Letter to new president Lungu

By Eros Ilunga

First may I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your election a Zambia’s sixth president. You have taken on the leadership of this country at a very difficult time and when Zambians are so alert and expect much from their leaders. I can only wish you God’s favour as you lead this great nation. But this will depend on your humility and submission to His will.

It cannot be denied that this has been the most tightly contested election in the history of our nation. It is also an election that has left the nation divided with high political tension. We saw for the first time in the history of this nation, cadres of the winning party causing havoc when the winner was declared by the acting Chief Justice. A wedding reception going on at Mulungushi Conference centre was disrupted by the euphoric PF cadres. I need not go further on this.

The point I am making is that you have taken on leadership at a time the nation so desperately needs healing and unity. You have declared in your inauguration speech that you want a united Zambia and as such you will run an inclusive government without any vindictiveness. For this I commend you.

However, one of you first actions on your second day in office does not seem to promote your desired goal. I am talking about the appointment of opposition MPs to government. While you have power to appoint anyone to government, I implore you to re-consider this approach if you really want to promote unity. You know that this has tended to promote acrimony and mistrust between the ruling party and the opposition. Is your goal to create a rift in UPND? Do you want to bring UPND closer or you want to rip it apart and create acrimony between Kafwaya and his party? You were visibly angry that Daniel Munkombwe supported UPND but see what you have done today. How is it different?  I appeal to your conscience.

The other issue I bring to your attention is the need to change the way you treat your enemies, real or imagined. I have in mind the Post Newspaper, Muvi TV and of course, the opposition. Muvi TV was conspicuously absent at the swearing-in ceremony. Was it by design or just an omission? You also appeared agitated when the Post reporter posed a question and you accused him of being malicious. For me that was rather a personal attack because reporters ask questions on behalf of the public. This reporter was almost heckled and you did not seem to protect him.  You are a president for all Zambians as you said. I implore you to be seen to live to this ideal if you are to be supported by all Zambians.

Finally regarding Southern Province, be careful not to be seen to accuse them of being tribal as your party has been doing. They did not commit a crime for voting for Hakainde Hichilema. Would you accuse Western and North-western of being tribal for voting for HH? Southern Province had a right to vote for a person of their choice just as Northern, Western, Muchinga and others did. Consider why these provinces did not vote for you, in fact by engaging them not using the stereotype clichés.

I wish you the best as you endeavour to unite the nation. May God grant you more wisdom as you complete your cabinet.

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