Saturday 20th January 2018

Letter to Editor: Our Panga President by Jacob Phiri

Dear Editor,

I want to bring to the attention of the Zambian people Lungu’s record of violence and the way he clearly runs his country by the panga. In my opinion this is due to the way that he started his role as President. Having had such quick rise to power in late 2014 President Lungu is known for having used violence and deceitful means to achieve his goals. He went from almost obscurity in 2014 to President of Zambia by early 2015. His campaign for leadership began with a shaky start, defined by Guy Scott continually blocking his attempts to gain leadership. He faced legal action and internal protest. However, he combatted this with the use of PF cadres who promoted violence and intimidation clearing the path to nomination for their leader.

Lungu started his premiership on a platform of intimidation and this is how he is now ruling. The violence and bribery with which he gained his six provinces has set a tone for his interaction with the public and the way he controls the country. Remember when he promoted Julius Komaki to head of the Presidential body guard? This just showed how dictated Lungu is by violence. Komaki is known for his brutality and has a record of getting into dangerous situations, having been hospitalised and placed into intensive care by a competing cadre. He is most famous however for being the commander of the PF cadres at Lusaka’s Town Centre Market. Lungu has always had a close relationship with the PF cadres and in particular those prone to violence.

The 2016 presidential campaign has only served to highlight these issues further. The PF cadres are out of control and Lungu is not taking any responsibility for it. We have seen opposition candidates attacked as they campaign and protestors murdered by his party affiliates and yet he stays quiet. This is not acceptable from a president and actually shows how weak he is; in not standing up to the violence that his people are perpetrating. Wilbur Simuusa agrees with this has urged the PF leadership to come out and urge those involved in the violence to stop, yet the PF government have failed to do so, not once touching on repercussions for such behavior. Not addressing violence is akin to committing violence and it is clear the President is losing control of the country and his power, only a desperate man would run an administration so devoid of morality.

This new surge of political violence could easily be the starting point for a new regime led and defined by bloodshed. We need to stop this Panga President now and end the violent leadership. We deserve better. Let us come out in numbers on August 11 and vote this man out of office in one round.

Yours,

Jacob Phiri

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