By Elias Munshya
Isn’t it the case? That the Patriotic Front government tries to insist that President Lungu should be respected because he is the “father of the nation”? Those who advance this theory shove on our throats this grandiose idea that the Head of State deserves respect and deference from the country’s political players. Further, this idea manifests itself in some demand for equal respect for surrogates of the President such as cabinet ministers, or as the case may be – the ministry of religious affairs and national values (I hope I got the name of this useless ministry right). Well, the demand for “respect” goes as deep as the hypocrisy inherent in those who demand this drivel. When times present themselves for either President Lungu, foreign affairs ministry Malanji, or religious affairs minister Sumaili to act as true leaders of our country – they all shudder under a heavy blanket of cowardice, selfishness and I must add, hypocrisy.
Reports were swift to come. A popular Patriotic Front daily tabloid screamed in its headlines. The surrogates of President Lungu known as Raphael Nakacinda shouted on top of his insolent voice – MMD President Nevers Mumba had been arrested in Congo’s Katanga Province. The circumstances under which the country’s former vice-president was arrested remained murky. Some speculated that Dr Mumba went to look for trouble from ba Kongole. Others thought that his being arrested or “restricted” in Lubumbashi was a sign of his irresponsible behaviour. As for Nakacinda, he wasted no time in associating Nevers’ misfortune with some confused theory of being unsuitable to lead the MMD. And then, of course, came the silence. Silence from the so-called father of the nation, and of course, the mother of the nation’s Christian values. Both President Lungu and Rev. Sumaili pretended as if they had not heard the sad news. As for foreign affairs minister Malanji, he could not even send a consular delegation to try and help Dr Mumba. At the same time, he was being investigated and perhaps persecuted by the confused regime in Lubumbashi.
All should condemn the actions of this government. This is not the behaviour of a responsible government. President Lungu and his cabinet showed how petty and shallow they are. By refusing to intervene on behalf of Zambia’s former vice-president, the PF regime showed how selfish and hypocritical they are. The arrest or restriction of a country’s former vice-president by a foreign power, or neighbour, triggers national security concern. This is evident anywhere in the world. Congo DR, or Zimbabwe, or Tanzania, or ba bululu shesu abena Malawi, cannot detain our country’s senior citizen such as a former vice-president and our government remains mute. It cannot be.
We understand that Dr Mumba, through the efforts of his innocence, and the hand of God, has now been released and is in Zambia. He stated that the Zambian government refused to assist him while he was undergoing this ordeal. Of course, as a deeply religious man – he was able to thank God for his freedom and release. But it is quite pathetic and regrettable that in this Christian nation, we could let our former vice-president deal with this ordeal alone.
President Lungu was busy enjoying amanone and gallivanting everywhere in Lusaka, Choma, Monze and other parts of Southern Province while Dr Mumba was facing his ordeal. The foreign minister was busy corrupting new voters in his constituency in Kwacha. The minister of religious affairs and national guidance was nowhere to be seen. In the meantime, – Dr Mumba and his family were enduring an excruciating 72 or is it 90 hours of uncertainty.
Those who claim to leaders of our country must show their leadership during critical and challenging times. This PF government should be the government for all Zambians. Suppose President Lungu and his cronies are unwilling to protect citizens from foreign harassment. In that case, they should resign so that we can replace them with people who will seriously defend our citizens. We refuse this excuse that Dr Mumba should have known better not to travel to Congo DR. It was within his right. However, it was our government’s responsibility to publicly and unambiguously advocate for our citizen who was under the surveillance and persecution of a neighbouring brutal country.
This ordeal makes us have some questions. Did the Zambian government deliberately ignore the pleas of its citizen? Was President Lungu and his government play a role in the illegal detention of our former vice-president in Congo DR. Is this government so petty that it neglected Nevers Mumba simply because he is a talkative opposition leader? How could such a huge issue implicating our national security fly below the radar of our pollical representatives?
I have long lost respect for the PF regime. But this latest stunt has left a very bitterly sour taste in my mouth. This is not the way to lead a country. And the national security implications for this negligent conduct towards our former vice-president will be felt for decades to come. The Patriotic Front government is a petty government comprising impudent kids who pretend to be fathers or mothers of this nation. What a disgrace. May God bless our country and may our citizens live long and healthy. As for the PF pretentious cowards – may they learn to love our country and defend its people.
Elias Munshya can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org