Zambian dictator Edgar Lungu says if the International Monetary Fund thinks he has gone astray by declaring a state of emergence, then they “can go”. But this is just a mind game, the dictator hopes to cheat the IMF that he doess not need their money and make them plead for him. It might not work. And Lungu claims that the opposition are burning markets in order to force him to share power.
Addressing the press at State House this afternoon to explain the invocation of Article 31 of the Constitution which, upon ratification by parliament, will lead to enforcement of Cap 112 of the Laws of Zambia, Lungu said he had no problems letting go of negotiations for aid with the IMF in order to safeguard the peace of the country if the Bretton Woods institution was uncomfortable with the measures his government had taken.
“If IMF thinks we have gone beyond norms of good governance and democracy, they are free to go. We cannot sacrifice Zambian people for economic expedience…As long as people are safe, the IMF program will be safe. But if people are not safe…IMF would want to come to a country which is stable, President Lungu said in response to a question on whether the measures announced would not jeopardize his government’s negotiation for an over a billion dollar aid package that could help bring back the country’s economy on track.”
“But I say it again, if they think we have gone astray, let them go…Fear nothing, the country is in safe hands and we will continue being there for you. We are here to protect you. There is an attempt by countries in Kenya, South Africa, here in Zambia, Zimbabwe…they have hired intellectuals to speak ill of Zambia in international media…Our response has been that come to Zambia and see if indeed this Edgar Lungu is a monster whom they are saying he is. I had a meeting with diplomats from the EU. I asked them to say ‘tell me, what do you see. Am I a dictator?’ One of them said ‘one of your bishops wrote a letter that Zambia is sliding into a dictatorship’.”
He asked the media around to tell him if they also thought he was a dictator. “As media, do you have a dictator in Zambia? Is Zambia sliding into a dictatorship? It is the power of the pen. Falsehood has got speed and truth is trying to tie its laces to join the race,” dictator Lungu said, dismissing a recent press statement of the three Church mother bodies who stated that Zambia was now a dictatorship. “May I appeal to Zambians to just be sincere and be true to themselves. Zambia is one of the best democracies in Africa. Let’s be proud of ourselves, otherwise we risk losing it all. In Zambia…we tolerate so much nonsense than any other country. When you say Zambia is a dictatorship, defend your position with facts, not speculation.”
And Lungu true to farm as a dictator claimed that he was an advocate of media freedom despite his government a year ago closing down The Post, an independent newspaper, on the pretext of not paying taxes. “I am an advocate of media freedom and I consider the media a friendly force. I am not going to disrupt ordinary life. We will curtail danger to public security. I am tolerant by the way, you can call me names but if you endanger public security, I will come for you, Dictator Lungu said in response to questions on whether his Wednesday night pronouncement will curtail press freedom. “The application of these powers has well-meaning intentions. I will ensure I protect the Zambian people against any excesses. We are going to follow case by case…We are human beings. I was in Addis Ababa a few days ago, there is a state of emergency there but people are going about with their businesses. But if you break the law, I will certainly come for you.”
He also said Zambians should be aware of the fact that under the current situation, police could decide to hold suspects longer than necessary without following what the law stipulated. “Under the law, if you are arrested, the police are mandated to bring you to court within 48 hours, but currently, they can hold you longer. This will last depending on what parliament will decide, if it’s two weeks, three months, six months. We have to move a motion in Parliament by her honor the Vice-President [Inonge Wina] to explain the background. And we will ask those who know to interpret the jargon in the law. The president has power to declare that the current situation is threatened. It is not a state of emergency. But I am saying this is too much,” President Lungu said. “…Surely you saw what happened after the elections. There was Armageddon coming, and you expected me to sit and say ‘no if i say anything, they will say I am a dictator’, no I can’t. I have to act…It is sad that someone has been arrested…the courts will decide whether they convict him or not; I don’t care.”
On the City Market fire that gutted part of the building on Tuesday Morning, Dictator Lungu said he was totally convinced they were acts of economic sabotage by the opposition. “The City Market fire is sabotage. Zesco have told us that there was no electoral fault at the market. As President, I think it is time we moved in this direction. When people say the president has moved hastily, it is because they don’t know the dynamics of this problem…This is a deliberate strategy by opposition to drive us to the negotiating table. But when you lose an election, you have lost…There is no room for negotiation now, power belongs to us. We have shared power with MMD because MMD helped us,” said Dictator Lungu.