YOUNG African Leaders Initiative president Andrew Ntewewe says President Edgar Lungu should stop being hypocritical but walk the talk in addressing problems that have befallen the nation under his reign.
In his posting dated February 28, President Lungu said world leaders must not sit back and watch while their citizens were faced with calamity.
On Wednesday, March 1, the President, after visiting Jesus Christ’s tomb in Jerusalem, posted that his faith held new appeal as he knelt and prayed at the tomb.
“My faith and the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation held new appeal as I knelt and prayed at the Tomb where Jesus Christ was buried in Jerusalem. As I offered my prayers, I rededicated my life to follow my Saviour and recommitted my family into God’s hands. I also thanked God Almighty for having brought me to the Office of President at such a time as this. I humbled myself and asked for more wisdom as I lead the great nation of Zambia. For the Christians across the world, today is Ash Wednesday as we begin our 40-day Lenten journey and pray for the humility to walk back into the Open Arms of God. On this Journey, Jesus Christ teaches us to give, pray and fast in secret, and in this way to give glory to God. In the book of Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18, the words of scripture says ‘Your father, who sees all that is done in secret, will reward you’. Let us all renew our faith before God’s throne of mercy and draw ourselves closer to God. May God’s mercy continue to abide on our great nation even as we reflect on His love for Zambia. Countrymen and women, in this season let us reflect on 2 Chronicles 7:14 ‘If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.’ May God continue to Bless Zambia,” President Lungu posted on his Facebook page.
But Ntewewe in an interview said it was sad that the Head of State was giving outsiders a wrong face to the realities facing Zambia under his regime.
“He knows that there are a number of challenges that he is supposed to deal with and for him to state that never again should we allow calamities to happen when back home people are living in abject poverty, when back home people are not enjoying adequate freedoms, that is being hypocritical and his only challenge is to try and walk the talk, before he thinks about something contrary to what is happening in the country. Let him be seen to be acting and not just playing political games in order to gain praises from the international community,” Ntewewe said.
He wondered why the Head of State was pretending and giving falsehoods about Zambian to outsiders when he was the one spearheading the assassination and suppression of Zambia’s independent media.
“We have as a nation subscribed to the international convention that demands that we protect freedom of expression, freedom of speech and so on and this freedom of speech that we talk about is not supposed to be subjective. Unfortunately, we only have people wanting to protect freedom of speech only and when people are parroting or agreeing to everything that they say,” Ntewewe said.
“Freedom of expression means you are supposed to allow people to speak freely even if you do not like those people that are saying it…because the President has sworn allegiance to the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia, he has the responsibility to protect each and every Zambian and that includes those he may like and those he may not like, all those that say things that he likes, all those that say things that he does not like, that is the principle here. The principle is not that he should always be happy when people say good things about him or that he can only be happy when things are said by people he has sent, it must be coming from anybody whose freedom of speech must be protected.”
He asked President Lungu to refrain from playing double standards when carrying out his duties.
“The President must not be seen to play double standards like the way he has been seen playing because ultimately, his travels have not yielded positive results that we expected and unfortunately, people are just beginning to think that this man is just drawing allowances for himself at the expense suffering Zambians,” said Ntewewe.
“He has now left us to wonder, you take eight cabinet ministers, what cost is attributed to having those eight cabinet ministers on the trip apart from himself? Besides, what guarantee do we even have on the so-called investment coming from Israel? Ultimately, he has travelled in Europe, what guarantee has been seen in terms of investment back home? Is there anything tangible he can point out and say, ‘as a result of my movement, this is what I have been able to bring as an investment back home?’ He went to Saudi Arabia with much talk that there will be cheap fuel in the country, only to come back and hike the fuel prices! So what justification will he have to be taking eight cabinet ministers? How much has he entitled to the delegations in terms of allowances and yet people back home are living in abject poverty and can’t afford three meals a day? Those are the things the President must get himself addressing and unfortunately in his seven months, his priorities are totally misplaced. He keeps thinking about himself and how he can entrench power.”