Playing the Fiddle (Metro editorial)

Playing the Fiddle (Metro editorial)

There is no doubt that the Patriotic Front aka Power Failure (PF) leader Edgar Lungu had the merriest festive seasons ever. With his sidekicks, they lit up the dancing floors during the end of year functions of the uniformed services, putting John Travolta and his epic Saturday Night Fever to shame!

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The intention was to attract votes the only way he can still hope to. As the judgement day on his dismal record rapidly approaches, his act is getting ever more desperate and cheap. This is a drowning man clutching at straws!
For him, visibility is now everything. Witness: his visit to Mufuchani and the recent Southern Province “road show” during which he downgraded himself to Chishimba Kambwili’s messenger on tribalism. He was pleased with the result. What eluded him in his misguided exuberance was that people were curious because they were seeing him for the first time. He never campaigned in the area and it is this, not tribalism that accounted for his ignominious defeat. The prospect of another wholesome rejection haunts him and is now peddling this self-serving sub-text that anyone who does not vote for him and his Poverty First (PF) is a tribalist. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Edgar Lungu and the Power Failure (PF) need to understand that it is not long motorcades or dancing skills that the president of Zambia needs but leadership and management ability and their record in that respect is utterly pathetic.
Given the sorry state and dire straits of Zambia, his unrestrained merriment and extravagant motorcades are insensitive and reminiscent only of the Roman emperor Nero who is said to have played the fiddle while Rome burned!
Lungu is Zambia’s Nero- completely unable to respond to the real issues. This should not be too much of a surprise though. By his own confession, he went into the job blind, without a vision, mission or plan.
He is well out of his depth and now relies on grandstanding in order to obtain votes essentially by deceit, cheap politicking and the latent tribalism that has driven the PF since formation.
He is now anxious to blame all his failures on the “acts of God.” Paradoxically, he also associates his emergence with God! In reality, most of the problems continue to fester because of his exceptional incompetence. It is the only thing that has brought him international attention. He made world headlines with the reversal of his outrageous appointment of a convicted rapist to be a GBV ambassador! Since coming to office, he has made world headlines exclusively for incompetence as when Zambia was plunged into darkness except for two provinces! He diminishes the country and there is just no indication whatsoever that he will ever do better.
Even he admits this by his emphasis on visibility and not performance. This is deceptive and well beside the point yet for him there is no other way.
He has run Zambia aground and he cannot possibly be the one to rescue it. Every indicator has stayed down since he assumed office. GDP almost halved in 2015. Inflation was 7.7% when he took office but is now a whopping 21% and still rising.
For households, this has been one of the most traumatic times. The situation remains grim with no respite in sight. A rise in water rates is for instance now imminent.
The cost of living has jumped and the Kwacha has been reduced to a glorified piece of paper. The price of mealie-meal has doubled to K100/25Kg.The cost of the JCTR’s Basic Needs Basket for a family five in Lusaka for instance rose from K3, 715.47 in July to K4, 371.76 by December 2015!
The rise was equally steep in Ndola from K3, 500 to K4, 235.23 in December! Unemployment has spiraled and more retrenchments await the already traumatized miners. Incompetence in the management of the strategic food reserve has made the availability of local maize in 2016 uncertain – the prospect of starvation and increased malnutrition and stunting among children is real.
Everywhere, the story is the same, of growing and insistent pauperization of Zambia. But still, Lungu can only dance and parade in motorcades! There is no response, no ideas, no intervention and no plan. Instead, Lungu is bent on re-election essentially by default! His campaign pitch is dancing and the trappings of his office!
Zambia will make no progress under this man. He simply has no idea how to turn things around- no plan and no ideas to break the logjam. What he wants is to cling to office in the manner of dictators of old.
He is an incurable failure and is by now known to everyone by his fruits- bitter and un-palatable. More of the same? Surely not.

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