow he swindled feels that she has been given justice. Lungu must feel the pain for betraying Zambians including the 1.8 million that voted for him. Law is law it cant be applied selectively because under PF justice was for those with a lot of money hence finding people with grand theft of public resources and corruption getting two year sentences while the poor criminal that stole a cow, goat, chickens or trousers get stiffer punishments.

    • Zambia is a strange country they will defend thieves who have stolen from them even with overwhelming evidence..people have forgotten about Chitotela who cut deals with ACC not to arrest them by paying K100,000 using money he stole in the millions of dollars. Thats like asking a maize thief to pay two bags of maize to release him from prison when he stole the whole maize from the commerical farmer’s storage. That rule of letting corrupt crooks like Chitotela and Dr. Chilufya need to abolished before these ministers of this govt start using it.

  7. The truth hurts. The words my father ecl used clearly hurt hh because they are true. Hh still feels insecure and threatened by ECL even when hh has power. This is a sign that power doesn’t heal your insecurities and shortcomings . If you have a small P.e.n.i.s, it doesn’t magically become big because you have assumed power.

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    • You were a member of a tribalist party that obtained by power by rigging and sustained it by violence. If you ever show your ugly head in Zambia, you will be arrested and prosecuted for corruption. You know this and that is why you have run and hidden in England, Caesar Zulu- Yes, Kaizer= Caeser. (You do not know anything so I have to educate you)

  8. What a beautiful write up! I do believe this is my viewpoint on the matter. For clarity’s sake, I am of the opinion that everyone should be investigated. DEC’s handling of the 15 properties shouldn’t have been taken into the public without a full investigation. Good intention by DEC, but terrible action. Similar to ACC making an announcement that they will investigate a councillor who spent 300 million to buy a bank, they later retracted by Tasila’s name was soiled.
    Sidenote: it’s interesting that I make an appearance as a supposed pseudonym. Also, I thought I supported UPND but choose to keep asking questions and not agree with everything as if I don’t have a brain.

    • You say beautiful write up then clarify what does that really say about the article? As for DEC all they did is ask the Chawama lady Ester to come in for questioning like they would do with anybody….meaning they have investigated and want to some boxes ticked. As for the announcement about a councillor spending $300m to buy a bank that was preemptly announced during PF regime to cleanse the suspected councillor. I thought you were way smarter than this.

    • ACC made that announcement on 15th September 2021. Was that during the PF era?
      DEC should have done a better job sir, they didn’t have to publish the news about 15 houses, list the name of the person and ask the person to show up at their offices.
      Every Jim and Jack knew Esther Nyawa Lungu Tembo was the same day because of the graduation video at UNZA.
      It is either DEC knew it was the first lady or they were extremely incompetent. Either of those shows DEC should have acted better.
      As to why I think this is a beautiful write up, it’s a matter of my opinion and the space here won’t allow me to clarify.

    • Chiza Chirwa – Who was really in-charge on 15th September at ACC? Isnt it the time HH7 came fresh and was sleeping saying he will let ACC carry on with it work naively forgetting it was the same directors at ACC who were perpetuately these get out of jail pay outs for the likes of Chitotela.

    • It was never done under PF as you earlier tried to allege, that disproves your statement as being baseless.
      ACC, like our investigative agencies are always quick to start investigating former ruling party members once there is a change of government.
      It is an embarrassment and shows their lack of spine. They only took that step after PF lost.
      My point remains, that is incompetence. And so is this Act by DEC, incompetence, that doesn’t change.

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    • My point is stills holds water in that it was the same people at DEC who were during PF era…I am not saying DEC has improved. Dont you wonder how Chilufya case has never been revisited…weak cases were deliberately taken court to cleanse suspects. I doubt they have even touched the surface on Tasila’s cases.

    • Chilufya’s case was ACC, not DEC.
      And no, it’s not the same people at DEC, Mary Chirwa was previously at FIC and moved to DEC under HH.

    • TO

      talisila lungus cases will be visited nearer 2026………….

      Right now more important cases that have implications for PF war chest funds needs to be smothered…………

  9. Lungu and his PF tribalists ran the country as if they would rule forever and were above the law. They forgot that their reign owned more rigging the various elections than to the preponderance of their numbers in the statistical tally of the national population. However, history tells us a different tale… after Chiluba, UPND won of the next 4 of the next 6 elections. These were 2001, where Mr Mazoka defeated Mwanawassa; 2012 where HH defeated Johnathan Mutawire, 2015 where HH defeated Johnathan Mutawire again, but was kept out of power by rigging. Finally, 2021, where the rigging in Mutawire was thwarted, and HH assumed the presidency.

  10. ACC had their reasons for going to the press to ask the owner of those flats to come forward…………

    If someone is vague or disguises ownership , some thing is wrong…….

    There was no clear ownership on title in the name of Mrs lungu.

    Ownership was clouded in a Web of lies………nothing was straight forward.

    ACC did well to flash the owner out through the press…………

  11. ACC had their reasons for going to the press to ask the owner of those flats to come forward…………

    If someone is vague or disguises owner.ship , some thing is wrong…….

    There was no clear owner.ship on title in the name of Mrs lungu.

    Owner.ship was clouded in a Web of lies………nothing was straight forward.

    ACC did well to flash the owner out through the press…………

  12. The corrupt morron lungu added $40 million to the already inflated price of that gulf stream jet by fitting ati missile and anti jamming technologies in isreal……….

    As if anyone would waste a missile on him………

  13. LOL. You can’t argue against facts bro, facts are hard!
    Enjoy your weekend, and next time bring up facts to buttress your arguments.

    • You want to argue about silly dates but ignore the bigger picture…do you not remember Bowman bragging that PF was still incharge in December 2021 and early 2022. Wake up from your docility!!

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