Friday, June 21, 2024

Is Edgar Lungu really back in active politics? Maybe not

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By Michael Chishala

Did you know that former President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is not in active politics? I know it sounds totally ridiculous and silly, but it is true. Sort of, provided that he actually truthfully resigned as PF President in August 2021.

Most Zambians seem to be unclear on what being in “active politics” means. The Benefits of Former Presidents Act (BOFPA) is very clear and unequivocal that holding office (or the express intention to do so) in a political party is what constitutes being in “active politics”. So let us ask this question:
Is Mr Lungu right now holding any position or office in PF that we are publicly aware of?

The answer is no. As things stand, he officially resigned in writing as PF president in 2021 and that is how he got his benefits. There is no way Cabinet Office would have given him his benefits if he was still the PF President according to the BOFPA. Why is all this important? Well, since Mr Lungu is not holding any position in PF as far as we know, nor has he stated an intention to contest for the PF Presidency, then he is NOT in active politics! That is what the BOFPA says in black and white. This of course raises some very interesting consequences.

Mr Lungu right now can write to Cabinet Office demanding for a restoration of his benefits as per BOFPA. Cabinet Office will have their hands tied because if they refuse, he can simply state the obvious; that he resigned as PF president in 2021 and the status quo remains. If they say “But you announced that you are in active politics”, he will simply refer them to the definition of “active politics” in the BOFPA.
Now, suppose Mr Lungu is adopted as PF candidate for 2026 while retaining the existing leadership structure in PF? He gets to do a “double tobela” by continuing to get his benefits whilst holding no position in PF and thus being able to run as Republican President at taxpayer expense. This was the “Bwezani Formula” established in 2015 by late president Rupiah Bwezani Banda. It may possibly require an amendment to the PF consitution, depending on what it says about who can be candidate for Republican president.
Every time he goes out to campaign, ECL can be getting 80% of what the current president gets paid every month, free fuel, workers, a nice fat rented house and other benefits while he is biting the hand that feeds him. He may possibly become president again to finish off his promise to arrest certain individuals and throw the keys away.

However, there is a chink in the armour of Mr Lungu. Did he actually really resign in 2021? This is where the waters get murky. The official records say so, but his public statements are facing the opposite direction. He recently boasted at a graveyard somewhere in Lusaka that “alebwelelapo” pali PF Presidency. He said it amidst loud cheers that he shall “continue” as PF president because his “mandate” runs until 2026.
There is debate in the public domain to suggest he made party appointments like party SG and Vice-President after he supposedly resigned as PF President in 2021. But wait a minute! How could he be making appointments if he resigned as PF President? How could he be getting a nice fat monthly pay and get a nice fat house built for him if he is still the Puppet Master in PF? Therein lies the rub.

Team Red seem not to realise that Mr Lungu still has aces up his sleeves. If he wants to get very antagonistic and spiteful, he can demand for his benefits and laugh in their faces whilst campaigning to remove them from power. If they try to squeeze him using the law on something, anything, they will play right into his hands as he will be made a martyr, increasing in popularity every day. Just ask Donald Trump. Never under-estimate the power of playing the victim.

As respected lawyer John Sangwa already noted, it is too late to go after Mr Lungu for any alleged crimes he did as president. That ship has sailed because of people sleeping at the wheel and playing with kid gloves by giving blanket immunity and publicly announcing that they have no intention of lifting his immunity. Well, let us see just how much Mr Kasaka ka Ndalama pokes the giant in the eye.

Michael Chishala is a Zambian analyst, blogger, and ICT Specialist. He has interests in Philosophy, Economics, Politics and Art. Email: michael [at] zambia [dot] co [dot] zm.

20 COMMENTS

  1. @Micheal Chishala…. Very great analysis indeed. It’s so profound and we’ll thought after. Lungu is very political….!!

  2. Well thought through indeed, now lets sit back and watch how the future will unfold. But i have a strong feeling it will end in tears…..

  3. PF just produced a list of current office bearers from registrar of societies which states lungu as PF president even now so he never resigned.

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  4. ………

    Lungu does not like talking on mic or through loud speakers………

    He prefers pulling the strings from the background………..

    He has the money, he has the contacts………

    He is a true pappet master.

    Regarding the voters……….

    It is only total failure of the GRZ to revive the economy that will save lungu……..

    Like stated already, this GRZ has some leway to reduce the cost of living, as we expect ,
    having bit the austerity bullet from day one………

    • You couldnt have put it better
      by the time he has finished all respect will be gone
      only one day his epitaph will bear Ex president

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    • @Spaka: The law of Zambia and strong the urge for self-preservation are such that UPND will never let Lungu be a presidential candidate again. The venality of the court notwithstanding, Lungu will not be able to bribe his way into presidential candidacy, at the same time, he no longer has the power to intimidate judges. The bugger is done. Stick a fork in his ass. The Party of Fools had better find someone else, because Lungu will not save them. Meanwhile, UPND needs to hire me as government spokesman so that I can set the record straight. This government should have drilled the fact that Lungu and Satan’s borrowing (and stealing of US $31 billion) is the only reason why people are suffering. Just chant this mantra day in and day out, and the PF buggers are gone

  5. You are trying to cover up for the bugger. Jonathan Mutawire aka Edgar Lungu has clearly stated his return to politics. This means that he is no longer entitled to state resources, which the government has correctly withdrawn. He may also be open to prosecution for his crimes without need to lift his immunity in parliament. It is also clear that his ill-advised decision to return to politics is bound to be futile because the current court, freed from his bribery and intimidation, is going to judge his attempt according to the law; and therefore the bugger is going to be barred from running for president again. This is why he is trying to retract his retirement from retirement by having this long and convoluted rubbish article written. The bugger is done. F@ck him! Lock his ass up!

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  6. Yeah he wants to do a David Cameron and become the Minister of Agriculture and lands. So as tohelp his daughter acquire forestry land for private ventures

  7. With the fact that we haven’t seen an officially letter showing his return into politics then it’s just word of mouth bwana

  8. plz let all the GIANTS IN PF STAND, AND ALMOST ALL THE HIDDEN MOMEY SHALL BE THROWN INTO CIRCULATION, THOUGH LOSSES OF ELECTIONS SHAL BE INDEXED ON THEIR FOREHEADS because of THE atrocities they had committed when they’re given the 10 years of ruling

  9. plz let all the GIANTS IN PF STAND, AND ALMOST ALL THE HIDDEN MOMEY SHALL BE THROWN INTO CIRCULATION, THOUGH LOSSES OF ELECTIONS SHAL BE INDEXED ON THEIR FOREHEADS because of THE atrocities they had committed when they’re given the 10 years of ruling

  10. Ba Chishala muleke ubunangwe sure, how can you contradict yourself so bad, did you forget to take your medicine this time again?

    Look at this, and quote: “The Benefits of Former Presidents Act (BOFPA) is very clear and unequivocal that holding office (or the express intention to do so) in a political party is what constitutes being in “active politics”.

    If what Muthaware Jameson Lungu declared last week is not an expression of his intention to return to office, then you need to take your head to Chainama for psychiatrists to dismantle, take out masalamusi and reassemble if they possible, you are truly sick in the head wena!

    • How does Lungu announcing at a graveyard that he is back in active politics mean he has been elected PF president? Learn to think before you embasrass yourself.

  11. But ba Chimbwili Kashimba also nabusangwapo bwabo! The chap is also very aesthetically repulsive, look at that photo! Theze are the chaps who lend much credence to the belief that people are descended from apes. Or is it the baboons they are chewing where he comes from that has infiltrated their DNA so Chimpanzee like? Just also look at Professory Nkanyo Luonyokolile, so dam ugly! Sipombwe sateni ki kulekwamyo, hasi bizezwi kwa mileko, apuuu.

  12. Why is it that almost everyone is just insulting no substance for discourse. Upnd does it mean you can not put up your opinion or defence of your policies but only resort to mudslinging and insulting.

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