By Antonio Mwanza
In the last three weeks we have seen President Edgar Lungu become quite religious. On 18th October, 2015, the President called for “national” prayers and declared the aforementioned day a national day of prayer and fasting. Yesterday, the President commissioned the building of a Church of national prayers.
First and foremost I want to make it categorically clear that there is nothing wrong with the President calling the nation to God. What is questionable is the President’s motive in all this.
Now here is the trick: It is common to slander and denounce anyone who questions anything that is done in the name of God. Anyone who questions the motive of President Lungu’s “religious” crusade risk being called a satanist, a freemason and all those unsavoury terms. And that is exactly what Edgar Lungu and his spin doctors are hoping to achieve, to use the name of God as a wedge in order to achieve their political goal.
Let’s take a walk back in history. When President Chiluba realised that the public had lost trust and confidence in his administration which was increasingly being viewed as corrupt and self serving, he used the name of God to try to win back the lost trust and support. He declared Zambia a Christian nation (in name only and not by law). Chiluba then started using the Presidential Sluth Fund to bankroll friendly churches mostly pentecostals to build churches and to register splinter Church “Mother” Bodies to rival the traditional churches and create rivalry and competition amongst the churches. He did the same with labour unions, orchestrating and sponsoring the mushrooming of splinter unions to divide the voice and weaken the labour movement, knowing too well that a divided church a divided union can not stand.
With the crumbling economy and the ever rising cost of living, President Lungu has realised that it will take some special for him to win the 2016 general elections. Things are not good. And the President knows that there isn’t much him and his government can do to stop the economic bleeding hence his spin doctors have advised him to use Church and the name of God to hoodwink Zambians.
President Lungu has nothing to offer. This is a man who ascended to the presidency by purporting that he was humble and that ebo bashile ba Sata. The man severally confessed that he had no vision and that he would just be following Sata’s vision whatever that is.
President Lungu and his spin doctors know very well that that story of “Lungu is a humble man” can no longer hold. The people have known his true colours and most importantly people cannot eat humility. Things are bad. The economy is biting and people are looking for a leader or leaders who will provide solutions and direction.
The only trick left for President Lungu is religion: using the name of God to paint himself as a saint knowing full well that in an impoverished nation religion is used as an opium for the poor. And that anyone who dares question his “Godly” action will be labelled a satanist, a freemanson.