By Dr Nevers Mumba
I have listened to the statement made by 6th Republican President Mr. Edgar Lungu at the funeral of our fallen 4th Republican President, President Rupiah Bwezani Banda which brought into debate the word, “HYPOCRISY.” Last night, I could only post the definition of hypocrisy on my face book to give myself time to fully appreciate the meaning and put it into context.
His statement has largely been understood or seen from two contexts.
That as Zambians, we are generally hypocritical and that there has been a growing trend of hypocricy in the country where people especially leaders, are only appreciated when they die, rather than while they are still with us.
That President Hichilema is a hypocrite who has been allegedly saying good things publicly and doing bad things behind the scenes as related to how the former PF leaders are being treated.
Regardless of what President Lungu could have meant, we believe this statement has stirred up a lot of debate, some healthy and some proving rather unfortunate.
Healthy in the sense that, it has laid bare a growing concern in which we, as a people never appreciate our leaders while they are alive. We saw this with our Gabon Soccer Heroes, both the class of 1993 Heroes as well as the Class of 2012 Heroes.
We saw it with President Kaunda, with President Chiluba to a greater extent, perhaps, we also saw it with Late President Mwanawasa and now, President Banda. On this score, I think we must self-introspect as individual citizens and improve as a nation and accord some semblance of respect to our Leaders, especially after they leave office.
On the other hand, the statement has also caused a negative stir in that the event used to make such a statement was inappropriate. It was a presidential funeral at which words used by leaders must contribute to strengthening national unity and comforting the nation.
In addition, in the pursuit of reconciliation and national unity, President Lungu must never underestimate the damage his regime inflicted on Zambians. The damage to democracy. Damage to the economy. Damage to the bond that has held the 72 tribes together. Damage to Zambia’s international image. We are of the view that such intentional damage done to a nation must become prosecutable in future.
Thirdly, President Lungu and PF must never underestimate the grace and restraint that President Hichilema has had to exercise in handling former PF leaders.
To President Hichilema, we applaud you for being magnanimous in the manner in which you have gracefully handled power, and the people that manhandled you. It is you, who reached out to president Lungu to attend the funeral for RB.
This gesture has unfortunately been rewarded with the biting accusation of hypocrisy. But in our quest for national unity, we urge you not to take offense but to continue with efforts to unite the nation, including embracing President Lungu.
To President Lungu, it is not too late. The loss of President Banda and just last year, President Kenneth Kaunda has naturally presented to you, an opportunity to step into a role that is larger than partisan divisions, I urge you, sir, to seek God’s strength and face the Zambian people. Ask them to forgive you for any pain your administration could have caused them knowingly or unknowingly.
Do not listen to those naysayers that want to continue using your name to advance their own PF agenda, your role is now Zambian. Most assuredly, Both God and the people of Zambia shall forgive you. We know that if you can quickly heal and move on to step into your new role, you can be a huge blessing and an instrument to Join hands with President Hichilema to foster peace, unity and development for our beloved nation.
To continue to complain that you are being mistreated currently does not sit well with most Zambians. Most Zambians believe you should be held accountable.
HELP US TO HEAL AND LET US FOSTER NATIONAL UNITY TOGETHER.