Resisting The Lungu Dictatorship: Drop Hichilema’s treason charge and fire Zambia Police boss Kanganja

By Elias Munshya, LLM, MBA, M.DIV.

Dictatorships rise not by the deliberate acts of its perpetrators, but by the silent ambivalence of its tolerators. No one truly lives and plans to become a dictator. Mobutu never planned to be one, and neither did Idi Amin Dada. These gentlemen found themselves in situations which appeared conducive to stretch their power, their authority and before they knew it, a cadre of supporters had raised a chorus of infallibility. To these choruses sang many who could not object to the little steps taken that appeared innocent and certainly legally justifiable. The duty to protect the integrity of our republic requires a complex litany of cooperation. Zambia cannot be made more democratically faithful by one person, or by one president acting alone. All the institutions of the state and non-state actors must work together. And together they must work.

Zambia faces the peril of division requiring action by all those involved. We cannot shift the blame to one person. We must all look at ourselves through the mirror and ask what we can do to diffuse the tension in our republic. In a unique way, the President of the Republic, His Excellency Edgar Lungu has a larger stake though. He holds some responsibilities that he cannot outsource to anybody. The integrity of the republic has been placed on Lungu’s shoulders and he cannot delegate this weight to anybody else. Zambians who elected Mr. Lungu should demand more from him. They should stand up together and demand that their head of state reclaims his paths and listens to the dissenting voices of some of its citizens. Clear as it may be that the president has the weight of responsibility, he carries this responsibility through others.

September 2016 ©MBKoeth

Elias Munshya  ©MBKoeth

What happened in Mongu was quite concerning on so many levels. Particularly, what the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) calls the “road rage” incident should be concerning to all. The president of the republic should not have been put in such a dangerous situation. Clearly, the Zambian taxpayers are forking out a lot of money to ensure that the symbol of their republic is protected and has a clear mind to think and act properly. The Zambia Police have that responsibility to keep this president safe. If the Zambia Police fail in their responsibility, it is time for the president to revamp it or do something that would help the police focus on what really is important for the sake of peace in Zambia. After Mongu, and indeed after the outcry from the public, it seems, the police may have reacted and may have desired to make up for their inefficiency in Mongu by trying to invade Mr. Hichilema’s home at midnight. To be clear, there is no justifiable reason why the Zambia Police should attack Mr. Hichilema’s home at midnight, break down his house, tear gas people, in order to arrest him for the offence which had been committed in Mongu. Had the police acted appropriately in Mongu, there would not have been this terrible unstable episode Zambia is facing right now following the midnight rage. Mr. Hichilema now faces charges of treason and we will leave it to the courts of law to deal with the merits of the issue, but even then, our republic cannot live with the instability that such an episode brings in our country.

The Zambia Police need to be told by supporters and sympathisers of the PF government that acts done in the name of the republic and in the name of the president that appear to breed instability in the republic are not tolerable. There is no reason why an arrest of a person of HH’s stature should take a battalion of armed paramilitaries. The militarisation of law enforcement does not bode well for the peaceful reputation this republic has. I therefore appeal to the President to fire the Inspector General of Police and to set the ministry of home affairs on a better footing. If the IG goes, I would also suggest that we have a new minister of home affairs as the portfolio appears too complicated and more sophisticated for Mr. Kampyongo to handle. The ministry of home affairs requires a more nuanced and more diplomatic person in charge, not a trigger-happy demagogue aiming to score political points.

With all this said, we must return to how dictatorships develop. With the weight of the republic on the shoulders of any president, sometimes people who surround these leaders sing very good melodies that corrupt the leader’s perception of what is real and what is not real. It would be failing us, if we do not point out the fact that it is the collective responsibility of all citizens to promote the rule of law. President Lungu must know that he has the support of citizens. However, he also must know that he has no support of those citizens who believe that invading a person’s home is an affront to good order and justice. There are several ways to arrest law breakers in Zambia, breaking their houses and teargassing them into submission is not one of them, unless those criminals are really building a parallel army to cause confusion in the republic. Certainly, what happened in Mongu does not look so, and the blame should fall squarely on Mr. Kanganja and perhaps Mr. Kampyongo who must be replaced forthwith so that our national security benefits from a fresher perspective.

____________________________________________________________________________________________Suggested Citation: Munshya, E. (2017). Resisting The Lungu Dictatorship: Drop Hichilema’s treason charge and fire Zambia Police boss Kanganja. Elias Munshya Blog. (www.eliasmunshya.org) (April 19, 2017).

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10 comments

  • Chibuye James

    My learned colleagues if Zambia is a democracy and we preach separation of power between the three arms of government, on one side and ask one power to regulate the other(s). what does all that mean? my brother Munshya wa Munshya educate me.

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  • Morris MC Sokoni

    Perhaps what we need to deal with first is the ” The Ego has Landed” in Zambian Politics and separate the Forest from the Trees. I believe that what happened was unnecessary and not in line with those who aspire to lead a Nation while on the other hand there was overreaction may be to cover up for the inadequacies after Public pressure…….Equity requires that we all go with Clean hands to Justice but with regret in this particular case it went missing.
    Now that we are here what is needed is to find a Political solution to end the impasse and with this we require “Men in Grey Suits” in form of the Church to come to Political rescue of a Nation at Crossroads.

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  • Why do u speak from Canada? come and address us here in Zambia. If not dont come back to Zambia.

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  • David Kazhila BS HB,MB ChB, FCP(SA),FRCP(C)

    Thanks for your well thought out comment on the current political situation in Zambia.It’s always a pleasure to hear your comments.While I agree that heads at the Ministry of Home Affairs and ZP need to roll, I’m sceptical about effectiveness of such an action in dealing with the current political impasse.While changing the heads in these respective institutions would send a clear message that incompetence will no longer be tolerated,it does very little in dealing with the primary issue that has led to the situation. I think it is a systemic failure in the discharge of justice in the land. As we say in medicine say that merely treating symptoms of a disease does not lead to a cure,so does merely changing the heads only to replace them with like minded individuals not solve the problem at hand.
    I know HH and ECL were not by any stretch of imagination darlings to start with ,the reason there’s so much more acrimony and hatred between them stems from how the election petition was handled.While there’s enough blame to go around, the fault falls squarely on the shoulders of our judiciary’s handling of the petition. Much as many may think that’s a non-issue,I can not foresee future dialogue between the two which wouldn’t bring that matter front and centre to the dispute.There was no proper closure of the petition due to technicalities and one could argue due to a partisan judiciary. A quick question to you my learned friend is; Are there any avenues the courts in Zambia can revive the petition and hear it so that we lay to rest the suppositions and counter-suppositions that are driving the hatred in our beloved nation once and for all?I’ve heard you time and time again insist that President Lungu won fairly and squarely but what are you basing that on when it’s alleged that there were serious anomalies before, during and after the elections which the opposition insist they have the evidence for?

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  • Norman C. Muntemba

    The President;The Patriotic Front and it’s I’ll trained cadres want any excuse for violence. They have been violent from day one. It’s in their nature. And if this goes on it will become the nature of our country then all is lost.

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  • Well argued.Challenge is to establish a governance system that enhances dialogue among competing leaders and individuals. In other countries they have men in grey suits that compel and advise that democracy is anchored on dialogue.Perhaps this lack of institutions and patriotic senior citizens to play this role is a great failure of our democracy. Well argued though.

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  • well said mr munsya. i very much doubt if that debacle in mongu was instigated by h.e. ecl or hh. by all means, these two sons of zambia may and can be above that kind of pettiness, in their own rights. that debacle was, more than anything else, a security system blackout or a lapse. us in the older generations of zambia have seen presidents come and go, with all the trappings of the people’s office of the presidency duly protected, for and on behalf of the people. to blame the debacle on h.e. ecl or hh is being too simple minded. the security apparatus failed the people of zambia, and to make up for their failure, they descended like a swarm of bees on the weaker vessel, hh. we truly need more intelligent and patriotic leaders at ministry of home affairs and at zambia police service. another area which our national leaders need to address is curtailing (like late h.e. lpm did), may that great son of zambia rest in peace, the overzealousness of party cadres, zealots and sympathisers, who usually are spoilers

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  • I agree with the latter part of your assertion that dictatorships rise, to an extent, by the “silent ambivalence of its tolerators,” however I can not accept that dictatorships are accidental by nature especially considering the amount of effort eventual dictators put into subverting individual freedoms and the rights of their detractors and citizens. Dictatorships, for all intents and purposes, are deliberately designed to serve and strength the core while weakening the periphery. Propaganda is an integral part of the execution, control the message and you control the masses. Case in point, closure of the Post Newspaper and continued harassment of independent media. This unfortunately, depending of course on where you stand, is but the early stages of a developing dictatorship. The playbook prescribes more sinister manoeuvres deliberately designed to prop and maintain dictatorships.

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  • True U Are Right Sir Only When We Realise What We Are Going Into And What We Can Do To Change This

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  • Emmanuel Kunda

    in as much as we would want to uphold the rule of law in this country lungu has overstepped and clearly abusing his power vested onto him..the use of the police brutality on who ever has paralel views will not make us respect him but rather we will only fear him and find other unconstitutional means of airing our grievances..that may not be too good for country which has enjoyed peace since time imemorial and calling itself a christian nation..i therefore appeal to lungu to reconsider his decisions and do possibly surround himself with pipo who has brains and desire to deliver…most of his appointments are a serious dissapointment…nowonder we kep sinking so low and slowly becoming a laughing stalk

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